MLB In Full Bloom 12/12/12

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63 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

109 – Number of days until Opening Day

35   – Number of days until Opening Day of the California Winter League

 

  • The New York Yankees and Kevin Youkilis agreed on a one-year deal. With Alex Rodriguez out until at least midseason due to left hip surgery, the Yankees had to get a proven player. Youkilis figures to see action at several spots when Rodriguez returns. Another report from the Bronx out this morning is that Ichiro Suzuki will also be signing with the Yankees. The two sides are still discussing the structure of the deal, but it appears to be a one-year deal for Ichiro. If Ichiro gets 2nd year with the Yankees, he could become 2nd Yankee to get 3,000th hit in pinstripes with 394 hits to go.
  • The blockbuster trade that has been swirling though the MLB rumor mill finally happened late last night. It was a three team trade between Cleveland, Arizona, and Cincinnati. The breakdown on which teams got which players is below.
  • INDIANS: Drew Stubbs, Trevor Bauer,  Matt Albers, Bryan Shaw.
  • DIAMONDBACKS: Didi Gregorius, Tony Sipp, Lars Anderson
  • REDS: Shin-Soo Choo, Jason Donald, and cash considerations.
  • It is a good trade for all three teams for where they are at right now. Choo provides some relief to the lead off spot for the Reds, but there is cause for concern. Choo struck out 150 times in 598 AB. The Reds are going for it this year and with Choo having just one year remaining on his contract, it is a perfect fit until the Reds call up their top prospect Billy Hamilton. As for the Indians, they got four controllable players and players with a lot of upside. Trevor Bauer has the potential to be a top of the rotation guy in two or three years. Drew Stubbs desperately needed a change of scenery after he regressed badly at the plate again in 2012, dropping to .213 in 493 at-bats while striking out 166 times. Stubbs has the potential to be a 30 home run/30 stolen base player if he can ever figure things out. The D’Backs got the shortstop they desperately needed. But, Didi Gregorius still needs seasoning with the bat and what concerns me is he is a left-handed bat. Against Left handed pitchers, Gregorius will most likely sit. He is very good defensively, but the bat is a concern and he has very little power.
  • The Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to two-year deal with Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy missed time last season with a shoulder injury and his season was cut short after a scary incident in which he was struck in the head by a line drive in early-September. When healthy, McCarthy has pitched well. In his two years with Oakland, McCarthy went 17-15 with a 3.29 ERA in his 43 starts. He'll add a veteran presence to a relatively young starting rotation.
  • The Kansas City Royals agreed to terms with Willy Taveras, Dan Wheeler, and George Sherrill on minor league deals. Low risk - low reward.
  • The Boston Red Sox announced a 3-year $39 million deal with Mike Napoli. He had him physical on Monday morning and its Wednesday morning and there has still not been a press conference.
  • The Dodgers acquired Skip Schumaker from the St. Louis Cardinals for a prospect. Schumaker can play CF, 2B. True utility player for the Dodgers.
  •  The manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Don Mattingly, is entering his final year of his contract. At Zack Greinke’s press conference he commented on the expectations for the 2013 season- “The expectation is you have to win, that’s just the way it is. You could fight it. You could try to defuse it. But, I don’t think there’s any defusing this bomb, no matter what we do. We just might as well look at that and take it head on right away. We’re supposed to win. There it is. IF we lose, we’re failures.” This is a team with a $240 million payroll so it's safe to say that Don Mattingly is officially on the hot seat in Southern California.
  • THIS DATE IN BASEBALL HISTORY: In 1930, the rules committee decided a ball which bounces into the stands will no longer be a home run, but will become a ground rule double. Estimating that major leaguers who played in the era prior to the rule change hit about two homers a year that bounced over the wall, Babe Ruth's career total would have been reduced by about 22 round trippers.