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2015 Baseball Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sat Jan 24th, 2015 08:55 am
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CanadianHorseman



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Sad news tonight.


from cbssports.com:


The great Ernie Banks, back in his prime.



Chicago Cubs legend and Hall of Fame shortstop Ernie Banks has died, the Cubs have announced.

“Words cannot express how important Ernie Banks will always be to the Chicago Cubs, the city of Chicago and Major League Baseball. He was one of the greatest players of all time,” said Cubs owner Tom Ricketts in a statement. “He was a pioneer in the major leagues. And more importantly, he was the warmest and most sincere person I've ever known.

“Approachable, ever optimistic and kind hearted, Ernie Banks is and always will be Mr. Cub. My family and I grieve the loss of such a great and good-hearted man, but we look forward to celebrating Ernie's life in the days ahead.”

Known for his fun-loving, positive attitude, "Mr. Cub" broke into Major League Baseball for the Cubs in 1953. Over the course of a 19-year career, all of which came with the Cubs, Banks would hit .274/.330/.500 with 407 doubles, 512 homers and 1636 RBI. He also racked up 2583 hits and 1305 runs.

The 12-time All-Star and two-time MVP led the NL in homers and RBI twice each and is still one of the best power-hitting shortstops in history -- though he did move to first base for the second portion of his career due to knee issues.

With Banks, though, the stats only tell a portion of the tale. His infectious personality won over the hearts of Cubs fans and opposing fans alike for years, despite him being stuck on so many bad Cubs teams. The Cubs' press release announcing his death specifically mentioned his "charm" and "wit."

"Let's play two," Ernie liked to say, suggesting a doubleheader was always better than just a single game in one day. How did it start? Well, he was quoted in the Houston Chronicle as having said the following in July of 1969:
"It was about 105 degrees in Chicago and that's a time when everybody gets tired. I came into the clubhouse and everybody was sitting around and I said, 'Beautiful day. Let's play two!' And everybody looked at me like I was crazy. There were a couple of writers around and they wrote that and it stayed with me."

In 1977, Banks was inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in his first ballot, receiving 83.8 percent of the vote.

In 1982, the Cubs retired Banks' No. 14, the first time in the history of the franchise a number was retired.

In 2008, an Ernie Banks statue was unveiled outside Wrigley Field on the third base side.

In 2013, Banks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, joining the likes of Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Stan Musial in gaining this honor.

All this from a man who grew up in segregation and played his first years of professional baseball in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs. He also served in the Army during the Korean War.

Quite a life, Mr. Banks. Rest in peace. You will truly be missed.



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 Posted: Sun Jan 25th, 2015 08:04 am
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lobo316
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Joe Kelly has set a lofty goal for the 2015 season.

The Boston Red Sox hurler predicted he would win the American League Cy Young Award during a radio appearance and later to reporters Saturday.

"Yeah, I'm going to win this year," Kelly said. "That's what I told the radio guys. They didn't believe me ... I always believe in myself, yeah, 100 percent. I just feel like I'm getting better every year."

The 26-year-old has started only 48 games in his major league career, and is relatively new to the confines of Fenway Park after being acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals along with Allen Craig on July 31 in the John Lackey trade. He owns a 21-16 lifetime record with a 3.41 ERA and 1.36 WHIP.

"When I got traded over, I lived in a hotel for two straight months," Kelly added. "I'm used to having my wife there, my two dogs, my bed, my clothes. I brought one suitcase and that's it. I lived in the hotel for two months. If you do that, it's kind of tough, whether you are a professional athlete or have any kind of job. I'm looking forward to actually having a home and decorating it myself."

Kelly has never earned more than 10 wins in a single season, and will likely need to double that total while keeping his ERA and WHIP in check in order to beat out some of the high-profile hurlers in the AL such as Felix Hernandez, Corey Kluber, David Price and Chris Sale for the award.

Everyone loves an underdog, but Kelly's chances of winning the Cy Young are slim to none, as he's never pitched more than 124 innings in three seasons.

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 Posted: Sun Jan 25th, 2015 08:05 am
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lobo316
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CHICAGO - The Chicago White Sox have hired six-time National League steals champion Vince Coleman as a baserunning instructor.

General manager Rick Hahn announced the hiring Saturday at the team's annual fan convention.

Coleman, the last player with 100 steals in a season when he finished with 109 in 1987, will work with major leaguers and minor leaguers throughout the season. The White Sox hope he can help Adam Eaton and others.

Eaton hit .300 and had a .362 on-base percentage last season - his first with Chicago. But he struggled on steals, getting thrown out on nine of 24 attempts.

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 Posted: Sun Jan 25th, 2015 08:06 am
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Alex Rodriguez is hoping an act of goodwill ingrains himself well with incoming commissioner Rob Manfred.

Rodriguez, who is eligible to return to baseball this spring after serving a 162-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis investigation, reportedly met with Manfred at Major League Baseball headquarters in New York last week. The embattled New York Yankees slugger initiated the meeting and attended it without lawyers or representation, according to the New York Post.

The nature of their discussion is unclear, though it's believed to be an attempt on Rodriguez's part to smooth over the lingering damage caused by his role in baseball's steroid scandal. Manfred, who will officially unseat commissioner Bud Selig on Sunday, was a central figure in the investigation that brought down Rodriguez and 13 other players.

From the Post:

The last time A-Rod had visited the building, on Nov. 20, 2013, he had exited in fury (or at least pretend fury) after independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz didn't allow Rodriguez's legal team to interrogate commissioner Bud Selig for his 211-game suspension of A-Rod. Rodriguez stood up in the hearing room, looked at Manfred and shouted an expletive - whether it was directed at Manfred specifically or commenting about the situation in general eternally will be open to interpretation, depending on your witness - and left the room and the building.

Because Selig didn't testify, A-Rod declared, he wouldn't testify either, although he would have open himself up to further trouble had he lied about the illegal performance-enhancing drug usage to which he later admitted to federal drug agents.

 

 



Rodriguez's suspension was eventually reduced to 162 games, but the fallout has created uncertainty regarding his return to baseball.

Following the arbitrator's decision, Manfred and Selig appeared on 60 Minutes and offered in great detail some of the evidence uncovered in MLB's investigation into Rodriguez and Biogenesis. Subsequent revelations led to rumors the Yankees were working to void the $61 million left on Rodrgiuez's contract.

For his part, Rodriguez has remained relatively quiet since the ruling. The 39-year-old is reportedly intent on competing for the Yankees' third base job and is said to be seeking hitting advice from home run king Barry Bonds.

Last edited on Sun Jan 25th, 2015 08:07 am by lobo316

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 Posted: Sun Jan 25th, 2015 08:54 am
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Minnesota Twins pitcher Tommy Milone said he's already throwing after doctors removed a benign tumor from his neck last month.

Milone, who missed nearly a month of action in September while suffering from neck inflammation, said he saw a specialist after the discomfort in his neck failed to dissipate following the season.

The Twins left-hander told MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger on Saturday that he began throwing just two weeks after the Dec. 4 procedure.

Milone, 27, was acquired by the Twins in July after spending the two previous seasons with the Oakland Athletics. He posted a 4.19 ERA and 1.40 WHIP across 21 starts in 2014.

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 Posted: Sun Jan 25th, 2015 08:15 pm
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The New York Yankees continue to distance themselves from Alex Rodriguez, even if their efforts are simply delaying the inevitable.

Rodriguez has reportedly been denied a chance to meet with the club and apologize face-to-face for his role in the Biogenesis scandal before players report to camp next month, according to the New York Daily News.

"We'll see you in spring training," the Yankees reportedly told the embattled slugger.

Rodriguez has already attempted to smooth things over with new commissioner Rob Manfred after serving a 162-game suspension. The three-time MVP reportedly met Manfred last week at Major League Baseball headquarters in New York.

Though the exact nature of their discussion is unclear, the Daily News reports Manfred told Rodriguez, "You're done here. You're a Yankee and you have to work things out now with them."

Apparently, the team isn't ready to just yet.

Sources told the Daily News that the collateral damage caused by Rodriguez and the Biogenesis scandal may be irreparable. From court room battles to public relation warfare, Rodriguez has several fences to mend prior to his re-entry into baseball.

From the Daily News:

Relations between Rodriguez, MLB and the Yankees became so heated in late 2013 and early 2014 that baseball executives and team officials hired extra security for protection, going so far as to have their homes and offices swept for bugging devices and employing bodyguards to accompany them, according to sources.

Behind the scenes, Rodriguez has reportedly remained steadfast in his desire to reclaim the Yankees' starting third base job, despite the resigning of Chase Headley.

The 39-year-old slugger is said to be working out as many as seven days a week and seeking hitting tips from Barry Bonds. One source told the Daily News that Rodriguez is noticeably thinner and appearing "massless" compared to previous years.

Rodriguez, who is owed $61 million over the next three years, hasn't appeared in a major league game in over 16 months. Despite the inaction, several milestones loom upon Rodriguez's anticipated return to baseball.

He needs just 61 hits to become the 29th player to collect 3,000 career hits, and is seven home runs away from passing Willie Mays on the all-time home run list. Rodriguez can also become the third player in MLB history to reach 2,000 RBIs by driving in 31 more runs.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 26th, 2015 05:22 pm
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Rob Manfred's tenure as commissioner of Major League Baseball isn't even 24 hours old and he's already proposing radical changes to the sport.

Manfred, who replaced Bud Selig on Sunday as baseball's new commissioner, says he's considering eliminating defensive shifts in an effort to inject more offense into baseball.

"Things like eliminating shifts, I would be open to those sorts of ideas," Manfred told ESPN in an exclusive interview. "We have really smart people working in the game and they're going to figure out ways to get a competitive advantage. I think it's incumbent upon us in the commissioner's office to look at the advantages produced and say, 'Is this what we want to happen in the game?'"

Though offense has been in steady decline across the league, Manfred's proposal to ban such forward-thinking strategy is sure to be met with resistance. Teams have long employed some iteration of the shift, but it wasn't until recently that the strategy began catching mainstream acceptance.

The Tampa Bay Rays are considered among the more aggressive teams at using the unorthodox realignment, sometimes out-shifting their opponent by a 2:1 ratio. The sabermetric-inspired shift relies on balls in play data to isolate a hitter's weaknesses and force them to adjust out of their comfort zone.

For instance, teams frequently stack the right side of the infield against David Ortiz to counter the Boston Red Sox slugger's pull-heavy approach.

Proponents of the shift argue defensive realignment isn't to blame for the downward trend in offense over the last two decades. Eno Sarris of FanGraphs points out that while the use of shifts has increased in recent years, league average rates of balls in play have remained virtually unchanged.

Strikeout rates, meanwhile, are at an all-time high and hitters are walking more infrequently than ever before.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, however, offers credence to Manfred's proposed notion after polling a pair of saber-friendly executives.

This is very telling: I ran Rob Manfred's idea to limit defensive shifts by two sabermetrically inclined GMs -- and both said they agree.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 25, 2015
Another hot-button topic Manfred discussed was pace of play. Manfred said he supports the idea of a pitch clock and suggests it's only a matter of time before the game is on a time limit.

"The fact that we had the guts to do it in the Fall League ... even the most traditional baseball people went to games and said, 'You know what? These games do feel different, and they feel better,'" Manfred said.

Manfred said his other priorities include growing the sport from a grassroots level, embracing technology without inferring with tradition, and fostering a greater bond between the players and league executives.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 26th, 2015 05:24 pm
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The Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly ended their pursuit of Baltimore Orioles executive Dan Duquette.

Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reports negotiations between the two clubs are over after Toronto refused to part with a pair of first-round draft picks in exchange for the Orioles vice president of baseball operations. The Blue Jays had targeted Duquette, whose contract with the Orioles runs through the 2018 season, to replace Paul Beeston as the club's next president and CEO.

Although the Blue Jays are not believed to have offered specific names during the negotiating process, Davidi reports Orioles managing partner Peter Angelos sought a package that included right-handed pitcher Jeff Hoffman and catcher Max Pentecost, the ninth and 11th overall picks in last year's draft.

From Davidi:

The Blue Jays are believed to have been willing to offer a package of minor-leaguers similar to past precedents - think fringe right-hander Chris Carpenter going from the Chicago Cubs to the Boston Red Sox for Theo Epstein - with the baseball departments of both clubs negotiating the names once a deal for Duquette was reached, and Major League Baseball acting as a mediator if needed (as it did in the Epstein case).

A previous report noted that Beeston would remain in his role through the end of this year while ownership continued to search for his replacement.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 26th, 2015 09:27 pm
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The New York Yankees would rather Alex Rodriguez didn't return to baseball this season, but if he does, they're reportedly going to great lengths to ensure it happens on their terms.

After signing A-Rod's replacement to a four-year deal and reportedly rejecting his offer to make peace before training camp, the Yankees are looking to hurt Rodriguez where it matters most: his bank account.

The Yankees are working to void marketing bonuses written into Rodriguez's contract that could net him up to $24 million if he passes Barry Bonds' all-time home run mark of 762, Bill Madden from the New York Daily News reported Sunday. These incentives are above and beyond the $61 million owed to him over the next three seasons.

Although it's unlikely the 39-year-old has another 109 homers left in his career, the milestone clause includes a number of more attainable triggers should Rodriguez stay healthy.

Rodriguez, who has reportedly been seeking the hitting advice of Bonds, needs just six more home runs to tie Willie Mays' 660 and earn an additional $6 million. The marketing deal would also pay the embattled slugger $6 million in bonuses for tying Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755).

Sources tell the Daily News that the Yankees intend to argue that Rodriguez's actions since signing his 10-year, $272-million contract in 2007 have rendered the marketing opportunities worthless.

The three-time MVP was suspended 162 games last winter for his role in the Biogenesis scandal and reportedly admitted to federal investigators that he paid $12,000 a month for steroids and performance-enhancing drugs.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 26th, 2015 10:50 pm
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Please Delete - wrong thread.




Last edited on Mon Jan 26th, 2015 11:13 pm by CanadianHorseman



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 Posted: Mon Jan 26th, 2015 10:51 pm
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Please Delete - wrong thread.

Last edited on Mon Jan 26th, 2015 11:13 pm by CanadianHorseman



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 Posted: Mon Jan 26th, 2015 11:43 pm
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Give Rob Manfred credit: two days into his new job as commissioner of Major League Baseball and he's already inspiring spirited debate.

Manfred's first day as commissioner included signing the 2015 baseball, outlining his top five priorities, and writing an open letter to fans - all of which occurred before he even arrived at MLB headquarters for his first official day in office.


Manfred's media tour included an interview with Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, where he discussed the possibility of a designated hitter in the National League and whether baseball will ever return to Montreal.

Here's an excerpt of what he told the Times:

National League DH

I have never experienced one moment of mental dissonance over the fact that the American League has it and the National League doesn't. I just never have. It's interesting, right now, given where offense is in our game. I can't see the American League clubs giving it up, and right now, given the composition of our National League owners, I don't see them buying into it. So I think we’re staying where we are.



Baseball returning to Montreal

Look, I think Montreal helped itself as a candidate for Major League Baseball with the Toronto games that they had up there last year. It's hard to miss how many people showed up for those exhibition games. It was a strong showing. Montreal's a great city. I think with the right set of circumstances and the right facility, it’s possible.

Sponsored jerseys

There was more chatter about that in the game 10 years ago than there is now. It's just not a hot issue for us. I think people have great respect for the way our uniforms look. I don't foresee that one; I really don't.

Manfred was also asked during a interview with ESPN's Jerry Crasnick about the status of Pete Rose and whether the new commissioner would consider overturning his lifetime ban.

Cincinnati is hosting this year's All-Star Game and the team has already said it plans to include baseball's all-time hits leader in the festivities.

"It's always been a commissioner-only issue," Manfred said. "I understand I have to get completely conversant and deal with whatever request comes my way from Mr. Rose. I'm just not at a point in time where I can say anything intelligent about it. I do, however, recognize that it's an issue.''

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 Posted: Tue Jan 27th, 2015 05:03 pm
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The Toronto Blue Jays announced a one-year contract extension with longtime president and CEO Paul Beeston on Monday evening, barely 24 hours after the club reportedly stopped their pursuit of Baltimore Orioles executive Dan Duquette.

Beeston's future with the Blue Jays grew increasingly uncertain after reports indicating the team was eager to pry Duquette from the Orioles and have him serve as Beeston's replacement surfaced earlier this offseason.

The Orioles, however, wanted compensation for Duquette, and negotiations between the two clubs fizzled after Toronto refused to part with Jeff Hoffman and Max Pentecost, who were both selected in the first round of the 2014 draft.

Beeston, who became the Blue Jays' first employee in 1976, will retire after the 2015 campaign.

"Beeston's successor will start when he retires," the Blue Jays said in a press release. "We will not be commenting on the succession process or timing."

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 Posted: Tue Jan 27th, 2015 05:04 pm
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The Seattle Mariners added a pair of familiar faces to their list of spring training invitees on Monday by agreeing to minor-league contracts with veteran outfielders Franklin Gutierrez and Endy Chavez.

Gutierrez's career has been derailed by persistent injury problems, and the 31-year-old missed the entire 2014 campaign due to a joint condition known as ankylosing spondylitis and severe stomach problems caused by irritable bowel syndrome. The Venezuela native boasts a .256/.306/.391 line (90 OPS+) over parts of nine seasons in the majors, and managed a 111 OPS+ with 14 homers over 81 games between 2012 and 2013.

Chavez, meanwhile, spent the last two seasons with the Mariners, compiling a .271/.303/.347 line (87 OPS+) over 537 plate appearances while serving as a reserve outfielder.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 27th, 2015 05:39 pm
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The Cincinnati Reds locked up All-Star catcher Devin Mesoraco on a four-year, $28-million contract extension Monday, the team announced.

Mesoraco can also reportedly earn $2 million in bonuses over the duration of the contract, which buys out his first three years of arbitration and initial season of free agency.

Mesoraco, who is arbitration eligible for the first time in his career this winter, was said to be seeking an annual salary of $3.6 million. The Reds countered with $2.45 million when the two sides exchanged figures earlier this month.

By giving up a year of free agency and remaining under club control through his age-30 season, Mesoraco appears to have earned himself a considerable raise at an annual average value of $7 million per season. The 26-year-old made $525,000 last year.

The 2007 first-round pick led major-league catchers with 25 home runs during his breakout 2014 season, setting career highs in virtually every offensive category.

Mesoraco slashed .273/.359/.534 across 114 games and paced all catchers with an .893 OPS (minimum 440 plate appearances).

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