Rogers: Meyer needs to step up with or without Paxton

College Baseball

Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports has a new column as part of the Web site’s 2010 college baseball preview in which he looks at one University of Kentucky Bat Cat that needs to step up this season. Sophomore Alex Meyer, who came to UK as one of the highest ranked recruits in school history, is the key to UK’s success this season with or without ace James Paxton, Rogers writes. I encourage you to flip over and check out Rogers’ entire column, but this quote from Meyer about the Paxton situation was particularly illuminating:

My perspective is that James should be pitching this season. That’s certainly how the entire team feels right now. This is something like LSU losing Anthony Ranaudo. We’ve been planning the entire season based on having Paxton back. If he does come back, we’re the happiest team in the country. We could get to Omaha.”

UK head coach Gary Henderson also chimed in with his first comments to the media since the Paxton news broke:

I guess the only thing I can say is that the situation is as frustrating as you might anticipate. We’re hopeful of a positive resolution. We’re certainly staying optimistic.”

Read the entire column here.

Frazier and Friedrich to get looks in Spring Training

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Christian Friedrich; Photo by Matt McGee via Flickr

Just a couple of notes to pass along this morning, both about possible Spring Training storylines to keep your eye on.

  • John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reporters 2009 Louisville Bat Todd Frazier may get a look at shortstop for the Reds in Spring Training.
  • Nathan Hutchinson of the Richmond Register reports former Eastern Kentucky University Colonel Christian Friedrich has received an invitation to Colorado Rockies big league Spring Training.

Mid-Afternoon UK baseball links roundup

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

UK Athletics Wallpaper

Apologies for missing the usual morning links post today, but I decided to group the several University of Kentucky baseball stories I had together in a late post and hold the few other stories until tomorrow. Some of this is a little old, but they are still worth passing along.

  • Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports picks UK to finish fifth in the Southeastern Conference East Division, but places LHP James Paxton on his All-Conference team and writes the Bat Cats should be in the running for a NCAA tournament bid. Rogers selected Alex Meyer on his rising stock list.
  • Rogers writes much of UK’s 2010 success may depend on James Paxton’s eligibility. (At this point I have to imagine UK should start preparing like Paxton won’t be eligible.)
  • Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Ford writes of UK alum Joe Blanton: “Not exactly a Ferrari, but Blanton is reliable.”
  • Former UK pitcher Adam Revelette talks to some former and current Cats about proposed rule changes for “Cat Scratches.”
  • Brent Ingram of UK Athletics has a blog post on “Cat Scratches” about former Cat Ryan Strieby‘s Baseball America honor we reported last week.

LCA alum Robbie Ross ranks on Rangers top 10

High School Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Baseball America has released the 30th and final top 10 prospects list in its series today with the Texas Rangers’ ranking, and Lexington Christian Academy alum Robbie Ross checked in at No. 7. Ross was the Rangers’ second round pick in 2008 and was lured away from a commitment to the University of Kentucky by a $1.575 million signing bonus. Ross spent 2009 with the Spokane Indians of the short-season Northwest League. Here’s a sampling of his 2009 stats and a snippet of BA analysis from Aaron Fitt.

#6 — Robbie Ross — Spokane Indians — LCA

  • 4-4, 2.66 ERA, 76 SO/17 BB, 74 IP
  • .240 batting average against, 15 games started
  • BA: “Ross will move on to low Class A in 2010. Texas will develop him as a starter, and some club officials envision him as a mid-rotation starter in the mold of former all-star Danny Jackson.”

Legends Hall of Famer Pence avoid arbitration with Astros

Major League Baseball

Hunter Pence; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Lexington Legends Hall of Famer Hunter Pence avoided arbitration with the Houston Astros by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $3.5 million. Pence is under club control for three more seasons. Hunter was named a 2009 National League All-Star and slugged a career high 25 home runs last season.

His fellow Legends Hall of Famer and Astros’ teammate Wandy Rodriguez has yet to agree on a 2010 contract with the team. (Read more from

Blanton signs three-year extension with Phillies

Major League Baseball

Joe Blanton; UK Athletics Wallpaper

There will be no arbitration hearing for University of Kentucky and Franklin Simpson High School alum Joe Blanton. The Philadelphia Phillies announced today they had signed Blanton to a three-year extension worth $24 million, Alden Gonzalez of reports. A news conference announcing the signing is expected to start any minute. (Read more)

Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse tweeted earlier today that Blanton’s salary breaks down to $7 million in 2010, $8.5 million in 2011 and $8.5 million in 2012. He stands in line to receive a $250,000 increase in his 2011 and 2012 salaries if he pitches 200 innings the previous season.

Strieby named to BA’s non-top 10 All-Star team

Minor League Baseball

Ryan Strieby; Photo via Flickr by mwlguide

Every year Baseball America assembles an American and National league prospect All-Star team of players that just missed being included in their organization’s top 10 prospects list. This year BA selected University of Kentucky alum and former Southeastern Conference player of the year Ryan Strieby as the AL team’s first baseman. BA originally ranked Strieby in the Detroit Tiger’s top 10 list, but he was pushed out when the team acquired two top prospects in the Curtis Granderson trade. The slugger batted .303 with 19 home runs and 58 RBI in 86 games for AA Erie in 2009 before his season was cut short with a wrist injury. In 382 professional games, Strieby has 68 home runs.

“He’s blocked by Miguel Cabera at first base but his pop could win him a job at DH,” BA Executive Editor Jim Callis writes. (Read more)

Blanton, Phillies talking long-term deal; Heisey hopes to make Reds roster

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Chris Heisey; Photo via Flickr

Two more updates on the prominent Kentucky arbitration eligible players from this offseason, a profile of a 2009 minor leaguer and a  news release from one of the state’s minor league teams for your Thursday morning:

  • Todd Zolecki of reports the Philadelphia Phillies are negotiating a long-term contract with University of Kentucky alum Joe Blanton instead of just a one-year deal.
  • The Miami Herald reports Florida Marlins President David Samson said on his radio show he expects Louisville-native Dan Uggla to be Florida’s Opening Day second baseman.
  • Mark Sheldon of profiles 2009 Louisville Bat Chris Heisey and his attempt to make the 2010 Reds roster.
  • The Bowling Green Hot Rods have released their 2010 promotions schedule.

Blanton, Pence, Rodriguez don’t reach arbitration agreements; Cox among NCAA’s best

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball

Joe Blanton; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday was the MLB deadline for arbitration-eligible players and teams to exchange salary figures. If teams and players don’t agree to terms before a arbitration hearing a judge will side with one party. Check out two relevant arbitration updates and a honor for a Kentucky high school alum in some afternoon links:

  • Alden Gonzalez of reports University of Kentucky alum Joe Blanton and the Philadelphia Phillies are far apart in their exchanged salary arbitration figures.
  • Most arbitration cases meet somewhere in the middle of the two exchanged figures, but Blanton and the Phillies are so far apart this probably will go to a hearing.
  • The College Baseball Blog ranked Louisville-native, PRP alum and Arkansas infielder Zack Cox the third best player in college baseball.
  • Brian McTaggert of reports Lexington Legends Hall of Famers Hunter Pence and Wandy Rodriguez did not reach a deal with the Astros before Tuesday’s deadline to exchange salary arbitration figures.
  • Darren Heitner of the Sports Agent Blog examines what implications the James Paxton situation will have on college advisors.

Uggla, Marlins agree to one-year deal, avoid arbitration

Major League Baseball

Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Joe Frisaro of reports the Florida Marlins and Louisville-native Dan Uggla agreed on a one-year, $7.8 million contract Monday. The agreement means the two sides have avoided an arbitration hearing. Uggla had been actively shopped by the Marlins this offseason, and he remains a candidate to be traded before Opening Day. The Marlins have made it clear they won’t just give the slugger away. (Read more)

Uggla had this to say about Frisaro about staying in Florida:

It feels good to get this out of the way. I can’t say that I’m going to for sure be a Marlin, because no one knows that. But I feel with the situation I’m in, I’m happy to be with the Marlins. I love it down there. They worked really well with me to come to an agreement, so I don’t have to go to an arbitration hearing. So I’m happy.”