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2015 Baseball Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Thu Jan 29th, 2015 10:19 pm
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lobo316
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ATLANTA - Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano and the Atlanta Braves have agreed to a $6 million, four-year contract.

The 25-year-old, a left-handed hitter, batted .356 during the 2012-13 season for Villa Clara in Cuba.

His deal, announced Wednesday, includes a $1.2 million signing bonus payable 72 hours after he reports to major league spring training and salaries of $800,000 this year, $1 million in 2016, $1.3 million in 2017 and $1.5 million in 2018.

Atlanta has a $1.7 million option for 2019 with a $200,000 buyout.

The Braves are rebuilding their outfield after trading Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Evan Gattis.

Nick Markakis was signed to replace Heyward in right field. Other newcomers include Zoilo Almonte and Eury Perez and Jonny Gomes. B.J. Upton returns in centerfield.

To make room for Toscano on the 40-man roster, outfielder Jose Constanza was designated for assignment.

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 Posted: Fri Jan 30th, 2015 04:08 am
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lobo316
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Less than 24 hours after general manager Alex Anthopoulos suggested his team isn't in the market for Jonathan Papelbon, the Toronto Blue Jays reportedly invited a different veteran to compete for innings out of the bullpen in 2015.

The Blue Jays agreed Thursday to a minor league deal with Ronald Belisario that will pay the right-hander $1.7 million should he make the major league roster, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.

Belisario, who elected free agency after being designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox in November, struggled mightily last season, crafting a career-worst 5.56 ERA with a 1.45 WHIP over 62 relief appearances. The 32-year-old also managed a career-worst 16.1 percent strikeout rate and yielded an .817 OPS to left-handed hitters. However, Belisario continued to induce ground balls at an extremely high rate.

Despite his shaky performance in 2014, Belisario would likely compete with right-handers Steve Delabar and Marco Estrada for late-inning opportunities with the Blue Jays following the departures of Casey Janssen, Sergio Santos and Dustin McGowan.

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 Posted: Fri Jan 30th, 2015 04:13 am
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lobo316
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The Philadelphia Phillies have signed right-hander Chad Billingsley to a one-year contract, the team announced Thursday.

The veteran will make $1.5 million in 2015, but can earn more with performance bonuses.

Billingsley, who boasts an 81-61 career record with a 3.65 ERA, is coming off elbow surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon, and became a free agent after the Los Angeles Dodgers declined his 2015 option.

The 30-year-old should provide depth in the Phillies' rotation should the club decide to deal Cole Hamels and/or Cliff Lee at some point.

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 Posted: Fri Jan 30th, 2015 05:46 pm
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Joba Chamberlain is still looking for a home with just weeks until pitchers and catchers are to report for spring training.

The right-hander has turned down multiple offers from teams he didn't want to join, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

Rosenthal doesn't elaborate on which teams Chamberlain has rejected, but does believe the reliever's value is plummeting. Chamberlain's hopes of a two-year deal are all but squandered at this point, meaning he'll likely have to sign a one-year pact loaded with incentives.

The former Detroit Tiger made $2.5 million in 2014, pitching to a 2-5 record with a 3.57 ERA in 63 innings of work. His post All-Star break numbers were alarming, however. Opponents hit .271 off the 29-year-old and his ERA ballooned to 4.97 in the second half.

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 Posted: Fri Jan 30th, 2015 05:50 pm
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lobo316
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The Milwaukee Brewers appear to have found a replacement for departed left-hander Zach Duke, as the club agreed Thursday to a one-year, $3-million deal with veteran reliever Neal Cotts, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Cotts will likely provide help in middle relief in 2015 while serving as a secondary left-handed option behind Will Smith. Cotts passed his physical and the deal has been finalized, Rosenthal reports.

Cotts, who turns 35 in March, regressed considerably last season after enjoying the finest campaign of his career in 2013 following a three-year absence from the major leagues.

The seasoned left-hander fashioned a 4.32 ERA with a 1.34 WHIP across 73 relief appearances with the Texas Rangers. He posted a 22 percent strikeout rate while yielding six home runs over 66 2/3 innings.

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 Posted: Fri Jan 30th, 2015 08:53 pm
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lobo316
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lobo316 wrote: Less than 24 hours after general manager Alex Anthopoulos suggested his team isn't in the market for Jonathan Papelbon, the Toronto Blue Jays reportedly invited a different veteran to compete for innings out of the bullpen in 2015.

The Blue Jays agreed Thursday to a minor league deal with Ronald Belisario that will pay the right-hander $1.7 million should he make the major league roster, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.

Belisario, who elected free agency after being designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox in November, struggled mightily last season, crafting a career-worst 5.56 ERA with a 1.45 WHIP over 62 relief appearances. The 32-year-old also managed a career-worst 16.1 percent strikeout rate and yielded an .817 OPS to left-handed hitters. However, Belisario continued to induce ground balls at an extremely high rate.

Despite his shaky performance in 2014, Belisario would likely compete with right-handers Steve Delabar and Marco Estrada for late-inning opportunities with the Blue Jays following the departures of Casey Janssen, Sergio Santos and Dustin McGowan.

 

 

Ronald Belisario won't get the opportunity to pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015 after a widely reported minor-league deal with the club fell through Friday, according to Sportsnet's Mike Wilner.

Belisario, who was designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox earlier this offseason, reportedly completed a deal with the Blue Jays on Thursday that would've paid him $1.7 million had he earned a spot on the 25-man roster.

The 32-year-old authored a career-worst 5.56 ERA with a 1.45 WHIP over 62 relief appearances for the White Sox in 2014, though he managed a 3.54 fielding independent pitching mark with a robust 59.3 percent ground-ball rate.


 

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 Posted: Fri Jan 30th, 2015 11:12 pm
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lobo316
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Unable to secure a guaranteed deal this winter, veteran right-hander Scott Baker reportedly signed a minor-league contract with the New York Yankees on Friday, according to Baseball America's Matt Eddy.

Baker, who revived his career with the Texas Rangers in 2014 after spending almost two straight years on the disabled list, reportedly drew interest from five teams earlier this winter, but none were willing to offer him a guaranteed contract.

Baker will thus head to spring training with the Yankees to contend either for a spot in the club's reconstructed rotation or for a long-relief role after managing a 5.47 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP over eight starts and 17 relief appearances in 2014.

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 Posted: Fri Jan 30th, 2015 11:15 pm
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lobo316
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TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays signed veteran infielder Ramon Santiago to a minor-league contract Friday with an invite to major-league spring training.

Santiago, 35, played in 75 games for the Cincinnati Reds last season. He had a .246 batting average with two homers and 17 RBIs.

He has also played for the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners over his 13-year career.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 31st, 2015 01:44 am
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The next chapter of Alexi Ogando's career will reportedly take place in Boston.

The 31-year-old right-hander reportedly agreed Friday to a one-year, $1.5-million deal with the Red Sox, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who added that Ogando can earn another $1.5 million through performance bonuses.

Ogando, however, has required five separate trips to the disabled list over the last three seasons and he'll have to pass a physical before a deal is finalized.

Ogando spent the last five seasons with the Texas Rangers, rotating between the rotation and bullpen with considerable success before struggling mightily in 2014. The 6-foot-4 hurler crafted a career-worst 6.84 ERA with a 1.92 WHIP over 27 relief appearances last season, logging just 25 innings while posting an ugly 12.3 percent walk rate.

Ogando will presumably provide help in middle relief in 2015 behind a late-inning relief corps comprised of Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and Edward Mujica.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 31st, 2015 01:44 am
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The Atlanta Braves traded right-handers David Hale and Gus Schlosser to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for catchers Jose Briceno and Chris O'Dowd.

Hale started four games for the Braves last season, but was moved to the bullpen in late April and spent almost the remainder of the season there – before making one more start in late September. He posted a 3.30 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 87 1/3 innings.

The 27-year-old was expected to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation for the Braves and will likely do the same with the Rockies.

Schlosser struggled in 2014 at both the major league and Triple-A level. The 26-year-old made 25 appearances (15 starts) with Gwinnett, going 7-6 with a 4.17 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 99 1/3 innings. He posted a 7.64 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in 17 2/3 innings of relief with Atlanta.

Briceno spent all of last season in Single-A, hitting .283/.336/.476 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs in 84 games.

O'Dowd, the son of former Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd, hit .271/.335/.385 with five home runs and 48 RBIs in 113 games split between Double and Single-A.

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 Posted: Sun Feb 1st, 2015 09:06 am
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lobo316
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Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Chris Withrow isn't expecting to play much of a role in 2015.

The 25-year-old, who continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery, told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that he's not expecting to be back until the end of the season.

Withrow was in the midst of a productive sophomore season before being diagnosed with a ligament tear in his right elbow in late May. In 20 appearances, the Dodgers 2007 first-round pick posted a 2.95 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings.

He also underwent surgery in December to repair a herniated disk in his back.

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 Posted: Sun Feb 1st, 2015 09:07 am
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Oakland Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp will see no shortage of new faces once spring training rolls around in a little under a month.

While Crisp spent the winter preparing for his 14th season in the majors, his general manager, Billy Beane, occupied his time by tearing down and rebuilding the roster - making eight trades and one signing.

Though Beane has become notorious for making bold moves, it came to a shock to many members of the A's when he traded All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays in November.

"It's been a roller coaster," Crisp told John Hickey of the Oakland Tribune. "When they traded away Josh Donaldson, that was a tough one to swallow. He's the best player on the team, and now he's gone. It's tough, and it's tough on the fans."

The Athletics are set to feature an entirely new infield, though Crisp will find some familiarity with those flanked beside him in the outfield as both Josh Reddick and Sam Fuld return from last season.

POS PLAYER (2014)       PLAYER (2015)
C Derek Norris               Stephen Vogt
1B Brandon Moss           Ike Davis
2B Eric Sogard               Ben Zobrist
3B Josh Donaldson         Brett Lawrie
SS Jed Lowrie                Marcus Semien
LF Sam Fuld                  Sam Fuld
CF Coco Crisp               Coco Crisp
RF Josh Reddick           Josh Reddick
DH Alberto Callaspo     Billy Butler


If there is one thing that Crisp has learned over his five years playing in Oakland, it's that no player on the roster is untouchable. While it will be tough for the veteran to get over the loss of some of his teammates, he remains fully confident in his GM.

"Seeing some of the players we lost was hard to swallow," Crisp said. "You grow bonds with these guys. But all the moves that Billy has made have put together a pretty good team. We will be pretty competitive."

Last edited on Sun Feb 1st, 2015 09:08 am by lobo316

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 Posted: Sun Feb 1st, 2015 11:35 am
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lobo316 wrote: Oakland Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp will see no shortage of new faces once spring training rolls around in a little under a month.

While Crisp spent the winter preparing for his 14th season in the majors, his general manager, Billy Beane, occupied his time by tearing down and rebuilding the roster - making eight trades and one signing.

Though Beane has become notorious for making bold moves, it came to a shock to many members of the A's when he traded All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays in November.

"It's been a roller coaster," Crisp told John Hickey of the Oakland Tribune. "When they traded away Josh Donaldson, that was a tough one to swallow. He's the best player on the team, and now he's gone. It's tough, and it's tough on the fans."

The Athletics are set to feature an entirely new infield, though Crisp will find some familiarity with those flanked beside him in the outfield as both Josh Reddick and Sam Fuld return from last season.

POS PLAYER (2014)       PLAYER (2015)
C Derek Norris               Stephen Vogt
1B Brandon Moss           Ike Davis
2B Eric Sogard               Ben Zobrist
3B Josh Donaldson         Brett Lawrie
SS Jed Lowrie                Marcus Semien
LF Sam Fuld                  Sam Fuld
CF Coco Crisp               Coco Crisp
RF Josh Reddick           Josh Reddick
DH Alberto Callaspo     Billy Butler


If there is one thing that Crisp has learned over his five years playing in Oakland, it's that no player on the roster is untouchable. While it will be tough for the veteran to get over the loss of some of his teammates, he remains fully confident in his GM.

"Seeing some of the players we lost was hard to swallow," Crisp said. "You grow bonds with these guys. But all the moves that Billy has made have put together a pretty good team. We will be pretty competitive."
Last place in the AL West



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 Posted: Sun Feb 1st, 2015 04:09 pm
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The Toronto Blue Jays search for a closer has gone international, with the signing of the Brazilian-Italian closer Tiago da Silva, who is known affectionately as “Shogun” by his fans. Some may recognize his name from Italy’s 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic teams.

Tiago da Silva, pitcher for @caribesanz and Italian national team, has signed a minor league contract with #BlueJays, per @chepalleblog.

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 30, 2015

Tiago da Silva pitched for six years in the Italian Professional League, primarily as a starter. The level of competition in Italy certainly isn’t great, but regardless, da Silva put up a 41-12 record with a 2.00 career ERA, 0.925 WHIP and an encouraging K:BB ratio. Following his success in Italy, da Silva moved to the Mexican League for the 2014 season, which is often compared to AA baseball in terms of strength of competition.

With the Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen club, da Silva posted 29 saves on the season and dominated competition. His ERA held strong at 2.07 with a 0.902 WHIP, but most impressive was his 11.1 K/9. He is not a pitcher that relies on throwing the ball past hitters, and instead relies on an arsenal of off speed pitches to compliment his high-80’s fastball. While this video below is several years old and won’t receive much Academy Award consideration, it gives a very general outline of the 5’9 da Silva and his throwing motion, which is quite unique.

The Toronto Blue Jays must have had their eyes on the Venezuelan League through the winter, where da Silva has continued his success. He’s thrown 30.0 innings, allowing just three walks while striking out 37.

So where does da Silva fit in to the Blue Jays plans? This is one of Alex Anthopoulos’ more obscure signings in recent memory, so digging up scouting reports and film to project da Silva’s success isn’t easy. There does seem to be some serious buzz about his change up, which sounds like a bit of a molasses ball, so that will be something to keep an eye on through spring training. It has yet to be announced if da Silva received an invite, but I certainly assume he has.

While I’m not expecting much to come from this move until we see more of him, keep in mind that the MLB is full of stranger stories. Just on this roster, Steve Delabar was a school teacher, Edwin Encarnacion was a throw-in and Jose Bautista flirted with a negative WAR for the first half of his career. If da Silva can stick with the team and start the year off on the right foot, perhaps at AAA Buffalo, he could be an extremely interesting, albeit unpredictable, pitcher to keep an eye on.

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 Posted: Sun Feb 1st, 2015 11:33 pm
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lobo316 wrote: The Philadelphia Phillies have signed right-hander Chad Billingsley to a one-year contract, the team announced Thursday.

The veteran will make $1.5 million in 2015, but can earn more with performance bonuses.

Billingsley, who boasts an 81-61 career record with a 3.65 ERA, is coming off elbow surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon, and became a free agent after the Los Angeles Dodgers declined his 2015 option.

The 30-year-old should provide depth in the Phillies' rotation should the club decide to deal Cole Hamels and/or Cliff Lee at some point.
I've always liked Billingsley. This is a good move and one I wish the Yankees had made instead of stiffs like Chris Capuano and Scott Baker.



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