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MLB off season thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sat Nov 9th, 2013 12:23 am
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freebirdsforever2001
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lobo316 wrote:
NEW YORK -- Miguel Cabrera has a chance to repeat as AL MVP after being named one of three finalists for the award in voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Detroit's star third baseman is joined by Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis and Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who has been a finalist in each of his first two major league seasons.

Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina are up for top player in the National League.

Finalists for the BBWAA awards are being announced Tuesday. The winners will be revealed next week live on the MLB Network, beginning Monday with the two rookies of the year and concluding Thursday with the MVPs.

Miami's Jose Fernandez is one of three finalists for the NL's Cy Young Award and is also up for Rookie of the Year. In Cy Young balloting, he is up against 2011 winner Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright.

In the AL Cy Young competition, Detroit's Max Scherzer is pitted against two Japanese pitchers, Texas' Yu Darvish and Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma. The Cy Young winners will be announced Wednesday.

Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig round out the NL Rookie of the Year candidates. In the AL, Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer and outfielder Wil Myers are finalists with Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias.

Oakland's Bob Melvin is trying to become the first repeat winner of the AL Manager of the Year award and a three-time winner overall. Also nominated in the AL are Cleveland's Terry Francona and John Farrell of the World Series champion Red Sox, both in their first season with new ballclubs.

In the NL, Atlanta's Fredi Gonzalez, Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle and the Dodgers' Don Mattingly will all be vying for their first awards. Managers of the year will be picked on Tuesday.


Trout should get the AL MVP.



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 Posted: Mon Nov 11th, 2013 05:11 pm
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clawmaster
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http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/11/11/twins-move-joe-mauer-from-catcher-to-first-base-following-concussion/

Twins move Joe Mauer from catcher to first base following concussion

Aaron Gleeman

Nov 11, 2013, 11:40 AM EST

For the past two months the Twins have repeatedly insisted that they plan to have Joe Mauer remain at catcher next season despite sitting out the final 40 games following a concussion, but today the team announced that Mauer is moving to first base.

Mauer spent 10 seasons at catcher, hitting .323 with an .873 OPS while making six All-Star teams and winning three batting titles, three Gold Glove awards, five Silver Slugger awards, and one MVP. Among all catchers in baseball history through age 30 he ranks sixth in Wins Above Replacement, behind only Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Ivan Rodriguez, Joe Torre, and Ted Simmons. Mauer was an amazing all-around catcher.

Back in August when Mauer suffered the concussion I wrote a lengthy article breaking down how a position switch would impact his all-around value. The short version is that big batting averages and on-base percentages would continue to make him a very good-hitting first baseman, but his lack of power would keep him from remaining as elite there as he was at catcher. Instead of being a top-three catcher every season, he projected to be in the 5-10 range among first basemen.

However, at some point this issue became less about value and more about health, and given how he struggled with post-concussion symptoms and given how many catchers spent time on the concussion disabled list this season the move makes sense for both Mauer and the Twins. He needs to be healthy and in the lineup, which is far more likely at first base than catcher.

Minnesota will likely turn to Josmil Pinto as their primary catcher following an impressive September debut, with Ryan Doumit and Chris Herrmann also in the mix to catch.



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 Posted: Mon Nov 11th, 2013 10:33 pm
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A bunch of players turned down their qualifying offers today.



from tsn.ca:

The Boston Red Sox trio of Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew were among 13 free agents who turned down $14.1 million qualifying offers Monday from their former teams.

Three Yankees also said no thanks: Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda.

The others turning down the offers were Atlanta's Brian McCann, Cincinnati's Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland's Ubaldo Jimenez, Kansas City's Ervin Santana, St. Louis' Carlos Beltran, Seattle's Kendrys Morales and Texas' Nelson Cruz.

In two years of the new system, all 22 players given qualifying offers have said no.



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 Posted: Mon Nov 11th, 2013 11:19 pm
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Benlen



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Wil Myers and Jose Fernandez won rookie of the years.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 12th, 2013 12:38 am
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clawmaster
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Benlen wrote: Wil Myers and Jose Fernandez won rookie of the years.
No argument with those selections.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 12th, 2013 11:09 am
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The question that will be answered soon, presumably, is which team is willing to both lose a draft pick and pay Carlos Beltran til he's 40? He's been brilliant for us, but I can't see him anywhere other than a mid-level AL team as a DH.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 12th, 2013 06:22 pm
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lobo316
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Marlon Byrd has reached a two-year, $16 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, a source confirmed Tuesday.

Byrd, 36, revitalized his career this past season with the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates. The veteran outfielder batted a combined .291 with a career-high 24 homers and 88 RBIs during the regular season, then drove in five runs in six postseason games with Pittsburgh.

The Phillies entered the offseason with an outfield contingent of Domonic Brown, Darin Ruf and Ben Revere, who suffered a broken foot in mid-July. One of general manager Ruben Amaro's top offseason priorities was adding a power-hitting right-handed bat to the outfield mix.

Phillies outfielders ranked near the bottom of the majors in numerous offensive categories this season. They finished 23rd in on-base percentage (.313), 19th in batting average (.259) and OPS (.720), 20th in RBIs and 27th in walks drawn. The only NL outfield that drew fewer walks was that of the Chicago Cubs.

After reeling in Byrd, the Phillies will turn their attention to resolving their catching situation. Sources told ESPN that Philadelphia has shown serious interest in free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who is the Phillies' top alternative if they can't reach an agreement with longtime catcher Carlos Ruiz.

Ruiz, who also is a free agent, has been pursued aggressively by both the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies, according to sources.

Byrd played in the Mexican League last winter, trying to get back on the radar of major league teams. He hit only .210 with one homer in 47 games between the Red Sox and Cubs in 2012 before serving a 50-game suspension for a positive test for Tamoxifen.

Byrd signed a minor league contract with the Mets in the offseason and emerged as the team's starting right fielder before being traded to the Pirates on Aug. 27. He had an outstanding stretch run with Pittsburgh, batting .318 with 17 RBIs in 30 games and helping the Pirates clinch their first postseason berth since 1992.

A 12-year veteran, Byrd started his career in Philadelphia, where he played parts of four seasons. He is a .280 hitter in 1,250 career games with the Phillies, Pirates, Mets, Red Sox, Cubs, Washington Nationals and Rangers.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 12th, 2013 10:00 pm
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lobo316
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Former catcher Bengie Molina is the new first base coach and major league catching instructor for the Texas Rangers, completing the club's coaching staff for the 2014 season.

Molina joins Bobby Jones, who was promoted from Triple-A Round Rock to be the Rangers' assistant hitting coach.

Molina, 39, spent last season as the assistant hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, his first stint as a coach since ending his 13-year major league career with the Rangers in 2010.

Molina, acquired on July 1 of that season, helped lead the Rangers to the World Series for the first time in franchise history. He batted .293 with two homers and eight RBIs in that postseason run.

Perhaps Molina's most memorable moment as a Ranger was hitting for the cycle at Boston's Fenway Park on July 16, 2010, chugging to third for a triple to complete that cycle. He also had a grand slam in that game.

Molina was a career .274 hitter with the Angels, Blue Jays, Giants and Rangers and won two Gold Gloves. He was the starting catcher for the Angels' 2002 World Series run.

Jones, 64, will make his third big league coaching stint for Texas. He was on Johnny Oates' staff in 2000 and 2001 and coached first base in 2006 for Buck Showalter. Next season will be his 27th as a coach or manager in the Rangers organization.

The club also announced that trainer Jamie Reed is now senior director of medical operations and Kevin Harmon has been promoted to head trainer. Reed will oversee all medical aspects of the club, including the farm system.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 12th, 2013 10:39 pm
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It's finally been confirmed - David Ortiz is on the juice.





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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2013 01:06 pm
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lobo316
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NEW YORK -- Two championships and eight successful seasons in Boston brought Terry Francona exactly zero first-place votes in Manager of the Year balloting.

It took him one year with the surprising Cleveland Indians to bag the prize.

Francona and Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates won the Manager of the Year awards Tuesday after guiding their small-budget teams to charming turnarounds.

In a close vote by the Baseball Writers' Association of America panel, Francona edged old friend John Farrell of the World Series champion Red Sox 112 points to 96 for the American League honor.

"I have a feeling he wouldn't trade what they did for this any day of the week," Francona said on a conference call from Tucson, Ariz.

Hurdle was a runaway winner in the NL, selected first on 25 of 30 ballots after taking the Pirates to the playoffs in their first winning season since 1992.

"It is so rewarding for me to see what's happened, the synergy in the city," Hurdle said in Pittsburgh. "To be a small part of a group that's able to bring joy at so many different levels -- that's what's rewarding to me in life."

It was the first Manager of the Year honor for Francona, even though -- in an interesting twist -- he steered the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. During his initial season with the Indians, he directed them to a 24-win improvement and their first playoff berth in six years.

They lost the AL wild-card game to Tampa Bay, but voting is conducted before the postseason.

Francona said he called Farrell, a longtime colleague and once his pitching coach in Boston, on Tuesday morning because he thought it was funny they were up against each other as finalists for the award.

If they heard such news years ago, Francona said, "both of us would have laughed each other out of the room."

Hurdle also was quick with a self-deprecating joke after he won.

"There's guys laughing all over the place," he said in an interview on MLB Network. "The players know so many times this season we'd have a big series, getting together just trying to break the ice I'd tell them, 'Hey, look guys, you've got to step it up, play big this week because I'm going to get outmanaged. I can tell you one thing that's going to happen: I'll get outmanaged. So really step it up.' And they did. They believed me every series."

Just like Francona, the 56-year-old Hurdle won Manager of the Year for the first time. His highest finish had been third in 2007, when he led Colorado to the World Series.

Don Mattingly of the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers came in second and Fredi Gonzalez of the NL East champion Atlanta Braves was third.

The only other Pittsburgh manager to win was Jim Leyland in 1990 and 1992, the bookends to three consecutive division titles for the Pirates.

After that, they endured a record 20 straight losing seasons -- the longest drought in any of the four major professional sports -- before going 94-68 this year to capture an NL wild card.

Riding a wave of excitement from a rejuvenated fan base in a city finally enthralled by baseball again, Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati in the wild-card game before losing to league champion St. Louis in a division series that went the full five games.

"I'm a realist, but I am an optimist," said Hurdle, who has managed the Pirates for three seasons. "Everybody played a part."

Hurdle was chosen second on the other five ballots and was the only NL manager picked on every one. He had 140 points in the 5-3-1 scoring system to 68 for Mattingly, who received two first-place votes. Gonzalez got three first-place votes and had 43 points.

Mike Matheny of the Cardinals was the only other skipper to appear on a ballot. He was tabbed second by four voters and third by seven.

Cy Young Award winners will be announced Wednesday evening, and MVPs on Thursday.

Francona garnered 16 first-place votes to 12 for Farrell, who lifted the Red Sox from last place to first in the AL East in his debut season as their manager. Boston won 97 games, tied for most in the majors, one year after going 69-93 under Bobby Valentine.

Bob Melvin, last year's winner, received the other two first-place votes and came in third after his low-payroll Oakland Athletics won their second consecutive AL West crown.

Francona never received a first-place vote during eight seasons as manager of the Red Sox. He had never finished higher than fourth for this award in 12 years as a big league skipper, including his stint with Philadelphia.

After a messy split from the Red Sox following their 2011 collapse, Francona spent a year in broadcasting that he said helped him become more patient and less stubborn.

This season with the Indians was one of his most fun in baseball, he said, and he loves the people he works for because when challenges arise "we tackle them together."

"Boston is, you're not really supposed to ever lose a game, and that's difficult to do," Francona said, adding the job there is "to manage all the noise that's around the team so the guys can play."

"You can't have all that passion and not have some of the headaches that come with it," he explained. "It's a little different in Cleveland because it's more just baseball, which I enjoy."

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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2013 08:05 pm
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lobo316
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Infielder Nick Punto agreed Wednesday to a $3 million, one-year contract with the Oakland Athletics following a little more than a season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Punto's deal, announced Wednesday, calls for a $2.75 million salary and includes a $2.75 million club option for 2015 with a $250,000 buyout. The option could become guaranteed based on days on the active major league roster next year, not including time on a disabled list.

The 36-year-old was acquired by the Dodgers from Boston on Aug. 25, 2012, as part of the nine-player trade that sent Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to Los Angeles. Punto hit .255 this year with two homers and 21 RBIs in 116 games.

He has a .248 career average with Philadelphia (2001-03), Minnesota (2004-10), St. Louis (2011), Boston (2012) and Los Angeles.

Punto had a $1.5 million base salary each season under the two-year deal he signed with Boston and earned $250,000 annually in roster bonuses by being active for at least 150 days.

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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2013 09:15 pm
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Pretty f*cking ridiculous that John Farrell didn't win the AL Manager of the Year award simply because both voters from Toronto had Farrell in 3rd place.



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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2013 09:20 pm
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If this is true then Ellsbury will not be coming back to Boston.


from cbssports.com:

It is becoming more apparent the key name for Jacoby Ellsbury this winter is his old Red Sox teammate Carl Crawford.

Ellsbury's agent, Scott Boras, has named an asking price, one interested team said. And it seems clear now that Crawford's $142 million, seven-year deal is a benchmark in discussions.

While recently discussing Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo, Boras' other top free-agent outfielder, Boras said, "Carl Crawford [who signed for $142 million over seven years in 2010] lives. And Jayson Werth signed for seven years (and $126 million) at age 32."

Boras also has mentioned that Ellsbury's value is actually higher than Crawford's was when he was a free agent since Ellsbury is a center fielder who bats leadoff while Crawford played left field and batted second (at least at the time). Another difference, according to Boras, is that Ellsbury has proved he can thrive in Boston, a pressure cooker environment. Ultimately, Crawford wilted in Boston but has come back to play better in Los Angeles.

Boras also mentions that the Crawford deal was struck three years ago, and baseball's finances have gotten even better since.

One rival GM, who won't make a play for Ellsbury, came back, "Crawford was better and more durable [at the time]."

It'll be interesting to see what those involved think.

The Mariners, Nationals, Yankees and incumbent Red Sox are among several teams interested in Ellsbury while the Dodgers, Cardinals, Cubs and others make sense, too. Ellsbury, 30, hit .298 with nine homers, 53 RBI and a league-leading 52 stolen bases in 2013 and helped the Red Sox win their second World Series title since his arrival.



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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2013 10:28 pm
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lobo316
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as Gomer would say, "surprise surprise surprise"

 

 

Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer has won the 2013 American League Cy Young Award.

Scherzer, who finished 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 32 starts, received 28 of 30 first-place votes. Scherzer led the majors in wins, finished second in strikeouts (240) and third in WHIP (0.97).

Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers and Hisashi Iwakuma of the Seattle Mariners finished second and third, respectively, in the voting.

The 29-year-old Scherzer became the second Tigers pitcher in three seasons to win the Cy Young Award, joining teammate Justin Verlander, who won in 2011.

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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2013 10:31 pm
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lobo316
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Scott Boras had some words for the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros, and they were far from kind. And he also backed the Tampa Bay Rays' desire for a new ballpark.

On the third day of the general managers' meetings, the baseball agent with the highest profile stood in the hotel lobby for a question-and-answer session that gathered an amount of media so large that hotel security told him to move to a remote corridor.

Boras wants to goad teams into spending more on free agents. When he focused on the Mets, he pointed out their concentration on captain David Wright and young pitchers such as Matt Harvey -- his client -- and Zack Wheeler.

"The Mets are like NASA," Boras said. "They have big rockets, a lot of platforms and very few astronauts. Astronauts are hard to find. They've got one guy with the `Wright' stuff, that's for sure. And they've got a lot of Arm-strongs, too. But they're certainly a club that I'm sure that's in pursuit of a higher level of talent."

Boras has been stepping up his criticism of large-market teams lacking lofty payrolls. Following the collapse of Bernard Madoff Ponzi's scheme, the Mets have cut payroll by about one-third over the past two seasons and were 17th at about $95 million in the latest 2013 figures.

"I think the ability to spend and actually spending are two different things. And that's only for the Mets to diagnose," Boras said. "Certainly their franchise value has gone through the roof -- they're well over $2 billion. They're a very successfully run business operation. The Mets have the ability to do pretty much what they want to do. But it's hard to find astronauts."

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson responded in a low-key manner: "I don't think his intergalactic metaphor is exactly right."

Asked what was incorrect, Alderson said: "I'm not sure because I've first got to understand it."

The Cubs were 15th in payroll this year at about $101 million. Boras said the Rickets family, which bought the team four years ago, has put too much emphasis on the redevelopment of Wrigley Field and not enough on major league payroll.

"You're developing the infrastructure, but fans don't come to see seats, grass, cement. They come to see players," he said. "They've done a great job in the draft and development and they've got a really good core of young players coming, but it is just not what's expected when you have a (family) buy a major-market club."

Boras compared the Tampa Bay Rays' situation to Charles Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities," saying there was "the one they're in and the one they should be in." The Rays repeatedly have said Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg is inadequate, and they drew a major league-low 1.5 million at home despite reaching the playoffs for the fourth time in six years.

"They need a new ballpark. They need to address that," he said. "But certainly the bell's been answered by the organization as far as putting a product on the field that would normally attract fans."

He joked about the Astros, who traded veterans and cut payroll to around $29 million -- $13 million less than any other big league team. Houston went a team-worst 51-111 and the Astros' 324 losses over three years matched the 1917 Philadelphia Athletics for third most in major league history.

"The Astros," he said, "they're like Disneyland. If the kids come, it's a great attraction."

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