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2015 Baseball Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Fri Jan 2nd, 2015 08:51 am
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lobo316
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The Atlanta Braves have traded pitchers David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve to the New York Yankees for left-hander Manny Banuelos, theBraves announced Thursday.

Banuelos, once considered a top prospect in 2011, missed all of the 2013 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He recorded a 4.11 ERA while throwing 76 2/3 innings across three minor-league levels last season.

The Yankees get a proven reliever in Carpenter as part of the deal. The 29-year-old is entering his first year of arbitration eligibility, and has posted an impressive 2.63 ERA over the past two seasons in Atlanta. The seventh inning could belong to the right-hander as he should slot in behind fireballer Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller in high-leverage situations.

Shreve, 24, was drafted by the Braves in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. The young lefty made his major league debut in July, and finished the year with a stellar 0.73 ERA and 15/3 K/BB ratio in 15 appearances.

Early Twitter reaction from a few respected reporters suggests the Yankees are poised to gain the most from the swap: 

#Braves continue to try to add SP with high ceilings. But sign of how much NYY think Banuelos has fallen to move for 2 relievers
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 1, 2015

I'd take either Carpenter or Shreve over Banuelos, much less both. Steal for the Yanks. No wonder they felt they could trade Kelley.
— Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot) January 1, 2015

I'm surprised #Braves would give up Shreve, who impressed in limited duty as rookie, and Carpenter, who's only 1st-time arb guy not big sal
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) January 1, 2015

The #Braves view Banuelos as an upside young left-handed starter who might have a shot to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) January 1, 2015

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 Posted: Sun Jan 4th, 2015 10:44 am
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lobo316
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The New York Yankees have engineered an atypical offseason thus far, as general manager Brian Cashman focused this winter on adding youth and increasing roster flexibility rather than pursuing any of the market's marquee free agents.

This strategy represents a stark departure from the club's standard operating procedure - the Yankees spent nearly $500 million last winter doling out contracts to Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Masahiro Tanaka - but Cashman said his work this offseason has helped diversify his roster.

"We're much deeper now," Cashman told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. "We're much more flexible. We're younger, more diverse."

Though the Yankees did spend a bit of money to sign left-handed reliever Andrew Miller and third baseman Chase Headley, the club also netted a number of young, cost-controlled players through a series of trades. The acquisitions of Didi Gregorius, Nathan Eovaldi, Gonzalez Germen and David Carpenter, in particular, expanded the club's asset base and will afford Cashman increased leverage in potential trade talks, as he now has pieces to offer beyond overpriced, declining veterans.

Several noticeable weaknesses remain on the Yankees' roster - second base and rotation depth, in particular - but Rosenthal noted that Cashman may not be finished.

"I'm open to anything," added Cashman, who signed a three-year extension with the Yankees in October.

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 Posted: Sun Jan 4th, 2015 10:52 am
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lobo316
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CINCINNATI -- A longtime federal judge in Ohio known for his support of civil rights and for sending baseball star Pete Rose to prison has died.

S. Arthur Spiegel was 94.

His judicial assistant for his 34 years on the federal bench confirms that Spiegel died Wednesday in Cincinnati.

Spiegel was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 and took senior status in 1995. He earned degrees from the University of Cincinnati and Harvard and served as a Marine in the Pacific campaign during World War II.

Spiegel sentenced Rose to prison for five months in 1990 for tax evasion stemming from unreported income from gambling, baseball memorabilia sales and autograph appearances.

The judge is survived by his wife and four sons.

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 Posted: Sun Jan 4th, 2015 09:05 pm
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lobo316
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Former closer Ryan Madson will reportedly attempt a major-league comeback next season with the Kansas City Royals.

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports the right-hander has agree to terms on a minor-league contract with the Royals. The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

Madson, 34, hasn't pitched in the majors since saving 32 games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011. He signed a one-year, $8.5-million deal with the Cincinnati Reds the following offseason but never threw a pitch for them after suffering a UCL tear in his right elbow during spring training. He missed the entire 2012 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

It's Madson's second attempt to return to the bigs after a failed bid with the Los Angeles Angels in 2013.

Prior to his injury, Madson was among the game's most effective relievers. He pitched to a 2.78 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with a 9.6 K/9 rate from 2009-2011.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 5th, 2015 05:03 pm
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lobo316
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James Shields isn't likely to sign until fellow free agent Max Scherzer inks a contract, but the market for the right-hander appears to be shrinking in the meantime.

A number of teams are shying away from Shields for different reasons, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

The Arizona Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins have backed off Shields due to his expected contract demands, which are reported to be in the five-year range for $110 million. ESPN's Jim Bowden believes the Marlins are actually still in play for Shields, but it could depend on whether or not Dan Haren decides to retire or is traded.

The San Francisco Giants, who were once pursuing Shields, are now content with their rotation after bringing back Jake Peavy on a two-year pact, while the Boston Red Sox are highly unlikely to sign Shields after revamping their pitching staff by adding Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Justin Masterson, according to Rosenthal's sources.

The San Diego Padres and Shields's former team, the Kansas City Royals, are also bowing out.

Rosenthal notes that, despite having needs for a starter, none of the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers or Los Angeles Angels are linked to Shields.

Shields, 33, has thrown 200 innings in eight consecutive seasons. The heavy workload is undoubtedly a major reason why some teams may be reluctant to commit to a long-term deal.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 5th, 2015 05:06 pm
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lobo316
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Speeding up games is a hot-button issue in baseball, but don't expect radical change - at least for now.

Major League Baseball is highly unlikely to institute a 20-second pitch clock for the 2015 season, according to sources close to FOX Sports' Jon Morosi.

The clock was used on an experimental basis in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) in 2014, but rallying support from the MLB Players Association in time for Opening Day seems unrealistic.

Other rule changes intended to speed up the game will be discussed, however, as MLB owners gather for their quarterly meetings in Arizona next week.

Some of the changes include:
  • A rule mandating hitters keep one foot in the batter's box between pitches, with exceptions including foul balls, wild pitches, and timeouts being granted.
  • A rule stipulating runners must slide directly into second base on double plays, as opposed to deviating from their paths with a takeout slide. The idea is that forcing runners to slide should cut down on injuries, thus saving time.
  • Modifying the 2014 instant replay rule by forcing managers to indicate more quickly to umpires whether they intend to challenge a particular call.
The highly controversial Rule 7.13, which prohibits home-plate collisions, will also be revisited in an attempt to clarify it.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 5th, 2015 07:57 pm
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lobo316
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A busy offseason continued Monday morning for the Chicago White Sox, as the club reportedly agreed to a one-year, $4-million deal with veteran utilityman Emilio Bonifacio, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports adds that Bonifacio's deal also includes a club option for 2016.

Bonifacio, who boasts considerable experience at six defensive positions, is set to join his fifth team since the beginning of 2013 and could compete for regular playing time with the White Sox.

The 29-year-old will likely vie for an everyday role at second base, as the White Sox have few appealing options at the positions despite a busy offseason that has seen Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche, Jeff Samardzija, and David Robertson join the club.

Bonifacio compiled 2.1 WAR over 110 games split between the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves in 2014, hitting .259/.305/.345 (81 OPS+) while stealing 26 bases in 34 attempts. Though he received the majority of his starts in center field last season, Bonifacio still logged 227 1/3 innings at second base, wherein he was worth -3 defensive runs saved.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 6th, 2015 01:12 am
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lobo316
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The Philadelphia Phillies deviated Monday from their plans to get younger this offseason, as the club agreed to a one-year, $5-million deal with 36-year-old right-hander Aaron Harang, the team announced.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. started in earnest this winter to dismantle an aging franchise that hasn't managed a winning season since 2011, trading away both Jimmy Rollins and Marlon ByrdJonathan Papelbon could also be shipped elsewhere this winter and Amaro continues to look for a team willing to take on Ryan Howard's contract, but the executive still felt comfortable adding Harang, another veteran, to his roster for the upcoming season.

"Aaron brings a wealth of experience and durability to our rotation," Amaro told MLB.com. "He had a very solid season for the Braves last year and will complement the left-handers in our rotation nicely."

Harang, a 13-year veteran, rebounded nicely with the Atlanta Braveslast season following a disastrous 2013 campaign, crafting a 3.57 ERA (102 ERA+) with a 1.40 WHIP over 33 starts. The soft-throwing righty will slot in behind Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee in Philadelphia's rotation next season, though it's likely Amaro will look to unload him in exchange for prospect capital at the trade deadline.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 6th, 2015 05:09 pm
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lobo316
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More than a decade after serving as the third base coach for the New York Yankees, Willie Randolph is ready to head back to the Bronx.

The former Yankees second baseman recently interviewed to work with the team's infielders and act as the first-base coach, replacing Mick Kelleher, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.

Randolph, who won two World Series as a player with the Yankees and served as a co-captain for three seasons, managed the New York Mets from 2005-08 and acted as the Baltimore Orioles third-base coach in 2011.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 6th, 2015 05:10 pm
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lobo316
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Right-handed reliever Mitchell Boggs will attempt to resurrect his career with the Boston Red Sox, as the two sides reportedly agreed to a minor league deal Monday, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.

The soon-to-be 31-year-old hasn't pitched in the majors since 2013, after posting a 8.10 ERA in 23 1/3 innings split between the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies.

Boggs posted a 3.08 ERA and 1.22 WHIP across 201 1/3 innings with the Cardinals from 2010-12 but has struggled to stick with a major league club after his dismal performance in 2013. He signed a $1.1-million deal with the Chicago White Sox last February but was released, before agreeing to minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants in July.

Unable to crack either roster, Boggs spent last season in Triple-A making 35 appearances in which he crafted an 8.63 ERA in 49 innings, striking out 22 while walking 24.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 6th, 2015 05:11 pm
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lobo316
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The Texas Rangers reportedly agreed to a minor league deal with right-handed reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo, according to Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.

Oviedo - formally known as Leo Nunez - made his return to the majors in 2014 following a three-year hiatus. The soon-to-be 33-year-old was placed on MLB's restricted list for using fake identification documents in 2012 and sprained the UCL in his right elbow upon his return that resulted in Tommy John surgery in 2012.

In 32 appearances with the Tampa Bay Rays last season, Oviedo posted a 3.69 ERA and 1.35 WHIP while striking out 26 batters in 31 2/3 innings. He was designated for assignment on July 26 and released a week later.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 6th, 2015 05:11 pm
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lobo316
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The Texas Rangers maintained their infield depth Monday by reportedly re-signing utility veteran Adam Rosales.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports the Rangers agreed to terms with Rosales on a one-year deal worth $900,000 after non-tendering the 31-year-old infielder earlier this winter.

Rosales hit .262/.328/.378 with four homers and four steals over 181 plate appearances in 2014. The seven-year veteran owns a .701 OPS (97 OPS+) across two seasons in Texas.

Rosales, who started 27 games at first base last season, is expected to provide backup depth at all four infield positions.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 6th, 2015 05:47 pm
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lobo316 wrote: Speeding up games is a hot-button issue in baseball, but don't expect radical change - at least for now.

Major League Baseball is highly unlikely to institute a 20-second pitch clock for the 2015 season, according to sources close to FOX Sports' Jon Morosi.

The clock was used on an experimental basis in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) in 2014, but rallying support from the MLB Players Association in time for Opening Day seems unrealistic.

Other rule changes intended to speed up the game will be discussed, however, as MLB owners gather for their quarterly meetings in Arizona next week.

Some of the changes include:
  • A rule mandating hitters keep one foot in the batter's box between pitches, with exceptions including foul balls, wild pitches, and timeouts being granted.
  • A rule stipulating runners must slide directly into second base on double plays, as opposed to deviating from their paths with a takeout slide. The idea is that forcing runners to slide should cut down on injuries, thus saving time.
  • Modifying the 2014 instant replay rule by forcing managers to indicate more quickly to umpires whether they intend to challenge a particular call.
The highly controversial Rule 7.13, which prohibits home-plate collisions, will also be revisited in an attempt to clarify it.

They really ought to do something, because watching millionaires fiddle with their gloves and having a wander around every thirty seconds isn't my idea of a good time.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 6th, 2015 06:53 pm
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lobo316
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Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. expressed last month his desire to trade franchise icon Ryan Howard this winter to expedite the moribund franchise's long-awaited rebuild.

The $60 million in guaranteed money remaining on Howard's contract isn't the only obstacle Amaro will have to navigate in trade talks, however, as the first baseman also wields a partial no-trade clause that allows him to block deals with 20 teams.

According to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, the nine teams that Howard can be traded to without his permission include: the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, and Tampa Bay Rays.

Amaro, meanwhile, can't afford to wait too long to unload Howard. The 35-year-old will gain full no-trade rights in May when he officially reaches 10-and-5 status (any player with 10 years of MLB service time who has spent five consecutive seasons with the same club reserves the right to veto any trade).

Should Amaro broker a deal amenable to Howard, though, the Phillies would almost certainly be forced to absorb at least some of the money remaining on his hefty contract. A three-time All-Star, Howard has regressed considerably in recent years, managing a meager 98 OPS+ over the last three seasons, while proving to be a defensive liability at first base.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 6th, 2015 10:23 pm
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lobo316
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The Detroit Tigers made progress Tuesday towards improving their ghastly bullpen from one season ago, as the club agreed to a one-year deal with veteran left-hander Tom Gorzelanny.

“Tom is an established reliever who can help solidify the bullpen on the left side,” general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a statement, “and will be a nice addition to our roster.”

Gorzelanny enjoyed a fine - albeit abbreviated - season with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2014, fashioning a sterling 0.86 ERA with a 1.43 WHIP over 23 appearances. The 32-year-old yielded just one home run over 21 innings and fashioned a career-best 24.2 percent strikeout rate, but missed most of the first half of the season recovering from December shoulder surgery.

Few teams fielded a relief corps, meanwhile, that struggled as mightily as Detroit's in 2014, as the club's bullpen fashioned a 4.29 ERA - the fourth-worst mark in the majors - with a 1.48 WHIP and unimpressive peripheral statistics.

In a corresponding move, the Tigers designated right-hander Luke Putkonen for assignment to create a spot for Gorzellany on the 40-man roster.

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