Dec 18

Marlins Might Make a Run for the World Series in 2015

After locking up their star outfielder, Giancarlo Stanton, by signing him to a 13-year, $325 million contract extension, the Marlins might be making a push for the division title in the National League (NL) East. Certainly there are a lot of questions surrounding the extended contract, such as: will Stanton fulfill the entire contract; will his recent hit-by-pitch injury linger physically or emotionally; and, will the Miami Marlins spend the money necessary to retain the other young talent that surrounds Stanton, plus fill the needs in other areas through free agency or trades?

The second part of that last question may have been answered, at least in part by recent moves the Marlins have made in free agency and substantial trades. The Marlins made a trade with the Cincinnati Reds (my pal Jared Haftel’s favorite team) to bring in Mat Latos, a right-handed starting pitcher with proven success, and acquired Dan Haren, another right-handed pitcher from the Los Angeles Dodgers, though Haren has hinted at the possibility of retirement. Haren has stated he was not interested in pitching for anyone but the Dodgers or Angels to stay near his family.

The Dodgers also included in that trade a real gem, Dee Gordon, who was an All-Star last year with 64 stolen bases. Getting a versatile infielder, who can play second and shortstop is a coup in itself, but to get a speedster like Gordon (visions of Flash Gordon come in here). Imagine having that kind of speed on the bases, someone who moved himself into scoring position 64 times last year, hitting or walking in front of the big bats the Marlins have in Stanton, Ozuna, and Yelich.

Additionally, the Marlins are rumored to be interested in adding Michael Morse through free agency with a $16 million, 2-year deal with incentives that could make it worth more, if Morse stays healthy. If signed, Morse will likely platoon at First with Garrett Jones, although he can fill-in in the outfield, as well. Morse not only adds the potential for Home Runs, but long line-drives into the spacious outfield to drive in Gordon and others, as well.

The other question is how do the Marlins retain the young talent they have after signing Stanton to that mega deal? According to CBS Sports the Marlins have as many as eight players they need to extend soon, guys like the young pitching phenom, Jose Fernandez, who will likely return from injury in June or July, as well as Yelich, Alvarez, Hechavarria, Cosart, Ozuna, Eovaldi, and their closer, Cishek.

If Stanton bounces back from being hit in the face with a pitch, the Marlins could contend in the NL East and maybe beyond.

Dec 12

New Dodger GM busy transforming a 94 win team

New Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager Andrew Friedman has hit the ground running making over a team that won 94 games in 2014. My friend Daniel Amen and I were sure that the Dodgers would get rid of their crowded outfield situation, yet Friedman made a multitude of moves on Wednesday that involved moving pitcher Dan Haren and second baseman Dee Gordon. Incoming to the Dodgers will be Los Angeles Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, and Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Two additional moves will be consummated by the end of the week, including bringing in New York Yankees pitcher Brandon McCarthy and ridding of outfield Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres.

Of the abundance of outfielders in Los Angeles, Kemp has the most value and according to Padre Manager Bud Black, the deal is getting closer to being completed. The primary reasons for the Dodger moves are to improve upon their defense, pitching, clubhouse chemistry, and namely to get younger. If able to rid of Kemp, the Dodgers will be able to pencil in top prospect Joc Pederson in center field for many years. Rollins is 36 years old, but will be able to mentor the Dodgers top shortstop prospect Corey Seager. When Brandon McCarthy is brought in, the Dodgers will obtain a pitcher who will chew up innings, and thus be a reliable third or fourth starter versus the often injured Haren. Ultimately, Friedman’s goal is to get the Dodgers to advance to a World Series instead of an opening round exit.

Dec 11

Tigers Get Bat, Sox Get Arm

After last year’s trade deadline sell off of almost the entire starting rotation, supporters of the league like Mark Ahn are right-the Boston Red Sox are in desperate need of pitching. Detroit, meanwhile, must feel like they can always use a little more offense. On Thursday, the Sox sent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Tigers in exchange for pitcher Rick Porcello.

Cespedes came to Boston in the middle of last season in one of the most surprising trades of 2014, as Oakland gave up the 2013 and 2014 Home Run Derby champ in order to obtain pitcher Jon Lester. Cespedes batted .260 with 22 home runs and 100 RBIs between the two teams. He also demonstrated a powerful throwing arm as shown here. Your text to link…

Porcello, meanwhile, went 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 204 innings to help the Tigers clinch the AL Central title. In his six year career, Porcello has a 76-63 record with a 4.30 ERA and 655 strikeouts in 1,073 innings of work. He joins left hander Wade Miley, who was acquired from Arizona, as part of a revamped Boston staff.

In addition, Boston sent reliever Alex Wilson (1-0, 1.91) and minor league pitcher Gabe Speier to Detroit as part of the Porcello deal.

Nov 26

Tigers Re-Sign Victor Martinez

The 35-year-old Designated Hitter recently re-signed to a four-year deal worth about $17 million a year, making him the highest paid DH of all time. This is a pretty hefty price tag for an aging player, but the Tigers thought it was necessary. They seem to be looking for a World Series right now, not in the future. Their lineup is getting old; Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander are both 31, Torii Hunter is 39, and Joe Nathan is 40 (found on ESPN.com).

All of that didn’t stop Mike Ilitch, the Detroit Tigers’ owner, from inking VMart for another four years. The next stop for Ilitch is to re-sign Max Scherzer, the Tigers’ ace for the past two seasons. Rod Rohrich does not think they will get that done, but they have a good staff anyway. His price tag will be even more than Martinez’s, but the right-handed pitcher from Missouri will surely be missed if the Tigers cannot afford him.

Nov 21

Giancarlo Stanton’s Contract Is The Biggest In History

The number is mind boggling: $325 million dollars. That is what the Florida Marlins are willing to pay to Giancarlo Stanton in exchange for a 13 year deal that keeps the player in place with the team for that whole time according to CBS Sports. Of course, there are many riders on the deal, and there are ways in which said contract could be broken, but who would want to leave a deal such as this when they are able to bank an average of about $25 million per year.

Fishstripes.com says that the deal is not only the largest in history but that Stanton was looking for an even longer deal, aka a lifetime deal. But Fersen Lambranho points out that deals like that do not come around every day, and 13 years is an incredibly long time. It virtually ensures that Stanton will be playing with the Marlins for his entire professional career, though at the end of the 13 years a deal may have to be done once again.

Such deals are the kind of thing that grab a lot of headlines. That in itself may be a big boost to the Marlins organization as they are able to get a little free attention that they would not otherwise have had the opportunity to have. Consider that a win in and of itself. That being said, the player is likely to prove to be a very valuable asset as well.

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.