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2016 - 2017 MLB Off-Season  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2017 11:44 pm
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lobo316



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The Washington Nationals appear to have added some extra depth to their already strong roster, as the club has agreed to a deal with first baseman Adam Lind, a source told ESPN's Jim Bowden.

Lind's agreement is for one year, with a club option, and is pending a physical, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Financials of the deal were not reported.

Lind spent the 2016 campaign with the Seattle Mariners, appearing in 126 games after being acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in a 2015 trade.

The 33-year-old, left-handed hitting Lind will likely split time at first base with Ryan Zimmerman, who hit a career-low .218/.272/.370 last season and struggled to a .632 OPS against right-handed pitching.

Lind, on the other hand, swatted 19 home runs against right-handers in 2016, and owns a career OPS of .849 against righties.

The one-time Silver Slugger has swatted 186 home runs and drove in 664 runs during an 11-year career split between the Mariners, Brewers, and Toronto Blue Jays.

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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2017 11:45 pm
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Longtime Boston Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy announced Monday he's being treated for a relapse of lung cancer.

The 64-year-old former major leaguer was first diagnosed in 2008 and underwent surgery to remove the cancer from his lung. He suffered a relapse in 2013, but did not miss any time in the booth during his recovery.

Remy said the cancer is currently under control and he does not believe it will interfere with working this season.

"Jerry is very well-respected," Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said, according to Scott Lauber of ESPN. "He's been here a long time. You would travel in here as a visitor and know how well-respected he is in the community. The fans love him, the organization loves him, NESN loves him, so hopefully he's back with us soon."

It was announced last month that Remy - who has called more than 3,900 Red Sox games since 1988 - agreed to a new multi-year deal with NESN that will see him work 115 games each season.

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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2017 11:46 pm
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Four months after making his major-league debut, Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi was almost involved in the biggest blockbuster deal of the winter.

Sitting in a Subway restaurant with his friend on Dec. 6, Benintendi received word from his agent that he could be involved in a trade with the Chicago White Sox for Chris Sale.

"My agent texted me and said, 'You're either going to go or not in the next two minutes,'" Benintendi told reporters, according to Christopher Smith of Mass Live. "So I was just like, 'OK, there's not much I can do.' So after that two minutes went up, I saw everything on Twitter and people were texting me. It was a big move for both sides."

Instead of trading Benintendi, the Red Sox packaged Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe, and Victor Diaz in exchange for the left-hander.

When asked about Benintendi's comments Monday, Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said that the club had no intention of including Benintendi in the deal, and views him as a key part to the team in 2017.

"He really was our left fielder. We never came close to trading him," Dombrowski said, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.

Benintendi enters the season as the Red Sox starting left fielder and was recently ranked as the No.1 prospect in baseball by MLB.com, Baseball America, and ESPN.

"I don't think about it at all," Benintendi said of the No.1 ranking. "I think that's all for other people to look at. That's all talk. I've just got to go out and play well. That's what it comes down to. I don't pay attention to that and don't let it get to me."

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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2017 11:47 pm
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When Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers arrive to spring training on Monday in Scottsdale, two new faces will reportedly be joining them.

Arizona has agreed to minor-league deals with left-hander Brian Matusz and right-hander Kevin Jepsen, reports MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.

Both Matusz and Jepsen should fight for spots in a Diamondbacks bullpen that was one of the National League's worst last season, finishing 12th in ERA (4.94), while allowing the third-most home runs (73).

The 30-year-old Matusz - a fourth overall selection by the Baltimore Orioles in 2008 - pitched just nine innings last season, posting a 14.00 ERA with the Orioles and Chicago Cubs.

He pitched well for Baltimore in a relief role in 2015, fashioning a 2.94 ERA during 58 appearances, which included a 10.3 strikeouts-per-nine-inning rate.

Jepsen appeared in 58 games for the Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays last season, struggling to his highest ERA (5.98) since 2011.

Prior to 2016, the 32-year-old had posted two consecutive seasons with an ERA of 2.63 or less.

Over the course of his nine-year career, Jepsen has also saved 27 games.

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 Posted: Tue Feb 14th, 2017 05:03 am
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Less than a week after signing Jason Hammel to a two-year contract, the Kansas City Royals have reportedly added another veteran arm, agreeing Monday to a two-year, $12-million deal with left-hander Travis Wood, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The deal is pending a physical.

Wood, who reportedly received offers from the Cubs and drew interest from the Padres, was a starter for the first five years of his MLB career, even earning an All-Star appearance for his strong performance as a member of Chicago's rotation in 2013, but the 30-year-old has pitched almost exclusively in relief since 2015.

An integral part of the Cubs' bullpen last season, Wood logged more appearances (77) than all but six relievers, crafting a career-best 2.95 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP over 61 innings, his lowest total since debuting with the Cincinnati Reds in 2010.

In Kansas City, however, it's likely Wood gets an opportunity to start again, as the club's rotation depth remains thin even with Hammel effectively replacing late right-hander Yordano Ventura, who died last month in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic.
In 2014, his last season as a full-time starter, Wood struggled mightily, stumbling to a career-worst 5.03 ERA (75 ERA+) with a 1.53 WHIP while allowing 190 hits in 173 2/3 innings with the Cubs. Wood opened the following season in the rotation, but was bumped to the bullpen in May and ended the campaign with a 5.06 ERA over nine starts, two of them coming in September.

Last edited on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 05:04 am by lobo316

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 Posted: Tue Feb 14th, 2017 05:05 am
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Joe Biagini's future with the Toronto Blue Jays could see him part of the club's starting rotation sooner rather than later.

The 26-year-old, who was one of the Blue Jays' most consistent relievers last year posting a 3.06 ERA with 62 strikeouts, could potentially start the season being stretched out as a starter in Triple-A Buffalo.

"There’s definitely that possibility, but I wouldn’t say we’re leaning that way by any means because he was so important to our bullpen a year ago," general manager Ross Atkins said, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.

"We’ve talked about it. He really would like to be considered a starting alternative and he recognizes what that means. He recognizes that means he could potentially have to spend some time in triple-A."

Biagini's quick rise to success for the Blue Jays turned out to be one of the best story lines of last season as his confidence on the mound helped stabilize a Toronto bullpen that struggled in the early parts of 2016. Despite appearing in 60 games as a rookie reliever last season, Biagini was always a starting pitcher in the minors, appearing in 86 games across four minor-league seasons.

"If that’s going to be an opportunity at some point in my career, I would be glad to accept the challenge of doing it," Biagini said. "I’d be happy to try to it. But I’d be happy to do whatever - like last year, what I did was great. Obviously, I’m not complaining.

"If somebody’s saying, 'Hey, who wants an opportunity to start,' I would raise my hand, but I’m not campaigning for it."

If Biagini does in fact start the year in Triple-A, the Blue Jays could be in the market for an additional long relief option in the bullpen. The club has reportedly been "keeping tabs" on starters in free agency ahead of spring training.

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 Posted: Tue Feb 14th, 2017 05:05 am
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In an effort to continue to improve the pace of play during games, Major League Baseball appears to be looking into a potential change involving big-league managers and instant replay challenges.

MLB is interested in instituting a 30-second time limit for managers to decide if they do or don't want to challenge an umpire's call on the field, according to a source of ESPN's Jayson Stark.

Under the current rule, managers are expected to challenge a call on the field "immediately," but there is no set time and managers usually cause lengthy delays by waiting for confirmation from members in charge of the team's internal replay before challenging.

A source also tells Stark that MLB has spoken with the umpires' union about the possibility of umpires speeding up decisions in the replay center, with a two-minute guideline being discussed, pending any extenuating circumstances.

According to Stark, MLB's data from last season showed a decrease in the time it took during the replay process, dropping from 1 minute 51 seconds in 2015 to 1 minute 36 seconds last season.

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 Posted: Tue Feb 14th, 2017 09:24 pm
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TAMPA, Fla. - Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher are joining the group of guest instructors at New York Yankees' spring training this year.

Both are on the list released by the team Tuesday when New York pitchers and catchers reported for spring training.

A-Rod and Swisher were both instructors with the Yankees' instructional league team last fall. This is the first time they'll be in the coaching role at spring training.

The pair joins holdovers that include Goose Gossage, Reggie Jackson, Hideki Matsui, Ron Guidry, Willie Randolph, Stump Merrill, and Lee Mazzilli.

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 Posted: Tue Feb 14th, 2017 09:25 pm
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For a third straight year, the New York Yankees will hand the ball to Masahiro Tanaka for Opening Day barring something unforeseen, according to manager Joe Girardi.

As he held court with reporters Tuesday from his club's spring training complex in Tampa, Girardi said he expects the Japanese right-hander to get the ball when New York opens the 2017 regular season on Sunday, April 2 against the Rays at Tropicana Field, via Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Now heading into his fourth season with the Yankees, Tanaka has established himself as the club's undisputed ace, and enjoyed the strongest season of his MLB career in 2016 despite the constant fear of an elbow injury. Tanaka, who never had surgery on the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament he suffered as a rookie in 2014, finished seventh in American League Cy Young voting after notching new career highs in WAR (4.6) and innings pitched (199 2/3), while fashioning a 3.07 ERA and 4.58 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 31 starts.

Tanaka, however, has yet to win an Opening Day start. Last year, the 28-year-old earned a no-decision after allowing two runs over 5 2/3 innings in an eventual 5-3 loss to the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. The season prior, in his first-ever Opening Day outing, Tanaka lasted only four innings, serving up five runs - four earned - on five hits and two walks in a 6-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in the Bronx.

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 Posted: Tue Feb 14th, 2017 09:27 pm
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Free-agent catcher Steve Clevenger, whose prejudicial tweets regarding protests in September led to a suspension, says he regrets his actions and is seeking forgiveness.

"My words were wrong. I regret every day that I wrote it, and I wish I could take it back," Clevenger said, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. "They were harsh. They were mean. They angered a lot of people. And I’m sorry for it. I can only ask for forgiveness."

"I’m not a racist. I wasn’t raised to be a racist. My family isn’t racist. Nobody I’m involved with is racist. I don’t condone it. I don’t agree with hating people. That’s not me. That’s not who I am. That’s not something I’m OK with supporting."

As protests were going on in Charlotte following the controversial deaths of black males killed by law enforcement, Clevenger sent out multiple tweets degrading the actions of those involved in the revolt against the shootings, referring to former President Barack Obama and the Black Lives Matter movement as "pathetic".

On Sept. 23, a day after the tweets gained significant attention on social media, Clevenger was suspended by the Seattle Mariners for the rest of the season. He was later removed from the team's roster and elected to become a free agent.

The 30-year-old, who hasn't received much interest on the open market, says he doesn't want the poor decision to define him as a person and has since attempted to become more educated on the subject matter.

"I try not to think about it too much," Clevenger said. "I try to hold out hope that a couple lines on Twitter won’t end my career. I’m trying to think positive. I want people to know who I really am as a person. I want an opportunity to show people my tweets aren’t who I am or who I want to be.

"I’ve spent all offseason trying to become a better person. Learn different cultures. The history of the United States."

Clevenger says he still hopes to continue his career in the majors and is determined to prove to an organization that the tweets were a mistake. He's also become more engaged in conversations with black people in his community in an attempt to better understand racial discrimination.

"I see how people could be hurt," he said. "I see how people can take it as being racist. I don’t have hatred in my body because of race or religion or gender. If I had to do it all over again, I definitely wouldn’t have posted those tweets. That’s not the person I am."

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 Posted: Tue Feb 14th, 2017 09:28 pm
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GOODYEAR - The Cincinnati Reds opened a spot for 22-year-old Jose Peraza to become an everyday player when they traded second baseman Brandon Phillips to the Braves for a pair of pitching prospects.

Manager Bryan Price said Monday that Peraza would be the second baseman unless he struggles. Peraza was one of the Reds' most impressive young players last season, batting .324 in 72 games with three homers and 25 RBIs.

''From Peraza's body of work, he's a regular,'' Price said as the Reds opened camp. ''He'd have to play his way off the position.''

The Reds tried repeatedly to trade the 34-year-old Phillips, who used his 10-and-five rights - 10 years in the majors, five with the same team - to block a move. The Reds will pay most of his $14 million salary this season, the final year on his deal.

Cincinnati got left-hander Andrew McKirahan - who missed last season after Tommy John surgery - and right-hander Carlos Portuondo in the deal.

The Reds are in the midst of a massive rebuilding movement, trading most of their core players for prospects in the last two years. They got Peraza from the Dodgers as part of a three-team deal that sent third baseman Todd Frazier to the White Sox after the 2015 season.

With Phillips at second base and Zack Cozart at shortstop, the Reds had trouble getting Peraza regular playing time. Now he has a position. The Reds also could trade the 31-year-old Cozart if another team needs a shortstop.

Phillips' insistence on staying in Cincinnati was blocking Peraza from developing faster. Price was reluctant to sit Cozart or Phillips regularly to give Peraza more time.

''It's not right to take a start a week from established players like that,'' Price said.

The Reds were determined to get Peraza a bigger role somehow even if Phillips had continued to block a trade.

''Going into the offseason, we knew we were going to incorporate Jose Peraza,'' Price said. ''I hope it works out for Brandon.''

Price plans to play Peraza at shortstop and in the outfield during spring training to enhance his versatility. Left fielder Adam Duvall will play at third and first base as well.

Notes: Pitchers and catchers reported and will have their first workout on Tuesday. The first full-squad workout is Friday. ... RHP Homer Bailey had surgery to remove bone spurs from his pitching elbow last week and is expected to start the season on the disabled list. The Reds also will be cautious with minor league right-hander Nick Travieso, who has had shoulder problems. ... The Reds claimed RHP Lisalverto Bonilla off waivers from the Pirates and placed him on the 40-man roster. He last pitched in the majors in 2014, appearing in five games with the Rangers.

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 Posted: Tue Feb 14th, 2017 09:29 pm
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It seems as though the Baltimore Orioles have a little war of words going on between the team's best outfielder and general manager Dan Duquette.

Following comments made by Adam Jones at the Orioles' FanFest where the 31-year-old veteran suggested the team's outfield lacked athleticism and needed improvements, Duquette fired back, advising Jones to focus more on his own play in center field.

"I noticed Doug Glanville recommended Adam could play a little bit deeper in one of his columns, shortly after that, to improve the Orioles' outfield defense," Duquette said, according to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com.

"I don't know if Adam saw that column or not. Doug Glanville is a former center fielder who takes a really close look at the metrics of players, right? And he studies them as an analyst for ESPN, and he thought it was important enough to write an entire column on how the Oriole outfield defense could start to improve as soon as Adam moved back 10 feet.

"I thought that was a pretty interesting comment from a pretty learned spectator, particularly a center fielder. He was a center fielder who went to the University of Pennsylvania, who follows a lot of our ballgames."

Jones, a four-time American League Gold Glove winner, is coming off his worst season defensively, according to advanced analytics. He combined for minus-10 defensive runs saved and had the team's worst ultimate zone rating. The Orioles' outfield as a whole didn't perform any better as Mark Trumbo, Hyun Soo Kim, and newly acquired Seth Smith (who played right field with the Seattle Mariners in 2016) all performed to negative defensive runs saved.

The team is coming off a season where they posted the league's worst defensive metrics in the outfield, ranking last in defensive runs saved and ultimate zone rating.

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 Posted: Wed Feb 15th, 2017 03:26 am
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Just hours after being designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays, Eddie Gamboa has found a new club.

The Rays traded the right-hander to the Texas Rangers on Tuesday in exchange for a player to be named later.

Gamboa, who lost his spot on the 40-man roster to make room for Nathan Eovaldi, made his major-league debut in 2016. In seven appearances, he posted a 1.35 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 11 strikeouts over 13 1/3 innings.

The 32-year-old knuckleballer was handed a 50-game suspension for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in 2014. He'll likely serve as minor-league depth for the Rangers.

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 Posted: Wed Feb 15th, 2017 03:28 am
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Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire announced Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

"I'm going to fight and deal with it," Gardenhire said in a statement. "It's a bump in the road and it's not how I envisioned starting spring training with a brand new team but it's part of life. With the backing of this ball club, we'll get through it and I'll get through it."

Gardenhire served as manager of the Minnesota Twins from 2002-2014, winning six division titles and was also named AL Manager of the Year in 2010.

The 59-year-old was named to Diamondbacks rookie manager Torey Lovullo's staff in November. Gardenhire is expected to undergo surgery to remove his prostate at a later date and will take a leave of absence from the club.

"We are a family," Lovullo said. "As a family, there's a series of tests that are going to come upon us and this is a big one, but we're going to come together and help Gardy through this to the best of our ability. We're not going to miss a step because we're committed to him."

Lovullo was the bench coach for the Boston Red Sox in 2015 when manager John Farrell was diagnosed with stage 1 lymphoma.

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 Posted: Wed Feb 15th, 2017 03:29 am
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JUPITER, Fla. - Beards are back for the Miami Marlins.

The team has lifted its prohibition on facial hair after one season. The ban was adopted after Don Mattingly was hired as manager before the 2016 season.

Speaking Tuesday before the first workout for pitchers and catchers, Mattingly said he reviewed the facial hair policy with owner Jeffrey Loria, and they decided to reverse it. Mattingly said he decided facial hair isn't a big deal, and the most important thing is that his players prepare and play the game right.

Last season's ban was new for Mattingly. The Dodgers allowed facial hair when Mattingly was their manager for five seasons, and he wore a mustache when he was an All-Star first baseman for the Yankees.

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