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MLB off season thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Tue Jan 28th, 2014 07:00 pm
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lobo316



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Victor Martinez seems unsure of his future with the Detroit Tigers after the 2014 season, saying he wants to stay but he also realizes where he stands on the team's pecking order.

"I want to stay here, yes," Martinez told the Detroit News at the team's TigerFest. "But they have a lot going on. They have Scherzer; they have Miggy."

Max Scherzer, who won the AL Cy Young Award in 2013, can opt for free agency after the 2014 season. Miguel Cabrera, the two-time reigning AL MVP, can become a free agent after the 2015 campaign.

"I want to take this opportunity to thank the Tigers' organization and all the fans, because when I had choices of where to go when I was a free agent, I came here because I felt it was the best chance to win," Martinez told the News. "I haven't been wrong about that. We've won the division, have gone to the World Series, but we still have some work to do.

"We'll see what happens. This is a great organization that does what it needs to win."

Martinez, who will make $12 million in the final year of his four-year deal, hit .301 with 14 home runs and 83 RBI in just 80 games last season. He missed the entire 2012 season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during preseason conditioning.

He'll get plenty of opportunity to produce for the Tigers this season as he'll likely hit cleanup behind Cabrera with Prince Fielder having gone to the Texas Rangers.

"You're getting older and you know that the end of your career might be right in the corner," the 35-year-old Martinez told the News. "It's sad, but you don't get the chance to keep trying and trying and trying."

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 Posted: Tue Jan 28th, 2014 07:02 pm
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lobo316



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CINCINNATI (AP) Infielder Chris Nelson and the Cincinnati Reds have agreed to a minor league contract.

The 28-year-old third baseman played for the Rockies, Yankees and Angels last season, batting a combined .227 with three homers and 24 RBIs in 64 games.

Colorado took him with the ninth overall pick in the 2004 amateur draft and traded him to the Yankees last May 1. The Angels claimed him off waivers 17 days later. Nelson batted .220 in 33 games for the Angels with three homers and 18 RBIs.

Cincinnati said Monday he will report to big league spring training.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 28th, 2014 07:04 pm
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lobo316



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BOSTON (AP) Veteran Boston Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy says he'll return this season after his leave of absence following the arrest of his son on a murder charge in the death of his girlfriend in August.

For the first time since the arrest, Remy spoke publicly, talking to reporters Monday at the New England Sports Network's headquarters.

Remy, 61, said he was concerned with what the public would think of him and his family and if he could joke around and be himself. He said his friends and family persuaded him to return to work. His family reminded him about his career ''and where it came from and where it is.''

''I don't intend to be a quitter,'' he said. ''Don't intend to be one now. It's what I do. It's what I know.''

Jared Remy was arrested Aug. 13 after he allegedly pushed Jennifer Martel into a mirror. He was released the following day and is accused of fatally stabbing Martel at their apartment.

He has pleaded not guilty.

He has a 4-year-old daughter by Martel.

''It's been very, very difficult,'' the elder Remy said. ''I've run the full gamut. He's still my son.''

Remy said he did not want people to forget Martel, saying his deepest sympathies are with her family.

Remy will return to the booth in the next few weeks, but said he will not speak about his son during his first broadcast.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 29th, 2014 12:07 am
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Pitchers can wear new padded caps to protect them from liners as early as spring training.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/major-league-baseball-approves-padded-cap-for-pitchers?content_id=67202016&partnerId=as_mlb_20140128_17707264&vkey=news_mlb&ymd=20140128

Major League Baseball has approved a product designed to protect pitchers from potentially dangerous line drives hit at them.

After testing a number of prototypes from various companies, a padded cap manufactured by the 4Licensing Corporation subsidiary isoBlox will be made available to pitchers at all levels when they report to Spring Training. Use of the equipment will be optional.

MLB, which will continue to work with other companies that are developing products to enhance safety, alerted all teams of the development Tuesday morning after consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association.

"We're excited to have a product that meets our safety criteria," MLB's executive vice president for labor relations Dan Halem told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Tuesday. "MLB is committed to working with manufacturers to develop products that offer maximum protection to our players, and we're not stopping at all."

Tuesday's development came almost 17 months after pitcher Brandon McCarthy, then with the Athletics, sustained serious head injuries after being struck by a line drive, an incident that triggered increased discussion about ways that protect pitchers.

According to ESPN, Halem and MLB senior counsel for labor relations Patrick Houlihan said the threshold for approval was that the cap had to provide protection at 83 mph, which is below the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) severity index of 1,200, above which is considered to be high risk for skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries. An MLB-commissioned study determined that 83 mph is the average speed of a line drive when it reaches the area of the pitching mound.

According to the company, the caps are slightly more than a half-inch thicker in the front and an inch thicker near the temples than standard caps and provide frontal impact protection up to 90 mph and for side impact up to 85 mph.

"What we've given them [pitchers] is a product with protection they've never had before," 4Licensing chief executive officer Bruce Foster told "Outside the Lines." "It changes the game for them. I think players who've been hit by ferocious comebackers will probably be early adopters."

The padding adds seven ounces to the weight of a cap, which currently weighs 3-4 ounces. The company does not believe the caps will interfere with a pitcher's motion or comfort.

According to "Outside the Lines," 12 pitchers have been hit in the head by line drives in the past six seasons. One was Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ, who suffered a fractured skull last May 7. Happ was non-committal when asked if he would use the new product.

"I'd have to see what the differences in feel would be -- does it feel close enough to a regular cap?" Happ told ESPN. "You don't want to be out there thinking about it and have it take away from your focus on what you're doing."

The new equipment will not prevent all injuries and many of the more seriously injured pitchers were struck below the cap line. Halem said there has been no discussion of expanding this initiative to include visors, masks or helmets.

"There would have to be widespread willingness among players to use such a device," he said. "Short of wearing a helmet, I am doubtful there'll be a product to protect against 100 mph. Hopefully there will be."



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This thread was great before AA ruined it.
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 Posted: Wed Jan 29th, 2014 01:21 am
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Baseball Prospectus just released their 2014 Top Prospects list: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22670



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 Posted: Wed Jan 29th, 2014 04:04 am
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On the same day Major League Baseball announced it had approved a new protective cap for pitchers, Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon McCarthy told ESPN.com that even though he was seriously injured when he was hit in the head by a line drive 16 months ago, he won't wear the new gear himself.

McCarthy, who tested the protective cap while throwing off a mound, playing catch and running, said Tuesday: "I won't wear it in its current form."

On Sept. 5, 2012, while pitching for the Oakland Athletics, McCarthy was struck in the head on a comebacker by the Los Angeles Angels' Erick Aybar and needed emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain caused by internal bleeding. He suffered a seizure in June 2013 that doctors said was related to his head injury.

He has been active in the months since in helping baseball find ways to protect pitchers from similar injuries. McCarthy said he'd spent the past eight months working with MLB and 4Licensing Corporation subsidiary isoBlox, the company making the caps, but said he informed both parties before Tuesday's announcement that he didn't consider this particular cap to be "a major league-ready product."

"The technology is there," he said. "It helps. It's proven to help. But I don't think it's ready yet as a major league-ready product. And I told them that. I told them that's where it's at."

The first problem, according to McCarthy, is that the cap "doesn't pass the eye test."

"It's just too big," he said.

IsoBlox says the caps are a little more than a half-inch thicker in the front and an inch thicker on the sides -- near the temples -- than regular caps.

McCarthy, however, said it's so wide that pitchers are aware of the cap when wearing it. And for players to feel comfortable using it in a game, he said, "It has to disappear."

A second major issue for McCarthy is that the cap is "too hot." The extra padding adds seven ounces to the weight of a cap, which currently weighs three to four ounces, according to isoBlox.

"You can't pitch a day game in St. Louis wearing it, or a day game in Baltimore," he said. "I've thrown in it in optimal conditions, inside where it's cool, and your head gets itchy."

The third problem, he said, is that the cap doesn't feel like other caps feel or fit as snugly as other caps fit.

"[So] if your head moves a tick, you feel it," he said. "You notice it."

And if those issues aren't corrected, McCarthy said, very few players will wear it.

"Nobody wants this to work more than me," he said. "But we tried to take this as far as we could and see if it's something that could work, but it just wasn't there."

McCarthy noted, however, that he is grateful for all the research that's been done and the progress that's been made on protecting pitchers. He said he considers the work to be "a step in the right direction."

"Hopefully, in a couple of years, they can come up with something that everyone wears and that you don't notice it being on your head while you're out there," he said. "I hope it gets there. ... But right now, it's just not there."

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 Posted: Wed Jan 29th, 2014 04:05 am
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lobo316



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CINCINNATI -- Closer Aroldis Chapman agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract Tuesday, leaving the Cincinnati Reds with only starting pitcher Homer Bailey left in arbitration.

Chapman and the Reds split the difference on their arbitration figures. The club had offered $4.6 million while Chapman asked for $5.4 million.

The Reds were far apart with Bailey, who asked for $11.6 million and was offered $8.7 million. If they can't reach a deal, a hearing would be held next month.

Bailey went 11-12 last season with a 3.49 ERA and a club-high 199 strikeouts. He also pitched his second no-hitter in two years.

Chapman went 4-5 with 38 saves and a 2.54 ERA in 68 appearances with 112 strikeouts in 63 2-3 innings.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 29th, 2014 04:08 am
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lobo316



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A.J. Burnett is planning to pitch in 2014, a source close to the free-agent pitcher confirmed to ESPN.com Tuesday.

Burnett, 37, went 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA last season and led the Pittsburgh Pirates staff with 191 innings pitched and 209 strikeouts. In October, he told a Pittsburgh radio station that he would either return to the Pirates as a free agent this year or retire.

Burnett's decision to continue pitching adds another established arm to a crowded free-agent field that also includes Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Bronson Arroyo, Paul Maholm, Jason Hammel, Scott Baker and Chris Capuano, among numerous other starters who remain unsigned with spring training set to begin in mid-February.

It's uncertain whether Burnett still has his sights on Pittsburgh or is willing to consider other suitors. The Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles are among the other MLB clubs that have expressed varying degrees of interest in the veteran right-hander, according to sources.

Last week, Pirates president Frank Coonelly told ESPN.com that the team had "turned the page" on the likelihood of a return by Burnett. But Coonelly added that the Pirates were leaving the door open for the possibility of a reunion.

"We'd love to have A.J. back, but right now we've turned the page and we're heading to Bradenton (Fla.) thinking he's not going to be with us," Coonelly said. "But if he surprises us and calls up tomorrow and says he wants to pitch again, we'd love to have him."

In December, the Pirates declined to extend a $14.1 million qualifying offer to Burnett, which would have entitled them to draft pick compensation if he signs with another club.

Pittsburgh pitching coach Ray Searage recently told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he's heard Burnett continues to work out and stay in shape in case he decides to pitch.

In December the Pirates agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal with free agent Edinson Volquez, who has a chance to join Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton and Wandy Rodriguez in Pittsburgh's 2014 rotation. Left-hander Jeff Locke, who made the National League All-Star team before fading to 2-5 with a 6.12 ERA in 12 starts after the break, is also in the mix along with Brandon Cumpton and Phil Irwin.

Burnett was the highest-paid player on the Pittsburgh roster at $16.5 million last season, but Coonelly said the team has some latitude in the payroll to bring him back.

"If he surprises us and he calls tomorrow and he's as passionate and competitive and as determined as he was for the first two years that he was with us, we would be thrilled to have him back," Coonelly said. "And we have the flexibility to bring him back."

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 Posted: Wed Jan 29th, 2014 04:16 am
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DENVER -- Paul Janish and the Colorado Rockies have agreed to a minor league contract, and the utility infielder will report to big league spring training.

The 31-year-old spent the last two seasons with the Atlanta Braves. Before that he played four years with the Cincinnati Reds, who picked him in the fifth round of the 2004 amateur draft.

Janish is a career .214 hitter with seven homers and 81 RBIs.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 29th, 2014 07:11 pm
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lobo316



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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- First baseman Carlos Pena and outfielder Brennan Boesch have signed minor league deals with the Los Angeles Angels.

Pena and Boesch have been invited to spring training with the Angels, getting the chance to earn a backup job on the major league roster.

Pena, an All-Star in 2009, is hoping to make the roster of his ninth major league team as a backup to Albert Pujols.

Pena began last season with the Houston Astros before spending five games with the Kansas City Royals. He has 285 career homers and three 100 RBI seasons, enjoying his best seasons with Tampa Bay.

Boesch is a Los Angeles native who spent his first three big league seasons with Detroit. He joined the Yankees last year, batting .275 with three homers in 23 games.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 29th, 2014 07:12 pm
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lobo316



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Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan has some pondering to do before spring training begins.

The former Texas Rangers CEO met with a group of Houston Astros front office personnel on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park that included owner Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow and has to decide whether to join the organization in what he described as a consultant job.

"I have to figure out what I want to do, whether that's more on the baseball side or the business side," Ryan said Tuesday evening, adding that he'd like to decide by the time spring training begins in mid-February.

Ryan, who turns 67 on Friday, said if he took a role in the organization, he wouldn't have an office and would likely help out on the developmental side and with the big league club.

"I'd be able to help out and be around in whatever capacity they needed," said Ryan, whose son, Reid, is the president of business operations with the club.

Ryan admitted that he's enjoyed not having a set schedule and spending time at his ranch in the months since he resigned from his post as CEO of the Rangers.

Ryan said at the time of his departure that it wasn't a retirement and that he would take some time before figuring out his next step.

He sent signals that he's considered returning to the game about 10 days ago, when he made an appearance at a UT-Arlington baseball banquet at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and said he would be "open" to getting involved if another organization was interested.

Crane told the Houston Chronicle last week that he planned to sit down with Ryan and discuss whether there was a potential job that could fit him in the Astros organization.

Ryan joined the Rangers in early 2008 as president and helped oversee the Rangers' rebuilding efforts that eventually led to World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011. Ryan was a member of the ownership group that purchased the club out of bankruptcy court in 2010. His group, led by Chuck Greenberg and current co-chairmen of the board Ray Davis and Bob Simpson, eventually placing the highest bid at an auction against a group headed by Crane and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

Ryan added the title of CEO in spring training of 2011 when Greenberg was forced out. Ryan left the team in October and had his ownership stake bought out.

Ryan grew up in Alvin, which is close to Houston, and kept a close eye on the Astros. He pitched for the club for nine years and rejoined the organization in 2004 after then owner Drayton McLane signed him to a five-year personal services contract. He was allowed to leave Houston a year early when Rangers owner Tom Hicks hired him as president.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 30th, 2014 02:40 am
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals acquired outfielder Carlos Peguero from the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday for a player to be named or cash.

The 26-year-old Peguero has spent parts of the last three seasons with Seattle. He is a career .195 hitter with nine home runs and 27 RBIs in 219 at-bats in the majors.

He ranked seventh in the Pacific Coast League with 19 homers in 2013, along with a .260 batting average, 28 doubles and 83 RBIs at Triple-A Tacoma. Peguero was designated for assignment on Jan. 16 when the Mariners signed free agent catcher John Buck.

Kansas City also designated left-handed pitcher Everett Teaford for assignment. Teaford made one appearance for the Royals in 2013, pitching two-thirds of an inning at Cleveland on July 14.

Seattle also agreed to a minor league contract with 32-year-old right-hander Scott Baker, who had elbow ligament replacement surgery in April 2012. He made three starts for the Chicago Cubs last September, pitching 15 innings with a 3.60 ERA and no record. Baker has a 63-48 record with a 4.14 ERA in 162 starts and four relief appearances with Minnesota (2005-11) and the Cubs.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 30th, 2014 02:42 am
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TOKYO -- Infielder Yuniesky Betancourt has signed with the Orix BlueWave of Japan's Pacific League.

Betancourt has a .261 career average with 80 homers and 457 RBIs with Seattle (2005-09), Kansas City (2009-10, '12) and Milwaukee (2011, '13).

The 31-year-old native of Cuba began his career as a shortstop but played mostly at first and third base last year for the Brewers. He hit .212 with 13 homers and 46 RBIs last season, when had a $900,000 base salary and earned $400,000 in performance bonuses.

Orix has been seeking replacements for infielders Lee Dae Ho and Aarom Baldiris, who left to sign with other clubs during the offseason.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 30th, 2014 02:43 am
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins have brought back another player from their division title teams of the previous decade: Matt Guerrier.

The Twins announced Wednesday that Guerrier had agreed to a minor league contract and will attend big league spring training. The 35-year-old right-handed reliever had a 3.38 ERA in 472 innings with the Twins from 2004 to '10. They won the AL Central four times in that span.

Outfielder Jason Kubel and shortstop Jason Bartlett will also be in camp next month on minor league deals. Kubel played with Twins from 2004 to '11, and Bartlett from 2004 to '07.

Guerrier signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011 as a free agent. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs last summer before a flexor tendon injury near his elbow ended his season and required surgery.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 30th, 2014 02:45 am
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NEW YORK (AP) Scott Sizemore is among nine players agreeing to minor league contracts with the Yankees, giving New York another option as Alex Rodriguez's replacement at third base.

Sizemore, who turned 29 on Jan. 4, has been limited to six games over the past two seasons because of an injured left knee that twice required surgery.

He originally got hurt on Feb. 25, 2012, during a fielding drill in Oakland's first full-squad spring training workout and had surgery that March 21 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Sizemore returned to hit .216 with six RBIs, a double and triple during 21 spring training games last year and was 0 for 6 last season when he got hurt again April 9 while chasing a bloop single by the Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout.

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