Giants catcher Posey named NL Rookie of Year


Giants catcher Posey named NL Rookie of Year


Mychael Urban

Though he hit the big-league scene a little late this season, Giants catcher Buster Posey did enough in four months to trump the huge head start, not to mention the national publicity that came with the splashy debut, of Braves outfielder Jason Heyward.Called up to the Giants from Triple-A Fresno on May 29 and handed the starting job behind the plate on June 30 after Bengie Molina was traded to the Rangers, Posey on Monday was named the National League winner of the 2010 Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award. Posey's selection, voted upon by select members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, marks the sixth time a Giant has won the award and first since John Montefusco in 1975. Gary Matthews won it in 1973, and the other Giants so honored are Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda."It gives me chills," Posey said Monday afternoon. "Those guys were unbelievable players and great ambassadors for the game -- and still are. I'm just humbled to be mentioned in the same category."Posey, 23, batted .305 with 18 home runs, 67 RBIs, a .357 on-base percentage and a .505 slugging percentage for the Giants and handled a pitching staff that helped the Giants win the NL West title and World Series. In voting that closed before the postseason started, Posey was named first on 20 of the 32 ballots cast by two writers in each NL city. He placed second on nine ballots and third on two to finish with 129 points, based on the 5-3-1 tabulation system. Heyward (.277, 18 HR, 72 RBIs, .393 OBP, .456 SLG) made the Atlanta roster out of spring training as a 20-year-old, homered in his first at-bat of the regular-season and was featured in an April issue of Sports Illustrated that declared him a "Legend Before His Time." The Braves phenom finished second in the voting, receiving nine first-place votes and finishing with 107 points. "I definitely was following him," Posey said of Heyward. "I remember seeing him hit the homer on Opening Day, and as a baseball fan myself it was a really cool moment. He had an unbelievable year."St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia (13-8, 2.70 ERA) got one first-place vote and placed third with 24 points. The other two first-place votes went to Florida Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez (.273, 19 HR, 85 RBIs), who finished fourth with 18 points. In all, nine players gained mention.Posey, who deflected any talk of individual accolades as the Giants chased down their first world championship since moving to San Francisco in 1958 (and since 1954 overall), dropped his guard a touch Monday when asked if he'd allowed himself to dream of claiming the top-rookie trophy in the two weeks since the end of the World Series."I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't think about it once we finished up," he conceded. "All the talent in the National League this year makes it even more special." Posey, a first-round draft pick in 2008 after winning the Golden Spikes Award as the nation's top amateur player that year, made his big-league debut late last season, batting .118 (2-for-17) without an extra-base hit or an RBI.
Despite a solid spring training, Posey was sent to Fresno for the start of 2010. The Giants said they wanted him to further develop defensively as a catcher; he started his college career as a shortstop and also pitched at Florida State. His eventually proved too potent to keep on the farm, though, and he forced the offensively-challenged parent club's hand with a torrid start to the season (.349, 21 XBH, 32 RBIs, .442 OBP, .552 SLG.) for the Grizzlies."It gave me an opportunity to work on some stuff that maybe I wouldn't have had the leeway to work on in the big leagues," Posey said of his time at Triple-A this season.Played primarily at first base upon being promoted, Posey collected three hits and three RBIs in his 2010 debut, and shortly after Molina was traded he embarked on a 21-game hitting streak (July 4-28) that was the longest of the season by a rookie in either league."It was a good, confident span," Posey said of the streak. "I felt like every time I was up at the plate I was going to hit the ball hard. Baseball's funny like that. You go through streaks like that. .. But just like that, you can lose it."Posey slumped occasionally, but he never quite lost it. His seven home runs in September included a solo shot that gave the Giants a huge 1-0 win at Chicago on Sept. 21, when he also guided four pitchers through a two-hitter and threw out a runner at second base. It was what many consider Posey's command performance on the way to becoming the sixth catcher to be named NL Rookie of the Year, joining Johnny Bench, Earl Williams, Benito Santiago, Mike Piazza and Geovanny Soto. True to form, however, Posey went the humble route at every turn during his conference call with the nation's media.
"I was just trying to make an impact with the team and get some wins," he said.

Source: Kings, Pelicans have discussed possible Cousins trade

Source: Kings, Pelicans have discussed possible Cousins trade

Nothing is ever a sure thing when it comes to the Sacramento Kings. After digging deep into negotiations with DeMarcus Cousins on a new five-year, $219 million contract extension, a source has confirmed to CSN California that Sacramento has had discussions with the New Orleans Pelicans on a possible trade for the All-Star big man.

No deal is imminent, but according to a person with knowledge of the situation, talks between the Kings and the Pelicans took place over the weekend and there is a 50/50 chance that something will materialize before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

The Kings went to great lengths a few weeks back to ensure Cousins that rumors of a potential trade were false, even meeting with the 26-year-old big and his agents in Sacramento to crush published reports.

Sacramento's GM Vlade Divac even went as far as to tell ESPN’s Marc Stein, “We’re not trading DeMarcus.”

Cousins spoke glowingly of Sacramento in his media sessions at All-Star weekend in New Orleans, reiterating to reporters that he would love to finish his career in a Kings uniform.

The Pelicans are a strange trade partner. Anthony Davis is the only blue chip player on the roster, but there is no way New Orleans is giving up their superstar in a deal. There are other assets that Sacramento might be interested in.

According to sources, the Kings attempted to move up in the 2016 NBA Draft to select shooting guard Buddy Hield, and point guard Jrue Holiday has admirers in the organization. The Pelicans also own all of their first-round draft picks moving forward.

Any team trading for Cousins would likely want assurances from the center/forward that he intends to sign an extension during the summer. But they would be limited to a four-year deal, not the “designated player” five-year extension Cousins has been looking to sign in Sacramento.

Cousins is having his best season in Sacramento, averaging 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists under Dave Joerger.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical was first to report the potential deal.

A's spring training update Day 6: Davis savors winter in Oakland

A's spring training update Day 6: Davis savors winter in Oakland

MESA, Ariz. — Khris Davis enjoyed quite an offseason travel itinerary, checking out Toronto, taking in the beaches of Hawaii and dining on lobster in Belize.

However, it was the time spent in his adopted hometown of Oakland that most struck a chord with the A’s left fielder. After finishing his first season with the A’s, Davis followed through on his plan to make his offseason home in Oakland, and he was glad he did.

“I got to just feel the heart of the city,” he said upon arriving at camp Sunday. “That was basically the purpose of why I was there. … I wanted to feel Oakland. I love it, honestly. I love the city.”

He trained at Dogtown Athletic, a gym in West Oakland. He took part in the A’s holiday party for kids at the Oakland Zoo, joined by A’s Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, who grew up in the city.

“Just to feel these kids’ happiness,” Davis said. “They didn’t look at me as a baseball player. They just looked at me as a role model kind of.”

It should be music to the ears of A’s fans that the team’s most dangerous hitter has a love affair with the city he plays in. If the A’s ever entertained the idea of trying to sign Davis to a multi-year extension, and that’s purely hypothetical here, it would help that Davis feels comfortable in his surroundings.

Even when he described Oakland in edgy terms, such as when he said it “has its dark side,” he seemed to find it endearing.

In return, Davis felt the love from the fan base in 2016, hitting a career-high 42 homers with a team-best 102 RBI. That was despite the awful start he got off to, hitting .143 and mustering just one RBI over his first 12 games.

Obviously, any chances the A’s have of improving last year’s American League-worst offense rely on the 29-year-old Davis having another big year. But over-analysis is one thing he tries to avoid.

“I don’t want to get caught up in last year — the slow start and the strong finish, whatever,” he said. “However it was, I’m just ready to do this year.”

Davis decided to back out of his plan to play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, saying his main priority was preparing for his A’s season.

“My main focus is to perform for the organization,” he said. “I feel like I want to get off on the right foot this year.”

NOTEWORTHY: Heavy showers continued to pelt Mesa on Sunday, spoiling the A’s first full-squad workout. The hitters were relegated to swinging in the cages and playing catch, while pitchers were scheduled for a day off from throwing on the mound anyway.

“If ever there was a day, at least for the pitchers, that you don’t need to (work out), it’s today,” manager Bob Melvin said. “But when you have everybody there on the first day, you wanna get out on the field and do everything. Hopefully we can incorporate everything tomorrow.”

The A’s have a whopping 70 players in camp, more than in any other spring Melvin can remember as a big league manager. He addressed the full team in a meeting Sunday morning.

His message?

“We’re gonna have to outwork, out-hustle everybody like we have in the past,” he said, “and get back to playing the game with the same tenacity that we did a couple years ago.”

FAMILIAR FACE: Longtime A’s second baseman Mark Ellis is back for the second year in a row as a spring infield instructor. The plan is for Ellis to spend a week with the team now, then another week later in camp.

“I’ll take Mark Ellis as many days as I can have him,” Melvin said.

LIGHTER SIDE: Nursing his broken right foot, starting pitcher Daniel Mengden has been making his way through the clubhouse on a knee scooter in order to keep pressure off his foot.

Apparently, it looks more fun than it really is.

“I contribute to society Friday, when I can start walking again,” Mengden quipped.