2010 projected leaders: First baseman OPS

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Over the next several days, I’ll be dipping into my 2010 projections and presenting some leaderboards.
1. Albert Pujols – 1067
2. Prince Fielder – 976
3. Miguel Cabrera – 965
4. Mark Teixeira – 962
5. Adrian Gonzalez – 933
6. Ryan Howard – 923
7. Lance Berkman – 911
8. Kevin Youkilis – 898
9. Kendry Morales – 889
10. Justin Morneau – 884
11. Adam Dunn – 882
12. Joey Votto – 882
13. Todd Helton – 874
14. Billy Butler – 872
15. Derrek Lee – 871
– I don’t suppose there are any surprising names here. Everyone in the group besides Butler came in at 870 or better last year, and Butler finished at 853. The other two players I have projected for modest gains are Cabrera (942 to 965) and Teixeira (948 to 962). On the other side of the equation, I have Votto and Lee projected for 100-point declines, but that still doesn’t knock either off the list.
– First base is such a strong position right now. The first four players here received my four highest OPS projections for the year, followed by Joe Mauer at 958.
– I’m not going to run down the entire list of DHs, but Vladimir Guerrero topped that one at 879, followed by David Ortiz at 862 and Jim Thome at 851.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.

The Red Sox sign Jhonny Peralta

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The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.

Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.

This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.