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A few notes from around the majors…
- Veteran Greg Norton tied a major league record in what may be his final season, says MLB.com's Mark Bowman
- In another blog entry, Bowman said that though Martin Prado spent some time in the outfield while playing in his native Venezuela, Prado is not a candidate for Atlanta's right field job.
- MASN's Steve Melewski reports that the Orioles have signed their first Guatemalan player, 17-year-old Manuel Hernandez
- In a chat on MLB.com, Pirates president Frank Coonelly said that Andy LaRoche was "open" to the possibility of playing second base next season given some of Pittsburgh's minor-league options at third base (including top prospect Pedro Alvarez).
- Dick Kaegel of MLB.com reports on two changes to Kansas City's coaching staff in 2010.
Here are some links to kick off Sunday morning:
- Some Blue Jays players approached CEO and President Paul Beeston with complaints about Cito Gaston, reports Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun. “They raised the issues,” said Beeston. “They were listened to. They have not been addressed at this time. I had my ears open. I kept my mouth shut. I gave them some comments and that’s all I want to say about that.”
- Jordan Bastian of MLB.com writes that newly appointed Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos was emotional in his introductory presser. The article notes that the position of president and CEO will be filled soon, relieving the interim hire, Paul Beeston. Beeston says that while the next president and CEO will have the authority to hire its own staff, he will recommend that Anthopoulos remain as GM.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that Kevin Towers didn't deserve to get fired considering all the obstacles he has had to work around in San Diego.
- Towers conducted a farewell press conference in San Diego and Craig Elsten of 619sports.net posted some key sound bytes. Towers insisted that the organization maintained a strong focus on scouting and player development under his watch. He also said that he has been contacted by seven or eight other teams to work immediately, but wants to take some time off before jumping into another job. The 47-year-old made it known that he wants the opportunity to be a GM again. Also available are team owner and CEO Jeff Moorad's post-podium comments.
- The Pirates have talked to Andy LaRoche about possibly moving from third base to second next year to make room for Pedro Alvarez, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Pirates would like to call-up Alvarez by the middle of the 2010 season, but first he must improve his strength and conditioning. The 22-year-old excelled after his mid-season promotion to AA, posting .333/.419/.590 with 13 HR in 60 games.
- More from Kovacevic as he labels the Pirates' trade of Nate McLouth to the Braves to be the worst personnel move of the year. Kovacevic says the deal hurt the players' trust in Pittsburgh management and was a poor public relations decision.
- Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post tweets, "Jerry Manuel was in meetings all morning and said he expects an announcement tomorrow on changes and the team's offseason plans."
- Jon Heyman reports via Twitter that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria refused to comment on a possible manager change. Recent reports suggest that Fredi Gonzalez could be on the way out and Bobby Valentine could be on the way in.
Some links for Monday morning…
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer believes the Reds should be quiet on the free agent market after the season because they have many needs and very little money. And why don't they have enough money? They've spent too much on big contracts already.
- But Scott Miller of CBS Sports says small-market teams can still contend. He points to recent winners such as the Twins, Indians, Rays and Rockies to show that low-budget teams can succeed.
- A year ago this time, Pedro Alvarez was the center of attention as he signed with the Pirates. Now, he's heating up in the minors, but he won't make his MLB debut this year, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- Erik Manning of FanGraphs says he was wrong to assume the Cards gave up too much to acquire Matt Holliday, who's been on an extended tear since joining his new club.
Some links for your Friday afternoon…
- Baseball America lists the hottest prospects in the country. Chris Carter, Pedro Alvarez and Martin Perez are some of the more recognizable players heating up.
- A's prospect Brett Wallace tops Marc Hulet's list of top prospects traded this summer over at FanGraphs.
- Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail hears that the Jays have no interest in Jason Giambi.
- Angels manager Mike Scioscia tells ESPN.com's Tim Kurkjian the keys to his club's suddenly unstoppable offense: effective baserunning and contributions from all 13 position players. Kendry Morales has performed well at first in place of Mark Teixeira and the rest of the Angels are all hitting.
- Torii Hunter, who was having a big year before hitting the DL, experienced a setback this week, according to his blog.
- The Angels signed 40th overall pick Tyler Skaggs for an undisclosed amount, according to Ben Bolch of the LA Times.
Updates on some of baseball's best prospects;
- It's fair to expect intense negotiations between Stephen Strasburg, Scott Boras and the Washington Nationals this summer. In this Philadephia Inquirer article by Don McKee, Jered Weaver says his negotiations were too "frantic" back when he was a top college pitcher like Strasburg.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic says the D'Backs are creating so many new ways to lose that they could end up with a worse record than the Nationals and the chance to take Bryce Harper first overall next June.
- Dave Mackall of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Pirates first rounder Tony Sanchez is "not oblivious" to the critics who say the Pirates drafted him too early.
- Pedro Alvarez has been promoted to AA, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Steve Melewski of MASN.com reports that Mychal Givens was surprised when the Orioles drafted him. O's scouting director Joe Jordan says he'd be surprised if Givens signs soon.
John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus catalogues a decade and a half of poor decisions by the Pirates in his latest column, up at ESPN.com. Some of the team's more memorable gaffes:
- Releasing Tim Wakefield.
- Signing Pat Meares to a four year $15MM deal that surprised even Meares.
- Commiting nearly $10MM to Derek Bell, then claiming the deal sent "shock waves through baseball" during the same offseason that Alex Rodriguez signed for $252MM.
- Giving Bronson Arroyo up on waivers only to have him return to Pittsburgh as an All-Star for the Reds and call the Pirates the "most inept organization in baseball."
But the Pirates have shed some contracts in recent years and appear poised to get younger and better under current GM Neal Huntington. After next year they have commitments to Paul Maholm, Nate McLouth, Ian Snell, Ryan Doumit and Pedro Alvarez, but no one else. They reportedly have a good chance of signing 16-year-old shortstop prospect Miguel Angel Sano and are considering top talent with the fourth overall pick that they hold in this year's draft.
So what's the verdict on the Pirates? They don't appear likely to end their streak of 16 straight losing seasons this year, but are they on the right track? Or do they need new direction? What moves have to take place for the Pirates to join the best teams in the NL Central?
Links for Saturday…
- The Astros claimed 25-year-old pitcher Wilton Lopez off waivers from the Padres and assigned him to Double-A, according to this AP article.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic relays some recent Orlando Hudson comments. O-Dog said the D'Backs made him an offer this offseason, it just didn't appeal to him.
- Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog suggests that we could see the Mets release Marlon Anderson today to make room for Livan Hernandez.
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle sounds confident about the Astros' chances this year.
- John Perrotto of Pirates Report anticipates a 2009 MLB debut for Pedro Alvarez.
- Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald discusses Scott Boras in light of the Nick Adenhart tragedy.
- MLB.com's Scott Merkin reports that the White Sox still haven't found a fit for their leadoff spot.
A few links for Saturday…
- Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette heard from a talent evaluator who says Pedro Alvarez is the most talented Pirates prospect since Barry Bonds.
- Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe looks at some of Chris Carter's quirks.
- Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press believes the Tigers need a top-notch closer.
- According to Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune Padres executive Paul DePodesta now reports to GM Kevin Towers, not CEO Sandy Alderson.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney expects Gary Sheffield to help the Mets.
- MLB.com's Lisa Winston notes that only eight of the 21 Rule 5 draftees are still with their new teams.
- MLB.com's Jennifer Langosch has some minor Pirates transactions.
- And Stephen Strasburg improved to 6-0 last night with six strikeouts in as many innings. The prospect is averaging almost two punchouts per inning, so this is nothing for him.
- Kevin Baxter of the LA Times reports that Torii Hunter thought Strasburg looked sharp.
A few links for Thusrday night…
- Pedro Alvarez, who was drafted by the Red Sox in 2005, remembers thinking about signing with Boston in an article by Alex Speier on WEEI.com.
- Joe McDonald of the Providence Journal heard from Theo Epstein and Terry Francona about building a winning team. Epstein said the Sox have a history of making room for young talent, but Francona added that there’s never room for all the youngsters.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Mike Cameron was preparing himself to be traded this offseason and considers it "a blessing" to be in Milwaukee.
- Ironically, Mark DeRosa, who was actually traded, didn’t see it coming at all according to this article by Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney spoke with a number of baseball people who say "baseball’s internal code of conduct is strengthening." Players who act out aren’t getting away with it as often.
- Chico Harlan of the Washington Post reports that Nationals president Stan Kasten didn’t comment directly on whether we should expect any more dismissals within the organization soon.
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News heard from Giants president Larry Baer that the team doesn’t consider the Edgar Renteria and Jeremy Affeldt signings mistakes.
- And bad news out of Colorado: The Rocky Mountain News will publish its final edition Friday.
The latest on the Pirates, from Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Extension talks with Nate McLouth are dormant, but talks with Paul Maholm are not. Maholm is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, so he’s under team control through 2011.
- Doug Mientkiewicz was overwhelmed by the support he’s getting from Pirates fans.
- Scott Boras apparently told the Pirates Pedro Alvarez was working very hard to stay in shape while their negotiations dragged, but team president Frank Coonelly says Alvarez "was not in good condition" when he showed up for the Florida Instructional League in September.