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2016 - 2017 MLB Off-Season  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sun Mar 26th, 2017 05:30 am
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lobo316



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Now that his playing days are over, Alex Rodriguez has had a lot of time to reflect on his controversial baseball career.

Rodriguez, once the highest-paid player in baseball history, has already started spreading some of the wisdom he picked up in baseball to the next generation. On Thursday, according to Jim Berry of CBS Miami, the former New York Yankees superstar sat down with a group of college students at the University of Miami and candidly discussed all aspects of his scandal-laden 22-year career on and off the field.

"I made mistakes and then I doubled down and became a bigger jerk and then went on sports radio and made an ass of myself," Rodriguez told the students, referring in part to the steroid scandal that continues to cloud his on-field accomplishments.

"I was just a really big jerk."

In his short post-baseball life, Rodriguez has already made a name for himself as a rising star in television through his work as an analyst on FOX's MLB coverage; he's also working in the Yankees organization and has several private business ventures. But he told Berry that telling his story to students and owning up to his errors is giving him the most satisfaction right now.

"I've had some big hiccups along the way and I think that’s created a big platform for me to come back into the community," Rodriguez said, according to Berry. "Hopefully I can share stories of mistakes that I've made that hopefully the next generation doesn't make."

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 Posted: Sun Mar 26th, 2017 05:32 am
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lobo316



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The World Baseball Classic may be over, but the war of words between two of the tournament's most prominent players has spilled over into spring training.
After Puerto Rico lost the WBC final to the United States on Wednesday, USA outfielder Adam Jones revealed his team used knowledge of the Puerto Ricans - who were apparently planning a victory parade and creating championship T-shirts in advance of the game - as extra motivation in the final. That prompted star catcher Yadier Molina, one of Puerto Rico's undisputed leaders, to demand the Baltimore Orioles slugger apologize for his words.
On Saturday, Jones - now back in camp with the Orioles - finally responded to Molina's demands. Though he was respectful in his chosen words to the catcher and his team, Jones stood by his initial remarks and did not offer the apology he'd been asked for.
"I don't think I said anything wrong," the 31-year-old told Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. "I just said that what we've seen motivated us. It wasn't a slight to Puerto Rico by any stretch. I don't think I said anything wrong, and I would never disrespect a country because that would make totally no sense.
"I respect Yadi, and the whole Puerto Rican team, that nation. I've said that various times about every nation, what they're doing to promote baseball in their various countries. ... Puerto Ricans, I've said nothing more but respect for their country and the players."
Puerto Rico did, in fact, hold a parade for its baseball heroes in the capital of San Juan that was planned no matter the result of the final game. Molina accused Jones and the Americans of misunderstanding the information they were given, leading to his anger over the original comments.
"That's why I'm sending a message to (Jones), saying 'Look at this, right now you're in spring training working out, and we're with our people, with our silver medals,'" Molina said Thursday. "You're in spring training and you're working ... you have no idea how to celebrate your honors, you don't know what it means."
Although the WBC is now in the rear-view mirror, this controversy may not go away quietly, as Jones' Orioles will host Molina and the St. Louis Cardinals in Baltimore from June 16-18.

Last edited on Sun Mar 26th, 2017 05:44 am by lobo316

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 Posted: Sun Mar 26th, 2017 05:48 am
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Earlier this week, the Yankees learned they were losing shortstop Didi Gregorius for the first month of the season and maybe a few more weeks . Facing the possibility of not having a starting shortstop until, say, the middle of May, can be a daunting thought for any team.
While the Yankees might want to just temporarily replace Gregorius internally , other teams might see the chance to consummate a deal. As such, the rumor mill has already started to churn.
According to the New York Post, the Reds called the Yankees to discuss veteran shortstop Zack Cozart. It makes total sense from the Reds’ perspective. Cozart is an acceptable everyday starter at short and also a free agent after this season. The Reds are in a rebuild and have several middle-infield type youngsters they’d like to give extended looks this season.
Of course, the Post reports the Yankees said no.
Next up in the Post article: Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias. We can’t exactly say the Tigers are in a rebuild right now, but they might not be far off if they don’t contend this season. Of course, Iglesias is coming off a terrible offensive season and is a free agent after next year. Maybe they felt it time to move on or simply see what they could get in return, assuming the report is true.
Again, though, the report said the Yankees declined.
On the flip side, a report from Arizona (azcentral.com) says that shortstop Nick Ahmed has been receiving interest on the trade market and the Yankees are among those teams, along with the Padres and Rays.
Ahmed, 27, isn’t much with the bat, but he’s an exceptional defender. In only 90 games last season -- due in part to hip surgery -- Ahmed hit .218/.265/.299 (again, yuck), but he also had 13 defensive runs saved. The only shortstops better than that were Brandon Crawford (19), Addison Russell (19), Andrelton Simmons (18) and Francisco Lindor (17), also known as the four best defensive shortstops in baseball. Keep in mind that’s a cumulative stat and Ahmed only saw 721 1/3 innings at short, compared to far more than 1,000 for those four (Lindor and Crawford were over 1,300).
He seems the best fit for the Yankees, because once Gregorius is back, Ahmed could simply be a defensive replacement either at second or short.
Regardless, expect the rumors to continue swirling. That’s what comes with late-spring injuries to major lineup pieces.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 27th, 2017 05:25 am
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lobo316



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The Detroit Tigers have seen enough of Mark Lowe.

Lowe was placed on unconditional release waivers Sunday morning following a miserable spring that saw the right-hander allow seven runs (five earned) off 11 hits and three walks in 8 2/3 innings.

The 33-year-old has certainly struggled since signing a two-year, $11-million deal with the Tigers last offseason. He posted a 7.11 ERA and 1.58 WHIP across 54 appearances in 2016, allowing 12 home runs over 49 1/3 innings.

Lowe is owed $5.5 million in 2017 and will likely clear waivers, making him a free agent, and the Tigers are responsible for paying out his salary.

Prior to landing in Detroit, Lowe was coming off an impressive year split between the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays in which he owned a 1.96 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 55 innings, allowing just four home runs.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 27th, 2017 05:26 am
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While the Washington Nationals have yet to appoint a closer for the upcoming season, they do now at least have an Opening Day starter.

Stephen Strasburg will take the ball at Nationals Park on Monday, April 3 against the Miami Marlins to open the season for the reigning NL East champs.

The 28-year-old will be making his fourth Opening Day start for Washington - a club record since the team moved from Montreal in 2005.

Max Scherzer had started the last two Opening Days for the Nationals, but is being held back to the third game of the season due to a finger injury.

Strasburg is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA on Opening Day.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 27th, 2017 05:27 am
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Anthony Gose could see a position change on the horizon.

After the outfielder was reassigned to minor-league camp Sunday, Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told reporters Gose approached the club about possibly pitching.

Gose will play primarily in the outfield with Triple-A Toledo, but also plans to do some throwing on the side in order to potentially transition to a pitcher.

"He came back to us (after being cut) with the idea that - we had talked about internally at the end of last season - he's going to actually throw a couple of bullpens," Ausmus said, according to Scott DeCamp of Michigan Live.

The 26-year-old has never played anything other than outfield since being selected in the second round of the 2008 draft. He did, however, throw 95 mph as a left-hander in high school, but wanted to be an everyday player in the majors so he decided to stick with the outfield.

"Pitchers pitch once every four games," Gose said in 2008. "I want to be an everyday player. I'm just being up front with all the teams. I want to play in the outfield.

"And if I fail, I can always go back to pitching."

Gose has watched his name tumble down the Tigers' outfield depth chart and failed to crack the major-league roster despite limited options in center and J.D. Martinez expected to begin the season on the disabled list.

He hit .209/.287/.341 with two home runs in 30 games with the Tigers last season before being sent to the minors, where he hit just .203/.276/.312/ with seven home runs, 17 stolen bases, and 129 strikeouts in 90 games between Double- and Triple-A.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 27th, 2017 05:28 am
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Austin Jackson has officially cracked the roster of the reigning American League Champs.

Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona informed Jackson on Sunday that he will be on the club's Opening Day roster after agreeing to a minor-league deal in January. He'll make $1.5 million, with incentives that could reach $4 million, according to Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Jackson was not a guarantee to make the club, but performed well this spring, hitting .375/.375/.708 with one home run and five doubles in eight games.

The addition of the 30-year-old gives Francona some flexibility defensively and also acts as some insurance with Michael Brantley still easing his way back from shoulder surgery and Lonnie Chisenhall dealing with a sprained right shoulder.

Jackson appeared in 54 games with the Chicago White Sox last season, hitting .254/.318/.343 with no home runs, 12 doubles, and two stolen bases.

Meanwhile, Chris Colabello, Erik Kratz, and Daniel Robertson were all informed that they won't make the Opening Day roster, but will remain in major-league camp.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 27th, 2017 05:29 am
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It wasn't too long ago that the New York Mets were trying to trade Jay Bruce due to an over-saturation of outfielders on their big-league roster, but now, with their depth being tested due to injuries, Michael Conforto may end up making the team to begin the season.

After Juan Lagares, who was expected to begin the season as the team's fourth outfielder, left Saturday's contest against the Atlanta Braves with an oblique strain, manager Terry Collins named Conforto as someone who could fill in.

"If Juan's hurt, Mike's the best option we have to go out and play some center field," Collins told reporters, including MLB.com's Anthony DiComo.


Before injuries to Lagares and Brandon Nimmo - who suffered a pulled hamstring at the World Baseball Classic - Conforto appeared to be destined to begin the season at Triple-A so that he could get everyday at-bats, but without a fourth outfielder available behind Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, and Curtis Granderson, the 24-year-old may have to step up.

Conforto, normally a left-fielder, has just six games of big-league experience in center field, compared to the 425 games in center by the 2014 Gold Glove winner Lagares.

After an impressive rookie debut in 2015, which included a .841 OPS in 56 games, Conforto appeared in 109 games for the Mets last season, hitting .220/.310/.414 with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs in 348 plate appearances.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 27th, 2017 05:30 am
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TAMPA, Fla. - New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi has the top of his starting rotation lined up with Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, and Michael Pineda.

After that, the situation remains muddled.

The Yankees started spring training looking to fill two spots in the rotation, and it's still not clear what they'll end up doing. Bryan Mitchell, Luis Severino, Chad Green, Adam Warren and late entry Jordan Montgomery are in the mix.

''We're narrowing it down,'' Girardi said. ''We haven't made any final decisions yet. We're going to let these guys go through their last turn before we make the decision.''

Mitchell, set to be the fifth starter last year before breaking a bone on his left foot in his final spring training start, went 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA in five late-season starts. He allowed three runs over three-plus innings in the Yankees' 7-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

''I think the results sting a little right now,'' Mitchell said. ''At this point in the game, you can't say we're not putting pressure on ourselves, but all we can control is our game out there. I feel good about the whole spring. I tried to build off what I did last year.''

Severino, a top contender early on, has been inconsistent, while the versatile Warren seems destined for the bullpen.

Montgomery, who has just six starts at Triple-A, emerged after going the final four innings of a combined no-hitter against Detroit on March 11.

Green has the ability to start or relieve.

The Yankees open the season next Sunday at Tampa Bay. The fourth starter will be needed late in the opening week, but a decision on the fifth slot doesn't have to come before the Yankees break camp, because the rotation can be set with that spot not needed until April 16. The eventual choice could make a couple minor league starts in preparation.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 27th, 2017 09:54 pm
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Rob Refsnyder's time in the Bronx could soon be coming to an end, but that doesn't mean he won't still reside in the American League East.

The Tampa Bay Rays reportedly have interest in the utility man, and the New York Yankees are open to dealing him, according to George A. King of the New York Post.

Once considered one of the Yankees' top prospects, Refsnyder has fallen down in the depth charts recently and enters the season blocked at a number of positions. In order to get him some major-league at-bats, the Yankees deployed him at a number of positions last season, including first, second, and third base, as well as left field and right field.

Refsnyder hit .262/.332/.354 with two home runs and 12 doubles in 74 games over two seasons with the Yankees. He's shown much more promise in Triple-A, hitting .316/.365/.402 with two home runs, 10 doubles, and six stolen bases last season.

With the injury to shortstop Didi Gregorius, King notes the Yankees will likely need to make an addition to the 40-man roster, which could make Refsnyder expendable.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 27th, 2017 10:00 pm
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Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost is putting his faith in Raul Mondesi.

The skipper named the 21-year-old his starting second baseman on Monday, beating out Whit Merrifield and Christian Colon, according to Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star.

Mondesi, a five-tool prospect, made his major-league debut in Game 3 of the 2015 World Series, striking out in his only at-bat. He hit .185/.231/.281 last season with the Royals with two home runs and nine stolen bases in 47 games, striking out 48 times.

Despite his struggles, Mondesi arrived at camp with the job to win and did so with a torrid spring. He slashed .378/.391/.622 with three home runs and 12 strikeouts in 19 games.

Yost added that Merrifield and Colon will compete for one of the Royals' bench spots. Merrifield still has minor-league options left, while Colon does not.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 27th, 2017 10:01 pm
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Jeurys Familia's fate to begin the 2017 season will soon be determined, as the New York Mets closer returned to New York to meet with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Arrested on domestic violence charges in late October, Familia was allegedly drunk and "going crazy," according to the police report. Though the charges were eventually dropped, a lengthy suspension upwards of 40 games remains a possibility.

A decision regarding Familia's immediate future is anticipated within the next 48 hours, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.

New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman received a 30-game ban to start 2016, and was the first player to be suspended under MLB's domestic violence policy. Chapman allegedly choked his girlfriend and fired eight shots from a gun in his garage. Charges were dropped by prosecution.

Mets infielder Jose Reyes received a 52-game suspension for a breach of the policy while playing for the Colorado Rockies. His charges were also dropped.

Familia, who led the major leagues with 51 saves in 2016, will be replaced by Addison Reed to start the season unless no suspension is levied. Reed had his best season in 2016, posting a 1.97 ERA over 77 2/3 innings, striking out 91 batters in the process while also posting a career-best walk rate of 1.51 per nine innings.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 27th, 2017 10:02 pm
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - A jury says the Cleveland Indians aren't responsible for injuries to a New York man hit by a foul ball and blinded in one eye at a baseball game in July 2012.

Cleveland.com reports the decision late last week in a Cleveland-area county court means Keith Rawlins, of Rochester, gets no money from his lawsuit against the team.

The attorney representing the Indians, Todd Hicks, says he's pleased with the decision. The team had argued the case could have wide-ranging implications for ballparks and teams around the nation.

Cleveland.com says Rawlins' lawyers couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

He claimed he turned away from the field because he was distracted by stadium personnel forcing him to relocate for a postgame fireworks show. The team has said Rawlins moved voluntarily.

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 Posted: Tue Mar 28th, 2017 03:17 am
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Oakland Athletics games - well, the pre- and post-game parts, anyway - just became must-see TV.

Jose Canseco, the controversial yet always entertaining former Athletics slugger, has joined the Athletics' broadcast crew for the 2017 season. He'll serve as an analyst during "A's Pregame Live" and "A's Postgame Live" on NBC Sports California.

Slugger @JoseCanseco joins @CSNAuthentic as an on-air analyst for A’s Pregame Live & A’s Postgame Live for the 2017 season. #RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/fQpY10E7mw

— Oakland A's 🌳🐘⚾️ (@Athletics) March 27, 2017
CSN Bay Area also revealed that Canseco will be joined on air by his former A's teammate Dave Stewart. Another ex-Athletics hurler, Dallas Braden, will also reportedly be part of the broadcasts, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Canseco has never been shy about voicing his opinions when given a platform to do so, and it appears his first network television job won't change that one bit. The 52-year-old promised to continue his no-filter ways and speak his mind as freely as possible.

"I've got quite a bit of experience. I've pretty much been there, done all of that whether it's on or off the field," Canseco told Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area. "I think the fans can expect the truth - an honest opinion, honest analysis - and hopefully in some shape or form we expand the fan base.

"It's the first time I've gotten the opportunity to do something like this. Maybe fans would like to hear what my thoughts are, how things can be fixed or made better for the Oakland A's."

Oakland Athletics analyst I love it

— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) March 27, 2017
Canseco made his name as one of the most powerful sluggers baseball has ever seen as part of the Athletics' "Bash Brothers" tandem alongside Mark McGwire in the late 1980s. He won the 1988 AL MVP after completing the first 40-40 season in baseball history, and helped the A's to three straight pennants from 1988-90 and the 1989 World Series championship. Canseco mashed 462 home runs over his 17-year career with seven teams, 254 of which came in Oakland; he remains third on the team's all-time list.

But his attitude and off-field behavior during his playing career, along with his controversial and strange post-career adventures, have long since overshadowed any of his on-field accomplishments.

In recent years, Canseco has found himself outside of organized baseball after writing two tell-all books, the first of which - entitled "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big" - included wide-ranging allegations of steroid use against multiple baseball superstars. Canseco's become more famous these days for his often bizarre ramblings on Twitter and occasional appearances with independent baseball clubs.

This job will be Canseco's first association with an MLB club since 2002, when he played 76 games for the Chicago White Sox.

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 Posted: Tue Mar 28th, 2017 03:18 am
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SURPRISE, Ariz. - Royals outfielder Jorge Soler will likely begin his first season in Kansas City on the disabled list after straining his oblique in a minor league game.

Soler, acquired from the Chicago Cubs in December for closer Wade Davis, hurt himself on a swing Sunday. Soler went for a MRI Monday, and manager Ned Yost acknowledged Soler was expected to be out of action when the Royals open next Monday at Minnesota.

With Soler expected to be on the disabled list when the season starts, Paulo Orlando, who hit .302 last season, will probably replace him in right field. Terrance Gore will be the spare outfielder. Designated hitter Brandon Moss can also play the outfield.

Soler missed nearly two months last season with a pulled left hamstring. He was sidelined for three weeks in 2015 with a left oblique injury, plus another month with a sprained ankle.

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