BY IAN PALMER, Feedcrossing.com syndication
The Colorado Rockies have hired former shortstop Walt Weiss as the Major League ball club’s new manager. The National League team announced the signing on Nov. 7 and he replaces Jim Tracy, who resigned from the position following the regular season on Oct. 7. Tracy still had a year to go on his contract at a salary of $1.4 million.
Weiss broke into the Majors with the Oakland A’s back in 1988 when he was awarded the Rookie of the Year award in the American League. He played with Colorado between 1994 and 1997 and between 2002 and 2008 he was a special assistant to Dan O’Dowd, the club’s general manager.
Weiss left the team to enjoy more family time and was the coach of Regis Jesuit High School’s baseball team last season. He led the school to a record of 20-6 and made the semifinals in its division of the state championship.
Arizona Diamondbacks’ third-base coach Matt Williams was also a top candidate for the position which became vacant when Tracy left the club after its worst ever season. It was reported that Colorado first baseman Jason Giambi and bench coach Tom Runnells were also interviewed for the job. (more…)
BY Couchsideshow.com staff
The Couch Side gang of Wade McMillin, Craig Paul and Andy Paul, bring you the second edition of Couch Side’s NFL Mock Draft. Our hosts break down the rest of the first round (picks 11 through 32) to conclude Couch Side’s official NFL Mock Draft. The trio also discusses Bubba Watson’s win at the Masters. Click below to begin streaming or downloading the Couch Side Podcast, which is also now on KNWT 89.1 FM across the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming.
If you could like to listen to Couch Side’s top 10 picks, check out the following links for the 10th episode of Couch Side:
BY Couchsideshow.com staff
In this week’s episode, hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul welcome back NFL draft guru, Andy Paul, to break down the top 10 picks in Couch Side’s official mock draft. The gang also discusses Kentucky’s national championship victory; Ubaldo Jimenez getting revenge on his former team; the inductees to the basketball hall of fame; and Ryan Leaf getting busted in Montana for the second time in three days. Click below to download or stream another Couch Side podcast …
BY DEREK BARSNESS, Couchsideshow.com writer
After returning from a weekend in Arizona for a few Cactus League games, I remain convinced that baseball is the true American sport.
Many aspects of baseball’s spring training are desirable to both the avid and casual fan. The first and probably biggest reason it’s so popular is the weather. For the majority of the country we are still suffering the end of a harsh winter in March. After six months of cold, snow and wind there are few things more appealing than sitting in 80+ degree weather drinking a cold beer and watching baseball under sunny skies.
For those of you who haven’t attended games at either the Cactus League or the Grapefruit League (in Florida) you need to put it on your bucket list. The atmosphere at the games is incredible. Literally every seat in the stadium has a great view. For the younger crowds, many new stadiums are including a second level “Party Deck” which is an excellent option for spring breakers. For more of the family atmosphere there is the lawn seating where the outfield bleachers usually are. Make sure to arrive early and claim your spot with a blanket or two. This is a great option if you have younger kids as there is usually plenty of room for them to run around and not have to sit still for two hours. (more…)
BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com contributor
As part of The Couch Side’s MLB positional power rankings, we turn to Centerfield, arguably one of the more important positions in the game.
But first, here is my 10-6 to build anticipation
Now onto the cream of the crop, the five best centerfielders in the game right now.
The Braves leadoff hitter split time between Houston and Atlanta last season, and he still led the NL in stolen bases with 61. He’s a fantasy goldmine, simply put. He has two gold gloves in his short career, and rates favorably with his defense. What is he expected to achieve this year? The projection model ZiPS has him hitting .270 with 97 runs scored, and 56 stolen bases. I’ll take that, you’ll take that, and we’ll all take that.
This was a tricky one; Ellsbury in 2011 had a near MVP season at the dish, only to have his teammates do their best to sabotage those efforts, which they did. Assuming the Red Sox won’t self destruct with a montage of alcoholic behavior, and unhealthy food choices, they’ll be back in the postseason, and so will the 4th best centerfielder in baseball. Jacoby had a herculean spike in power last year. The HR totals from his first four healthy seasons look like this,
That’s pretty remarkable, almost Jose Bautista-like. The question of whether or not he has a season close to that production remains to be seen, but it would be hard to believe that his peripherals would enable him to improve on such a feat.
For part seven of Couch Side’s 12 part series on the best baseball players by position for 2012, I’m going the be showing a lot of love for the National League’s top left fielders. This list was an easy pick before I remembered that Ryan Braun’s suspension had been lifted. So although I don’t agree with his actions, until the man is proven guilty, he’ll lead off Couch Side’s list of the best in L.F.
Like it or not, Ryan Braun was the N.L. MVP last season. And hate it or love it, he will be playing this season despite some faulty handling of his drug test. With that out of the way, let’s focus on how this guy plays. Braun almost won the Triple Crown last season, falling just short in each category by the slimmest of margins. By hitting for power and contact last year, Braun proved that he may just be the best hitter in baseball. And it’s hard not to call a guy who hit 33 bombs, 111 RBIs and carried a .332 batting average just that. You never saw guys like Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire hit for average. That’s why it’s hard for me not to love Ryan Braun just a little. He may have cheated, but at least he didn’t gun for the single season home run record. Instead, he was Mr. Baseball last season. And if he is completely innocent, I feel like he could be one of the best of all time. After all, the guy is an extremely talented outfielder, feared hitter and a threat on the base paths with 33 swipes last season.
If Hamilton can avoid injury and any sort of bad press by “relapsing,” he may just have a breakout season this year. It’s a stretch to say a former MVP is still capable of a breakout season, but Hamilton is due after missing solid stretches of time during the past two summers. We all know he is capable of 30 or even 40 home runs and is a lock to secure 100 RBIs. With a full season, he may just throw his name back into the MVP hat and Hamilton will certainly be looking to improve his numbers, considering this is the final year of his contract.
With the second basemen out of the way, its time to continue moving around the infield, this time stopping at the other middle infield position — shortstop. Here is writer Brett Murdock has to say about the position that is quickly turning into a hot commodity.
Hard to argue with this one, as the Colorado Rockies star is probably the most complete at his position in the big leagues. A powerful offensive weapon, ‘Tulo’ hit .302 last season with 30 long balls and 105 runs batted in, a new career high. For the past three years, he has finished in the Top 10 of MVP voting, finishing fifth twice (2009 and 2010) and has cut down on his strikeout totals tremendously. Injuries have hampered him as he has never played a full 162 games, but nobody really does anymore anyway. Additionally, Tulowitzki is a back-to-back Gold Glove winner and should be a strong MVP candidate again this year.
The Miami Marlins big free agent splash this winter came in the form of the Dominican speedster. Reyes won the National League batting crown last year, topping off at .337 for the season, a full 45 points better than his career average. Never known as a power hitter, Reyes relies on his other weapons, mainly his speed to get by. Injuries have stalled him in recent years but when healthy, he is one of the best base runners in the game. His fielding percentage is lower than what some might expect and his 18 errors last season tied a career high. But, he is a team’s offensive ignition and should be a good fit for the Marlins in a competitive NL East.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Colorado Rockies were the most active team this offseason in all of Major League Baseball.
It takes me back to the winter of 2000 when Colorado dished out big bucks for some big busts in Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton. Now, we all know how that turned out, but this season and a few years down the road, the Rockies should only reap the benefits of what their front office accomplished during the past few months.
Colorado got much more experienced, cleaned house and held onto most of their top prospects all in one very busy offseason. Rockies General Manager Dan O’Dowd went nuts this season, hoping that quantity will outweigh quality. Colorado didn’t go for big names like Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols like they did in 2000 to bolster one of the weakest starting rotations in all of baseball. Instead, the Rockies made 10 trades, signed three free agents, resigned five of their own free agents and dumped seven guys from last year’s team — five of whom signed minor league deals with other teams.
Wow. What an offseason. And one the fans should be proud of. They just might have a tough time trying to guess who will be where when opening day hits Coors Field. In the end, however, the plethora of transactions may pay off with a return to the playoffs.
Here’s a breakdown of what the Rockies were up to this offseason by transaction type:
BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor
I absolutely love mlbtraderumors.com.
It’s a big reason why I started this website and it keep me leaps and bounds ahead of other Braves fans. Mlbtraderumors.com has an interesting sidebar on the right where you can search for the latest rumors about your team. I’m a Braves fan, but this offseason has been incredible slow for the choppers. So each time I make one of eight daily visits to mlbtraderumors.com to see the latest about Atlanta, I’m usually disappointed.
Today’s latest was especially gloom. To my surprise, after I clicked on the “Braves rumors” tab, two new rumors have came up about the team. At first, I though maybe the Braves were finally going after someone or making a trade. Unfortunately, one post was barely two sentences about a possible Martin Prado trade and the other was about how the Braves are one of four teams “sitting out of free agency.”
Still, like any baseball fan during the offseason, any piece of news about your team is exciting. Here are my thoughts on the latest from the Atlanta Braves: