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2015 Baseball Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sun Jan 11th, 2015 09:25 am
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Escobar is the single laziest player Bobby Cox ever managed as he literally shipped his ass out of town.  He's talented but a head case and the talent doesn't match the crazy factor.



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 Posted: Sun Jan 11th, 2015 09:55 am
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lobo316
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Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane is back in Josh Reddick's good books, at least for now.

The outfielder didn't hold back his feelings when Beane dealt slugger Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this offseason.

Josh Reddick tells me he is shocked by Donaldson trade. "This doesn't make sense to me. We just traded our best player the last 2 years."

β€” Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 29, 2014
But upon hearing news Beane worked a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays to bring Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar to the Bay Area, Reddick quickly changed his tune.

pic.twitter.com/8vinkqR8jQ

β€” J-Red (@RealJoshReddick) January 10, 2015
That was meant to be funny! I'm cracking up over here

β€” J-Red (@RealJoshReddick) January 10, 2015
Beane has certainly been putting his players through the emotional ringer with numerous trades over the past year. Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and now John Jaso have been sent packing.

And something tells me Beane isn't done wheeling and dealing just yet.

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 Posted: Sun Jan 11th, 2015 09:56 am
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lobo316
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The San Diego Padres have signed right-hander Jose Valverde to a minor-league contract, reports Matt Eddy of Baseball America.

The veteran reliever compiled an ugly 5.66 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in 21 appearances for the New York Mets before being released.

The 36-year-old does, however, have 288 career saves to his credit.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 12th, 2015 05:36 pm
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lobo316
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n the days prior to dealing Ben Zobrist to the Oakland Athletics, the Tampa Bay Rays discussed shipping the utility man to theWashington Nationals

Zobrist was one of several moving pieces the Nationals, Rays and New York Mets were trying to orchestrate as part of a blockbuster deal that eventually fell through, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports





3-TEAM TRADE
RECEIVES
SENDS


Nationals
Ben Zobrist, Yunel Escobar
Ian Desmond

Rays
Top Mets prospects
Ben Zobrist, Yunel Escobar

Mets
Ian Desmond
Top prospects


Rosenthal reports that the deal fell apart due to the Rays' request for two of the Mets' top prospects, including pitcher Noah Syndergaard, as New York believed the cost for shortstop Ian Desmond was too high. 

The Mets have been eager to upgrade at shortstop all offseason, but have struggled to find a match due to their unwillingness to part with some of their top prospects. 

Tampa ended up trading Zobrist and Yunel Escobar to the A's in exchange for catcher John Jaso and a pair of prospects. 

Last edited on Mon Jan 12th, 2015 05:36 pm by lobo316

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 Posted: Mon Jan 12th, 2015 05:38 pm
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lobo316
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A.J. Burnett acknowledges last season's struggles, but the right-hander won't let them define the twilight of his career.

"A bad year is a bad year," Burnett told Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune. "I know it's on the back of the (baseball) card, and that's the one you don't want to look at but ... I know I'm in a good (pitcher's) park. If I keep the ball on the ground with our defense, it's going to be a huge positive."

Burnett is back with the Pittsburgh Pirates after spending last season with their state rival Philadelphia Phillies. The 38-year-old didn't appear quite like himself in 2014, posting a career-high 18 losses and a 4.59 ERA, though Burnett admits injuries contributed to his struggles.

"If you're not 100 percent healthy, your mind knows that," Burnett said. "It's a struggle."

Healthy and rejuvenated, Burnett signed a one-year, $8.5-million deal with the Pirates and is determined to make his 17th and final season in the majors a good one.

"I got one (season) left," said Burnett. "I wanted to make sure I went somewhere where I was happy but also had a chance to win."

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 Posted: Mon Jan 12th, 2015 05:39 pm
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lobo316
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Move over, Josh Thole: newly minted starting catcher Russell Martin isn't looking for many days off as he embarks on his first season with the Toronto Blue Jays.

After agreeing to a five-year, $85-million deal in November, Martin isn't shying away from the idea of catching knuckleballer R.A. Dickey - a role primarily reserved for Thole last season.

"I'm preparing that that's going to be my job," Martin told John Lott of the National Post. "Really, I don't know why it shouldn't. If I can catch the guy, I can be in the lineup."

Martin will work with Dickey throughout spring training and said he's committed to catching the deceptive pitch, which has claimed a few professional casualties over Dickey's 12-year career.

"I'm really just going to work at it," Martin said, "If I'm not good at it when I first try, I'll work until I am good at it."

Should Martin - who's been lauded for his defensive skills - take control of catching the right-hander, it could spell the end for Thole as a Blue Jay. With last year's starting catcher Dioner Navarro still on the roster, the club could look to deal from its surplus behind the plate.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 12th, 2015 09:06 pm
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Count Grog
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lobo316 wrote: A.J. Burnett acknowledges last season's struggles, but the right-hander won't let them define the twilight of his career.

"A bad year is a bad year," Burnett told Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune. "I know it's on the back of the (baseball) card, and that's the one you don't want to look at but ... I know I'm in a good (pitcher's) park. If I keep the ball on the ground with our defense, it's going to be a huge positive."

Burnett is back with the Pittsburgh Pirates after spending last season with their state rival Philadelphia Phillies. The 38-year-old didn't appear quite like himself in 2014, posting a career-high 18 losses and a 4.59 ERA, though Burnett admits injuries contributed to his struggles.

"If you're not 100 percent healthy, your mind knows that," Burnett said. "It's a struggle."

Healthy and rejuvenated, Burnett signed a one-year, $8.5-million deal with the Pirates and is determined to make his 17th and final season in the majors a good one.

"I got one (season) left," said Burnett. "I wanted to make sure I went somewhere where I was happy but also had a chance to win."
Pirates signed Burnett because they couldn't reach a deal with Johan Santana or lure Kris Benson from retirement



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 Posted: Tue Jan 13th, 2015 03:30 am
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lobo316
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The Oakland Athletics avoided arbitration with right-hander Jesse Chavez by agreeing to a one-year, $2.15-million deal Monday, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Chavez, 31, is one of the few players to survive the radical offseason overhaul orchestrated by general manager Billy Beane, and could earn a spot in the rotation until Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin return from Tommy John surgery.

After spending the majority of his career in the bullpen, Chavez made 21 starts and 11 relief appearances for the Athletics in 2014, fashioning a 3.45 ERA (108 ERA+) while posting a 2.78 strikeout-to-walk ratio over a career-high 146 innings.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 13th, 2015 03:31 am
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lobo316
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The Pirates are reportedly on the verge of finalizing a four-year deal with Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang, who will head to Pittsburgh later this week for a physical exam, according to MLB.com's Tom Singer.

Jim Bowden of ESPN reported Monday afternoon that Kang's deal with the Pirates is worth approximately $16 million and includes an option for a fifth season. An earlier report indicated much of Kang's salary could be based on performance incentives.

Should Kang pass his physical Thursday, the 27-year-old would become the first position player to transition from the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) to the major leagues.

The Pirates would also be obligated to pay the KBO's Nexen Heroes a sum of $5,002,015 - the value of the bid submitted to acquire exclusive negotiating rights with Kang - once they finalize a deal with the five-time KBO All-Star.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 13th, 2015 03:32 am
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Last edited on Tue Jan 13th, 2015 03:33 am by lobo316

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 Posted: Tue Jan 13th, 2015 05:19 pm
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Daniel Nava is turning back the clock in an effort to bring value to his club's sudden stockpile of offense.

The switch-hitting outfielder has watched his name plummet down the Boston Red Sox depth chart this winter, and it's causing him to reconsider his approach at the plate. Nava, who owns a career .585 OPS against southpaws from the right side, is debating whether to bat exclusively from the left next season.

"I have thought about it. Is it something I'm going to do? I don't know. It's a tough thing to do," Nava told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford on Monday. "It's definitely something I'm considering doing, but at the same time it’s something I've never done. Would I even be effective lefty on lefty, or would it be better hitting against lefties from the right side. I would have to go out and give it a test run."

While Nava's numbers against right-handers as a lefty batter (career .813 OPS) are strong, he remains skeptical that his success will translate to hitting left-handed pitchers from the same side. That's because the last time he recalls doing so was in Little League.

"I've been a switch-hitter my whole life," he said. "Hopefully I raked in Little League, but I don't really remember."

Nava said he originally contemplated going strictly left-handed in 2011 after speaking with Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis. His struggles last year from the right side (.159/.209/.190) have apparently inspired him to revisit the change.

Another factor Nava is likely weighing is his status on Boston's roster. He turns 32 before Opening Day, is buried behind several players on the club's depth chart and may not make the 25-man roster out of spring training.

As noted by Bradford, Boston's projected lineup figures to stack right-handed heavy. A permanent move to the left side could net Nava more plate appearances, but his ability to secure a roster spot under such circumstances would likely come down to his same-side splits.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 13th, 2015 06:13 pm
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lobo316
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Another highly touted Cuban defector was gobbled up by an MLB club Tuesday when the Arizona Diamondbacks reportedly agreed to a deal with 21-year-old right-hander Yoan Lopez, reports MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.

Lopez's new deal is reportedly worth $8.25 million, establishing a new record for international amateurs just weeks after Roberto Baldoquin, another Cuban prospect, signed an $8-million deal with the Los Angeles Angels.

Lopez also drew interest from the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. He opted for less money, however, to join the Diamondbacks, who recently signed Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas to a six-year contract.

The deal is still pending a physical, but Lopez is expected to sign his contract Tuesday. Lopez, who was cleared only a few days ago by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, wields a fastball that can touch 100 miles per hour and crafted a 3.12 ERA with a 2.55 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 49 innings in his final season in Cuba.

The Diamondbacks, though, will incur penalties for exceeding their budget for signing international amateurs. The club will be forced to pay a 100-percent tax for every dollar by which they exceeded their bonus pool allotment, and will not be allowed to sign an international amateur for more than $300,000 for the next two signing periods.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 13th, 2015 08:51 pm
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lobo316
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The Washington Nationals added another candidate on Tuesday who will compete in spring training for a spot on the active roster, agreeing to a minor-league deal with veteran utilityman Mike Carp.

Despite laboring through a difficult 2014 season, Carp boasts experience at first base and in the corner outfield. Carp's experience at those positions, in particular, make him an attractive candidate to land a spot on Washington's bench, as right fielder Jayson Werth recently underwent shoulder surgery, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman spent 113 days on the disabled list last season, and left fielder Bryce Harper has battled injury trouble over the last two years.

Carp logged 58 games between the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers last season, wherein he struggled to replicate the success he enjoyed in 2013. The 28-year-old hit just .175/.289/.230 (49 OPS+) with zero home runs and 31 strikeouts in 149 plate appearances in 2014 after managing a career-best 139 OPS+ with nine homers and 18 doubles over 86 contests the season prior.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 14th, 2015 02:24 am
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lobo316
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Ned Yost managed his Kansas City Royals to their first playoff appearance in 29 years last season, and on Tuesday that success paid off.

The Royals announced that they've agreed to a one-year contract extension with Yost, keeping him in Kansas City through the 2016 season. Yost had one year remaining on the two-year extension he signed with the club in 2013.

Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports Yost only sought a one-year extension due to Royals general manager Dayton Moore's contract status.

"Dayton's got this year and next year, and that's all I wanted," Yost told the Star. "One extra year, I'm happy with that."

Yost, 60, is entering his sixth season with the Royals after managing the club to an 89-73 record and American League pennant. He was recognized for his efforts after finishing third in AL Manager of the Year voting.

The Royals' playoff run helped vindicate the oft-criticized manager, who was skewered during his first two years in Kansas City for his lineup construction and sometimes ill-advised strategic moves.

Yost's unique brand of late-game decision-making nearly sealed his club's fate in the AL wild card game, when he lifted James Shields for rookie Yordano Ventura, despite having the Royals' lights-out bullpen at his full disposal. Nevertheless, Kansas City pulled off an improbable win over the Oakland Athletics and proceeded to win another seven straight games to break the record for most consecutive wins to begin a postseason.

The Royals' Cinderella season extended into the World Series, where the club lost in seven games to the San Francisco Giants.

Kansas City has slowly climbed the standings since Yost was hired as a special assistant in 2010 and later named manager in May that same season.

YEAR  W-L     WPCT AL CENTRAL
2010  55-72  .433       5th
2011  71-91  .438       4th
2012  72-90  .444       3rd
2013  86-76  .531       3rd
2014  89-73  .549       2nd*
* clinched second wild-card berth

Moore spoke to ESPN in September about his decision to hire Yost, after the former big league catcher managed the Milwaukee Brewers to a 457-502 record across six seasons.

"You know how I knew that Ned Yost was a tremendous leader?" Moore said. "Because he's never said one negative word about the Milwaukee Brewers, or their ownership, or Doug Melvin. He's never said, 'They did me wrong' or ripped anybody, or reflected on the past in a negative way. He was all about how we're moving forward. That's what you have to do in this game."

Last edited on Wed Jan 14th, 2015 02:26 am by lobo316

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 Posted: Wed Jan 14th, 2015 08:47 pm
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The Atlanta Braves have reportedly agreed to terms on a deal with left-hander Wandy Rodriguez following a failed physical with the Philadelphia Phillies.

David O'Brien of Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports the deal is a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, where Rodriguez is expected to compete for a rotation spot. If Rodriguez makes the major league roster, he'll reportedly earn a base salary of $2 million.

Tuesday's report comes more than two weeks after an apparent deal was in place between Rodriguez and the Phillies. O'Brein adds that the veteran southpaw failed his physical after flying to Philadelphia to finalize terms of his contract.

Rodriguez, 35, has been hindered by injuries in recent years after pitching to consistent results during eight seasons in Houston. During his prime, Rodriguez posted a 3.47 ERA and 7.6 K/9 rate between 2009-12, averaging 199 innings per season over the four-year period.

Rodriguez's last three seasons in Pittsburgh have been much more underwhelming. The left-hander missed nearly fourth months with a forearm strain in 2013 and was sidelined another month last season with right knee inflammation.

The Dominican native earned $36 million during his three years with the Pirates, but pitched a total of just 164 1/3 innings. He was released by Pittsburgh in May prior to undergoing knee surgery.

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