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MLB Off Season Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Fri Mar 18th, 2016 04:35 pm
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lobo316
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Justin Morneau generated little noise as a free agent this winter, and the veteran first baseman will remain unemployed for the foreseeable future, too, after undergoing surgery in December to repair a tendon in his elbow that won't allow him to swing a bat until June.

"I had left elbow surgery Dec. 22," Morneau said in an e-mail to La Velle E. Neal III of the Star-Tribune. "I went into the offseason thinking what I had was just tendonitis. It was a problem that began last year in spring training and that I dealt with all year. I rested like I was supposed to and was optimistic it would be better by the time it needed to be."

Morneau, who managed an .821 OPS for the Colorado Rockies last season but appeared in just 49 games due to concussion problems, expected his elbow trouble (which first surfaced last spring) to dissipate with rest, but opted to go for more tests after seeing little improvement this winter. Surgery was prescribed, and Morneau was upfront about his situation when teams came calling, but no club was willing to sign him and allow him to continue his rehab under their stewardship. Still, he hasn't given up on playing in 2016.

"As of now, I will do the rehab on my own and see how I feel going through that process and will make a decision on my future at a later date," Morneau said. "I have not ruled out returning to play this year at some point."

Despite battling a spate of injury problems throughout his career, Morneau is a four-time All-Star and a former MVP who remained productive at the plate during his injury-riddled tenure in Colorado. Though he played just 184 games over the last two seasons, the British Columbia native hit .316/.363/.487 (120 OPS+) with 20 homers and 42 doubles over that span. Among Canadian-born position players, he ranks sixth all time in WAR, too.

"My five-year-old daughter asked my wife the other day, 'Do you think Daddy is sad?'" Morneau said. "My wife asked why and she responded, 'Because he doesn't get to play baseball anymore.' So my wife asked her if she liked watching Daddy play baseball, and she responded, 'I like to watch him hit.'"

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 Posted: Fri Mar 18th, 2016 08:01 pm
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lobo316
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The Tampa Bay Rays will be without their closer for the early part of the 2016 campaign.

Brad Boxberger will miss the next eight weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a core muscle, manager Kevin Cash announced Friday.

Boxberger, an All-Star for the first time in 2015, made two appearances this spring before nagging discomfort prompted the Rays to send him to a specialist. After being diagnosed with a tear in his abductor muscle, Boxberger underwent surgery Thursday that will sideline him for the first month of the regular season.

Though the Rays won't name an official closer in Boxberger's absence, Cash noted that the club will fill his role internally.

"Obviously it's a blow because he's so valuable to our team, to our staff and especially at the back end of a game, but we have a number of guys that could try to fill that void for the first month of the year, and will have some opportunities that will present itself for some more bullpen arms," Cash told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.


Last year, after a strong first season with the Rays, Boxberger landed the closer's job out of spring training, as incumbent Jake McGee was forced to open the season on the disabled list. Despite notching just three saves in parts of three major-league seasons prior to 2015, Boxberger thrived in the ninth-inning role, leading the American League with 41 saves while posting a 3.71 ERA with a 27.3 percent strikeout rate over a career-high 69 appearances.

With Boxberger now out until early May, Cash will likely entrust Alex Colome, left-hander Xavier Cedeno, and/or newcomer Danny Farquhar with ninth-inning opportunities.

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 Posted: Fri Mar 18th, 2016 08:03 pm
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lobo316
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Right-handed pitcher Brad Penny has decided to retire after 14 major-league seasons.

The 37-year-old was in camp with the Toronto Blue Jays on a minor-league contract. He last pitched in the majors in 2014.

Manager John Gibbons says the veteran informed him on Friday.

Penny was a key member of the 2003 Florida Marlins, and his two wins over the New York Yankees in that year's World Series helped the Marlins earn a surprising championship. He later made a pair of All-Star appearances with the Los Angeles Dodgers and led the NL in wins in 2006.

Penny spent time with the Marlins, Dodgers, Red Sox, Giants, Cardinals, and Tigers over his career, and also pitched one season for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan.

He finishes his career sporting a 121-101 record, 4.29 ERA, and 1,273 strikeouts across 349 big-league appearances.

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 Posted: Fri Mar 18th, 2016 10:50 pm
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lobo316 wrote: Right-handed pitcher Brad Penny has decided to retire after 14 major-league seasons.

The 37-year-old was in camp with the Toronto Blue Jays on a minor-league contract. He last pitched in the majors in 2014.

The Blue Jays wouldn't let him bring his son into the clubhouse either?



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 Posted: Sun Mar 20th, 2016 05:09 am
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lobo316
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Andrew McCutchen hasn't hit in the No. 2 spot since April 25, 2010, but that may change when the 2016 season kicks off.

Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is considering moving the 2013 NL MVP up in the order from his customary No. 3 slot.

Hurdle's way of thinking about crafting his lineup - specifically, his use of the No. 3 hole - has changed, he told ESPN's Jayson Stark. His brief chats on the subject with McCutchen have led Hurdle to believe he'd be open to the change.

"Andrew is a sharp guy, a team guy," Hurdle said. "And I told him his challenge is my challenge. It's that 'the No. 3 thing' isn’t really a 'thing.' And we make it a 'thing,' because I've seen on paper now that it’s not what I thought it was."

Teams across baseball have begun to hit their best players second in recent years to try to get them to the plate more often. The last two AL MVPs, Josh Donaldson and Mike Trout, both won the award while primarily hitting out of the second slot.

Hurdle's already envisioned what a lineup with his franchise player batting second might look like, and believes it could ultimately open up opportunities to utilize his team's speed.

"Sometimes it’s hard for base-stealers to run in front of Andrew, because they don't want to give up an out on the bases," Hurdle explained. "So maybe (Josh) Harrison could be down behind McCutchen. (Gregory) Polanco could be down behind McCutchen. Does that free them up to be more aggressive on the bases and steal more bases?"

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 Posted: Sun Mar 20th, 2016 05:10 am
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lobo316
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It took a bit of self-review to convince C.J. Wilson something was wrong.

After recovering from surgery to remove bone chips and spurs from his elbow last season, the Los Angeles Angels southpaw attempted to compensate for the injury in spring training only to then injure his shoulder in the process. Upon watching footage of himself in action, Wilson knew he had to re-work his entire delivery.

"I looked at the video and said 'This isn't right,'" he said, according to Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register. "I have to scuttle the whole thing and start over again."

Wilson added that along with the pain, he knew his diminished velocity was also proving to be an issue with his former pitching style.

"A lefty that throws straight over the top and throws 80 mph isn't going to be able to get anybody out," Wilson said. "That was basically what was going to happen if I went out and kept pitching."

The left-hander owned one of baseball's most reliable deliveries between 2010 and 2013. In the four seasons, he threw an average 210 innings, crafted a 3.37 ERA, and earned two All-Star nods in 2011 and 2012 with the Texas Rangers and Angels, respectively.

But with nagging injuries catching up to the 35-year-old, Wilson told Fletcher that he has "recreated a new delivery that is different with a different arm slot and everything. So I throw completely different now than I did last year. I won't even look like the same pitcher."

Despite all the talk of change, however, skipper Mike Scioscia doesn't feel the new mechanics are that far of a jump from before.

"He's dropped down a little before," Scioscia said. "He's just trying to find a comfortable arm slot with a release point now."

Wilson - who will earn $20 million in the final year of his contract - is likely to begin the upcoming season on the disabled list after missing a substantial amount of spring training action.

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 Posted: Sun Mar 20th, 2016 05:12 am
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lobo316
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Legendary play-by-play man Vin Scully has become as big a part of the Los Angeles Dodgers as any player on the club.

To commemorate the Hall of Fame announcer's final year with the team, the Dodgers have elected to grace the cover of the club's 2016 media guide with a timeless photo of the broadcaster himself.

For his final season, Vin Scully graces the cover of the Dodgers' 2016 media guide: pic.twitter.com/nSTvKjpid2

— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) March 19, 2016
It's not the only honor for Scully this year, either. The city of Los Angeles renamed the road leading up to Dodger Stadium from Elysian Park Avenue to "Vin Scully Avenue" in January.

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 Posted: Sun Mar 20th, 2016 05:12 am
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lobo316
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Edwin Encarnacion isn't optimistic about his chances of remaining with the Toronto Blue Jays beyond this season.

"I'm really disappointed that nothing has happened, but it's not my decision," Encarnacion told the Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott on Saturday. "They don't have it in their plans for me to stay here."

A report surfaced earlier this week that Encarnacion and the Blue Jays had hit a roadblock in negotiations over potential contract length. The slugger also revealed the two sides hadn't even discussed money yet.

Encarnacion has a self-imposed Opening Day deadline for a contract extension, so it's likely he'll hit the open market this fall if a deal isn't struck by the time the regular season opens on April 3.

"I tried to do the best for my team, I feel as if I have done all I can do for my team," Encarnacion added. "I want to be here for a long time."

Encarnacion has not yet suited up this spring due to a strained oblique and a dental emergency, and there's still no timetable for him to return to game action.

The 33-year-old hit .277/.372/.557 with 39 home runs and 111 RBIs in 146 games for Toronto last season.

Jose Bautista is also slated to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2016 campaign, complicating matters for Toronto's front office.

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 Posted: Tue Mar 22nd, 2016 04:27 am
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lobo316
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Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench is the game's latest legend to speak out against baseball's great bat flip debate.

Calling into the The Rich Eisen Show on Monday, the former Cincinnati Reds backstop responded to Bryce Harper's call for more emotion in baseball, saying those who flipped their bat in Bench's playing days were promptly dealt with their next time up.


"You can flip your bat. We had guys do that ... and the next time up there was chin music. And if you want to play that way, that's fine," he said. "Bring back the excitement? OK, we'll bring back the brushback pitch, the knockdown pitch. That's all part of the excitement."

Bench is just one of several Hall of Famers who feel baseball should still be played with a sense of old-school respect, while a plethora of young, current MLB stars feel more authentic displays of on-field passion are warranted.

"I know a lot of the old-timers and a lot of people who watched baseball forever would love to see somebody have a little chin music," Bench continued. "If you want to do that, fine. Flip the bat, run around any way you want, but just expect the next time you come up to the plate, you better watching how much you dig into that batter's box."

Bench, a 14-time All-Star played 17 seasons in MLB - all with the Reds - between 1967 and 1983. He was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1989 with 96.42 percent of the votes.

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 Posted: Wed Mar 23rd, 2016 05:56 pm
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lobo316
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Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier will be sidelined for the next 10-to-14 weeks after a bone scan revealed he suffered a fractured right tibia when he fouled a pitch off his shin on Friday.

The Dodgers announced the diagnosis Tuesday after Ethier was sent for additional testing to determine the extent of his injury. X-rays on Friday showed no broken bones, and Ethier's been on crutches ever since he was carted off from the Dodgers' exhibition game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team said he won't require surgery.

Ethier, who turns 34 next month, batted .294/.366/.486 with 14 homers in 395 at-bats last season, and was projected to be the Dodgers' starting left fielder in 2016. In his absence, which could extend to the beginning of July, Carl Crawford is expected to see a boost in playing time after already being assured this spring that there would be "a lot of at-bats" for him playing behind Ethier. Scott Van Slyke, who owns an .858 career OPS against left-handers, could also see an uptick in action when there's a southpaw on the mound.

Ethier, who's been the subject of persistent trade rumors in recent seasons, will earn an $18-million salary this year. He remains under contract next season at a value of $17.5 million, and carries a club option at that same figure for 2018.

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 Posted: Wed Mar 23rd, 2016 07:29 pm
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lobo316 wrote: Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench is the game's latest legend to speak out against baseball's great bat flip debate.

Calling into the The Rich Eisen Show on Monday, the former Cincinnati Reds backstop responded to Bryce Harper's call for more emotion in baseball, saying those who flipped their bat in Bench's playing days were promptly dealt with their next time up.


"You can flip your bat. We had guys do that ... and the next time up there was chin music. And if you want to play that way, that's fine," he said. "Bring back the excitement? OK, we'll bring back the brushback pitch, the knockdown pitch. That's all part of the excitement."

Bench is just one of several Hall of Famers who feel baseball should still be played with a sense of old-school respect, while a plethora of young, current MLB stars feel more authentic displays of on-field passion are warranted.

"I know a lot of the old-timers and a lot of people who watched baseball forever would love to see somebody have a little chin music," Bench continued. "If you want to do that, fine. Flip the bat, run around any way you want, but just expect the next time you come up to the plate, you better watching how much you dig into that batter's box."

Bench, a 14-time All-Star played 17 seasons in MLB - all with the Reds - between 1967 and 1983. He was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1989 with 96.42 percent of the votes.

I have no problem with that either.  One of the problems is that the players can no longer police themselves because of all these stupid warnings, often for inside pitches that clearly aren't intentional.  I'd like to see more emotion and more brush-backs.



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 Posted: Wed Mar 23rd, 2016 08:42 pm
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Forget the brushback pitch. Just drill the guy in the back on the first pitch on his next AB



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 Posted: Wed Mar 23rd, 2016 08:42 pm
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Benlen



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Forget the brushback pitch. Just drill the guy in the back on the first pitch on his next AB



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 Posted: Wed Mar 23rd, 2016 11:53 pm
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lobo316
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New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez will retire when his contract expires after the 2017 season, the slugger told ESPN's Andrew Marchand.

"I won't play after next year," Rodriguez said Wednesday. "I've really enjoyed my time. For me, it is time for me to go home and be dad."

A-Rod is set to make $21 million in each of the next two seasons, and can earn significantly more in marketing bonuses for continuing his ascent up the all-time home run list.

He'll need to average 14 homers over the final two years of his career to pass Babe Ruth for third on the list, 34.5 to pass Hank Aaron for second, and 38 to surpass Barry Bonds' mark of 762 long balls.

After serving a year-long doping suspension, the controversial slugger hit .250/.356/.486 with 33 homers and 86 RBIs in 151 contests for the Yankees last season.

Rodriguez will turn 41 on July 27, and is entering his 22nd big-league season.

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 Posted: Thu Mar 24th, 2016 05:40 pm
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lobo316 wrote: New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez will retire when his contract expires after the 2017 season, the slugger told ESPN's Andrew Marchand.

"I won't play after next year," Rodriguez said Wednesday. "I've really enjoyed my time. For me, it is time for me to go home and be dad."

A-Rod is set to make $21 million in each of the next two seasons, and can earn significantly more in marketing bonuses for continuing his ascent up the all-time home run list.

He'll need to average 14 homers over the final two years of his career to pass Babe Ruth for third on the list, 34.5 to pass Hank Aaron for second, and 38 to surpass Barry Bonds' mark of 762 long balls.

After serving a year-long doping suspension, the controversial slugger hit .250/.356/.486 with 33 homers and 86 RBIs in 151 contests for the Yankees last season.

Rodriguez will turn 41 on July 27, and is entering his 22nd big-league season.

A-Rod has denied the reports, saying he was misquoted and was only talking about looking towards the end of his contract, not necessarily retiring at that point.  As usual, A-Rod has to create controversy where there was none.  Just leave already.



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