Marlins step up trade talks for Dan Uggla

Major League Baseball

Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Over the weekend Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reports Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, who was born in Louisville, is likely to be traded after turning down a contract extension offer from the team. Since Rosenthal’s initial report, Uggla trade rumors have been running rampant. Check out a summary of those below:

  • Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post reports via Twitter that the Marlins will shop Uggla at this week’s GM meetings but will ask for a high price.
  • Cappozi also tweets Uggla could still sign an extension, but both sides are very bitter toward each other.
  • John Paul Morosi and Rosenthal run down the options for the Marlins.
  • Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets the Blue Jays have emerged as the favorites to acquire Uggla.
  • Rosenthal and Morosi list the Tigers, Nationals, Braves, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Giants, Orioles and Cardinals as possible suitors for Uggla.
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Early NCAA Signing Period Rundown

College Baseball, High School Baseball

The early signing period for college baseball opened this week. Teams won’t likely announce their classes until the end of the period, but here’s a quick rundown of the signings we’ve heard so far:

  • DuPont Manual High School prep Craig Pearcy signed with Morehead State University, St. X pitchers Ian Tompkins and Matt Spalding signed with Western Kentucky University,  St. X pitcher Ryan Loehnert signed with the University of Kentucky and Manual prep Dalton Brown signed with Spalding, Jody Demling of the Courier-Journal reports.
  • Bill Harrison of the Chicago Tribune reports Chicago prep Jeff Boehm of Mount Carmel High School signed with the UK.
  • Warren East High School infielder/pitcher Mark Briggs signed with the University of Louisville, the Bowling Green Daily News reports.
  • Erik Hall of the News Tribune reports Illinois preps Mason Snyder and Joey Ceja both signed with UofL.

BluGrass Baseball Free Agent Predictions

Major League Baseball

Scott Downs; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The always entertaining MLBTradeRumors recently predicted where each of the top 50 free agents would sign this offseason. The post isn’t that helpful for practical purposes but is a lot of fun, so I thought BluGrass Baseball could do the same with Kentucky free agents. Remember don’t take these predictions to the bank, but we’ll revisit them around Spring Training to see how poorly I did.

Scott Downs — The former UK left-handed pitcher has worked his way into one of the top left-handed set up men in baseball all while working in the most competitive division. So a top left-handed pitcher that has proven success against the Yankees and Red Sox doesn’t sound like a great candidate to make it past either big spender. The smart money here says he’ll sign with New York or Boston, and the official BluGrass Baseball pick is the Red Sox.

Jon Rauch — The former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher started the 2010 season as the Minnesota Twins’ closer and might be looking for a similar opportunity this offseason. Rauch is unlikely to find a closing job outright so his best case scenario might be with a team who will have an open competition in the Spring. The Braves seem committed to giving Johnny Venters, born in Pikeville, or Craig Kimbel the chance to close but could be interested in a veteran with closing experience as a backup. The BluGrass Baseball prediction is they look to Rauch for the experience.

Brandon Webb — The Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher appears unlikely to return to the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the past Webb has expressed interest in moving to a team closer to his Ashland home, which seems to make the Reds an obvious candidate. We haven’t heard Cincinnati connected to Webb, but the one team he’s been most closely connected to, the Nationals, is a geographic fit as well.  Washington signed Ching Ming Wang last offseason after he missed the year with injury, so Webb looks like a good candidate for a similar deal.

Austin Kearns — After failing to see action in any playoff games the Lexington native looks unlikely to return to the Yankees. Kearns probably will have to compete for a starting job in the spring so he might catch on with a team in need of a right-handed platoon outfielder. Honestly Kearns could sign just about anywhere, but the official BluGrass Baseball pick is the Royals, who just opened up an outfield spot by trading David DeJesus.

Todd Wellemeyer — The former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher didn’t catch on with a team after being released by the Giants in August, so he may have trouble catching on with a team this offseason. If Wellemeyer finds a new team it will likely be on a Minor League deal like the one his signed with the Giants last season. The BluGrass Baseball prediction is he signs with a team like the Pirates who will be looking for as many veteran arms for Spring Training as possible.

UK picks up commitment from Indiana infielder; Nationals may be interested in Webb; Marks traded

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

UK Athletics Wallpaper

Latest highlights and links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Patrick Dorsey of The Indianapolis Star reports Zionsville infielder Max Kuhn has committed to the University of Kentucky.
  • Ryan Korby of The Washington Post breaks down the Nationals’ pursuit of Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb.
  • Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com lists UK among his declining NCAA programs, writing “After failing to reach a postseason again last season, the Wildcats are declining and on the verge of turning back into an SEC afterthought.”
  • Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com profiles former UofL left-handed pitcher Justin Marks, who was traded by the A’s to the Royals in the David DeJesus deal.
  • One-time UK outfielder turned second baseman Jason Kipnis was 2-4 with a double and two RBI for the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League.

Kentucky Minor League Free Agents

Minor League Baseball

Wladimir Balentien; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Matt Eddy of Baseball America recently posted the complete list of Minor League free agents and several Kentuckians are on the list. I’ve copied the Kentucky MiLB free agents below with organization and 2010 team:

  • RHP Jesus Delgado — Cincinnati Reds — AAA Louisville Bats
  • RHP Jason Isringhausen — Cincinnati Reds — AAA Louisville
  • RHP Chad Reineke — Cincinnati Reds — AAA Louisville
  • C Wilkin Castillo — Cincinnati Reds — AAA Louisville
  • OF Wladimir Balentien — Cincinnati Reds — AAA Louisville
  • OF Sean Henry — Cincinnati Reds — AAA Louisville
  • OF Luis Terrero — Cincinnati Reds — AAA Louisville
  • RHP Matt Wilhite (WKU) — Colorado Rockies — AAA Colorado Springs
  • C Neil Wilson (Covington) — Florida Marlins — AAA New Orleans
  • RHP Cory Wade (Ky Wesleyan) — Los Angeles Dodgers — AAA Albuquerque
  • 3B Neil Sellers (EKU) — Philadelphia Phillies — AAA Lehigh Valley
  • LHP Zach Jackson (UofL) — Toronto Blue Jays — AAA Las Vegas
  • RHP Zach Dials (UK) — Washington Nationals — AA Harrisburg

You can see the full MiLB free agent list here.

WKU gets commitment from Tates Creek OF; Donze highlights Murray St. scrimmage; Maronde among NCAA best

College Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Latest highlights and links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Kelly Thesier of MLB.com reports Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere is working on improving his defense in the Arizona Fall League.
  • Mike Fields of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports Takes Creek High School outfielder Ryan Fucci, one of the state’s top high school players, has committed to Western Kentucky University.
  • In its ongoing top 2011 NCAA players series, The College Baseball Blog ranks Lexington Catholic alum Nick Maronde, a left-handed pitcher at the University of Florida, the No. 71 player in the country.
  • Senior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze highlighted Murray State University‘s fall scrimmage by striking out six in six scoreless innings.
  • One-time UK outfielder turned second baseman Jason Kipnis was 2-4 with two triples a walk and two runs scored for the Peoria Javelinas of the AFL.

Revere, Kipnis highlight AFL Rising Stars game; Meyer strong in UK scrimmage; Colome named top prospect

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Ben Revere; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links and highlights from around Kentucky baseball:

  • On Saturday Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere was 1-3 and one-time UK outfielder Jason Kipnis was 1-1 with a double in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game. PRP alum and St. Louis Cardinals 2010 first-round pick Zack Cox was 0-2 in the game.
  • Junior left-handed pitcher Alex Meyer highlighted the final game of the University of Kentucky Fall World Series with three scoreless innings.
  • Nick Coman of NESN speculates the Red Sox could fix the team’s bullpen as well as deal a blow to a division foe by signing former UK left-handed pitcher Scott Downs.
  • Bill Mitchell, writing for Baseball America, profiles Revere and his strong AFL performance.
  • Bill Ballew, writing for BA, names 2010 Bowling Green Hot Rods right-handed pitcher Alexander Colome the No. 7 prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Former Hot Rod left-handed pitcher Matt Moore was ranked the No. 2 prospect.

Gaynor named Tigers’ all star; Nidiffer, Legends named Astros’ all stars; Reber homers in UK scrimmage

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Jacob Goebbert; BluGrass Baseball photo

Latest links and highlights from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Ashley Marshall, writing for MLB.com, named former WKU third baseman Wade Gaynor to the Detroit Tigers organizational all-star team.
  • Josh Jackson, writing for MLB.com, named former UK catcher Marcus Nidiffer and 2010 Lexington Legends infielder Jose Altuve, outfielders J. D. Martinez and Jacob Goebbert, designated hitter Kody Hinze and starting pitcher Jose Cisnero to the Houston Astros organizational all-star team.
  • The University of Kentucky‘s Thursday scrimmage was highlighted by a three-run home run from freshman infielder Dallen Reber.
  • Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review lists Louisville native and former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer as a possible free-agent acquisition for the Pirates.
  • Former NKU right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke struck out two in a scoreless inning for the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League.

UK sluggers highlight scrimmage; Revere’s hitting streak hits nine games; Uggla talks extension with Marlins

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Marcus Nidiffer, center; Photo: UK Athletics

Latest links and highlights from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Michael Grant of the Courier-Journal reports Louisville Bats manager Rick Sweet and his entire coaching staff will return to the team in 2011.
  • WAVE-TV in Louisville reports Hall of Famer Ernie Banks will be honored at the Louisville Slugger Museum before the seventh annual auction on Friday Nov. 12.
  • Brent Ingram of the University of Kentucky media relations department catches up with former UK catcher Marcus Nidiffer, who excelled as a non-drafted free agent with the Astros this summer.
  • UK senior shortstop Taylor Black and junior third baseman Thomas McCarthy each hit two home runs in game one of the Cats’ three-game Fall World Series.
  • Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweets the Florida Marlins offered second baseman Dan Uggla, who was born in Louisville, a four-year contract extension but Uggla wants a five-year deal.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweets Uggla also is far apart on money with the Marlins.
  • On Wednesday Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere extended his hitting streak to nine games for the Peoria Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League.

2011 Schedule Breakdown: Eastern Kentucky University

College Baseball

On Tuesday Eastern Kentucky University became the latest Kentucky baseball program to release its 2011 schedule. In the next post in our “2011 Schedule Breakdown” series we’ll look at the Colonels’ upcoming slate, highlighting in-state matchups and other important series:

  • Feb. 18-20 — @ Pepperdine — Season Opener
  • Feb. 26-27 — vs. Penn State — Home Opener
  • March 3-6 — vs. Southern Illinois, Memphis, Oral Roberts — Memphis Classic Tournament
  • March 8 — @ University of Kentucky
  • April 16-17 — vs. Morehead State University
  • May 3 — vs. Western Kentucky University
  • May 7-8 — vs. Murray State University
  • May 25 — Ohio Valley Conference Tournament

You can see the full schedule here.