Tim Brown

  • Royals fortify rotation by acquiring Johnny Cueto

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    In position to win their first division title in 30 years, the Kansas City Royals on Sunday acquired right-hander Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds, five days before the trading deadline and four days after learning starter Jason Vargas likely would require elbow surgery.

    Nearing free agency, Cueto was 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA for the sagging Reds and will upgrade a Royals rotation rendered mediocre by injuries and underperformance. Cueto threw eight shutout innings Saturday in Colorado after learning he may already have been traded to the Royals, a deal that reportedly was redrawn when a player going back to the Reds failed a physical.

    In return for Cueto, the Reds will receive three left-handed pitchers – 22-year-olds Brandon Finnegan and Cody Reed and 25-year-old John Lamb. Finnegan had a 2.59 ERA in 21 relief appearances for the Royals the past two seasons. Lamb was 9-1 with a 2.67 ERA in Triple-A Omaha and Reed, a second-rounder in 2013, had a 2.53 ERA in Single-A and Double-A this season.

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  • Trade candidate Cole Hamels tosses first career no-hitter against Cubs

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    On the mound at Wrigley Field and in the minds of at least a half-dozen teams seeking a top-of-the-rotation starter, Cole Hamels on Saturday afternoon no-hit the Chicago Cubs, believed to be one of those teams.

    He is the prize of the trading deadline, unless the Detroit Tigers determine David Price will be.

    Only six days away, the deadline is a fluid concoction of context, rumor and desperation. Somewhere in there lay the Philadelphia Phillies and Hamels, whom the Phillies drafted 13 years ago, won a championship with, signed to a $159 million contract, and this summer have shopped to further what appears to be a massive rebuild.

    The no-hitter, which concluded when Kris Bryant flied out on Hamels’ 129th pitch, was the 290th in major league history. It was the 13th by a Philadelphia pitcher and first for the club since a combined no-hitter – Hamels started that game and pitched six innings – last September. Roy Halladay threw two no-hitters for the Phillies in 2010.

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  • Josh Hamilton's return to Anaheim goes as expected

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    ANAHEIM, Calif. – The prodigal outfielder trudged to home plate at Angel Stadium on Friday night.

    The nature of the world – maybe it’s just sports, but I doubt it – is to boo. Degrade the man, lift oneself. Despise the flaws, forget one’s own. Hate the player, align with the man who reduced beer prices in the bleachers. Everybody wins except the man trudging to the plate, and what does he matter?

    Josh Hamilton, an Angel for seemingly an eye-blink, returned to face the team that expelled him in a 4-2 Rangers victory. An addict, he did not miss a game tending to his illness, as far as we know. He did not miss a workout, or so much as a round of batting practice, to lounge with his demons. His family breaking apart, he stumbled. He confessed out in front of what presumably would have been a four-alarm drug test. He reported to Park Avenue to tell his story.

    For that, all of it – the history of abuse, the history of come-and-go sobriety, the history of a handshake agreement with the owner who wouldn’t let him out of it, the, ahem, history of a .255 batting average for the Angels – Hamilton was run out of town as though his presence would soil an entire franchise.

    Eh, what does he matter?

  • MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers' pricey quest

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    The rankings (records through Wednesday’s games):

    1. St. Louis Cardinals (60-34; Previous: 1) – Prepped for trading deadline by going through their notes. And everyone else’s notes.

    2. Kansas City Royals (57-36; Previous: 3) – Um, went to the All-Star Game.

    3. Los Angeles Dodgers (54-42; Previous: 5) – Crunched the numbers on whether they should just buy the Phillies and strip them down for parts.

    4. Los Angeles Angels (54-40; Previous: 8) – Ran Albert Pujols through 5,000-mile diagnostic tests, checked fluid levels.

    5. Pittsburgh Pirates (54-40; Previous: 2) – Cleaned up after a Furry convention. These people don’t carry those little plastic bags?

    6. Houston Astros (53-43; Previous: 4) – Decided Dallas Keuchel’s beard looks like one of those beaded curtains in a palm reader’s shop.

    7. Washington Nationals (51-42; Previous: 6) – Slept in, totally forgot to pay the electric bill.

    [Play a Daily Fantasy contest for cash today!l]

    9. Chicago Cubs (51-43; Previous: 7) – Recounted, because 107 years just didn’t sound right.

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  • Tuesdays with Brownie: From recent success to possible seller

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    The Detroit Tigers’ run of AL Central titles would appear to have exhausted itself at four.

    They weren’t exactly (or in any way) a dynasty. But, given zero division titles (and one postseason appearance) over the previous 23 seasons, four’s a pretty good run.

    World Series scary for long enough, their starting pitching has deserted them, their bullpen is again shallow, Miguel Cabrera will play fewer than 148 games for the first time since he became a full-time big-leaguer and, most important of all, they’re chasing – from a long way back – a superior team.

    For the team the Tigers fielded over the past four years, though there isn’t a championship to show for it, take a bow, Mike Ilitch. And take a bow, Dave Dombrowski. Your work is – depending on how it goes from here – just starting or done.

    On the bright side, and we are optimistic souls, the Tigers’ schedule does soften for the next couple of weeks, and 10 of those games are on the road, where the club is playing a little closer to what was expected of it.

    The Tigers don’t sell, they buy. That’s who they are. Right?

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  • Solving the riddle of the trade deadline is a game all its own

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs, Jan. 15, 2015: “We’re going to win the NL Central and you can quote me on that.”

    Joe Kelly, Boston Red Sox, Feb. 1, 2015: “I’m going to win the Cy Young this year.”

    Ron Roenicke, Feb. 14, 2015: “I’m not nervous that our pitching staff is thin.”

    Ryne Sandberg, Philadelphia Phillies, Feb. 18, 2015: “I don’t look at this as a rebuild.”

    Mike Redmond, Miami Marlins, March 20, 2015: “We understand what the number is to make the playoffs.”

    Wil Myers, San Diego Padres, April 2, 2015: “It’s going to work.”

    Then the season starts, and the July 31 deadline approaches, and by then life feels a little different.

    It happens. You have your cup of coffee in the morning, think, “Today is going to be a great day,” then adjust to the relative “greatness” of the next 12 hours. Sometimes by, like, mid-afternoon you could use a new starting pitcher or a halfway decent left fielder, you know, to get through the day. Or maybe just a nap.

    One more variable: the general managers.

    This is where reputations are made and lost, jobs won and lost, seasons sent off in new directions.

    What’s Billy Beane see in Oakland?

    Will Sandy Alderson let the Mets’ season die in spite of all his pitching?

  • Mike Trout stands as the best of baseball's best – again

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago

    CINCINNATI – Fill a field with the best players in the game, line two dugout rails with more, turn on the lights and the best player on the field is Mike Trout, age 22.

    Change venues, do it all again, and the best player on the field is Mike Trout, age 23.

    Over 364 days, he was MVP of the 85th All-Star Game, MVP of the American League and, on Tuesday night, MVP of the 86th All-Star Game.

    Then Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles told a television camera, "He's the white Bo Jackson."

    That big, that strong, that fast, the way Bo was for a flash, the way the more skilled Trout is at a time when his game is still coming.

    It is one thing to stand above a crowd on a random day in Anaheim, or even many random days, and another matter to hold that ground when the standard is greatness.

    So Jacob deGrom strikes out Stephen Vogt, Jason Kipnis and Jose Iglesias for the NL in the sixth inning on 10 pitches, some of those pitches at 98 mph.

    And Aroldis Chapman strikes out Brock Holt, Mike Moustakas and Mark Teixeira for the NL in the ninth inning on 14 pitches, two of them at 103 mph.

    Trout stared blankly at the back wall.

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  • What Pete Rose lost – and maybe found – in his All-Star return to Cincinnati

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    CINCINNATI – I look at Pete Rose and see not him but a husky, earnest young man who bounced a single through the right side of the infield on a September afternoon in 1997. The ballpark is gone now, along with the finer details of the memory of that day, but I recall Pete's kid standing at first base and Pete himself applauding from a seat behind home plate, the two just then having broken the record for hits by a father and son.

    Pete had told his boy more than once, "You get one, I'll take care of the rest," and so it was true: Pete had 4,256 and together they had 4,257. The final tally was 4,258.

    The record isn't theirs anymore. The Griffeys and Bondses came along with a bit more familial balance. It doesn't diminish that day at Cinergy Field, however, or the love of a man who scratched a tribute to his father in the dirt behind third base – "HK4256" if I recall, for the Hit King – or the notion that no matter how screwed up everything may appear, on some days it could be just a guy and his kid and a pretty regular life.

    So they stood and cheered, because there was Pete, their Pete, and he was on a ball field again among his buddies.

  • Tuesdays with Brownie: Jonathan Papelbon wants out of Philadelphia

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    CINCINNATI – In case there'd been any misunderstanding, Jonathan Papelbon leaned back in his chair Monday afternoon, crossed his arms, opened his eyes wide and said he wants out of Philadelphia.

    Like, soon. Today would be good.

    "I thought I was going to come to Philadelphia and win two more rings," he said. "The downward spiral happened. And it happened so quick. It's almost unexplainable.

    "It's not what I signed up for, no. I signed up for a team that won 102 games."

    In one season, not two.

    The Phillies are terrible, have been pretty much since Papelbon set foot in town and will be for at least as long as it takes them to choose a path back. That would seem to be the easy part. Instead, team leadership has appeared at best indecisive and at worst paralyzed by the task.

    Papelbon is 34 years old. He is under contract through the end of this season and will be under contract next season if a reachable option – 55 games finished in 2015 or 100 over last season and this – vests. Barring injury, it will vest.

    Papelbon spread his arms and opened his eyes wider.

    Maybe. Does it sound selfish to the fans in Philly who hang over the bullpen fence?

    Very Greinke.

  • Prospects may be building blocks of the future, but they feel pressure of today

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    CINCINNATI – There’s a conversation to be had about what we’re doing to the young men who are learning to be big leaguers while at the same time learning to be grown men, this in a world that leans over their shoulders and drums its fingers in anticipation of stardom.

    It could only be a burden: the rush to celebrity, to extreme competence, to physical and emotional maturity, to recognizing sliders, to saving the New York Mets.

    Brandon Nimmo grinned.

    He’s 22 years old, an outfielder for the Double-A Binghamton (N.Y.) Mets with lean, broad shoulders and one of those first-rounders – Michael Conforto is the other – whose big-boy game can’t come quick enough for Mets fans or, for that matter, Mets brass. They know Nimmo’s name, his story – he grew up in Wyoming, where there’s no high school baseball, is the state’s highest draft pick ever, and can play – and his game, and now they’d most like to see his ETA. He said he can feel the impatience all the way from upstate.

    “I can,” he said. “I can. And I understand. Everybody comes up to me, they’re like, ‘I’m a long-suffering Mets fan and …’”

    And he knows the rest. Everyone knows there’s only one kind of Mets fan.