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2014 Baseball Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Tue Dec 30th, 2014 08:59 pm
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lobo316
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After spending most of their offseason dealing away veterans, theTampa Bay Rays made a move Tuesday to acquire one. 

The Rays reportedly agreed to a deal with middle infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, pending a physical, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Cabrera, who spent his first eight seasons with the Cleveland Indians before a deadline trade last season shipped him to the Washington Nationals, has produced consecutive sub-par offensive seasons after earning a pair of All-Star appearances in 2011 and 2012. 





YEAR
GP
HR-RBI
AVG/OBP/SLG


2014
146
14-61
.241/.307/.387

2013
136
14-64
.242/.299/.402

2012
143
16-68
.270/.338/.423

2011
151
25-62
.273/.332/.460
The Indians deployed Cabrera primarily as a shortstop over the past five seasons but the 29-year-old did see 48 games at second once acquired by the Nationals. 

Cabrera is expected to take over as the Rays starting second baseman but Rosenthal notes the deal could proceed another in Tampa. Ben Zobrist has been heavily rumored  to being dealt prior to Opening Day and the acquisition of Cabrera makes either him or shortstop Yunel Escobar more expendable. 

The Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals were all rumored to be interested in Cabrera. 

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 Posted: Wed Dec 31st, 2014 01:52 am
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lobo316
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SAN FRANCISCO - Madison Bumgarner sat in the outfield alongside Jake Peavy before Game 7 of the World Series and told his teammate exactly what needed to happen: Tim Hudson would work a few innings and get the ball to Bumgarner, who would hand it off to the bullpen to finish the championship.

Peavy quickly offered his own prediction that Bumgarner would end it himself.

That's exactly what MadBum did, following up a pair of World Series wins with a save at Kansas City to close out San Francisco's third title in five years and cap a brilliant postseason that made him a household name - or, at the very least, a household nickname. He is the 2014 Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.

''I was sitting in the outfield with Madison and he was asking me how I thought this game was going to play out,'' Peavy recalled this month. ''I said to him: `Madison, when you get the ball, you're not coming out of the game. You're the best guy we've got.' ... He said, `Man, that's exactly what I hoped you would say' and exactly what he wanted. He just needed some confirmation, somebody to believe in him as well. I said, `Fight for that ball, man,' and what he did will go down in the ages as the best ever.''

The shaggy-haired left-hander who takes as much pride in his pitching and durability as he does his deep North Carolina roots, Bumgarner became October's biggest star for a San Francisco club that really needed one during another improbable World Series run.

Bumgarner finished first in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors. He beat out Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw - who won the National League Cy Young and MVP but lost to Bumgarner's Giants in the playoffs. Retiring New York Yankees star Derek Jeter and golfer Rory McIlroy tied for third place. The award was announced Tuesday.

After months of the same questions about his well-tested left arm, Bumgarner made light of it all.

He had just thrown 270 innings, including 21 with two wins and a save in a World Series that went the distance against the fellow wild-card Royals.

''I got a splinter in my finger the other day. That was kind of painful,'' Bumgarner quipped, sounding perfectly serious. ''Fortunately, it was on my right hand.''

Bruce Bochy's 25-year-old workhorse has earned the manager's trust that he will speak up if anything ever feels off with his arm. Otherwise, he's going to keep getting the ball.

With that tricky cross-body, three-quarters delivery - resembling a sling shot - Bumgarner shows hitters the ball briefly with an outstretched arm before that rapid release and suddenly it's right there leaving batters baffled.

On two days' rest in Game 7, that day he sat with Peavy in Kansas City, he pitched five scoreless innings of relief in a 3-2 win.

Only after that would Bumgarner acknowledge he might need a mental and physical break at last after tossing a record 52 2-3 postseason innings.

''You know what? I can't lie to you anymore,'' he said. ''I'm a little tired now.''

Pitching coach Dave Righetti began fielding inquiries before the World Series began about whether Bumgarner had the chance to make three appearances. He knew it could happen, though it wasn't exactly planned.

''You don't realize when you're in the middle of the eye, `Wow, what this guy's doing is so special,''' Righetti said. ''That really hasn't been done in years. ... When you've got a healthy guy who's on a roll, those are the kind of guys who change big series and do special things.''

The Giants locked up Bumgarner long-term in April 2012 on a $35.56 million, six-year contract through 2017. It could keep him in orange and black even longer, given the $12 million options for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. That almost seems like a bargain now given Bumgarner's performance and star power on baseball's biggest stage.

Bumgarner was MVP of the World Series and NL Championship Series, going 4-1 during the postseason following an 18-10 regular season.

From his four-hit, 10-strikeout gem that got things started in an 8-0 wild-card win at Pittsburgh all the way through his brilliant relief outing in Game 7 of the World Series, Bumgarner dazzled like never before.

''He pitched a different game than we had seen from him earlier in the season,'' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle recalled recently. ''We had watched video and saw how much sharper he had gotten as the season played out. In the wild-card game he had command of all his pitches and lived on the edges the entire outing. He also used his fastball up in the zone with deadly accuracy.''

Bumgarner made the rounds on the post-Series appearance circuit, then took a break to attend a rodeo.

Despite the heavy workload, Bumgarner will be eager for spring training come February.

''Everything feels great and we're looking to just keep a normal offseason and a normal routine,'' Bumgarner said.

It will hardly be normal given the attention and hype he is sure to generate after a spectacular 2014.

''I just love the way he's handled everything, all the attention,'' Righetti said. ''It looks like he's stayed the same.''

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 Posted: Wed Dec 31st, 2014 05:43 pm
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lobo316
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The San Diego Padres managed to unload one of their myriad outfielders Tuesday afternoon, trading Seth Smith to the Seattle Mariners for right-hander Brandon Maurer, the team announced.

Few teams have been as busy this offseason as the Padres. Newly-hired general manager A.J. Preller acquired Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers through a series of trades that created a surplus in San Diego's outfield and rendered Smith expendable.

The Mariners, meanwhile, made clear earlier this offseason their desire to bolster their offense by signing free agent Nelson Cruz before trading for outfielder Justin Ruggiano. Smith, who managed an impressive 135 OPS+ over 136 games last season, should help improve Seattle's run production in 2015 and will likely serve as the left-handed complement to Ruggiano in an outfield platoon.

Though Maurer spent time as both a starter and reliever last season, the 24-year-old will likely find himself in San Diego's bullpen in 2015 after enjoying considerable success over 31 relief appearances. Maurer, a 23rd-round pick in 2008, crafted a 2.17 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP in those appearances, fashioning a 7.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio while allowing just one home run over 37 1/3 innings.

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 Posted: Wed Dec 31st, 2014 05:44 pm
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lobo316
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The Texas Rangers grabbed Delino DeShields Jr. from the Houston Astros during the Rule 5 draft earlier this month, and the former first-round pick could earn a spot on his new club's Opening Day roster with a strong showing in spring training, according to general manager Jon Daniels.

Though the Rangers would be forced to offer DeShields back to the Astros if they decide not to put him on the 25-man roster, Daniels suggested the 22-year-old could at least be a viable fourth outfielder in 2015.

“We like the combination of the now and the future. He’s got a chance to earn a role on this team,” Daniels told Baseball America's Jeff Wilson. “He’s another center-field option and a really unique speed tool with instincts to use it. It’s a good fit for our roster right now.

"Long term, we’ll see but he has the ability to develop into more than that.”

DeShields, the eighth overall selection in 2010, earned an unflattering reputation during his time in the Astros organization, but remains eager to prove himself at the major-league level - an opportunity he never got with Houston.

"That’s all I ever wanted was just get an opportunity to show guys that I belong and I could play in the big leagues," said DeShields, who was plunked in the jaw last season by Rangers relief prospect Phil Klein. “It’s what I've lived for, for my whole life."

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 Posted: Wed Dec 31st, 2014 05:45 pm
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon has had surgery on his right wrist, and the four-time Gold Glove winner should be ready for the season opener against the White Sox on April 6.

The surgery, an extensor retinaculum repair, was performed by Dr. Bruce Toby at the University of Kansas Hospital on Tuesday. It is not yet clear when Gordon will be able to start in spring training.

Royals trainer Nick Kenney says in a statement that Gordon reached out to the team about some wrist discomfort last week. Gordon traveled to Kansas City and underwent testing, and the surgery was scheduled immediately so that he would be ready for the upcoming season.

Gordon dealt with pain in the same wrist midway through last season but did not miss significant playing time. He aggravated the injury during his winter training sessions.

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 Posted: Wed Dec 31st, 2014 09:25 pm
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lobo316
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The Colorado Rockies added to their catching depth Wednesday by agreeing to a two-year deal with Nick Hundley, believed to be valued just north of $6 million, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.

Hundley returns to the National League West, a division he's more than familiar with after playing the first seven years of his career with the San Diego Padres. He spent the final five months of last season with the Baltimore Orioles, who acquired him to help fill some of the void left by catcher Matt Wieters's season-ending elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.

The 31-year-old Hundley appeared in 83 games in 2014, slashing .243/.273/.352 with six home runs and 63 strikeouts. Despite Coors Field being an extremely hitter-friendly park, Hundley hasn't had overwhelming success in the thin air throughout his career. In 120 at-bats, he's slashed .225/.254/.408 with six doubles and four home runs.

Wilin Rosario has been the Rockies starting catcher the past three seasons, but the team was reportedly shopping him earlier this month. Rosario is considered a poor defensive catcher who struggles to hit on the road, and Hundley's signing could make the 25-year-old expendable - or the Rockies could opt to move him to another position.

Connolly notes that the Orioles hoped to re-sign Hundley, but the Rockies offered more money and playing time.

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 Posted: Wed Dec 31st, 2014 11:53 pm
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lobo316
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The Cincinnati Reds have acquired veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, a baseball source confirmed to ESPN.com.

An official announcement is expected later Wednesday.

Philadelphia's return wasn't immediately known, although Foxsports.com reported that minor league pitcher Ben Lively is headed to the Phillies as part of the deal.

Byrd, 37, is a career .278 hitter with 131 home runs in 13 seasons with Philadelphia, Texas, the Chicago Cubs, Washington, the New York Mets, Pittsburgh and Boston.

He hit .264 with 25 home runs and 85 RBIs in 154 games with the Phillies last season.

The Reds, who had been in the market for an outfield bat all winter, considered free agents Michael Morse and Norichika Aoki, among others, before consummating a deal for Byrd.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. already has traded away shortstop Jimmy Rollins (Los Angeles Dodgers) and reliever Antonio Bastardo (Pirates) this offseason. He is expected to continue exploring trades for pitcher Cole Hamels, first baseman Ryan Howard and other veteran players in the coming weeks as part of the team's rebuilding process.

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 Posted: Wed Dec 31st, 2014 11:56 pm
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lobo316
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The Chicago Cubs' lefty-heavy lineup will get some right-handed hitting help, as the club has agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder Chris Denorfia, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Denorfia appeared in a career-high 144 games in 2013 with the San Diego Padres, slashing .279/.337/.395 with 10 home runs, but regressed significantly last season. After hitting .242/.293/.319 in 89 games, the Padres traded him to the Seattle Mariners, where things worsened as Denorfia posted a .195 average in 82 at-bats.

Capable of playing all three outfield positions, the 34-year-old provides a decent platoon option for the Cubs. Throughout his nine-year career, Denorfia is hitting .292/.358/.420 in 823 at-bats against left-handed pitching.

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