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2016 - 2017 MLB Off-Season  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Thu Nov 17th, 2016 02:08 pm
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lobo316



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President Barack Obama made sure to pay tribute to retired broadcaster Vin Scully for his 67 years of service on Wednesday by making him a recipient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He will receive the award on Nov. 22, according to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Scully was part of a pretty incredible list of recipients, including other sports figures such as Michael Jordan and Kareem-Abdul Jabbar.

JUST IN: Pres. Obama names 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, including Robert De Niro, Michael Jordan and Tom Hanks. pic.twitter.com/rScD061Ihh

— ABC News (@ABC) November 16, 2016
Scully broadcasted his final home game for the Dodgers on Sept. 25, ending his tenure in the booth at Chavez Ravine with a heartfelt goodbye song.

His last game on the microphone came Oct. 3 on the road against the San Francisco Giants, as the Dodgers ended their season with a 7-1 loss to their division rivals.

Iconic baseball legends Yogi Berra and Willie Mays received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

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 Posted: Thu Nov 17th, 2016 02:10 pm
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lobo316



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If the the Detroit Tigers are indeed interested in trading second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Dodgers, one of 10 teams on his limited no-trade list, the three-time All-Star would only approve a deal if Los Angeles gives him a contract extension, his agent, Jay Franklin, said Wednesday.

"If one of the 10 teams happens to call and wants to talk about it, we're open to talking about it,” Franklin told FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. "(But) they're going to have to extend him for us to waive the no-trade."

Kinsler, who ranks third in WAR among active second basemen, is owed $11 million in 2017, and has a $12-million team option for the following season that includes a $5-million buyout. This past summer, the 34-year-old hit .288/.348/.484 (123 wRC+) with 28 homers and 14 stolen bases in 153 games while also earning the first Gold Glove award of his 11-year career.

It's no surprise, then, that the Dodgers are reportedly talking to the Tigers, given that Chase Utley is expected to sign elsewhere as a free agent this winter and his potential replacement, Howie Kendrick, was traded to Philadelphia last week. In Los Angeles, Kinsler - who was on losing side of the World Series in 2010 and 2011 - would join National League Rookie of the Year (and MVP candidate) Corey Seager in one of the most formidable double-play combinations in baseball.

"His ultimate goal is no different than when he went from the Rangers to the Tigers," Franklin said. "He wants to win. If anyone knows Ian Kinsler, he has always been that type of guy.

"He would like the opportunity to stay at his position and hopefully get to the Hall of Fame. He works his tail off to keep himself in shape, trying to get to the point where the writers will one day say he was one of the best ever to play his position."

Though Tigers general manager Al Avila refused to characterize his offseason strategy as a rebuild, cutting costs appears to be a top priority in Detroit after finishing 86-75 - 2 1/2 games back of the second American League wild-card spot - in 2016 despite an Opening Day payroll of almost $199 million.

"We certainly want to stay competitive, we certainly want to try and get back into the playoffs. But at the same time, this organization has been working way above its means, as far as payroll, for many, many years, and it’s put us in a situation where, quite frankly, it’s very difficult to maneuver," Avila told Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press last month.

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 Posted: Thu Nov 17th, 2016 03:06 pm
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lobo316



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The great super-bullpen experiment failed in the Bronx in 2016, but it appears Hal Steinbrenner wants to give it another go next season.

Steinbrenner, the New York Yankees' owner and chairman, has his eyes on making a splash in his team's bullpen for a second straight winter to help ease the load on a young starting rotation.

"For me, the bullpen is my priority," he told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post at the MLB owners' meetings in Chicago. "Because I think we're probably going to have a young pitching staff, and I think if we can shorten the game for them by really strengthening the bullpen, that's going to be to our advantage."

Though he didn't cite him by name, Steinbrenner alluded to a possible chase of free-agent closer Aroldis Chapman as part of his bullpen rebuild. Chapman provided New York with a half-season of lights-out relief work last season, posting a 2.01 ERA and saving 20 games while walking just eight hitters in pinstripes before a July trade sent him to the Chicago Cubs.

The fact that Chapman's already experienced the intense New York spotlight appeals to the owner as he considers whether to dip into the free-agent waters.

"Any time you can get a guy that's already proven he can play in New York - you guys know as well as I do it's a tough place to play," Steinbrenner said. "If you get a guy who's proven he can play there, then that's a plus in the column."

Spending some dollars on non-bullpen pieces, however, might not be in the cards for the Yankees this winter. The team didn't sign a single major-league free agent last offseason, and the emergence of young position players - Steinbrenner cited Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, and Rob Refsnyder here - has him leaning toward running with the youngsters and spurning some of the available positional talent to, in part, keep some of the team's payroll flexibility.

That doesn't mean the available money won't be spent - it's just more likely to be used to improve other areas, like the bullpen.

"We've got money coming off the payroll for the first time in a few years, and we're going to put a decent portion of it back into the club, as we always do. How much remains to be seen, depending on what our needs are and what's available," Steinbrenner told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. "There are areas we need work on like every team, so we're going to identify those areas. If we can't fill them from within, if we can't figure out a trade of some kind, then there's the free-agent market. And we've always been involved in the free-agent market and always will be. So we'll just have to see.

"That doesn't mean I still can't start to lower payroll, particularly when you think of the amount of money coming off the payroll. So that gives me some flexibility ... if I have the (younger players) to put in there, and if they perform."

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 Posted: Thu Nov 17th, 2016 10:21 pm
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lobo316



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Your favorite team could have an extra player next season.

Major League Baseball and its players association are discussing expanding active rosters to 26 players as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, sources told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. In exchange, according to Rosenthal, the PA would give up expanded rosters in September.

The 26-player roster would be in use from April through August. Teams currently use a 25-man active roster, but a 26th man is permitted for unscheduled doubleheaders.

Current roster rules allow for teams to call up as many players on their 40-man roster as they choose after Sept. 1. This longtime rule has come under scrutiny of late, as September contests can often feature matchups between teams with differently sized rosters. This past year, expanded rosters became a source of angst for many fans due to large amounts of pitching changes thanks to expanded bullpens.

Rosenthal reports that the potential change would see September rosters capped at 28 active players.

The current CBA expires on Dec. 1.

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 Posted: Thu Nov 17th, 2016 10:22 pm
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lobo316



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With so few starters on the free-agent pitching market, there's been plenty of talk between teams on the trade front.

Multiple executives said that trade talks regarding starters have been intense over the last 24-48 hours, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox, Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays, Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers, and Sonny Gray of the Oakland Athletics are the starters that have generated the most interest from other clubs early on, with the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros said to be the most aggressive.

Thirty-six-year-old Rich Hill heads the list of underwhelming free-agent arms, which also includes the likes of Jason Hammel, Andrew Cashner, Edinson Volquez, and Jered Weaver.

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 Posted: Thu Nov 17th, 2016 10:23 pm
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lobo316



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Andrew McCutchen could be playing out his final days with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Coming off their first losing season in the last four years, the Pirates appear poised to potentially enter a rebuilding phase, with McCutchen among one of the club's top trade chips.

McCutchen is owed $14 million in 2017 with a $14.75-million team option for 2018. With a much smaller operating budget than most big-league clubs, signing a then 32-year-old McCutchen to an extension after his current contract seems unlikely, meaning now may be the time to consider trading him.

"I'll take it one day at a time," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune. "I think any general manager that's in a market similar to the one we're in has to explore the possibility of (trading) players who have one or two years left on their contracts. You have to see what value is there to keep or to move.

"That's the way we're going to need to continue to operate. It's the hard part of what we get to do."

Selected with the 11th pick of the 2005 draft by the Pirates, McCutchen has spent his entire eight-year career in Pittsburgh. He's been an All-Star five times, and has finished in the top five in NL MVP voting in four out of the last five years, winning in 2013.

"Andrew is a special man. He's been a special player," Hurdle said. "That's the one thing that you continue to honor as you continue to plan. He's here until he's not here, in my mind."

While McCutchen has seen his name populate trade rumors more frequently this offseason, Hurdle acknowledged that he's never asked to be dealt.

"Andrew has been very black and white in the conversations I've had with him," Hurdle said. "He's told me, 'I'm under contract here, so I plan on playing here. However, I don't call all the shots, either.'"

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 Posted: Thu Nov 17th, 2016 10:50 pm
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lobo316



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Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow has made his first major splash of the winter.

Eager to add another power bat, the Astros acquired catcher Brian McCann from the New York Yankees in exchange for right-handed pitching prospects Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman.

McCann is coming of a year in which he hit .242/.335/.413 to go with 20 home runs, 13 doubles and 58 RBIs in 130 games. He's reached the 20-homer plateau in each of the last nine seasons.

The Astros had been linked to McCann for the past several weeks as a replacement for Jason Castro, who became a free agent. McCann had served as the catcher for the Yankees but lost his starting job to rookie phenom Gary Sanchez.

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 Posted: Thu Nov 17th, 2016 11:51 pm
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Mysterious



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The Houston Astros and free-agent outfielder Josh Reddick have agreed on a four-year, $52 million contract, according to multiple reports.

The agreement, which is subject to a physical, was first reported by Yahoo Sports.

In 155 combined games between the Oakland A's and Los Angeles Dodgers, Reddick hit .281 with 17 doubles, 10 home runs and 37 RBIs, while also providing steady defense in right field.

Reddick got off to a slow start with the Dodgers following an Aug. 1 trade, but he finished batting .258 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 47 games with his new club. He ended up tied for the major league lead with a .400 batting average in September, going 26-for-65 in 20 games for the Dodgers.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 18th, 2016 10:51 pm
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lobo316



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The Kansas City Royals have signed catcher Drew Butera to a two-year contract, the team announced Friday.

Butera's deal is worth $3.8 million over two seasons, paying him $1.5 million in 2017 and $2.3 million in 2018, according to Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star.

At 33 years old, Butera is expected to once again back up Salvador Perez, though he wasn't terrible at the plate in minimal appearances last season.

Over 123 at bats, he slashed .285/.328/.480 with four homers and 10 doubles, all of which are career highs.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 18th, 2016 10:52 pm
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lobo316



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David Price is doing a good deed with some of the $217 million the Boston Red Sox are paying him over the next seven years.

The left-hander donated $2.5 million to his alma mater Vanderbilt University, the school announced Friday.

Price's donation will be used to support the baseball facilities project at the university. The contribution is the project's largest and completes a $12-million fundraising effort.

"Student-athletes who go on to achieve success and represent the university in the exemplary manner as David Price has are a testament to the truly special program Vanderbilt has developed under Coach Tim Corbin’s leadership," school Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos explained. "It’s not just that some of baseball’s greatest players have emerged from Vanderbilt. These amazing young men also continue to value and honor our university community in many important ways. I am deeply grateful to David and his fellow donors for their generosity and for, yet again, making our Commodore Nation so proud."

Price attended the school from 2005-07, winning the SEC Male Athlete of the Year and Pitcher of the Year awards, before being drafted first overall by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 2007 amateur draft.

"David Price has always been about helping make others better," athletics director David Williams said. "And he has never forgotten Vanderbilt. He has a passion for his extended Commodore family and his leadership with this project is not only important to the future of our baseball program but says everything about his generosity and values. He personifies the excellence we strive to attain at Vanderbilt University."

The 31-year-old Price earned $30 million during his first season with the Red Sox, where he finished 17-9 with a 3.99 ERA across 230 innings.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 18th, 2016 10:53 pm
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lobo316



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The next chapter in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry could be playing out in the payroll offices.

With New York having gained some salary relief by trading catcher Brian McCann to the Houston Astros on Thursday afternoon, there's now an opening at DH in the Bronx. Boston, of course, has a rather large hole at designated hitter as well, thanks to the retirement of David Ortiz. As such, both clubs have already been linked to free-agent DH Carlos Beltran in the early part of this offseason.

Now, according to Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald, it's possible the longtime adversaries could get into a bidding war for Beltran's services in 2017.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman hinted Thursday that the McCann trade could open up some new avenues for his club in terms of spending money, potentially on a bat like Beltran, or even Edwin Encarnacion. Both free agents were linked to the Yankees in a report Thursday afternoon that described their interest in the players as "serious."

"Now that we have more flexibility, it gives us more choices," Cashman said, according to Drellich.


Both teams would appear to be suitable for the 39-year-old given their apparent mutual desires to fill the DH slot with a shorter-term bat. For the Yankees, the chance to use some of their younger players to fill needs at right field (Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks) as well as first base (Tyler Austin and a healthy Greg Bird), plus Gary Sanchez as a full-time catcher, would leave the DH spot available for Beltran to return to New York, where he spent the last two-plus seasons before being dealt to Texas at the Aug. 1 trade deadline.

Boston, meanwhile, has been connected to Beltran at various points in this offseason. Club president Dave Dombrowski has already expressed a desire to replace Ortiz with a bat that wouldn't be confined to the DH spot. While he doesn't have the range of his youth, Beltran can still play some outfield when needed, having appeared in 69 games in right field last season.

The Red Sox and Yankees aren't alone in competing for the switch-hitter's services, though, as both Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports report that the Astros are still interested in Beltran. Although they picked up McCann and then reportedly agreed to a four-year deal with Josh Reddick on Thursday, they still apparently believe there'd be enough at-bats available for everyone - including returning players such as catcher/DH Evan Gattis - if Beltran was added to the mix.

Beltran, who hit .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers in 2016, has also drawn reported interest from the Toronto Blue Jays.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 18th, 2016 10:55 pm
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lobo316



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Trevor Plouffe's time in the Twin Cities appears to have come to an end.

The Minnesota Twins have placed the third baseman on outright waivers, sources told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He's expected to clear waivers later today, according to Berardino, at which point he'll become a free agent.

Plouffe struggled through an injury-plagued 2016 season that saw his numbers fall well off career norms. The 30-year-old hit just .260/.303/.420 with just 12 homers and 35 runs scored over 84 games. Rib and oblique injuries in the second half limited him to just 26 contests after July 1. He was shut down for the season in early September.

Cutting ties with Plouffe could potentially open the hot corner for Miguel Sano on a full-time basis. Sano, who hit 25 homers in 116 games with the Twins in 2016, is a natural third baseman but played 38 games in right field this year, and had a rough time adjusting to the position.

Plouffe, a first-round pick of the Twins in 2004, spent the past seven seasons with the AL Central club - primarily as a third baseman, though he also played a bit of shortstop, right field, and first base - and hit .247/.308/.420 with 96 home runs, 148 doubles, and 357 RBIs over that span.

According to Berardino, Plouffe was projected to make $8.2 million in 2017 - his final year of arbitration eligibility. He made $7.25 million last year.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 18th, 2016 10:56 pm
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lobo316



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The Texas Rangers, in need of at least one more arm at the back end of their rotation, have agreed to a one-year, $10-million deal with free-agent right-hander Andrew Cashner, according to TR Sullivan of MLB.com.

Because he was traded prior to last year's deadline, Texas will not have to surrender a draft pick to sign him.

The 30-year-old had a rocky 2016 season, posting a career-high 5.25 ERA and 1.53 WHIP, while averaging 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings - a drop-off from 2015 - in 27 starts split between the San Diego Padres and Miami Marlins. Cashner's numbers also took something of a spike during his two months in Miami.

A native of Conroe, Texas who went to college at TCU, Cashner's best season came with the Padres in 2014, when he posted a 2.55 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over 19 starts in an injury-shortened campaign. Across seven major-league seasons with the Padres, Marlins, and Chicago Cubs, he owns a 3.89 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and 608 strikeouts in 202 appearances.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 18th, 2016 10:58 pm
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lobo316



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MLB has severed ties with leadership search firm Korn Ferry because not a single minority person filled a manager or general manager vacancy from outside an organization this winter.

The league previously had qualms with the agency, suspecting its searches resulted in nothing more than friends hiring friends.

“The Korn Ferry relationship on minority hiring, we’ve really shifted,’’ Commissioner Rob Manfred said at the owners’ meetings, according to USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale. “Their involvement at the industry level is going to be curtailed on these types of projects because, as we went along in the process, we came to realize there’s a potential for conflicts when they’re doing searches and doing work for us centrally.’’

The "conflicts" Manfred spoke of were that most hires had pre-existing relationships, including several involving the Cleveland Indians, or now-Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro, a former Indians executive.

Minnesota hired Derek Falvey as president despite never leading a department. His highest-ranking job was one year as the Indians' assistant general manager. Former Arizona Diamondbacks senior vice president of baseball operations Dejon Watson was the only minority interviewed for the job.

In Arizona, the Diamondbacks interviewed two minority candidates, Kim Ng and Peter Woodfork, but eventually turned to former Boston Red Sox GM Mike Hazen for the job.

The only minority hired this offseason was Rick Renteria, who the Chicago White Sox promoted internally from bench coach to manager.

The only two minority GMs in baseball are the Miami Marlins' Mike Hill and the Detroit Tigers' Al Avila. Kenny Williams of the White Sox is the only minority president, while Dusty Baker, Dave Roberts, and Renteria are the only minority managers in baseball.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 18th, 2016 10:58 pm
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The Pirates just came out of a 20 year rebuilding period and were decent for maybe 3 years.  Now, they want to rebuild again?  If I lived there I would never attend a game.

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