The first move of the offseason was made on Monday when the Atlanta Braves traded pitcher Derek Lowe to the Cleveland Indians for a minor leaguer.
The Braves will receive left-handed minor league Chris Jones for Lowe. Jones went 7-1 with an ERA of 3.36 and 66 strikeouts this season with the Kinston Indians, a Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.
The Braves will eat all but $5 million of the $15 million he is due for next season. Derek Lowe went 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA with the Braves last season, a down season for Lowe.
Although, Lowe had an off year, this move helps bolster an Indians rotation that is talented, but young. Lowe will join Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin, and Fausto Carmona in the Indians rotation in 2012.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is retiring after 16 seasons as Cardinals manager and 33rd overall. La Russa has won three World Series in his soon to be Hall of Fame career, 1989 with Oakland and 2006 and 2011 with the Cardinals.
La Russa ranks third overall in managerial wins with 2,728 behind Connie Mack and John McGraw. This past season might go down as one of La Russa's best jobs ever. The Cardinals erased a 10.5 game deficit in late August and beat the Phillies, Brewers, and Rangers on their way to their 11th World Series title.
La Russa said of his retirement, "Other than some of personal attachments, I feel good, I feel good that this is the right decision and there's something out there."
Tony La Russa certainly will be missed in St. Louis and I wish him well on his well deserved retirement.
The St. Louis Cardinals have won the 2011 World Series in a dramatic comeback against the Texas Rangers. Now the big question arises: What's next for Albert Pujols?
Pujols was asked that question after his team had won Game 7 last night, but Pujols remained quiet on the issue. With free agency beginning next week, both the Cardinals and Pujols need to make a decision.
The World Series win definitely helps their chances at re-signing Pujols, but other teams are willing to break the bank on him. The Red Sox could still sign Pujols, but that means him more than likely playing DH and David Ortiz not returning. The Chicago Cubs and Theo Epstein need to make a big splash and what bigger splash than landing the biggest name in baseball away from your rival. The Cubs have the money, but Epstein needs to sell him on the idea.
Another surprising team could be the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers expect Prince Fielder to leave so use that money to sign Albert Pujols and it would make a slight improvement to an already pretty good team. And what free agency season would be complete without the New York Yankees. The Yankees have a ton of money and are willing to throw it around, so why not attempt to sign Pujols? The Yankees would be willing to offer him $300 million. The Yanks already have Mark Teixiera at first, but one or the other could play DH, a huge upgrade from the aging Jorge Posada.
However, the Cardinals seem to be the favorite and rightfully so. Why would Pujols leave the only team he ever played for? He has already won two titles with them and they have a young electrifying team who can easily repeat next year. The Cardinals need to keep Pujols around as a mentor to all the young players if they want to continue their success. They need him more than he needs them. If you ask me, the St. Louis Cardinals re-sign Albert Pujols and make him a Cardinal for life.
Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz's condition is unclear for tonight's pivotal Game 7. Nelson Cruz injured his groin on David Freese's game tying triple in the ninth. It is unclear the extent of Cruz's injury.
Cruz stayed in the game until the 11th inning when manager Ron Washington pulled him for precautionary reasons. "I didn't want to take the chance and run him back out there," Washington said, "I haven't had anything from the medical department as to the seriousness of it, but we'll just have to wait and see how everything is."
Nelson Cruz has stated that he will be playing saying that he is a little tight be otherwise fine.
The Rangers will be looking to win their first World Series in their 50 year history.
A civil compliant was filed last week in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and owner Frank McCourt against the two men accused of the horrendous beating of Bryan Stow. Attorney Jerome Jackson has said that Bryan Stow, the victim, should share part of the blame.
Jackson said that if this case does go to a jury trial, the jurors would be asked what percentage each person is to blame. If financial damages were to be awarded, the money would be split be the percentage the jurors come up with.
Jackson used the Maria Para Helenius case as an example. Helenius lost one of her eyes in a fight outside of Dodger Stadium and was found to be 15% liable and the Dodgers 0%.
Stow, a 42 year old EMT and father of two, remained in a coma for several months following the attack and still needs care. Stow's lawyers also say that his medical bills are expected to be around $50 million.
What really burns me about this case is that how dare the Dodgers claim that Stow is partly to blame. Bryan Stow was just minding his own business when two delinquent Dodger "fans" started beating on him. Why? Because he was a Giants fan. The Dodgers in this past year have become a shell of their former glory. Between the very ugly McCourt divorce, bankruptcy and MLB taking over, and the Stow beating, thisis yet another black eye on one of the most prestigious franchises in baseball history.
Bryan Stow did nothing wrong that night and he just wanted to cheer on his favorite team. The Dodgers needed to have better security, but Frank McCourt needed to have more money in his pocket. Now an innocent fan in brain damaged. Nice going, McCourt. You wonder why people want you out Frank, it's because you have taken a team like the Dodgers and drove them straight into the ground. Now you are saying Bryan Stow shares more blame than the Dodgers do because he was wearing the wrong hat. Shame on you, Frank McCourt!
Stay classy, Dodgers.
With the 2011 Major League Baseball season winding down we are now left to face a long, cold winter. With the long winter comes the MLB Free Agency season and one team in particular, the Boston Red Sox, have some holes to fill and a lot of question marks. Here are just some of the names I believe Ben Cherington and the Red Sox brass should take a look at:
The Red Sox have a huge need when it comes to starting pitching. John Lackey is very inconsistent and Red Sox Nation's patience has grown thin and Daisuke Matsuzaka probably not coming back, it just makes sense to look at Buehrle. Mark Buehrle has been a consistent pitcher for the Chicago White Sox and has never missed a start since his career began back in 2001. This is in contrast to Lackey, Beckett, Buchholz, and Dice-K who seemingly miss starts. Buehrle is a great southpaw and would give Boston a great 1-2 punch with Jon Lester. Mark Buehrle also is the only pitcher in history to throw multiple no-hitters and win multiple Gold Gloves.
The Red Sox need a right fielder. Bad. J.D. Drew just is cutting it and is likely gone. Jason Kubel seems to be a good fit and would be considerably cheaper than Carl Crawford. Kubel is a left handed bat and, although not a power hitter, would enjoy the confines of Fenway Park. Right field at Fenway is 302 down the line and Kubel could easily increase his home run totals.
The Sox bullpen, while improved from 2010, still needs help. Jonathan Broxton might be that answer. Broxton seemed to have lost his touch in 2011 losing his closer's role, but could help Daniel Bard bridge the gap between starter to Papelbon (or whoever is the closer). If Papelbon leaves town, Broxton could be a closer considering Daniel Bard's breakdown down the stretch and inexperience at closing so you need some veterans in that bullpen. Broxton should be looked at.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a better than expected season in Boston, but is he really the answer? Ryan Doumit, while not fantastic behind the plate, could be a great compliment to Salty. Doumit is durable for a catcher too. He has played in right field and first base in the past for the Pirates. Saltalamacchia and Doumit could make a solid catching tandem, not fantastic, but just enough to get by.
This is a long shot, but the Sox could use Fielder if Big Papi leaves. Ortiz has stated that the drama in Boston has gotten to be too much and could leave Boston. That would open the door for Prince Fielder. However, Fielder would almost certainly have to play Designated Hitter with Adrian Gonzalez at first base and being a better defensive player. Fielder is younger than Pujols and will cost less money, but the Sox have that money? I don't think the Red Sox will sign him but they should at least kick the tires.
That is just some of the names I think Boston should go after. Ben Cherington has a tough task in front of him, but I think he will make some good moves and improve from last year. First and foremost, he needs to re-sign Ortiz and Papelbon. If not it will be that much harder to fill those gaps left in their wake.