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2015 Baseball Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Mon Jan 19th, 2015 10:04 pm
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lobo316



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The Washington Nationals are the favorites to win the 2015 World Series.

Already armed with arguably the best rotation in the majors, the Nationals reportedly inked Max Scherzer to a seven-year deal on Sunday and come in at 7/1 odds to claim the first championship in the organization's 46 year existence.

One of the most active offseasons in league history has seen the odds shift dramatically since the San Francisco Giants claimed their third title in five years back in October, with the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays seeing the most dramatic swings.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 19th, 2015 10:05 pm
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lobo316



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The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired pitching depth Sunday by agreeing to terms on a minor-league contract with left-hander Erik Bedard, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.

Bedard, who turns 36 in March, made 15 starts for the Tampa Bay Rays last year, crafting a 4.76 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 75 2/3 innings. It will mark the sixth team Bedard has played for over the last five years.

The oft-injured pitcher managed to stay healthy last season, but his struggles resulted in his August release. His deal with the Dodgers includes an invitation to spring training, though it's unlikely he'll break camp as a member of the rotation with the Los Angeles pitching staff all but set.

Bedard owns a career ERA of 3.99 with an 8.6 K/9 rate during his 11 seasons in the league.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 19th, 2015 10:08 pm
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lobo316



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Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is taking another shot on reliever Daniel Bard.

The two sides have reportedly agreed to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League spring training, according to Mike Perchick of WAPT.

Epstein was the general manager of the Boston Red Sox when they selected Bard with the 28th pick of the 2006 draft.

Bard was considered one of the best set-up men in the majors in 2010 after posting a 1.93 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings, but saw his career derailed two years later when converted to a starter. Bard recorded a 6.22 ERA and 1.74 WHIP in 17 appearances before eventually being placed on waivers.

The 29-year-old was claimed by the Cubs shortly after. He was non-tendered three months later without making an appearance.

Bard, who hasn't pitched in the majors since 2013, stated last week that he is excited about how he has been throwing the ball this offseason and is eager to make a return to the majors.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 20th, 2015 06:16 pm
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lobo316



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The Texas Rangers finalized a widely reported trade with the Milwaukee Brewers for right-hander Yovani Gallardo on Monday afternoon, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

Gallardo, who was drafted out of a Fort Worth high school in 2004, will head back to Texas after an eight-year stint with the Brewers in exchange for infielder Luis Sardinas, reliever Corey Knebel and 18-year-old right-hander Marcos Diplan, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. The two clubs agreed to a deal "in principle" hours earlier, reported Joel Sherman of the New York Post, but both teams needed to complete a medical review before the swap could be finalized.

According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Brewers will also send $4 million to the Rangers to defray a portion of Gallardo's 2015 salary.

Though Gallardo is set to become a free agent next winter, he will nevertheless be tasked this upcoming season with helping to reverse the fortunes of a club that stumbled through an injury-marred 2014 campaign wherein the Rangers used 64 different players and compiled a 67-95 record.

Gallardo isn't as dominant as he once was - his whiff rates and strikeout numbers have tumbled significantly over the last two seasons - but the 28-year-old boasts a 3.84 ERA (100 ERA+) since 2013 and induces groundballs at a very high rate.

The Brewers, meanwhile, added depth to their infield and bullpen while also acquiring a talented prospect who ranked among the top pitchers in the international amateur class last July.

Sardinas, a switch-hitting 21-year-old, hit .261/.303/.313 with five stolen bases over 43 games with the Rangers last season while spending time at shortstop, second base and third base. The Venezuela native could serve as a platoon partner for second baseman Scooter Gennett in 2015.

Like Sardinas, Knebel also made his MLB debut in 2014, logging eight relief appearance for the Detroit Tigers before getting shipped to Texas in July for reliever Joakim Soria. The 23-year-old spent the majority of the season in the minors, though, where he fashioned a 2.18 ERA while averaging 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings across 34 appearances.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 21st, 2015 04:04 am
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lobo316



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One day after trading Dexter Fowler to the Chicago Cubs, the Houston Astros acquired his replacement.

Colby Rasmus agreed to a one-year deal with the Astros on Tuesday that's reportedly worth $8 million, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

Rasmus spent the last three-plus seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and is coming off the worst statistical season of his six-year career. In 104 games, he slashed .225/.287/.448 with 18 home runs and 124 strikeouts.

He missed 68 games with oblique and hamstring injuries over the past two seasons and claimed that he's eager to get off the artificial turf at Rogers Centre. Rasmus also cited his desire to sign with a team closer to his home in Alabama as to why the Astros were a fit.

"I play hard and I would like to get back on some grass," Rasmus told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. "The turf in Toronto was pretty rough playing up there. Being in this division to be able to stay in some [warmer] climates and my brother is playing with the Angels and to be able to see him on some trips is pretty cool.

"To be in Texas and in the south - some people think that's crazy - but it would be a beautiful thing to be close to home. I live nine hours away and all those things would help me be a better ballplayer and be relaxed and comfortable, and some of the guys on the team I know are great guys who I've played against."

The 28-year-old has shown flashes over his career of why he was a first-round pick, but he's never been able to put it all together consistently. Rasmus plays Gold Glove-caliber defense and has plenty of pop from the left side of the plate - hitting 63 home runs and 68 doubles in 373 games over the past three seasons - though is prone to striking out.

Rasmus had been heavily linked to the Baltimore Orioles earlier in the month, but talks cooled after he reportedly requested a one-year deal worth around $7 million.

The acquisition of Rasmus likely keeps George Springer in right field, while Evan Gattis will start in left.

In a corresponding move, the Astros designated catcher Carlos Corporan for assignment to create a spot for Rasmus on the 40-man roster.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 21st, 2015 04:05 am
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lobo316



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Eager to curb baseball's increasingly laborious game time, Major League Baseball recently submitted a proposal designed to shorten the amount of time between innings, sources told ESPN's Jayson Stark.

The league's proposal stipulates that pitchers would be required to finish their warm-up pitches 30 seconds before the conclusion of the commercial breaks between innings, while hitters would be required to be in the batter's box 20 seconds before returning from commercial.

League officials reportedly believe that game time could be shortened by 10 to 15 minutes if play is ready to resume immediately after television broadcasts return from commercial breaks. Discussions with the players union, however, are expected to continue for the next several weeks.

Though the league considered implementing a 20-second pitch clock to hasten pace of play, such a measure won't be instituted at the major-league level in 2015.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 21st, 2015 04:06 am
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lobo316



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MIAMI - The Miami Marlins and utilityman Don Kelly have agreed to terms on a minor league contract.

Kelly saw time primarily as a first baseman, third baseman and outfielder last season for the Detroit Tigers, batting .245 with seven RBIs in 163 at-bats.

Kelly has spent parts of seven seasons in the majors with Pittsburgh and Detroit, batting .234 with 23 home runs and 95 RBIs in 570 games.

Kelly turns 35 on Feb. 15, just before the Marlins open spring training in Jupiter, Florida.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 21st, 2015 05:49 am
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lobo316



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The New York Yankees traded right-hander Gonzalez Germen to the Texas Rangers for cash Tuesday afternoon, one week after designating the 27-year-old for assignment.

Germen's stint with the Yankees lasted just a few weeks, as the right-hander was acquired by the club in December through a trade with the New York Mets.

Germen fashioned a 4.75 ERA with a 1.45 WHIP across 25 appearances for the Mets last season, yielding seven home runs while notching 31 strikeouts over 30 1/3 innings. Armed with a fastball that sits around 94 miles per hour and an impressive changeup, Germen will likely compete for a late-inning role with the Rangers in spring training.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 21st, 2015 05:50 am
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lobo316



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SEATTLE - Playing baseball in Seattle just became more energy efficient, after the Mariners announced they have become the first major league team to install LED lights to illuminate the playing field.

The Mariners announced the lighting change Tuesday. The replacement of the previous metal halide fixtures was completed this month and the new stadium lighting will be in use during the club's annual FanFest this weekend.

Major League Baseball supported Seattle's lighting transition and the club estimates 60 to 70 percent less energy consumption for lighting Safeco Field by making the switch.

Safeco Field is not the first stadium to go the LED route. NRG Stadium in Houston, University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and Staples Center in Los Angeles are among other venues that have made the switch.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 21st, 2015 12:29 pm
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Famous Mortimer



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8 million for Colby Rasmus? Hopefully one of those 8 is to his Dad on the proviso he never sets foot in Texas - we Cardinals fans had the pleasure already.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 21st, 2015 06:31 pm
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lobo316



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Embattled New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has reportedly received some pointers this offseason from (arguably) history's greatest baseball player as he attempts to revive his career following a year-long suspension.

According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Rodriguez has spent time this offseason working out with Barry Bonds, the all-time home run leader who also served as a guest instructor for the San Francisco Giants during spring training last season.

Sources said Rodriguez, who last appeared in an MLB game in September of 2013, "looked good" after a couple of weeks with Bonds at the Future Prospects facility in San Rafael. Rodriguez, however, will turn 40 in July, and it remains unclear how much playing time he'll receive with the Yankees in 2015.

Over 44 games in 2013, Rodriguez hit .244/.348/.423 (113 wRC+) with seven home runs and a 12.7 percent walk rate with the Yankees.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 21st, 2015 06:32 pm
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lobo316



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Pete Rose, who was famously denied entry to Cooperstown after being banned from Major League Baseball, voiced his support Tuesday for a pair of players whose connections to performance-enhancing drugs have, to this point, likely kept them out of the Hall of Fame as well.

"Would I vote for Roger Clemens? You're damn right I would," Rose told Reuters in a telephone interview. "Would I vote for Barry Bonds? You're damn right I would. These guys are seven-time MVPs, seven-time Cy Young Award winner."

Rose applied for reinstatement with the league in 1997, eight years after he agreed to a lifetime ban following an investigation that determined he bet on games during his tenure as manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Though Rose was not reinstated by Bud Selig, a new commissioner, Rob Manfred, is set to take over Jan. 25, renewing hope that baseball's all-time hits leaders may get to join his peers in Cooperstown.

"I'd say congratulations to Bud for the job he did, and wish Mr. Manfred nothing but success in carrying on what Bud was trying to do to bring fans to the ball park," Rose said.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 21st, 2015 09:35 pm
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lobo316



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The Texas Rangers have acquired some much needed catching depth with some help from their division rivals.

Carlos Corporan is reportedly heading to the Rangers from the Houston Astros, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 22nd, 2015 02:26 am
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lobo316



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The San Francisco Giants designated Marco Scutaro for assignment on Tuesday, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Scutaro's spot on the 40-man roster was needed for recently signed outfielder Nori Aoki, though Schulman notes the Giants plan to retain the 2012 NLCS MVP.

The 39-year-old was limited to five games last season as a result of a back injury that eventually led to surgery in December. Scutaro is expected to need four-to-six months to recover.

The 13-year veteran has spent the last two-plus seasons with the Giants, hitting .315/.363/.399 with five home runs and 39 doubles in 193 games while appearing at both second and third base.

Rookie Joe Panik emerged as a viable option at second base during Scutaro's absence last season. The 24-year-old old hit .305/.343/.368 in 73 games and is projected to feature regularly in the lineup in 2015.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 22nd, 2015 02:27 am
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lobo316



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Don't call it a comeback. For now, it's only an invitation.

Dontrelle Willis will attempt to revive his major league career this spring after reportedly agreeing to terms with the Milwaukee Brewers on a minor-league contract. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

Willis, 33, hasn't pitched in the majors since 2011 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, struggling to a 5.00 ERA and 4.4 BB/9 rate across 13 starts. The two-time All-Star has since signed several minor-league deals but failed to parlay any of those opportunities into an active roster spot.

For a brief period at the beginning of his career, Willis was among the premier lefties in baseball.

The 2003 Rookie of the Year posted a 3.78 ERA in five seasons with the Florida Marlins, averaging 205 innings per year and wracking up 15 complete games. He finished second in Cy Young voting in 2005 after leading the league in wins (22), complete games (seven) and shutouts (five).

Most recently, Willis toyed with the idea of transitioning to a pitching coach before signing on with the Bridgeport Bluefish in the Atlanta League last summer.

With the Brewers rotation all but set, Willis will likely compete for a bullpen role this spring.

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