Baseball’s winter meetings are under way and that means it is trade time. From ESPN-
The Texas Rangers have traded veteran starting pitcher Kevin Millwood and $3 million to the Baltimore Orioles for reliever Chris Ray and a player to be named later, the club announced Wednesday.
Millwood, who turns 35 later this month, earned that vested option after pitching more than 180 innings in 2009. He was 13-10 with a 3.67 ERA in 198 2/3 innings pitched. He did have lower back and gluteus muscle soreness in September but returned to finish the season.
Ray was a former closer for the Orioles before surgery to repair ligament damage in his right elbow set him back. He was 0-4 with a 7.27 ERA in 46 appearances in 2009. Ray, 27, has 49 career saves for the Orioles. Ray’s best season was 2006, when he sported a 2.73 ERA and had 33 saves.
Texas made this trade strictly for financial reasons. Acquiring Ray in light of recent health and performance. The worth of Millwood to the Orioles, who will be his fifth MLB team, isn’t likely to be a whole lot more in light of Millwood’s age and lack of durability. This could end up as a nothing for nothing deal.
The former Texas Ranger and NY Met manager is supposedly itching for another chance to lead a major league baseball team. From ESPN-
At a time when Bobby Valentine has begun the process of talking with teams about a possible return as a manager in Major League Baseball, sources said he is in communication with the Florida Marlins about a possible position with that team — less than eight months after Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez received a two-year extension.
Gonzalez, 45, has managed the Marlins the last two seasons after replacing Joe Girardi, and Florida has contended in both years. Gonzalez was named The Sporting News Manager of the Year in 2008. Gonzalez agreed to a two-year extension with the Marlins in spring training, and he is signed through the 2011 season.
However, there has been concern on the coaching staff this week after they were told that no decision has been made about whether to bring them back for 2010. Jeffrey Loria, the Marlins’ owner, is meeting with club executives after the end of the regular season.
Valentine, 59, has managed the Texas Rangers for eight seasons and the Mets from 1996-2002, and over the last six seasons he has managed the Chiba Lotte Marines.
Valentine is supposed to be a candidate for jobs in Cleveland and Washington. Have the Marlins really talking to Valentine? I make a bet they did. Will they hire him as the team’s next manager? Loria is an unpredictable
idiot owner as can be seen by his firing of Joe Girardi three years ago. He has also made it clear he won’t spend any more amount of money on the Marlins than he absolutely has to. Valentine is not going to be a cheap hire for a MLB team. I therefore don’t see him as a future Marlins manager.
He becomes the first MLB to record 200 hits in nine consecutive seasons. From AP-
Ichiro beat out an infield single to become the first player in major league history with at least 200 in nine straight seasons as the Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 5-0 to split a doubleheader after losing the opener 7-2.
In his second at-bat of the nightcap, Suzuki hit a slow roller to shortstop Elvis Andrus, beating the throw for No. 200 and driving in a run for a 2-0 lead.
Suzuki, who went 1 for 5 in the second game, received a standing ovation from the sparse crowd, stepping off first base and doffing his batting helmet to thank the fans.
The old record, held by Wee Willie Keeler, had stood for 108 years. I think its a foregone conclusion that Suzuki will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame one day. The only way he won’t is if some scandal overwhelms his accomplishments.
Is El Duque’s MLB over with? From AP-
El Duque’s comeback attempt with the Texas Rangers has ended.
Texas released Orlando Hernandez from his minor league contract Friday, making the right-hander a free agent just more than a month after he signed.
Hernandez was 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in eight relief appearances for Triple-A Oklahoma City since being activated three weeks ago. He had 12 strikeouts and four walks in 11 innings.
General Manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers had no plans to add Hernandez to their major league roster by Monday, when the pitcher would have been able to opt out of the contract.
“The reports that we got were about what you would expect, stuff-wise. … The velocity was not an issue or anything like that, just rust,” Daniels said. “With more time and innings, he may very well be ready, but he had the out in his contract and he was going to take it.”
Hernandez last pitched in the majors for the New York Mets in 2007 before toe surgery. Hernandez’s numbers with the Mets in 2007, suggest he should still be able to pitch in the majors. The toe injury could have adversely affected his ability to pitch. Hernandez’s age may also factor into how strong his arm is.
The Cuban pitcher’s age has been questioned at times, and is listed as high as 43 by some accounts. The Rangers said he was 39 when they signed him last month, though Daniels sounded less certain about that Friday.
“Ask the Census bureau,” he said.
No need to. The smoking Gun has a copy of El Duque’s Cuban divorce decree. It clearly says he was born in 1965.
He broke the record held by Carlton Fisk. From AP-
Ivan Rodriguez was praised by fans and teammates Wednesday night for becoming the all-time leader in games caught.
Rodriguez, who began his career at age 19 in 1991 and played 12 seasons in Texas, caught his 2,227th game to break Carlton Fisk’s record.
“I’m tickled for Pudge,” Cooper said. “It’s great he was able to break the record. But it’s unfortunate that it didn’t happen on a good night for us.”
Rodriguez received numerous ovations from the Rangers crowd, but also had his first two-error game since Aug. 26, 2004, and sixth in his career. Both of his miscues led to runs.
Pudge’s rifle arm has been prone to miscues. He totaled double digit amounts of errors in three seasons.
Catcher is the most demanding position position on the baseball field. It puts a lot of wear on a player’s feet, back, etc. That’s why 2,000 games at the position is a huge amount, and why many catchers(Anyone remember iron man Randy Hundley) begin breaking down at half or more the amount of games Pudge played.
He keeps going at the age of 46. From AP-
Jamie Moyer reached a rare mark for a pitcher, becoming the 44th to win 250 games. The veteran Phillies left-hander would have been just as happy if it was his first.
Moyer went six strong innings to lead the Phillies to their third straight victory, 4-2 over the bumbling Washington Nationals on Sunday.
The 46-year-old Moyer is only the 11th left-hander to join the exclusive 250-win list. And despite his teammates’ postgame champagne toast, Moyer’s words lacked the excitement one might expect after such a rare achievement.
“It’s not about the personal things, I’m more excited about us winning,” Moyer said. “I really haven’t thought about [winning 250]. It takes so much effort to prepare and play. I was taught to play the game as a team, not as an individual. When you play 20-some years, some of these things can happen.”
Moyer has been in the majors for twenty-three seasons and has played for seven different teams. He has owned the Florida Marlins. He is 10-1 against them lifetime.
I doubt Moyer will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame after his career is over. Left handers Jim Kaat and Tommy John have more wins and haven’t made it to Cooperstown.
It was the first win for the former Florida Marlin left hander in almost two years. From AP-
Dontrelle Willis finally won again after nearly 20 months.
Willis allowed one hit while working into the seventh inning of Detroit’s 4-0 win over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night. It was the Tigers’ fourth straight win and snapped Texas’ seven-game winning streak.
Willis (1-0), making his second start since coming off the disabled list with an anxiety disorder, struck out five in 6 1/3 innings to win for the first time since Sept. 25, 2007. He allowed two baserunners in the first inning, then retired 17 straight.
“He was tremendous,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “Hopefully we can build on that.”
I do hope Willis can get his career back on track but if baseball history is any guide, the odds are against it. Hurlers who lose the ability to pitch for non arm related woes, have a poor record of coming back. Take for instance Rick Ankiel, Mark Davis, and Steve Blass. On the good side of ledger, Willis was impressive last night. The book is still open so far as the rest of his career goes.
Tom Hicks claims this won’t won’t affect the teams. From AP-
The company that owns baseball’s Texas Rangers and hockey’s Dallas Stars has defaulted on about $525 million in loans, with owner Tom Hicks saying on Friday that he intentionally made the move to help negotiate with banks.
Hicks told The Associated Press the teams won’t be affected after Hicks Sports Group, his holding company, didn’t make an interest payment on the syndicated bank loans Tuesday. A syndicated bank loan is one made by a group of lenders to one borrower.
“What we want is the banks to allow us to use our interest revenue,” Hicks said. “We need 51 percent approval, which we anticipate. It is hard to get two banks to agree to anything, much less 40 on a timely basis.”
A financial news Web site called FINalternatives first reported Friday that Hicks Sports Group did not make its interest payment on a $350 million bank-term loan, $100 million second-lien loan and a $75 million revolving credit facility.
“Like so many other companies and institutions, HSG has been impacted by a global credit crisis which no one could have anticipated,” Hicks said in a statement. “The company is not asking for additional money; it is only asking for full access to the interest reserve account and revolving credit line as well as some amendments in the debt covenants.”
He said that the negotiations have nothing to with his other assets or his family’s assets.
“This will be a nonevent to players, to the fans, our sponsors, our vendors, anybody,” Hicks said.
Hicks admits he is seeking minority owners for the franchises. I don’t see how these financial problems CAN’T affect the teams Hicks owns. In a few months it will be the time of year when NHL teams sign free agents or try to retain those players they have now. If these teams are unable to pay for a loan, how will they be able to compete in the player market?
I remember Ellis from his days pitching with the Pirates. He was a good pitcher, an excellent one in 1971. The story of his pitching a no-hitter while on LSD just doesn’t sound credible. The effect of that drug on people can make even simple activities impossible. RIP.
Dock Ellis, the former major league pitcher best remembered for his flamboyance and social activism as a member of the great Pittsburgh Pirates teams of the 1970s, died Friday of a liver ailment in California, his former agent, Tom Reich, confirmed. Ellis was 63.
His wife, Hjordis, told The Assocaited Press he died at the USC Medical Center in Los Angeles.
“It’s a tremendous loss to the family,” she said. “He’s been struggling for about a year with the end stages of liver disease.”
In his autobiography, “Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball,” Ellis revealed that he threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in June 1970 while under the influence of LSD.
In May 1974 — in an effort to inspire a lifeless Pittsburgh team — Ellis drilled Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and Dan Driessen in the top of the first inning. After walking Tony Perez, Ellis threw a pitch near Johnny Bench’s head and was lifted from the game by manager Danny Murtaugh.
Ellis also gave up Reggie Jackson’s memorable home run off the Tiger Stadium light tower in the 1971 All-Star Game in Detroit.
Off the field, Ellis spoke freely about racial issues, once telling reporters that he wouldn’t start against Oakland’s Vida Blue in the All-Star Game because Major League Baseball would never start “two soul brothers” against each other.
Ellis went 19-9 in 1971 for the Pirates, who beat the Orioles in the World Series.
“Dock Ellis was my first client in baseball, and he gave me as much joy as anybody outside of my family,” Reich said. “He was so unique. He was viewed by some people as an outlaw, but he was far from that. He was so ahead of his time. He was so intuitive and smart and talented and independent. And he wasn’t about to roll over for the incredible prejudices that existed at the time.
“He was a very special person and he had an absolute army of fans and friends. He was at the cutting edge of so many issues, and he never backed down. I was proud to be his friend and stand with him.”
Ellis suffered from cirrhosis of the liver and was placed on a list to receive a liver transplant in May. The Los Angeles Times wrote that Ellis had no health insurance, but received help paying his medical bills from friends in baseball.
Bill Scaringe, an agent who represented Ellis after he retired, said Ellis worked for years in the California department of corrections helping inmates transition from prison back to the community. He also ran a drug counseling center in Los Angeles.
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He died Saturday after a fall down the stairs at his home. John was strictly a bullpen catcher, but he managed to stay employed at the Major league level for 12 years. Afterwards he went into broadcasting. RIP.
PHILADELPHIA – Former major leaguer John Marzano died Saturday after falling down a flight of stairs at his home. He was 45.
The cause of his death was not immediately clear, police said.
Marzano was from Philadelphia and had been working for Major League Baseball’s Web site, where he co-hosted a show on weekday mornings.
“John was a beloved member of our team, a personable, terrific friend to all with whom he worked,” said Bob Bowman, chief executive officer of MLB Advanced Media. “He was an engaging, informed interviewer. His energy, knowledge of the game and comedic touch produced admirable results. We miss him dearly already.”
In a statement announcing his death, MLB said Marzano had fallen. MLB.com will establish an internship program in Marzano’s name, the release said.
Before joining MLB’s Web site, Marzano was a baseball analyst on Comcast SportsNet for the station’s Philadelphia Phillies postgame shows. He had also appeared regularly on WIP-AM.
“John was one of those rare persons who put a smile on your face the moment you saw him. He was joyous and he was proud,” said Comcast’s Michael Barkann, who co-hosted many of the postgame shows with Marzano. “You always knew when John was in the room. You never asked, ‘When’d you get here, Johnny?’ He always made an entrance, and it was big and it was loud and it was full of joy.”
Marzano, known for his South Philly accent, appeared with Barkann on the station’s “Daily News Live” show from the Wachovia Center before the Philadelphia Flyers hosted the Washington Capitals in an NHL playoff game on Thursday. At one point, Marzano stopped in mid-sentence, turned to the crowd and screamed, “Let’s Go Flyers!”
“The place went nuts,” Barkann said. “He did that a few more times during his segment to the same effect each time. That will be my enduring memory of John — smiling, talking sports with a sea of fans behind him. I will miss him every day.”
A graduate of Temple, Marzano earned a spot as a catcher on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team that included future major league stars Mark McGwire, Barry Larkin and Will Clark. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox with the 14th overall pick in the first round of the 1984 amateur draft.
Marzano played 10 seasons in the big leagues for the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners before retiring in 1998. He also played in the minors for the Phillies and the Cleveland Indians.
Overall, Marzano batted .241 with 11 homers and 72 RBIs in 794 at-bats in 301 games.
“He was a baseball guy and he loved life,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who managed Marzano in Cleveland’s minor-league system in 1993. “He had a personality. He was kind of a pepper-pot player. He was a go-getting kind of guy. That’s what he had to do and it worked for him.”
Marzano was popular in Seattle for his altercation with New York Yankees outfielder Paul O’Neill during a game in 1996. The two traded punches at home plate after O’Neill took exception to a knockdown pitch by Tim Davis.
Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer played three seasons with Marzano in Seattle and remained friends with him.
“He was a lot of fun to be around,” Moyer said after facing the New York Mets on Saturday. “He was the brunt of a lot of jokes, but he could dish it out too. He always used to call everybody, ‘Cuz.’ He’ll be missed.”
The Red Sox planned to honor Marzano with a moment of silence before their game against Texas on Saturday.
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