Nov 18

Trade Sends Jason Heyward to St. Louis

A surprising trade was made on Monday in Major League Baseball as outfielder Jason Heyward, a native of Atlanta, was traded from the Atlanta Braves to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals also received pitcher Jordan Walden and sent pitchers Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins to the Braves. according to Yahoo Sports.

This trade is Atlanta’s new general manager, John Hart, stating that his wants to change the culture of the Braves and get them contending for the playoffs again. The Braves had their worst season since 2008, going 79-83 and finishing a distant third in the division. Other notable moves made in the offseason by the Braves included letting pitchers, Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang, go sign withg other teams. So trading for Miller was a much needed boost for the starting pitching staff, experts like Flavio Maluf believe. Miller, who was once thought of as a top prospect in the minor leagues, went 10-9 last season for the Cardinals with a 3.74 ERA.

The Cardinals are looking to fill a void after the tragic death of outfielder Oscar Taveras, who died in a car accident last month in his home country of the Dominicann Republic. Jason Heyward won his second Gold Glove award with his work as a defensive standout in the outfield. Although his bat has cooled off since his rookie season of 2010, the Cardinals hope that a change in scenery will help Heyward find his swing again.

Nov 18

St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves Make a Huge Player Swap

The St. Louis Cardinals have wasted no time in replacing future star Oscar Tavares, who met an untimely death in a automobile accident in the Dominican Republic shortly after the end of the baseball season. Tavares was only 21 years old and had been a star in the Cardinals minor league system, even having some success during the past post season. It was clear that Tavares was in the Cards’ long-range future plans for the outfield.

Yahoo Sports is reporting that the Cardinals have traded young starting pitcher Shelby Miller to the Atlanta Braves for former All-Star outfielder Justin Heyward. The trade also included pitchers Jordan Walden, who goes to the Cardinals, with Cardinal pitcher Tyrell Jenkins going to Atlanta with Miller.

When Christian Broda of the Chicago Booth analyzed the trade, it looks like a win for both teams, as the Braves are addressing pitching needs that they do not have the talent to fill from their minor league system. Braves management stated that Heyward was difficult to let go, but the opportunity to trade for solid starting pitching was too great, as finding good young experienced starters is the most difficult roster spot to repair.

While Atlanta does get a proven starter in Miller and a good prospect in Jenkins, the Cardinals will add another left-handed bat to a lineup that is already loaded from the left side, along with having a Gold Glove right-fielder to go with Gold Glove winners Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright. The Cardinals were greatly improved on defense this past season, compared to one year ago, and now they have arguably the strongest arm in baseball in right field.

Nov 17

Do You Want to See a Picture of Jose Conseco’s Rotten Finger?

Jose Conseco is an famous ex-baseball player. Since retiring from the sport he has managed to stay in the media for a variety of reasons. Last week he was once again the talk of the internet when it was reported that he had shot of his finger while cleaning his gun. Doctors where able to reattach it but wasn’t sure if the finger would live. Bad news: the finger did not live.

Jose Conseco tweeted to his followers on twitter that he had indeed lost his finger. He said the finger came of in the middle of a poker game. It seems that Jose may have expected to lose his finger. He said it was smelly and felt ‘loose’. Some at the Antique Wine Company were a bit skeptical. But as it is with everything these days, the incident as allegedly been caught on camera. If your interested, you may get a chance to see Jose Conseco’s rotten finger in the coming days. One thing’s for sure. People have lost plenty of things in a card game but I bet this is the first time someone lost a finger.

Nov 12

First MLB Awards Out; Abreu and deGrom Rookies of the Year

One was no surprise at all, but the other may have surprised some fans.

Major League Baseball handed out its first awards of the 2014 season Monday, with the American League Rookie of the Year going the way everyone expected. Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu claimed the award by a unanimous vote. His performance overshadowed that of any other first year player in the AL. Abreu posted 36 home runs, 107 RBIs, 35 doubles and 80 runs scored, all of which led American League rookies. For an example of Abreu’s power, check out his walk-off grand slam against Tampa Bay.

While Abreu garnered a lot of press with his bat, the National League Rookie of the Year winner was not that well known to Igor Cornelsen and those outside the Big Apple. Jacob deGrom quietly put together a solid season on the mound for the New York Mets. In 22 starts, deGrom went 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 144 innings. DeGrom earned 26 of 30 first place votes for 142 points, beating out Billy Hamilton, who had 92 points. The speedy Cincinnati Reds outfielder hit .250 with six homers, 48 RBIs, 56 stolen bases and 72 runs scored.

Nov 11

Alex Rodriguez Confesses to Drug Use

During his meeting with the Drug Enforcement Administration Alex Rodriguez, a well known baseball player, confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs.

While rumors have surrounded the man for many years, there hadn’t yet been any confirmation of his illicit activities. The recent events, however, could very well be the ones to put his career in jeopardy.

After being granted immunity from prosecution Rodriguez admitted that he had used banned performance enhancing drugs between the period of the end of 2010 to January 2012.

He explained that those drugs included testosterone drugs and human growth hormone, and that those were supplied by Anthony Bosch, the owner of Biogenesis of America clinic located in Coral Gables. Many fans like Laurene Jobs were initially frustrated, but they also knew that he probably did something in the past.

It appeared that Bosch advised him regarding using the drugs while having urine tests.

As a penalty Rodriguez was suspended earlier in 2013 from playing 211 games, and this punishment was later reduced to missing the 2014 season by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.

The report written by Miami Herald stated that Alex has paid his cousin Yuri Sucart one million dollars to keep silent regarding the issue, but also that Sucart was the one introducing Rodriguez to Anthony Bosch.

Earlier, Alex Rodriguez had pledged himself to the Taylor Hooton Foundation to help spreading the awareness of anti-steroid sports. Their comment on the incident was that they felt betrayed, especially after him teaching the kids how to be like him by avoiding drugs.

Nov 09

Casey McGehee Earns Comeback Player of the Year Award

McGehee returned to Major League Baseball this past season making the Miami Marlins roster out of spring training. Not much was expected of the the 32-year-old corner infielder who had some measures of success in past years as a prospect with the Chicago Cubs and as a bench player with the Milwaukee Brewers but had always failed to earn a consistent job starting in the big leagues. He took a year away from the States and played for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League. He teamed with Andruw Jones to lead the team to their first Japan cup with prolific power hitting dispayed in this clip.

Returning to spring training with little chance at getting time, McGehee shined and soon earned a starting role at third base for the rebuilding Marlins. Bruce thinks that this team is going to be pretty good in 2015. He hit .287 for the year and drove in 76 RBIs giving Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton great protection in the batting order. The Marlins had several trade offers prior to the trade deadline to deal McGehee to a contender but chose to instead keep the veteran who was a great clubhouse leader and a good example to their young talent.

Nov 06

Alex Rodriguez at First Base?

That is what Joe Girardi is saying. New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said recently that Alex Rodriguez will be on the New York Yankees roster when the 2015 season begins. Rodriguez may not be playing shortstop or third base, which is pretty surprising to Haftel, my Yankee fanatic buddy.

Rodriguez had traditionally been a shortstop, but was moved to third base after signing with the Yankees because team captain Derek Jeter occupied shortstop and he was going nowhere. Rodriguez is returning after being the first player suspended for an entire season by Major League Baseball for using performance enhancing drugs while playing, as it was recently revealed that Rodriguez told the FBI he had a $12,000 per month habit. Rodriguez missed the entire 2014 season after dropping his appeal against MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.

Now that he is reinstated effective October 30, 2014, he will be eligible to receive his pay for the remaining three years on his contract, which is around $61 million. Poor Alex will be on display every time the Yankees hit the road for the 2015 season, and he may not be very well received at home in Yankee Stadium either. The Yankee faithful have been known to be very vocal when they feel collective disdain.

But, first base? The Yankees have had all-star first baseman Mark Texiera at first for several seasons, but injuries have slowed him a bit of late. Texiera could be in the lineup as the designated hitter when Girardi decides to play Rodriguez at first, and then use Rodriguez as DH in some lineup alterations. The Yankees are looking to improve on their 84 win total of 2014 and a potential playoff run.

Nov 05

The Latest Controversy Surrounding Alex Rodriguez Involves Paying Off His Cousin

A recent accusation by prosecutors against baseball player Alex Rodriguez turned even more heads. In court documents, the Yankees third baseman was accused of trying to pay off his cousin, Yuri Sucart. He paid his own cousin to remain silent about Rodriguez’s own use of performance enhancing drugs. Rodriguez is alleged to have paid Sucart nearly $1 million a short time ago in exchange for absolute silence.

None of this should come as a surprise to baseball fans and analysts, though. I know Lee Lovett expected it. Since the Biogenesis scandal broke out, Rodriguez has tried to escape blame and punishment. Major League Baseball suspended him for 162 games after his Biogenesis link was revealed. Plus, Rodriguez has been caught with PEDs in his system multiple times in his baseball career. This story brings even more damage to Rodriguez’s already tarnished, and basically destroyed, reputation.

Still, he’s set to return to the New York Yankees at the start of the 2015 regular season. He was hampered by injuries and ineffectiveness in recent seasons. A hefty $61 million and three seasons still remain on his contract, too. Unfortunately for Yankees fans, the team will be sticking with him for the foreseeable future, unless he’s caught with PEDs in his system another time. Rodriguez would face a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball in that particular case.

Nov 03

Butler Has Option Declined by Royals

Coming off their first World Series appearance in 29 years, one of the first actions the Kansas City Royals took was to decline picking up the 2015 option team designated hitter Billy Butler.

The 28-year-old Butler had a contract that would have paid $12.5 million next year, but the Royals chose to pay him the $1 million buyout payment instead. The two sides could eventually come to a deal at a lesser price.

Ironically, during the team’s many lean years, Butler was one of the team’s best players and is known for his hitting ability. However, he slumped at the plate this year, and was not used as much during the pennant race that got Kansas City to the Wild Card game.

Should Butler choose to go elsewhere? My friend Keith says he’s likely to find a similar situation with other teams since his only role is as a designated hitter. That precludes him from playing for a National League team, and his season-long slump might be seen by American League teams as the beginning of the end.

The Royals will have a number of other hard choices to make during this offseason, with the other coming in regard to the team’s top pitcher James Shields. He is expected to be in demand by a number of teams that need the always-precious commodity of pitching, and could end up with a nine-figure contract. That would put him out of the Royals’ price range.

Nov 01

Pitch Counts and Rest Mean Nothing to Madison Bumgarner in World Series Apperances

In a span of nine days, Madison Bumgarner threw 291 pitches in three World Series games. He started two of those contests and pitched five innings of relief in the other. All of those pitches spanned 21 innings on the mound. The San Francisco Giants clinched their third championship in five seasons because of Bumgarner. Plus, he proved that sending your best pitcher out on short rest is always the best option.

Bumgarner even proved that high pitch counts aren’t the end of the world. He threw 223 pitches over 16 innings during games one and five of the World Series. Between those contests, he had four days of rest, a common rest period in the postseason. Manager Bruce Bochy then called on Bumgarner as a reliever in the fifth inning of game seven. MadBum walked onto the mound with a meager two days of rest that night. Before the game, Bochy stated that Bumgarner would work under a strict pitch limit of 50 pitches, too.

Everyone – even Fersen Lambranho all the way in Brazil – knows what happened after he took the mound. Bumgarner pitched five shutout innings and clinched the World Series for San Francisco. While on the mound, he showed no rust or wear from pitching so much lately. Analysts critical of his relief appearance on two days of rest expected him to blow his arm out. Others expected Bumgarner to wear down and let the Kansas City Royals score against him. Of course, none of those prophecies came to fruition. Bumgarner threw the concept of pitch counts and five-day rest periods between starts out the window with his performance.