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MLB Off Season Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2015 07:36 pm
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lobo316



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Former major-league pitcher Tommy Hanson died late Monday after falling into a coma, the Atlanta Braves confirmed.

The 29-year-old was reportedly taken to the hospital Sunday and suffered catastrophic organ failure, according to Zach Klein of WSB.

Several of Hanson's former teammates were near him at Atlanta's Piedmont Hospital when he passed, while others took to Twitter to express their condolences.

Very sad to hear about Tommy Hanson. Wish his family and close friends a lot of strength. He was a really nice dude. :/

— Andrelton Simmons (@Andrelton) November 10, 2015
Thoughts and prayers to the family of Tommy Hanson. Great guy and competitor. RIP

— Josh Reddick (@RealJoshReddick) November 10, 2015
Hanson, who broke into the league with the Braves in 2009 and also pitched for the Los Angeles Angels during his five-year career, hasn't appeared in the majors since 2013 after injuries set him back. He spent last season with Triple-A Sacramento, going 3-5 with a 5.60 ERA across 11 starts.

Selected in the 22nd round of the 2005 draft, the hurler affectionately known as "Big Red" finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2009 after going 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA. He spent four seasons in Atlanta before he was traded to Los Angeles in 2012, and bounced around the minor leagues the last two seasons.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2015 07:37 pm
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Yasiel Puig didn't live up to high expectations during an injury-plagued 2015 campaign, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping he shows up to spring training in the best shape of his life.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and his team of executives attended the annual GM meetings Monday, and Friedman revealed losing weight may be key for Puig's success moving forward.

"He has continued to get bigger and stronger each year," Friedman said. "It may not be the optimal size for him to play 150 games, 150-plus games."

The outfielder is listed at 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds, and hit .255 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs in 79 games last season.

Puig is working with Brandon McDaniel, the team's strength and conditioning coach, this offseason in an attempt to return to his 2014 All-Star form.

Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson, Carl Crawford, and Scott Van Slyke will also vie for playing time in the outfield next year, so Puig could be the odd man out if he can't rebound from his lackluster season.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2015 07:39 pm
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Major League Baseball has acted swiftly after reports surfaced Monday that Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was arrested in Hawaii on Halloween for allegedly assaulting his wife.

The league issued the following statement:

As evidenced by our Joint Domestic Violence Policy, Major League Baseball understands the seriousness of the issues surrounding domestic violence, and our Policy explicitly recognizes the harm resulting from such acts. Consistent with the terms of this policy, the Commissioner's Office already has begun its investigation into the facts and circumstances. Any action taken by the Commissioner's Office in this matter will be wholly in according with this Policy.

The Rockies also addressed the situation early Tuesday morning, stating they'll look into the allegations in accordance with MLB's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.


Under MLB's domestic violence policy, players can be suspended with pay while legal charges are pending in "exceptional cases."

Reyes is set to make $22 million next season, and under contract through the 2017 season with a club option for 2018.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2015 07:42 pm
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Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols finally underwent right foot surgery last week after struggling through the final month of the season.

Pujols isn't expected to resume baseball activities for another four-and-a-half months, putting his projected recovery at some time in late March, and making his availability for the beginning of the 2016 season in jeopardy.

"The surgery, as expected, went very well," general manager Billy Eppler said in a statement. "Albert will continue rehabbing in the Kansas City area throughout the winter and is expected to resume full baseball activities in four-and-a-half months."

The 35-year-old is coming off a bounce-back season in which he was an All-Star and hit 40 home runs, but was relegated to designated hitting duties for most of September due to a sore right foot.

Pujols hit just .224/.294/.421 with five home runs and nine strikeouts over his final 28 games, as he underwent multiple injections in order to help alleviate some of the pain.

The Angels have numerous holes in their lineup they'll look to address in the offseason, including in left field, DH, third base, and second base, making the potential of Pujols not being ready to start the season somewhat more worrisome.

Pujols has six years and $165 million remaining on his deal with the Angels, which he signed prior to the 2012 season.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2015 07:43 pm
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BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Boston Red Sox want to see less of Hanley Ramirez next season.

New Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski met with Ramirez and agent Adam Katz at the site of the general managers' meetings and discussed the team's plan to move Ramirez to first base.

Dombrowski wants Ramirez to drop some pounds.

''He's not overweight 245. He's big and huge 245. We would rather have a more svelte 230 type of weight,'' Dombrowski said Monday.

Ramirez, 31, agreed to an $88 million, four-year contract with Boston last November and shifted from shortstop to left field, where he struggled. He hit .249 with 19 homers and 53 RBIs, his season cut short in late August because of a sore right shoulder.

Dombrowski said the team was ''not giving him a mandatory weight, by any means.'' The Red Sox want Ramirez to be ''more athletic, more focused on hitting doubles, using the whole field, driving in runs than worried about hitting the ball out of the ballpark for 40 home runs.''

''Sometimes I think when you play left field or you play first, you put in your own mind that you have to be a power hitter, and that's not the case at all,'' Dombrowski said. ''He'll hit enough home runs.''

Dombrowski said he asked for the meeting, which took place Sunday and lasted about 45 minutes.

''I just wanted to make sure that we were all on the same page going into the winter time,'' Dombrowski explained. ''I said we're counting on him for big things next year. We're counting on him to be our first baseman. I asked if he thought he could play first base and he said, `I can play short, second and third base, I can play first base.' He seemed comfortable with it.''

Ramirez's shoulder is pain-free, according to Dombrowski. Dan Dyrek, Boston's director of sports medicine services, met with Ramirez's conditioning consultant, and Ramirez will be working out with Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2015 07:44 pm
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BOCA RATON, Fla. - CC Sabathia is not guaranteed a spot in the New York Yankees' starting rotation. Right now, no pitcher is.

After a third straight subpar season, the 35-year-old left-hander left the team on the final day of the regular season and entered treatment the next day for alcoholism.

Sabathia was part of a rotation this year that included Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi. They were joined by Adam Warren early in the season and Ivan Nova when he returned from Tommy John surgery. Later in the year, rookie Luis Severino was added to the rotation and pitched impressively.

As of now, all seven are returning.

''We've got a lot of guys that are going to be vying for those five spots,'' Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Monday at the annual GMs meetings.

Sabathia was 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA in 29 starts. When he returned from the disabled list, he used a new knee brace and went 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his final five starts.

''I like what CC did for us down the stretch in September,'' Cashman said. ''Once he got the knee brace perfected, he was a successful pitcher for that short period of time and very effective. So certainly the hope is that he would be a viable member of that rotation. So let's just see how the winter shakes out first. I'm not guaranteeing anybody anything.''

Cashman hopes Sabathia ''found that secret formula that allowed him to get full extension over the rubber to finish off his pitches.''

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2015 07:45 pm
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St. Louis Cardinals top pitching prospect Alex Reyes has seen his path to the major leagues hit a speed bump.

The 21-year-old was issued a 50-game suspension without pay on Monday following a second positive test for marijuana. The suspension is effective immediately, and prevents Reyes from participating further in the Arizona Fall League.

"I take full responsibility for my actions and apologize for disappointing my family, fans, teammates, and the St. Louis Cardinals organization," Reyes said in a statement, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. "I acknowledge my inappropriate behavior and will accept the consequences. Baseball is my passion, and I will do everything in my power to put this behind me and move forward."

Reyes was pulled from the AFL on Saturday, prior to his scheduled start for the West Divsion in the Fall Stars Game. The right-hander was projected to crack the Cardinals' major-league roster at some point in 2016 after going 5-7 with a 2.49 ERA and 151 strikeouts in 101 1/3 innings across three minor-league levels last season, topping out in Double-A.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2015 07:46 pm
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CLEVELAND - Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley had surgery on his right shoulder and will need up to six months to recover.

The team said Brantley underwent an arthroscopic procedure Monday to repair a small tear in his labrum. Brantley injured his shoulder trying to make a diving catch in Minnesota on Sept. 22. He received a cortisone shot and tried to play down the stretch as the Indians fought for a wild-card berth.

The club's best all-around player, Brantley battled injuries throughout last season. He batted .310 with 15 homers, an AL-leading 45 doubles and 84 RBIs in 137 games - the fewest he's played since 2011.

The 28-year-old had a breakout season in 2014, when he batted .327, made the All-Star team and finished third in MVP voting.

Brantley began last season with a sore back that flared up during spring training.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2015 07:47 pm
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BALTIMORE - A collection of memorabilia put up for auction by Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson has earned $1.44 million for charity.

Robinson provided nearly his entire collection - except for his Hall of Fame ring - to Heritage Auctions. The online auction concluded on Saturday.

Robinson's 1964 American League Most Valuable Player Award drew the highest bid, closing at $155,350. His 1966 World Series ring drew $131,450, and his 1970 championship ring garnered $143,400.

His 1970 Gold Glove - one of 16 he collected during his career - went for $54,970.

Other items for sale included Robinson's birth certificate, his 1955 rookie contract with the Baltimore Orioles and his 1957 baseball card.

All the proceeds will go to the Constance & Brooks Robinson Charitable Foundation.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2015 07:48 pm
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TOKYO - Nippon Professional Baseball has banned three Yomiuri Giants pitchers indefinitely after they were found to have bet on baseball games.

NPB commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki announced the decision on Tuesday.

Professional players in Japan can be banned for a definite period, indefinitely or permanently. NPB's charter stipulates indefinite bans can be lifted by the commissioner after five years if a player appeals after maintaining good conduct.

Yomiuri pitchers Satoshi Fukuda, Shoki Kasahara and Ryuya Matsumoto all admitted to betting on games during questioning by police. The three were not involved in any game-fixing or betting on their own team.

The Giants said they have terminated the contracts of the three players. Gambling on sports is illegal in Japan and is a violation of NPB's charter.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2015 07:59 pm
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Awards season is now officially underway. Matt Harvey and Prince Fielder were named the Comeback Players of the Year last week, and, on Monday, the 2015 Players Choice Awards were announced.

The Players Choice Awards are voted on by members of the players' union. I'm guessing many players feel being recognized by your peers is a greater honor than being recognized by the BBWAA with the major end-of-season awards. Here's a recap of the 2015 Players Choice Awards winners.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Outstanding Player: Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
Outstanding Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel, Astros
Outstanding Rookie: Carlos Correa, Astros
Comeback Player: Prince Fielder, Rangers

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Outstanding Player: Bryce Harper, Nationals
Outstanding Pitcher: Zack Greinke, Dodgers
Outstanding Rookie: Kris Bryant, Cubs
Comeback Player: Matt Harvey, Mets

OTHER AWARDS

Player of the Year: Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
Marvin Miller Man of the Year: Adam Jones, Orioles
Majestic Athletic Always Game Award: Jose Altuve, Astros

Once again, Donaldson beat out Harper for a 2015 Player of the Year Award. He beat him out for the Sporting News award earlier this offseason.

The Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award is quite prestigious. It is given annually to the player "whose on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire others to higher levels of achievement." Previous winners include Clayton Kershaw, Mariano Rivera and Chipper Jones.

The Players Choice Awards help benefit worthy causes as well. A donation is made to the charity of each winner's choice. A total of $260,000 was donated to various charities this year.

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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 02:51 am
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St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn will miss the 2016 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.

Lynn, 28, made 31 regular-season starts for the club in 2015, posting a 12-11 record with a 3.03 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.

He pitched just one inning of relief for the Cardinals in the postseason, allowing an earned run on one hit while striking out two in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs.

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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 02:52 am
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There could be a supply and demand issue this offseason in regards to moving high-leverage relievers.

Trade winds are beginning to swirl as the GM meetings commence in Boca Raton, Fla., and there seems to be a trend in preliminary trade discussions.

"Everyone's closer is available," a GM told CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. "People, especially the young GMs, have no fear of trading their closer."

One closer generating a significant amount of buzz on the market is Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Mark Melancon. According to two rival GMs, the top closer in the National League is "out there for the taking."

Melancon, 30, recorded a league-leading 51 saves, blowing only two chances all season. He worked to a 2.23 ERA and 0.93 WHIP while striking out 62 batters over 76 2/3 innings of work.

Other high-leverage arms being heavily discussed include Texas Rangers righty Shawn Tolleson, Philadelphia Phillies fireballer Ken Giles, and Washington Nationals back-enders Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen.

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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 02:53 am
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NEW YORK - With the New York Yankees locked into players at most positions, manager Joe Girardi says trades are a possibility.

''I think we're always trying to figure out ways to improve the club and sometimes it's not necessarily through the free-agent route,'' he said Tuesday. ''It can be through trade routes, and we had some success in the trades that we made last year.''

On a chilly, rainy morning, Girardi was thinking ahead to spring training and the pursuit of the team's first title since 2009.

''Obviously I like the guys on our club and I love how hard they played last year for us, but the goal is to win and to win a World Series,'' Girardi said. ''I think when you talk about that, you've got to look at every avenue you can to improve your club.''

Even closer Andrew Miller and the bullpen could be discussed in trade talk.

''Yes, that was the strength of our club,'' Girardi said. ''Those guys pitched extremely well and were dominant, and if we had the lead after six innings we won ballgames, but if we feel that it will improve our club I'm sure we'll try to make a deal.''

New York's most obvious place to upgrade is second base, where switch-hitting Ben Zobrist and right-handed-hitting Howie Kendrick are available as free agents. Midsummer acquisition Dustin Ackley and rookies Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela are the top holdovers.

''We're just going to have to see how the roster shakes out,'' Girardi said. ''I thought Ref did a pretty decent job at the end of the year for us, especially when he didn't play for 18 or 19 days which was really pretty amazing, so let's just see how the offseason goes and we'll go from there.''

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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 02:53 am
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Don't expect Daniel Murphy to shift from Citi Field to Yankee Stadium in the near future.

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was asked Monday about potentially upgrading at second base this fall and, more specifically, whether New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy would be a fit for his club.

"We have two offensive-profile players already at that position," Cashman told the New York Post, referring to Rob Refsnyder and Dustin Ackley. "I think if we did any changing there, it would be seeking more balance on both sides of the ball."

Murphy, who's pondering a one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer from the Mets, could hit the open market next week. His Herculean effort at the plate powered the Mets' deep playoff run, but he may have soured potential suitors with two critical errors in the World Series.

Related: Murphy on costly error: 'We lost the ballgame because of it'

Murphy hit an incredible .328/.391/.724 with seven homers and 11 RBIs in 14 postseason games, and will likely command a multi-year deal on the open market if he doesn't accept the Mets' qualifying offer.

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