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Marco Scutaro Reportedly Signs 3-Year Deal with San Francisco Giants

Marco Scutaro was a vital piece of the San Francisco Giants‘ World Series run in 2012, and it appears that he’s being rewarded for his efforts.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Giants have signed the veteran shortstop to a multi-year deal:


Forget that Scutaro will be 37 years old by the time this deal is up—he was too big in the postseason to not be retained. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports mentioned on Tuesday that the Cardinals and Yankees were also said to be interested, but Scutaro decided to return anyway.

Acquired from the Colorado Rockies before the trade deadline in July, Scutaro turned into a new player. He hit .362 in 61 games, which is completely out of character for the career .276 hitter.

Once the playoffs came around, things changed again. He was injured in Game 2 of the NLCS when Matt Holliday slid hard into second base, but that didn’t stop him. He came back and hit .500 in the series while also maintaining sound defense.

Scutaro was a critical part of the Giants’ magical postseason run and he deserved to come back to San Francisco. He’s not going to win any Silver Slugger Awards, but he’s going to play excellent defense, work counts and do the little things that every team needs to do to win big games.

It’s important for the Giants to retain the core of last year’s team and Scutaro—along with Angel Pagan—is a big part of that.

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Tampa Bay Rays Reportedly Acquire Yunel Escobar from Miami Marlins for Prospect

The Tampa Bay Rays didn’t add the big bat they really need on Tuesday, but they did make an improvement at shortstop.

According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays have acquired Yunel Escobar from the Miami Marlins:

Escobar may not make Rays fans jump for joy, but he is an upgrade for a reasonable price. Dietrich hit .279 last season between High-A and Double-A, but he’s built more like a third baseman, and Evan Longoria should be in the hot corner for the foreseeable future.

Last season, the Rays played Ben Zobrist. Elliot Johnson and Sean Rodriguez at shortstop. Zobrist is the only guy who is ready to play every day out of that bunch, just not at shortstop.

That makes Escobar a solid pickup, even if he hasn’t been all that productive. He hit .253 last season with nine home runs and 51 RBI as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. He did hit .290 with 11 home runs in 2011, but it’s not going to get much better than that.

Escobar hasn’t been happy since going to Miami as part of the blockbuster deal between the Marlins and Blue Jays in November. A change of scenery should benefit him, so long as he stays motivated.

The Rays picked up a quality player here, and they didn’t have to give up much to make it happen. That’s the name of the game for a small-market club, and Tampa Bay has handled itself expertly in that arena in recent years.

According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Rays may not be done making moves either, so stay tuned.

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Dan Haren: Veteran Pitcher Gives Nationals’ Rotation Needed Stability

The Washington Nationals already possess the league’s best one-two punch at the top of their pitching rotation, and Jordan Zimmerman is a talented third option on top of that.

According to Fox Sports (via The Washington Post reporter Adam Kilgore), the Nationals added another arm to their rotation on Tuesday:

The Nationals have a deal in place to finalize perhaps the top starting rotation in baseball, agreeing to a one-year, $13 million deal with free agent right-hander Dan Haren, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

The report notes that Haren must still pass a physical, but that “Haren said he has already taken a physical for another interested team, and he checked out fine.”

Washington is paying a nice chunk of cash here, but the reward potential is there. It’s good to know that his health appears to be on point, though, because that’s the only issue the talented right-hander is facing entering next season.

The Nationals need Haren to stay healthy, but they don’t need him to win 20 games. He adds stability to the middle and back end of the rotation, or more if either Stephen Strasburg or Gio Gonzalez were to get hurt.

Haren has always been a workhorse, and that’s important. He relies on his pinpoint control to dominate batters, and he uses his off-speed offerings to keep hitters off-balance rather than use a high-octane fastball.

He will slot in perfectly as Washington’s No. 3 or No. 4 starter, depending on where it views him in comparison to Zimmerman. Ross Detwiler will round things out in the rotation’s final spot, which could also turn out to be a good thing as he improves with experience.

When the playoffs come around, there’s nothing more important than pitching. It’s vital to have elite arms, but it’s also important to have quality reserves waiting in the wings. Pitchers are fragile.

Haren went 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA last season, but the healthy version of himself should be able to improve on that.

If he’s on, the Nationals hit a home run here. He’s dominant when he’s on, and that was as a top-end starter in his prime. Now, he can sit back, eat innings and help give the Nationals one of the league’s best array of arms.

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Miami Marlins Sign Free Agent OF Juan Pierre to Fill Leadoff Void

The Miami Marlins haven’t been buyers lately, but that changed in a minor way Saturday evening.


UPDATE: Saturday, November 17 at 10:40 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

According to Sun-Sentinel reporter Juan C.Rodriguez, Pierre’s deal is for one year:

—End of Update—


According to Sirius 210 XM 87 Fantasy Sports Radio host Craig Mish, the Marlins have signed Juan Pierre:


It doesn’t come as a big surprise because Pierre has to be affordable, but it’s still odd to see Miami bring a player in right now. After (possibly) pulling a blockbuster trade that sent Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to Toronto, dumping salary seems like the only goal owner Jeffrey Loria and management have in mind. 

But they do have to field a team, so there’s that. Because Emilio Benifacio is also included in the potential blockbuster deal, the Marlins desperately need a leadoff hitter. Pierre may be 35, but he did hit over .300 last season and stole 37 bases while with the Phillies.

Pierre has never been the best all-around player, but you know what you’re getting. He’s one of the fastest players in the game, and he’s excellent at finding his way on base.

This will be Pierre’s second stint with the organization. He played with the Marlins from 2003-05, stealing 40-plus bases in each season. 

Don’t expect Pierre to make Miami into a World Series contender, but he’s a great role player to have around. He’s very good at what he does, and he will play with a team-first mentality. If nothing else, he will get on base for Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison, which should help create more runs for the Marlins offense.

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Baltimore Orioles Reportedly Plan on Extending Manager Buck Showalter

The Baltimore Orioles earned a postseason berth this season for the first time since 1997, and manager Buck Showalter‘s steady hand in the dugout was a big reason for that.

According to CBS’ Jon Heyman, Showalter will be rewarded this winter for his efforts:

Orioles management intends to negotiate an extension for Manager of the Year favorite Buck Showalter, people familiar with the situation told Owner Peter Angelos has told people connected to the team of his intention to extend Showalter, whose contract expires after the 2013 season.

The report also mentions that, “Any negotiation may be delayed while Showalter and Angelos deal with minor outside concerns. Showalter recently had knee surgery and is rehabbing at home in the Dallas area.”

No matter when it happens, this is the right move for the Orioles franchise. Success like this year’s group hasn’t been felt in Baltimore for a long time, and Showalter‘s aggressive, home-run happy attitude played a major role in every win.

There’s a reason he’s a favorite for Manager of the Year. Not only did he take a team that hadn’t sniffed the postseason for 15 years into October, but he did it in the American League East. Vanquishing the toughest division in baseball isn’t easy, but the Orioles were in it from tape to tape with his guidance.

Next year’s Orioles team should expect to be in a solid position as well. The core of the team returns, and young studs like Manny Machado figure to be even better. If Dylan Bundy takes another giant step forward, that’s another positive for this organization.

Baltimore’s run this season was fun to watch for anyone who likes baseball. It had been a very long time since this team was relevant, and its rejuvenation was enlightening in the powerhouse-dominated AL East.

With Showalter at the helm in the near future, there’s no reason to think this franchise can’t maintain its success.

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San Francisco Giants Defeat Detroit Tigers 2-0 in Game 3 of World Series

The San Francisco Giants can do no wrong, gaining a 3-0 World Series lead over the Detroit Tigers with Saturday night’s 2-0 victory.

The equation remains the same for San Francisco: lights-out pitching plus a few timely hits equals victory, especially against the Tigers’ maligned offense.

Jhonny Peralta tried to get his squad back into the game in the ninth inning, but Gregor Blanco made a beautiful sliding catch to preserve Sergio Romo’s flawless inning to close the game. Romo was able to earn the save, completing an excellent game overall.

Both starting pitchers threw well on the night, but Ryan Vogelsong got the W. He threw 5.2 shutout innings, striking out three and walking four in cold temperatures. As ESPN Stats & Info shows, Vogelsong doesn’t mind chilly weather:


Even more impressive is this statistic from San Francisco Chronicle reporter Henry Schulman:


His excellent outing was continued by the Giants bullpen, allowing it to overshadow Anibal Sanchez’s dynamic start for Detroit. Sanchez allowed two runs in seven innings, and also struck out eight batters.

Early runs came in the second inning for the Giants. Gregor Blanco smacked a triple to deep right-center field, driving home Hunter Pence in the process. Brandon Crawford was able to single home Blanco, putting the score at 2-0 in favor of the Giants.

Blanco has had a very good series. From diving catches, relay throws, precise bunts and timely triples, the left fielder is doing everything you could ask from a role player.

The Tigers had their chance in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, Quintin Berry and Miguel Cabrera failed to deliver. Berry struck out followed by Cabrera’s pop-up to Crawford to end the inning. That added to this ESPN Stats & Info fact:


From there, the Giants bullpen was able to slam the door. What’s even better is Tim Lincecum’s sustained performance. Lincecum threw 2.1 shutout innings, striking out three batters in the process.

Now facing a three-game deficit, the Tigers are up against it. Max Scherzer will throw in Game 4, and he’s been excellent throughout the postseason. But he must face Matt Cain who will also be ready to go.

Everything seems to be going the Giants’ way. From Vogelsong’s start to Lincecum’s contributions out of the bullpen, San Francisco is clicking on all cylinders. ESPN’s Jayson Stark shed light on how good Lincecum has been:


The Giants offense hasn’t erupted since their eight-run Game 1, but they’re still able to get timely hits when the time calls. If you believe in the baseball gods, this squad epitomizes it. They mesh, click, gel or whatever you want to call it. Either way, it works.

It’s tough not to think about a sweep at this point, unfathomable as it was just a couple days ago. San Francisco is playing flawless baseball, and anything less than a Worlds Series title seems equally unfathomable.

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Miami Marlins Trade Reliever Heath Bell to Arizona Diamondbacks In 3-Team Deal

The Miami Marlins, Oakland Athletics and Arizona Diamondbacks are no longer involved in on-field activities, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely dormant.

According to CBS’ Jon Heyman, the teams agreed on a three-way trade on Saturday:


UPDATE: Saturday, October 20 at 7:38 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Major League Baseball shed light on another name included in this deal:

Pennington hit .215 with six home runs and 28 RBI this season. For a small price, the 28-year-old shortstop is a solid veteran to play in a pinch for Arizona, but could also start next season.


—End of Update—


UPDATE: Saturday, October 20 at 4:55 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

According to reporter Joe Frisaro, the Marlins will pick up part of Bell’s contract:


—End of Update—


None of those guys are named Alex Rodriguez, but this is still a notable trade, especially considering the timing of it. With winter meetings still a ways away, transactions are not common this time of year.

Bell only played one season with the Marlins, and it didn’t go well. A 5.09 ERA amounted to 19 saves on the season, despite blowing eight other tries. That’s not what you pay a reliever $7 million to do.

He had been the subject of rumors surrounding Rodriguez lately, but we can put those to bed after his move to Arizona.

Perhaps the biggest name in this move is Chris Young. He hit .231 with 14 home runs and 41 RBI this season. He played in very limited action after getting hurt in early September, but he does have some skill. Always a strikeout possibility, Young has a lot of the skills you look for in an outfielder.

Cabrera is the unknown commodity here. The shortstop prospect played in High-A this season, hitting .232 with three home runs. He’s still young, so his upside could pay dividends for Miami down the line.

Picking up part of Bell’s contract is probably the end of any cash considerations, but we will have to wait and see.

Oakland can be considered the early winner here. Bell could benefit from a change of scenery, and Arizona did need back-end arms, but the 35-year-old reliever is toward the end of his career. He had three straight 40-plus save seasons with San Diego prior to this season, but that was also within the confines of PetCo park.

Young, even for his faults, is still 29 years old. He’s hit 20-plus home runs four times, and he could give Oakland some pop in its lineup. Considering the cost, making the move makes sense for the Athletics.

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Detroit Tigers Beat NY Yankees 2-1 Behind Elite Pitching from Justin Verlander

The Detroit Tigers took a commanding 3-0 ALCS lead over the New York Yankees with a 2-1 victory behind a dominant performance from Justin Verlander Tuesday night.

With rain beating down on Comerica Park, the Tigers took one more giant step toward a World Series berth.

The Yankees tried to fight back in the ninth with an Eduardo Nunez solo home run, knocking Verlander out of the game in the process. Mark Teixeira followed that with a single up the middle, and Robinson Cano followed that with another single.

But with two runners on and two outs, Phil Coke was able to strike out this year’s Mr. Clutch, Raul Ibanez to end the game.

Despite the dramatic ending, Verlander did his usual thing, allowing one run in 8.1 innings, striking out three and walking no one. If it wasn’t for Nunez’s solo shot, Verlander would have been flawless.

He was so strong to start the game, USA Today writer Bob Nightengale felt compelled to tweet this:

Hall of Fame or not, Verlander kept the Yankees offense in check for most of the night. He wasn’t given a ton of run support, but a few timely Detroit hits ensured that his dazzling start wouldn’t go unrewarded.

According to reporter Jay Scott Smith, the Yankees’ hitting woes shouldn’t have surprised anyone:

That number wound up dying at 29, but the statistic is still horrifying for Yankees faithful.

Detroit’s scoring started with a solo shot by Delmon Young in the fourth inning. Not only did Young give the Tigers a 1-0 lead, but check out this fact from Sporting News senior baseball editor Chris Bahr:

Following Young’s home run, Yankees starter Phil Hughes was lifted from the game with an apparent back injury. David Phelps came in relief, tossing a scoreless fourth frame.

But Phelps wouldn’t be so lucky in the fifth. After Quintin Berry reached first on an error by Eric Chavez, the speedster swiped second base. That set up Miguel Cabrera with a runner in scoring position, something no one in New York wants to see.

Cabrera delivered like a Triple Crown winner should, smacking a double to right-center field to score Berry from second.

Nunez was able to make things interesting in the game’s final frame, but Coke was able to nail down the game’s final two outs.

Verlander was on cruise control. He’s known for getting stronger as games progress, and he didn’t disappoint. He needed a little help from Coke, but Detroit’s win is still owed largely to his lights-out presence on the bump.

The Yankees’ offensive struggles at this point are staggering. No one, not even Cano, is hitting the ball. Finishing with five hits on the night is disheartening, especially when two of them come from one player.

Entering Game 4, you have to wonder about the Yankees bullpen. After Phelps was lifted, Clay Rapada, Cody Eppley, Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan all saw the mound. That doesn’t leave the Yanks with many fresh options in Wednesday’s possible eliminator.

CC Sabathia will try and keep his team alive in a decisive Game 4, while Max Scherzer looks to seal the deal for the Tigers. Tune in to TBS at 8 p.m. ET to catch all the action at Comerica Park.

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Eduardo Nunez: Starting SS over Jayson Nix in Game 3 Is Wise Move by Joe Girardi

Eduardo Nunez will play shortstop for the New York Yankees Tuesday night in Game 3 of the ALCS, following a hit-less night from Jayson Nix in Game 2.

Neither player can be expected to replace Derek Jeter in the clubhouse, in the field or at the plate, but a little production would be nice. Justin Verlander is tough enough to hit as it is, pulling an unproductive bat around makes winning even more difficult.

It’s not that Nix is the only problem in the Yankees’ lineup right now, but it was time for a change. Inserting Nunez into the starting lineup gives New York a different look, and keeps Nix’s 1-for-11 career numbers against Verlander on the bench.

Nunez has started 17 games at shortstop this season. In 38 total games, he hit .292 with one home run and 11 RBI. He also stole 11 bases.

In the divisional round, he went 1-for-5 and scored two runs against the Baltimore Orioles. He was initially left off the ALCS roster in favor of carrying more pitchers, but he was added following Jeter’s injury.

The Yankees’ lineup has struggled so far in the ALCS, continuing its struggles from the ALDS. That prompted Joe Girardi to not only bench Nix, but to sit Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher as well.

There’s something to be said for continuity, and Nix is a consistent fielder, but Tuesday night is a must-win game. When you’re facing a legitimate ace like Verlander, you can’t afford to have any weak moments.

New York will have to hit if they want to win on Tuesday. If they can’t hit for power, manufacturing runs will be in order. Nunez’s speed could give the Yankees an added element on the basepaths, especially with Brett Gardner batting after him in the leadoff spot.

Nunez is 1-for-3 with a double against Verlander for his career. He doesn’t bring a lot of experience to the table, but that could be a good thing. After being demoralized by Verlander’s dominant stuff over and over again, that can play against your psyche.

Don’t expect a power surge from the nine-hole with Nunez slotted in, but Girardi made the right move. Nix’s defense could be useful late in the game, and a change was needed.

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Tigers vs. A’s: Score, Twitter Reaction, Grades and More

The Oakland Athletics kept their dream season alive with a 2-0 win over the Detroit Tigers in Game 3 of the ALDS Tuesday night.

Brett Anderson and a few timely hits are the main reason Oakland was able to keep its continue its postseason going.

Anderson, who only started six games during the regular season, allowed just two hits in six innings. He didn’t allow a run, striking out six batters and tossing constant ground-ball outs.

In the fifth, Seth Smith put the Athletics ahead 2-0. His solo shot to center field gave Anderson and the Athletics bullpen more than they would need to extend the series, at least, one more game.

Now that you know how it went down, let’s check out how Twitter reacted and grade a few players.


Twitter Reaction

Oakland Athletics beat reporter Jane Lee provides some insight regarding the Oakland starting pitchers:

Remember Bartolo Colon in an Athletics uniform, Fox Sports Radio host Ben Maller does:

Ray Ratto, reporter for, spoke to the Athletics’ efficiency at the plate:

ESPN Stats & Info gives us some insight into Prince Fielder’s bad luck:

Major League Baseball’s Twitter supplied some insight from Jim Leyland following the game:

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings lays down his thoughts regarding Game 4:



Brett Anderson: A

Anderson allowed two hits through six scoreless innings of play. His six strikeouts were paced by a dazzling array of breaking pitches, allowing him to keep the ball on the ground in the process.

Pitching with limited experience this season was a tall task for Anderson, but he made it work in a big way.


Grant Balfour: A

There’s just something about Balfour right now. He gets fired up while coming in from the pen, and he’s delivered so far.

He allowed a hit to Miguel Cabrera in the ninth inning, but he also struck out one batter to slam the door.


Yoenis Cespedes: B

Cespedes robbed Prince Fielder of an extra-bases hit after Coco Crisp robbed the slugger of a home run, but he was only 1-4 at the dish.

Cespedes started Oakland’s scoring off in the first inning, proving why he’s one of baseball’s fastest rising five-tool players.


Bob Melvin: A

The winning manager usually does his job correctly, and that’s the case here. Melvin kept Anderson in for the proper amount of time and turned to Ryan Cook thereafter.

He knows what bullpen combinations work, and he knows what doesn’t. For a team like Oakland, crafty management is important, and Melvin is one of the best.


Prince Fielder: C

Fielder gets a C here only because he was robbed twice, but he still went hitless in four at-bats. Fielder only has one hit in the series thus far, depriving the Tigers of a main power source in their lineup.

If Crisp hadn’t robbed his home run early in the game, Fielder would be redeemed.


Miguel Cabrera: C+

Cabrera had a single in the ninth inning, but the Triple Crown winner was silent otherwise. With Omar Infante and Austin Jackson going a combined 0-7 in front of Miggy, there wasn’t much opportunity for runs from his bat.

Even so, one hit from an elite player is disappointing.


Jim Leyland: B

The Tigers were outplayed Tuesday night, but it didn’t have much to do with Leyland’s management.

He could have gone with Drew Smyly in the sixth inning, but Octavio Dotel wound up working out well. Leyland also could have switched up his struggling lineup, but it’s tough to blame him for sticking with the squad that’s got them this far.


What’s Next?

These two teams will square off in Game 4 on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. ET. Detroit will send Max Scherzer (16-7, 3.74 ERA), while the Athletics turn to A.J. Griffin (7-1, 3.06 ERA) to force the decisive fifth game.

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