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2016 - 2017 MLB Off-Season  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 09:47 pm
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lobo316



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Josh Hamilton's road back to the majors could have hit a major snag.

The 35-year-old felt pain in his left knee while running on Tuesday and is en route to Houston to visit a surgeon, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Hamilton's history of knee related issues are well known as the veteran outfielder has gone under the knife three times, most recently last May which resulted in him missing the entire 2016 season. The orthopedist he is visiting in Houston also performed knee reconstruction surgery on Hamilton in June.

The Texas Rangers aren't sure how serious this setback is and how much time he could miss, but it could turn out to be a big blow to Hamilton's chances of making the team after signing a minor-league deal. He's expected to compete for playing time at first base and as designated hitter. The four-time All-Star hasn't appeared in more than 100 major-league games since 2013 when he was a member of the Los Angeles Angels.

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 Posted: Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 09:48 pm
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With the National Hockey League expanding to Las Vegas at the start of next season, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred acknowledged Tuesday that his league could also see a franchise in Sin City in the future.

"Las Vegas could be a viable market for us," Manfred told reporters, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I don't think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city."

Due to its close ties to gambling, Las Vegas had long been considered a no-go for professional franchises, but things have changed in recent years with the NHL, and possibly the NFL, seeing the city as a strong market.

With a population of over 623,000, Las Vegas is the 28th-most populated city in the United States, and with millions of tourists traveling to the city each year, it's likely that a professional sports team could be sustainable.

MLB does currently have some ties with the city. The New York Mets' Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s, are located downtown, while the last two National League MVPs, Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper, were both born there.

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 Posted: Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 09:49 pm
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Former major-league right-hander Casey Janssen has decided to take his talents to the Mexican Baseball League, agreeing to a deal with Acereros de Monclova (the Monclova Steelers), the team announced.

The 35-year-old hasn't pitched in the majors since 2015 when he was a member of the Washington Nationals. Last season he appeared in 14 minor-league games pitching in the Boston Red Sox' system, pitching to a 2.87 ERA with four walks and 12 strikeouts.

Janssen has played nine years in the majors with his most successful stint coming as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. The right-hander converted to a reliever in 2010 and had an immediate impact pitching in the Blue Jays' bullpen, eventually becoming their closer. He performed to a 19-7 record, amassing 86 saves and a 2.99 ERA from 2010-14.

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 Posted: Wed Feb 22nd, 2017 09:52 pm
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COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - Baseball's Hall of Fame will honor The Simpsons on May 27 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show's "Homer at the Bat" episode.

First televised on Feb. 20, 1992, "Homer at the Bat" featured future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr. and Ozzie Smith among the ringers on Homer Simpson's Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team. Voices of actual players were used in the episode, which also included Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Mike Scioscia, and Darryl Strawberry.

Boggs and Smith are scheduled to appear at a round-table discussion at the Hall on May 27 that also includes episode executive producers Al Jean and Mike Reiss, director Jim Reardon, executive story editor Jeff Martin, and casting director Bonnie Pietila.

The Hall's legends game is slated for that afternoon at Doubleday Field.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 04:33 am
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JUPITER, Fla. - Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly thinks reversing the tolerance for strikeouts would speed the pace of play.

''Analytically, a few years back nobody cared about the strikeout, so it's OK to strike out 150, 160, 170 times, and that guy's still valued in a big way,'' Mattingly said. ''Well, as soon as we start causing that to be a bad value - the strikeouts - guys will put the ball in play more. So once we say strikeouts are bad and it's going to cost you money the more you strike out, then the strikeouts will go away. Guys will start making adjustments and putting the ball in play more.''

Strikeouts have set records in recent seasons, with teams averaging 8.03 per game last year. A career .307 hitter with 222 homers over 14 seasons, Mattingly never struck out more than 43 times in a single year.

''If our game values strikeouts don't matter, they are going to keep striking out, hitting homers, trying to hit home runs and striking out,'' Mattingly said

Mattingly would like to see umpires enforce 2015 regulations requiring hitters to remain in the batter's box, once they step in, with several exceptions. While the rules caused a drop in the average time of a nine-inning game that year, enforcement became lax last season and the average time rose to 3 hours.

''Keeping guys in the box just keeps the game moving,'' Mattingly said.

He isn't sure whether restoring the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap would result in quicker play. No change is likely until 2018 at the earliest.

''Shrinking the strike zone doesn't make sense to me because now there are more walks, and that's no action,'' Mattingly said.

Mattingly would like changes that focusing on adding excitement.

''I don't think the games are necessarily too long. It's the action,'' he said. ''I think that's what we talk about - pace of play. Let's go. Let's get it going.''

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 Posted: Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 04:34 am
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When duty calls.

Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner was forced to miss the start of camp on Wednesday after he was summoned for jury duty. Luckily for the talented 23-year-old and the Nationals, his time in court was short lived, as he was told he could leave.

Justice has been served! Back to work! #GuiltyOrNotGuilty

— Trea Turner (@treavturner) February 22, 2017
Nationals manager Dusty Baker said the team would have been understanding if the young infielder had to miss an extended period of time. Still, it's clear Turner had a preference.

"When they call, you don't have much choice," Baker said, according to Cut4. "(Turner) seemed pretty happy about not doing it though."

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 Posted: Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 04:35 am
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It appears Major League Baseball's ruling to modify the intentional walk has already drawn a fair amount of criticism.

In between workouts on Wednesday, Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin sounded off on the decision to change baseball's common practice in order to speed up the game by signaling to the dugout instead of a pitcher having to throw four balls.

"By no means are intentional walks automatic, until now. Now they are. So they're speeding up the game," Martin said, telling reporters they could tweet out his response if they desired, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.

"My thing is, if they really want to speed up the game, then when a guy hits a home run, to speed up the game should a guy, just like in softball, when he hits it, should he just walk to the dugout? It'd be quicker. I'm just wondering, at what point do we just keep the game, the game? Or, how about this calculation: take all the intentional walks that were made in the last couple years and calculate - or maybe just ask to see if they have that information, to see if they really did their homework. Is it really that important to speed up the game? Because how many games did we play last year where we didn't have one intentional walk? That's something I'd like to know."

2016 National League MVP and World Series champion Kris Bryant echoed Martin's thoughts on MLB's attempt to change the game and wonders if, conversely, commissioner Rob Manfred's stance on the intentional walk could end up having a negative affect throughout baseball.

"If anything, it might hurt (the game)," Bryant said, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "Because that puts pressure on the pitchers to make that pitch. It seems like it's not stressful at all, but any time you’re not throwing it full effort for a pitcher, it seems like there's a chance to do damage on that. There has been plenty of times where a guy has thrown away (a pitch on) an intentional walk. So it'll be interesting to see how that plays out."

The rule, which will be in effect this season, was approved by the Players' Association led by Tony Clark on Wednesday.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 04:36 am
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Veteran reliever Koji Uehara left the Boston Red Sox for the Chicago Cubs this winter, but his former club did try to convince him to stay.

"Koji's a proven late-inning reliever. A very good closer. Was unflappable in the environment in which he pitched in - and that is here in Boston," Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Wednesday, according to Christopher Smith of Mass Live. "We made an offer to re-sign him. And yet, it wasn't, as it turned out, to what he expected. And we ended up with the trade of (Tyler) Thornburg."

Farrell didn't reveal what Boston offered, but it was likely less than the one-year, $6-million deal Uehara signed with the Cubs.

Signed as a free agent in 2012, Uehara emerged as one of the most dominant relievers in baseball during his time in Boston and was a key piece of the club's World Series win in 2013. The 41-year-old posted a 2.19 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in 230 games for the Red Sox, making one All-Star appearance.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 07:54 pm
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Jake Peavy admits that his personal life is interrupting his baseball career.

The free-agent right-hander remains on the market two weeks into spring training, but it's not due to a lack of interest in pitching this season. Peavy's wife of 15 years filed for divorce in October and Peavy is staying home to look after his four sons until legal proceedings are finalized, which is expected to happen this spring.

"It hurts not to be in spring training,'' Peavy told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. "I know that day is coming, but right now being a dad is absolutely No. 1. There's no way in a million years that I could leave my boys at this time.''

Peavy had been heavily linked to the San Diego Padres earlier in the winter, though the two sides never came to an agreement.

The 35-year-old just experienced a down season with the San Francisco Giants, going 5-9 with a 5.54 ERA in 118 2/3 innings. Despite his struggles, Peavy believes that he still has plenty left to offer and hopes he's able to return to the majors once his personal life gets settled.

"I'm not shying away from getting divorced,'' Peavy said. "It's not something I'm proud of or something I wanted or asked for, but it happened and I'm dealing with that. But I also have four boys I'm responsible for in life, and I just feel deep down that it's in my best interests and my family's interests to be there through this time.

"When I sign with a team, I'm all in. For me to leave right now with so much uncertainty in my life, it wouldn't be fair to an organization and it wouldn't be the right thing to do as far as being a dad.''

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 Posted: Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 07:55 pm
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Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton has avoided a major injury involving his surgically repaired left knee.

The 35-year-old was sent to Houston to visit a specialist Wednesday after feeling pain in his left knee while participating in drills. Hamilton arrived back in camp Thursday with good news as the tests revealed no structural damage.

"The way it felt, and it coming all of a sudden out of nowhere after feeling good concerned me a little," Hamilton told Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. "Rather than wait around and get treatment for two weeks, we thought it best to get answers right away. I understand this is a process and as I introduce new things to it, there are times it will feel good and times the knee won't like it."

Hamilton will take the rest of the week off after receiving a PRP injection and hopes to resume activities at the start of next week.

"My confidence hasn't wavered at all," Hamilton said. "As far as not falling further behind in the process, if I'm in the cage ans swinging by Monday, I think I can be on the field talking live batting practice too."

It's been almost 17 months since Hamilton last appeared in a major-league game. He underwent surgery in September 2015 to remove a piece of meniscus from his left knee. Despite the procedure, Hamilton arrived to camp the following spring in discomfort and eventually opted for surgery in May after not playing a game.

Texas released Hamilton from his contract in August only to agree to a minor-league deal in January.

"It just hit my heart and head that I think I've got a lot left in the tank, not just a little. So I wanted to give a try," Hamilton said last month.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 07:55 pm
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The Texas Rangers are hoping to lock up Rougned Odor for the long run.

Texas has reportedly begun to exchange figures on a possible extension with their second baseman, and have offered approximately $52.5 million over six years, according to FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman.

Odor broke out dramatically for the Rangers last season, possibly explaining the desire to negotiate an extension sooner rather than later. In 150 games, the 23-year-old slashed .271/.296/.502 and mashed 33 home runs, helping lead the club into the postseason with the American League's best record.

He's under contract with Texas through the 2020 season.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 07:57 pm
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Wednesday was a great day for Chad Bettis.

The Colorado Rockies right-hander, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer in late November, received a clean bill of health from doctors after having blood work done Tuesday.

"Today was a big day for me; it was a clean bill of health," Bettis explained to MLB.com's Thomas Harding. "I got the blood work back from the doctor, met with him today, and he said my tumor markers are not detectable."

Bettis was diagnosed with testicular cancer in November after he discovered a lump the size of a "grain of rice."

The 27-year-old, who fortunately discovered the lump in time to avoid undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or any other kind of major treatment, was declared cancer-free to begin the new year on Jan. 4, and the positive blood results from Wednesday only reaffirm he's back to normal health.

"I can't say enough about his mental strength through this, and we'll find out more as we go really, truly where this is headed, and where he is as it relates to baseball. But, man, what a story," said Rockies manager Bud Black.

Bettis was an integral member of the Rockies' rotation in 2016, starting 32 games for the club, while posting a 14-8 record with a 4.79 ERA.

Since coming to the majors in 2013, Bettis owns a 23-19 record with a 5.01 ERA during 89 appearances, 60 of which have been starts.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 07:58 pm
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After pitching more than 190 combined innings between the regular season and postseason in 2016, New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard wasn't interested in representing the U.S. in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

"It was a piece-of-cake decision," Syndergaard told Mike Puma of the New York Post on Wednesday. "My heart and desire is with the New York Mets and competing with them and striving for a world championship ring. I wasn't interested."

Syndergaard opted to decline the invite from the U.S. because he didn't want to risk any sort of injury that could affect his performance for the Mets. The 24-year-old pitched through a bone spur in his right elbow last season, which didn't require surgery.

"I am not going to risk injury competing in that," Syndergaard explained of possibly competing in the WBC. "Especially since I threw over 200 innings in 2015 and 2016, so I needed to give my arm a good substantial break."

Syndergaard's decision to avoid the event, which will feature nine players from the Mets competing for their respective countries, was a smart one, according to manager Terry Collins.

"I think he is doing the right thing," Collins said. "He is coming off a pretty intense year. I know his goal is to get ready for the season, and I think down the road there will be another WBC that he will be able to pitch in if he wants.

"We have been talking about it since the end of last season, about health, and he was not going to sacrifice anything to getting in the way to get ready for the year."

Syndergaard was one of the top pitchers in all of baseball last season, posting a 14-9 record with a 2.60 ERA and 10.7 strikeout-per-nine-inning rate, earning the first All-Star appearance of his career.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 07:58 pm
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BRADENTON, Fla. - Starling Marte, the guy displacing Andrew McCutchen in center field for the Pittsburgh Pirates this year, hasn't played the position regularly since the minor leagues.

Since making his big league debut in 2012, Marte has made all but 42 of his 544 starts in left. An NL Gold Glove winner the past two years, Marte is being shifted by manager Clint Hurdle.

''I have a lot of experience playing center field,'' Marte said through translator Mike Gonzalez. ''When they moved me to left field when I came up, I was fine with that decision and gave the best that I could. Now that the opportunity is being given, I'm really excited to go back to my original position.''

Marte led the NL with 17 outfield assists last season, the Pirates' most since Dave Parker's 26 in 1977. Left field at PNC Park in Pittsburgh is vast, but Marte patrolled it well with the speed and ball recognition.

''I know there are some adjustments to make now, but something that comes naturally to me is getting a good eye on the ball,'' Marte said. ''I can read the ball and get a good jump.''

McCutchen has moved to right, the first time in his professional career McCutchen has played anywhere but center. Gregory Polanco will go to left field.

The new alignment signals a shift in leadership away from McCutchen.

''Marte is the center fielder, so he's going to have to take that job,'' McCutchen said. ''He's going to have to be that guy who leads. He's going to have to step up. I'm sure he knows and understands that. I'm sure he'll do that.''

Marte hit .311 last season and was third in the majors with 47 stolen bases. Yet, he hit only nine home runs after a career-best 19 in 2015.

''I think there is more power there,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. ''Last year was an outlier more than anything else. Some added power would help, some more slug. He's continued to grow and educate himself as a hitter, so I think the ability to drive the ball, the gap power will eventually just turn into more power to drive the ball out of the ballpark.''

Marte was most frequently used in the cleanup spot last year, although he also batted fifth, second and sixth. Hurdle has not yet announced where Marte will settle in the order this season.

''Even if they put me in ninth, I'm going to give my best,'' Marte said with a laugh. ''Everyone knows what caliber of player I am and what I have to offer. Home runs will come when it's the right time for them to come. Right now, my focus is on playing the game right, getting on base, stealing bases, keep getting those hits.''

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 Posted: Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 08:31 pm
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lobo316 wrote: It appears Major League Baseball's ruling to modify the intentional walk has already drawn a fair amount of criticism.

In between workouts on Wednesday, Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin sounded off on the decision to change baseball's common practice in order to speed up the game by signaling to the dugout instead of a pitcher having to throw four balls.

"By no means are intentional walks automatic, until now. Now they are. So they're speeding up the game," Martin said, telling reporters they could tweet out his response if they desired, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.

"My thing is, if they really want to speed up the game, then when a guy hits a home run, to speed up the game should a guy, just like in softball, when he hits it, should he just walk to the dugout? It'd be quicker. I'm just wondering, at what point do we just keep the game, the game? Or, how about this calculation: take all the intentional walks that were made in the last couple years and calculate - or maybe just ask to see if they have that information, to see if they really did their homework. Is it really that important to speed up the game? Because how many games did we play last year where we didn't have one intentional walk? That's something I'd like to know."

2016 National League MVP and World Series champion Kris Bryant echoed Martin's thoughts on MLB's attempt to change the game and wonders if, conversely, commissioner Rob Manfred's stance on the intentional walk could end up having a negative affect throughout baseball.

"If anything, it might hurt (the game)," Bryant said, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "Because that puts pressure on the pitchers to make that pitch. It seems like it's not stressful at all, but any time you’re not throwing it full effort for a pitcher, it seems like there's a chance to do damage on that. There has been plenty of times where a guy has thrown away (a pitch on) an intentional walk. So it'll be interesting to see how that plays out."

The rule, which will be in effect this season, was approved by the Players' Association led by Tony Clark on Wednesday.

MLB will see so much time savings from this move that next season will see double headers scheduled every day and the season will wrap up by the end of June allowing playiners to indulge in more domestic violence, pimping, drug abuse and dealing and gun crimes etc.
 
In future seasons in order to speed things up even further spring traiing games will count as part of the standings  and games will shortened to six innings and pitchers will only be allowed to throw so many pitches per batter.  Eventually MLB will br as unwatcheable as the NO FUN LEAGUE
 



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