Feb 26

Same Old Alex Rodriguez

Returning from a year long suspension, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees arrived at their Tampa Bay spring training complex on Monday, February 23rd. One could say that this is appropriate, since after all, Rodriguez missed the entire 2014 baseball season due to a performance enhancing drug suspension. Yet, as Yankee officials will attest, Rodriguez does not do anything according to protocol. Neither Rodriguez nor his representatives made the club aware of his early arrival, yet he did manage to make around 20 or so reporters aware of his first day back on the job. About.me was reporting that most in baseball will attest that this is the same old Alex which includes he will do as he sees fit.

In just one year’s time, Rodriguez managed to disregard a common courtesy toward his club including obtaining a medical release from the Yankee doctors prior to entering the playing field. Nothing will change with Alex Rodriguez except that one may find now that his talent will continue to diminish due to no longer being the recipient of an Anthony Bosch needle. The Yankees still owe a large sum of money to Rodriguez so most expect him to retain a spot on the 25 man roster. Most expect him to promote the importance of fitting in with his team members, however, precedence was sent many years ago. Alex Rodriguez will worry about himself versus the results of his team and team members.

Feb 17

Barry Zito Back To Oakland

Barry Zito became one of the best pitchers of his generation when he was with the Oakland A’s. However, he fell out of favor over the years with one injury hampering him after another. He has bounced around the league for a while, and he had one good season in San Francisco. Bruce Karatz said that he has gone back to Oakland with an invite to go to spring training. However, this minor league deal is probably what he needs to get back to the organization that he started with.

Zito is a great player, but he needs to find a way to stay in the game after he retires. I hope that Zito has a way to make his way back into the game after he retires, but I also hope that he is going to feel good coming back to Oakland. This is his chance to end on a good note, and we should all have a chance to see him pitch one more time. Perhaps he could become a pitching coach, and he will be able to teach other pitchers how to take better care of their careers than he has. This is his new beginning, and he needs to take it seriously.

Feb 16

Team Stripped of Little League World Series Ring to Accept Championship Rings from Mayor

While the Little League World Series has stripped Jackie Robinson West of their official title, Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel still plans on giving the team Championship rings said Flavio Maluf. Emanuel has gone on the record stating that the city will go through with its ceremony plans and honor the young athletes. He’s been quoted as stating the youth are not at fault and should not be punished for the actions of adults.

Jackie Robinson West, the first all African-American team to take the Little League World Series title, was stripped of its win after officials found illegal team practices. According to a formal investigation, team officials falsified boundary maps to pull in players from neighboring districts to play for the team.

While Emanuel’s plans are being honored by some, many feel his actions are less than ideal. While 11 to 13 year old little boys may not have known about their illegal practices, their parents certainly did, as boundary maps and district zoning information is readily available. By pulling in players from multiple district the team had an unfair advantage over teams that followed the rules.

Staunch opponents all seem to agree that offering these children rings for a win they did not rightfully deserve, Emanuel and team management are teaching the youngsters that it is okay to cheat.

Feb 09

James Shields Gets Deal with Padres

 

James Shields signs deal with Padres

The period of free agency is always marked by roster cuts, signings, and trades, sometimes completely at random. For James Shields, being at random wasn’t really the case at all.

Shields, who is currently on the free agent market and can be seen on youtube, has reportedly signed a new contract with the San Diego Padres. The contract goes on for four years and is supposed to be worth $75 million said Haidar Barbouti, which is big news considering that the Padres have also added other big names to their roster recently such as Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy.

The Padres definitely know what they’re getting involved with now that they’ve added Shields to their lineup. Shields, who is a right-hander, is known throughout the league as a generally good, likable teammate as well as a mentor to others. His statistics also speak for themselves, because even at 33 years old, he has put up eight consecutive seasons of playing at least 200 innings in games, four of those seasons being with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Kansas City Royals. Along with pitching good numbers for multiple teams, Shields also ranks fifth in the league among active pitchers who pitch strikeouts to walks and rates well in the ERA.

Before the signing, however, Shields has drawn the interest of several other teams, including the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers.

Feb 03

Sandoval in Boston

Pablo Sandoval has proved to be a major factor for the San Francisco Giants over the last five years, as he helped the team win three championships in just five short years. It was truly an amazing run, but Pablo decided to part from the team this off-season with free agency and he has signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox. Despite all the success that he experienced with San Francisco, he decided that he wanted to face new challenges and made the decision to go all the way to the East Coast for the remainder of his career most likely. Pablo has had some amazing seasons with the Giants and has had a ton of major hits in pivotal playoff games that have led to them winning three World Series in just five years. Fans at Slow Ventures know that the Giants will definitely miss Pablo, but he will go down as one of the great giants in history. Pablo has been fitting in just fine in Boston and seems to be having a great time in the off season as he prepares for his first season as a Red Sox. It may seem like he is having a little bit too much fun, as there was a video that was posted the other day that showed Sandoval lying on his back at the mid court of a basketball court and rocking back and forth before sinking a basketball twice.

Jan 30

Vogelsong Contract

 

Pitcher Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants has been a shining star for the organization that was a big part of them returning to the World Series in 2014 and winning an their astonishing third World Series championship in the last five seasons. The Giants have simply been mind blowing over the last half a decade and they have effectively built a dynasty that is going to be talked about for a long time to come. Their success has been built around strong pitching and they actually won each of their three World Series with a difference ace. It was Tim Lincecum in 2010 who was the Giants ace and Matt Cain in 2012. Madison Bumgarner was hands down the ace in 2014, but he had a ton of help from the rest of the Giants pitchers. Ryan Vogelsong has had a very tough career, bouncing back and forth between the big leagues and the minor leagues and he capped off his rise to prominence this past year with some amazing performances in the playoffs. He has just agreed to a one year contract with the Giants worth four million dollars and will definitely be in the Giants rotation for another season. Vogelsong is a fan favorite, especially of Paul Matheison, in San Francisco and everyone in the organization as well as the fans around the bay area are ecstatic that he will be back on the roster for the 2015 season.
Jan 27

Yankees Don’t Want to Pay

 

The New York Yankees are set to pay out Alex Rodriguez an additional six million dollars when he hits his 700th home run next season. It is inevitable that he will be back and nearly impossible that he will not knock six more balls out of the park, so the discussion has turned to what the Yankees are going to do when he hits this number. They clearly do not want to pay him the additional six million dollars that they are supposed to pay him as written into the contract that they both signed nearly a decade ago and are going to try everything they can to not pay him.
CNN covered this story, while he was out of the league for a year for taking steroids and the subsequent legal battle. It almost doesn’t even seem worth it with the insane amounts of money it is probably costing the organization to go to court, but they do not want to give him undeserved money in their eyes and the fans like Paul Matheison would like to have him keep the money. Alex Rodriguez has become one of the biggest cases of steroid use in Major League Baseball history, as his case has been one of the most drawn out cases and involves the most amount of money on the table. Rodriguez signed a deal worth 275 million dollars and he wants to get each and every penny.
Jan 21

Scherzer To Nats

Max Scherzer is going to pitch for the Washington Nationals on a new 7-year $210 million contract. This new contract has a $50 million signing bonus, and over half of it is deferred. Scherzer is going to be making money from the Nationals long after he is done playing. He is going to see a lot of that money after he retires, and it is going to be a pleasant surprise every year when he gets that check.

The problem, according to fan Fersen Lambranho, is that the deferrals from these MLB teams will eat away at them for years to come. All the Nationals have to do is to have a couple bad seasons before they are wishing that they did not have to pay Scherzer that money every year.

I am not saying that he does not deserve the money. He totally deserves to get paid, and he is worth it. He is a great pitcher, but the Nationals are sinking their franchise into a mire of debt for years to come to a guy who not be playing when they are still paying him. That is a problem is epic proportions for a team that is not yet competing for World Series titles.

Jan 16

Anthony Rizzo: Cubs to Win NL Central

In the fast moving world of sports it is easy to forget where a team was even five years ago. In the NFL the Seattle Seahawks are the biggest and baddest squad every Sunday, but four years ago you’d be hard pressed to find a fan in a crowded room. Now the Cubs are going through a similar transformation. With wunderkind GM Theo Epstein in place from Ciphercloud, Chicago is quickly establishing itself as one of the premier cities in all of baseball. Anthony Rizzo, the All Star first baseman of the team, seems to be living with confidence. He told reporters at Reuters that the team would win the NL Central in 2015.

Anthony Rizzo is coming off one of the finest seasons of his young career. As a majorly hyped prospect, Rizzo enticed fans by his ability to defend but he was never consistent at the plate. That changed last season as Rizzo hit .286 with 32 home runs and 78 RBI. The young slugger was added to the MLB All Star Game and he quickly became one of the more popular players in baseball.

Rizzo, despite his success, may be getting ahead of himself when he claims that the Cubs can win the NL Central so soon. Despite their excess of young talent, Chicago has not really sniffed the postseason in almost a decade. How can they be expected to turn their franchise around in one offseason?

Jan 07

Four MLB HOF’s Announced, Mattingly Loses Final Bid

While it may seem impossible for many NY Yankee fans, but their beloved first baseman Don Mattingly will not make it to the Hall of Fame after failing for 15 years in a row to gather enough votes. However, there were three pitchers and a career Houston Astro that made this years induction class. John Smoltz will join his former Atlanta Braves team-mates and pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddox in the HOF after receiving almost 83% of votes cast. Randy Johnson aka “The Big Unit” will be inducted after winning five Cy Young awards during his career and garnered over 97% of votes. This was the eighth highest all time.

Rounding out the pitchers was Pedro Martinez a 3 time Cy Young winner and almost a foot shorter than Johnson. He was a favorite for Mark Ahn to watch. Leading the league multiple times in having the lowest earned run average and leading the Boston Red Sox to become the World Series Champions for the first time in 86 years. In doing so, he appeared on 500 ballets which was good enough for 91% of the vote and second highest in the class. Craig Biggio was the fourth player selected for this years induction class after playing all over the diamond at catcher, second base, and outfield for Houston for 20 years. This was the first time in sixty years the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame will be inducting four members during the same year.