Tag: Cliff Pennington

Arizona Diamondbacks Sign Infielder Cliff Pennington to a 2-Year Deal

The Arizona Diamondbacks have extended the contract for newly acquired infielder Cliff Pennington, keeping him in Phoenix on a two-year, $5 million deal. The signing was reported by Buster Olney of ESPN via his Twitter feed.

The 21st overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft played five seasons with the Oakland Athletics. He was never much of a hitter, but played defense well enough to start. He was the starting second baseman for the Athletics in the 2012 Division Series.

He came over to the Diamondbacks in the three-team deal that sent Heath Bell to Arizona and Chris Young to Oakland. The Diamondbacks depth chart on MLB.com has Pennington as the starting shortstop.

But Arizona also acquired Didi Gregorius from the Cincinnati Reds to play shortstop, and it cost the team Trevor Bauer, who is a top pitching prospect. So, where the 29-year-old Pennington fits into their long-term plans is unclear.

Perhaps the move insures a deep infield to go along with their stacked outfield and strong, young rotation. 

Either way, the shortstop position, which looked so uncertain after the trade of Stephen Drew during the 2012 season, has a little more depth to it now.

The Diamondbacks’ off season might not have been easy to define with some of their surprising moves, and the never ending Justin Upton rumors. But they seem to have filled in a lot of holes in the process.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Oakland A’s Acquire Arizona OF Chris Young for Cliff Pennington

According to a report from MLBTradeRumors.com and breaking news from AzCentral.com, the Oakland A’s have acquired Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Young and cash in a trade that sends Cliff Pennington and disgruntled closer Heath Bell to Arizona by way of the Miami Marlins

Young posted a disappointing slash line of .231/.311/.434 in 101 games in 2012 for Arizona. The 2010 All-Star was slowed by a shoulder injury he sustained slamming into the left field wall at Chase Field. The injury ruined a hot start that saw him hit five home runs and register a 1.397 OPS in the first 11 games. On the year, Young wound up with 14 home runs and 41 RBI.

The trade brings Pennington’s five-year career with Oakland to an end. A career .249 hitter, Pennington struggled for much of 2012, hitting a career-low .215 with six home runs and 28 RBI. His versatility came in handy after Oakland acquired Stephen Drew from Arizona as he moved from shortstop to second base. 

Bell, who grew disenchanted with his role in Miami, likely will get another chance to close in Arizona. The former All-Star struggled in his only year with the Marlins, posting a 5.09 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 73 appearances. In return, the Marlins will receive A’s infield prospect Yordy Cabrera, who was initially dealt to Arizona in the Young trade.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Oakland Athletics: Josh Willingham and 5 Players That Need to Re-Sign for 2012

For the Oakland Athletics, the 2011 baseball campaign is creeping to a halt.

Having had a tumultuous and exciting six months of baseball that included benchings and a firing, injuries and trades and, oh yeah, a movie release based on the team’s general manager (which opens nationwide today), the A’s are ready to put the season behind them as quickly as possible.

Yes, like most teams, the A’s have encountered some peaks through the course of the year; but the valleys have been absolutely abysmal—the nadir being a 10-game losing streak that they never fully recovered from.

Much of the blame can be and was attributed to the slothfully slow start offensively by the team as a whole. Although several players did warm up a bit midseason, by then the A’s had lost two of their starting pitchers for the season, and were in a tailspin that was difficult to overcome in a competitive AL West division.

With that in mind, the A’s head into the offseason with numerous players eligible for free agency and salary arbitration. This September has allowed Oakland to examine their 40-man roster and not only take a deeper look at those youngsters who have bright futures with the team, but also determine which veterans should be traded and which ones should be kept on next season.

Here are five players who the A’s need to re-sign this offseason.

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Oakland Athletics: 7 Players the A’s Should Lock Up Long Term

Right now the Oakland athletics are trying to establish a core of a winning team. They have already given two players multi-year contracts: Brett Anderson and Kurt Suzuki. Although they still have some cheap young players who haven’t hit arbitration, I think they should continue to create a young core and give some players long contracts.

A team like the A’s, a team with not too much cash, has to lock up franchise players early. They need to do a better job at that, as the last time the A’s made the playoffs was 2006, and they have exactly two players from that team today, and that’s only if you count Rich Harden. The other is Mark Ellis.

If the A’s wait too long to give their good players long-term deals, the exact same thing will happen. They’ll make the playoffs one year, and then rebuild two years later. So here’s some players I think the Athletics should add to their core of two. They’re listed in no particular order.

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Derek Jeter Becomes Latest Undeserving Player To Win Gold Glove

Year after year, baseball’s end-of-season awards are usually room for debate and arguments.  The last few years the argument has shifted around the Cy Young, with topics ranging from “How important is wins to a pitcher’s stats (my answer is “not at all”), and Can a pitcher pitch in both league’s (a la CC Sabathia with the Indians and Brewers in 2008), and still be eligible for the award (yes, but I believe in a case-by-case study for that one). 

This time, however, the debate is based around the Gold Glove, and the Captain, Derek Jeter.

Let me get a few things out of the way: I am a Tampa Bay Rays fan and a New York Yankee hater, so it’s fair to call me biased if you don’t agree with this column.  BUT I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for Jeter, who is one of the greatest shortstops to ever play the game, and one of the greatest Yankees ever.  He’s a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, and a guy I hold no ill will against. 

But Derek Jeter didn’t deserve to win the Gold Glove.  He didn’t even deserve to be in the discussion.  In fact, not only was Jeter wholly under qualified to win the Gold Glove, he was actually the WORST fielding SS in the AL this season.  And that’s not based off opinion—that’s based off facts.

The common fan looks at two stats when it comes to who deserves a Gold Glove: Fielding Percentage and Errors.  But these are very baseline stats, and don’t really work.  Why? Because fielding percentage doesn’t take into account difficulty of plays.  And errors are arbitrary—they’re decided by the official scorer at that particular game.  As a friendly scorer can rule what should be an error as a single.

People may not like hearing that, but the reality is this: Fielding Percentage only shows the plays made, NOT the plays NOT made.  Or to simplify it, it doesn’t show all the balls Jeter DID NOT get to because of his awful lack of range. 

But luckily for us, the fine folks at BaseballReference did run the stats on 59 shortstops this season using sabermetrics and advanced statistics to find out who was really deserving.  And in dead-last (and I mean dead-last) place was…you guessed it, Derek Jeter.  If you don’t believe me, check out the link here

To explain it in layman’s terms, these are the two key stats you should look at: Total Zone Total Fielding Runs Above Average and BIS Defensive Runs Saved Above Average.  These stats show:  The number of runs above or below average the player was worth based on the number of plays made (thanks to BaseballProjection.com).

In Total Zone Total Fielding Runs Above Average, Jeter came in at -10, or 59th place out of 59.  In 58th was Danny Worth of Detroit, with a -5.  So you can see the HUGE jump between Jeter and the second-worst fielder. 

The best fielder according to this statistic was Josh Wilson of Seattle.  Second and third were Cliff Pennington of the Oakland Athletics and Alexei Ramirez of the Chicago White Sox, respectively.  Wilson had a 12 rating, Pennington and 11, and Ramirez a 9—all superior scores to Jeter’s -12. 

For BIS Defensive Runs Above Average, Jeter did move up…to 58th, or second-worst in the AL.  He had a -13 rating, which was far superior than KC shortstop’s Yuniesky Betancourt’s -21 score, but still only one of three amongst AL shortstop’s to be in the negative double-digits (the third being Jason Donald, or the guy who was called safe at first in Armando Gallaraga’s perfect game). 

With this stat, Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox was first (16), followed by Cliff Pennington (9), and Alex Gonzalez of Toronto (9).  You see the recurring theme, and the recurring players.

This award has nothing to do with team success.  It has nothing to do with leadership or likability.  It solely has to do with fielding.  And any advanced statistic will show you that Derek Jeter was shockingly undeserving of this award. 

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