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2015 Baseball Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Wed Jan 14th, 2015 10:39 pm
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lobo316



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As a new season approaches, the Baltimore Orioles seem increasingly willing to permit executive vice-president Dan Duquette to leave the club for a loftier position with a division rival - contrary to earlier remarks from managing partner Peter Angelos.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Orioles have discussed a compensation package with the Toronto Blue Jays that would allow Duquette to take over as chief executive officer, replacing franchise icon Paul Beeston.

A deal is not imminent, but the Orioles' willingness to engage with the Blue Jays suggests the club is open to parting ways with the executive, who helped engineer a division title in 2014 - their first since 1997. Though Duquette is under contract with the Orioles through 2018, some team executives would prefer to see him go, Rosenthal notes.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 15th, 2015 01:10 am
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lobo316



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The Houston Astros took another step in their long march toward relevance Wednesday by acquiring 28-year-old catcher/outfielder Evan Gattis from the Atlanta Braves for a trio of prospects, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggested Wednesday afternoon that the deal will be finalized once Gattis passes a physical.

Gattis, who has emerged over the last two seasons as one of the game's most reliable power hitters, will join a burgeoning Astros club that started to see an arduous rebuilding process yield results at the major-league level in 2014. Known affectionately in Atlanta as "El Oso Blanco," Gattis will slot into the middle of Houston's lineup after posting 2.3 WAR while hitting .263/.317/.493 with 22 home runs over 108 games last season.

He's unlikely, however, to see much time behind the plate, and will probably receive most of his playing time at left field or at designated hitter. Gattis served as Atlanta's primary catcher last season following the departure of Brian McCann, but was expected to transition to the outfield in 2015 to allow rookie Christian Bethancourt to take over behind the plate.

POSTION PLAYER
2B Jose Altuve
CF Dexter Fowler (S)
RF George Springer
DH Chris Carter
C Jason Castro (L)
LF Evan Gattis
SS Jed Lowrie (S)
1B Jon Singleton (L)
3B Matt Dominguez


The Braves are expected to receive right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, third baseman Rio Ruiz and right-hander Andrew Thurman in exchange for the burly Texas native.

Foltynewicz, a first-round pick in 2010, spent the majority of 2014 in the Pacific Coast League, where he fashioned a 5.08 ERA over 18 starts and three relief appearances while notching 102 strikeouts in 102 2/3 innings. The 23-year-old wields an overpowering fastball and will likely contend for the final spot in the Braves' rotation this spring.

Ruiz could open the 2015 season in Double-A after enjoying a fine campaign with the High-A Lancaster JetHawks last summer. The 20-year-old California native hit .293/.387/.436 with 11 home runs and 37 doubles over 131 games in 2014, and was recently ranked Houston's eighth-best prospect by Baseball America.

Thurman's first full season as a professional wasn't quite as impressive, as the young hurler fashioned a 5.38 ERA with a 1.41 WHIP over 115 1/3 innings in the Midwest League. But the 23-year-old still recorded 107 strikeouts while allowing just nine homers over 115 1/3 frames.

Last edited on Thu Jan 15th, 2015 01:11 am by lobo316

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 Posted: Thu Jan 15th, 2015 01:52 am
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lobo316



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Imagine if you could buy a ticket now that would entitle you to use it for any single game in your favorite team's future.

If your team is the Milwaukee Brewers, you're in luck.

In late October, the team announced it would sell 1,000 "Timeless Tickets" for $1,000 each. They come in 1-pound bronze tickets with the owners' names engraved on them.

On Tuesday, as the offer went online for the first time, the team announced that it would add another nine timeless tickets to each deal, which would be redeemable for any regular-season game in the team's future, except for Opening Day games.


This morning we announced new benefits to the #Brewers Timeless Ticket: http://t.co/4z1DubXVIS pic.twitter.com/xGVciwcBor

— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) January 13, 2015

The original bronze ticket is good for any single game, including say, a World Series home game at Miller Park, or whatever stadium the Brewers happen to be playing in should they return to the Fall Classic. The team's only appearance came in 1982.

The idea is the brainchild of Brewers chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger.

"I was at the post office and got caught up with the idea of forever stamps," Schlesinger said. "So I wondered what we could do to offer our fans something where we could give them the promise of being able to go to any game."

Schlesinger said there wasn't much debate about the price.

"We obviously had to account for what the most expensive ticket would go for, a World Series Game 7," Schlesinger said. "But we also didn't want it to be completely out of reach."

Schlesinger said the team has sold 240 timeless tickets so far, which he is pleased with given that, until this week, it was just a soft launch.

When fans want to redeem their timeless tickets, they have to notify the box office as soon as they know.

"I can't promise that we'd be able to accommodate a person who calls up on the morning of Game 7 of a World Series, but we'll try."

The Brewers have been in the top half of league attendance -- measured by average fans per game -- for eight straight seasons.

Major League Baseball is the only major sports league that offers a lifetime pass to all games. But you can't buy it. The card gives any player manager, coach or umpire with at least eight years of service free admission for two seats to any regular-season game of their choice for life.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 15th, 2015 10:03 am
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Benlen



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The A's acquired ss Yunel Escobar on Saturday... Trade him today to Washington for P Tyler Clippard



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 Posted: Thu Jan 15th, 2015 05:05 pm
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lobo316



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lobo316 wrote: 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.


 

 

Shortstop Jung-ho Kang doesn't lack confidence.

The Korean is en route to Pittsburgh to finalize a four-year deal with the Pirates and has his sights set on being the Opening day shortstop.

"If I get an opportunity to play consistently, I think I can play better (than Jordy Mercer)," Kang told the Yonhap News Agency prior to boarding a flight to the United States. "I think I'll have to talk about my position, but I'd like to play shortstop."

Mercer, who slashed .255/.305/.387 with 12 homers and 55 RBIs in his first season as an everyday shortstop, took the high road Wednesday when responding to Kang's comments.

"It's good to see he's got confidence coming in," Mercer said. "All of us can can use that, for sure. If we all set our sights on one goal and have confidence in our ability, the sky is the limit for this team. So, it's exciting to see."

Kang, a five-time All-Star in the Korean Baseball Organization, belted 40 home runs with a 1.198 OPS over 117 games in 2014.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 15th, 2015 05:07 pm
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lobo316



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New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is pleased with the job general manager Brian Cashman has done this offseason on the heels of the team's second consecutive year without a playoff berth.

While the Yankees haven't made a major splash for any of the top consensus free agents, Cashman has made the team younger, better defensively and improved the bullpen, despite the loss of closer David Robertson.

But Steinbrenner does admit to being worried about the club's starting pitching, although it's worth noting that two of the top free agent arms in Max Scherzer and James Shields remain unsigned.

From Ken Davidoff of the New York Post:

"I think if there's one concern, it's our starting rotation - not because of their ability, but because of their health," Steinbrenner said. "Now, everybody's going to come healthy. It's just a question of not having what we had last year, which is not having four guys out by the All-Star break. That's going to pose a problem to any team."

The Yankees' rotation was decimated by injuries last season. Ivan Nova made four starts before undergoing Tommy John surgery; C.C. Sabathia's season was shut down after eight starts; Michael Pineda missed nearly four months, while Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka went down just prior to the All-Star break and was out for two months after emerging as one of the game's most dominating pitchers.

Nova won't be ready for the start of the season, but the others are expected to be part of an Opening Day rotation that will also feature recently acquired flamethrower Nathan Eovaldi, who should help ease the loss of right-hander Hiroki Kuroda.

New York's five-man staff out of spring training could look like this (2014 stats):

PITCHER                 IP           K/BB     ERA   WHIP
Masahiro Tanaka   136.1      141/21   2.77    1.06
C.C. Sabathia         46.0       48/10    5.28    1.48
Michael Pineda       76.1       59/7      1.89     0.83
Nathan Eovaldi     199.2     142/43    4.37     1.33
Chris Capuano       97.1      84/34     4.35     1.39


The biggest concern is Tanaka, who partially tore his ulnar collateral ligament, leading many to think Tommy John surgery is inevitable. But if he holds up, he'll power a capable rotation that will be even stronger once Nova is ready to return.

Cashman also acquired shortstop Didi Gregorius, brought back third baseman Chase Headley, outfielder Chris Young, infielder Stephen Drew and traded for first baseman/designated hitter Garrett Jones. The Yankees will also see the return of disgraced slugger Alex Rodriguez, who missed the entire 2014 season following a performance-enhancing drug suspension.

There has been a lot of turnover in the Bronx - including the addition of hard-throwing lefty reliever Andrew Miller - and while the Yankees won't be viewed as favorites by many, save for a bold move, the team has made legitimate improvements.

"I think Cash did a great job," Steinbrenner said.

Last edited on Thu Jan 15th, 2015 05:10 pm by lobo316

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 Posted: Thu Jan 15th, 2015 09:14 pm
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lobo316



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Chicago White Sox fans now have added incentive to purchase tickets for May 23rd's contest versus the Minnesota Twins.

The White Sox will retire Paul Konerko's No. 14 prior to the game, the team announced Thursday.

“Paul Konerko is one of the greatest players in White Sox history not only for his strength and performance on the field, but also for his heart and leadership off the field,” White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. “Paul was a humble leader whose passion for the game earned the respect and love of the entire clubhouse and fans all over the country. We honor Paul by retiring his number and welcoming him to the ranks of White Sox legends.”

Konerko enjoyed a 16-year tenure with the White Sox, leading them to a World Series title in 2005. His 432 home runs are second-most in club history behind Hall of Famer Frank Thomas.

The first 20,000 fans who attend the game will receive a replica Paul Konerko statue.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 15th, 2015 09:15 pm
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lobo316



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When the Philadelphia Phillies selected right-hander Aaron Nola with the seventh pick of the 2014 draft, assistant general manager of amateur scouting Marti Wolever was optimistic the 21-year-old could reach the major leagues "within a couple of years."

Nola's arrival in Philadelphia could come much sooner than expected, however, as the Louisiana State University product will attend spring training with the major-league club and should contend for a spot in the rotation, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.

"Definitely excited," said Nola, who received a $3.3-million signing bonus from the Phillies. "I'm ready to meet those guys and be around those veterans and get their input on the game and pick their brains."

Lauded for his plus command and pitchability, Nola crafted a 2.93 ERA with a 4.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 11 starts and one relief appearance between High-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading in 2014. Though he isn't projected to be a frontline starter, Nola is already a polished hurler with a three-pitch repertoire that should enable him to find success quickly in the majors.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 15th, 2015 11:16 pm
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lobo316



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The St. Louis Cardinals reportedly agreed to a three-year, $22-million deal with right-hander Lance Lynn on Thursday, buying out the 27-year-old's three seasons of arbitration eligibility, reported Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Lynn quietly emerged over the last three seasons as one of the most reliable starters in the National League before elevating his game considerably in 2014. The 6-foot-5 hurler crafted a career-best 2.74 ERA (134 ERA+) with a 1.26 WHIP over 33 starts for the Cardinals, and was subsequently projected to earn $5.5 million through arbitration next season.

Though he was already under team control through 2017, Lynn's new deal with the Cardinals ensures no arbitration hearings will take place over the next three seasons. His contract also affords him some job security while protecting the Cardinals from the possibility of watching his salary escalate dramatically through arbitration.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 15th, 2015 11:18 pm
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lobo316



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Benlen wrote: The A's acquired ss Yunel Escobar on Saturday... Trade him today to Washington for P Tyler Clippard

 

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Thursday thatYunel Escobar was not acquired to replace impending free agent Ian Desmond.

"(Desmond) will be our shortstop," Rizzo told reporters a day after trading reliever Tyler Clippard to the Oakland Athletics for Escobar. Rizzo added that he would need to be blown away by an offer to deal Desmond.

The Nationals' power-hitting shortstop has been the subject of trade speculation this winter after reportedly turning down a seven-year, $107-million extension in 2013. Desmond is a free agent at the end of this season.

Desmond, 29, has hit more home runs (69) than any shortstop in baseball since 2012, while providing solid value defensively and on the base paths. He did, however, experience a decline in his batting rates last season, hitting a personal-low .255 with on-base (.313) and slugging (.430) percentages below his career averages.

Escobar, who was traded by the Athletics just four days after being dealt by the Tampa Bay Rays, is expected to compete for the second base job this spring, barring another trade. 

Rizzo said he believes Escobar regressed defensively last season due to shoulder and quad injuries associated with the turf in Tampa Bay.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 15th, 2015 11:20 pm
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lobo316



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Baseball's annual midsummer classic will head back to the west coast in 2016, as the 87th edition of the MLB All-Star Game will take place at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.

It's official! Get ready San Diego...we're getting an All-Star Game! #ASG pic.twitter.com/2zWTP6ZP5R

— San Diego Padres (@Padres) January 15, 2015

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 Posted: Thu Jan 15th, 2015 11:29 pm
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lobo316



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The New York Yankees avoided arbitration with right-hander Ivan Nova by agreeing to a one-year contract, the team announced Wednesday.

Nova, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and eyeing a June return to the mound, was projected to earn $3.3 million through the arbitration process and will earn that exact number in 2015, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

The 28-year-old hurler should provide the Bronx Bombers some much-needed rotation help. Nova has spent his entire five-year career in New York, posting a 40-22 record with a 4.20 ERA in 93 appearances.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 15th, 2015 11:31 pm
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lobo316



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HOUSTON - The Astros have agreed with Chris Carter on a one-year contract for $4,175,000, avoiding arbitration with the designated hitter.

Carter tied for second in the majors with a career-high 37 homers last season. The 28-year-old hit .227 with 88 RBIs, which also were the most of his career. It was his second season in Houston after a trade from the Oakland Athletics.

Carter spent 118 games at designated hitter and started 14 games at first base and six in the outfield.

He made just $510,000 last season, and Wednesday's deal includes several award bonuses, among them $25,000 for being named to the All-Star game and $25,000 if he wins a Silver Slugger award.

Other arbitration eligible players for Houston are catchers Jason Castro, Hank Conger and Carlos Corporan, outfielder Dexter Fowler, shortstop Marwin Gonzalez and left-handed reliever Tony Sipp.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 15th, 2015 11:52 pm
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CLEVELAND -- Former Minnesota Twins right-hander Anthony Swarzak has agreed to a minor league contract with the Indians.

The 29-year-old free agent spent his third consecutive season with the Twins in 2014, going 3-2 with a 4.60 ERA in four starts and 46 relief appearances. He became a free agent in November when he refused an outright assignment to Triple-A Rochester of the International League.

Swarzak had been with the Twins his entire professional career after his second-round selection in the 2004 amateur draft. His 237 1-3 innings of relief are the second-most in the major leagues since 2012.

Swarzak's best season was 2013, when he was 3-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 48 games.

His agreement was announced Thursday.

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 Posted: Fri Jan 16th, 2015 12:26 am
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lobo316



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The Toronto Blue Jays have signed outfielder Andy Dirks to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, the team announced Thursday.

This will be Dirks's second stint with the Blue Jays, who claimed him on waivers in October but later non-tendered him.

Dirks missed the entire 2014 campaign after undergoing surgery to repair a lower-back issue, but slashed a respectable .256/.323/.363 the year prior with the Detroit Tigers.

Dirks will provide depth for manager John Gibbons in the outfield behind Jose Bautista, Dalton Pompey, Kevin Pillar and Michael Saunders.

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