MLB In Full Bloom 12/12/2013

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62 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

109– Number of days until Opening Day

Day Three of the Winter Meetings on Wednesday saw action really picked up in Orlando. Free agents were signed, trades were made and major decisions going forward on how the game will be played were made as collisions at home plate are gone from the game. Major League Baseball Rules Committee voted to eliminate collisions at home plate starting in 2014. The exact language of the rule and the way it is going to be enforced is still being developed. Wednesday was such a historic day in the game because collisions have been such a huge part of the game and in alot of ways it's been glorified. You think about that great play in the division series between the Florida Marlins and the San Francisco Giants in 2003 when the game ended when J.T. Snow and Ivan Rodriguez collided at the plate. Plays like that will no longer happen, but Major League Baseball had no choice because they had to prioritize player safety and not just the concussions, but the long-term health of players. Quality of life needed to be addressed. They could not wait for a player to be paralyzed before making a rule change. How this new rule will be implemented is the big question and we'll have to wait and see how they do it. What we do know is a catcher cannot block the plate and the runner cannot go after the catcher to knock the ball loose.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Instant Replay was also discussed by the MLB Rules Committee on Wednesday. Its coming to Major League Baseball in 2014, but once again implementing it is easier said than done. MLB is dipping their toe into instant replay as there will still be several non-reviewable plays which include: fair/foul over the bag, "neighborhood" play, runner's lane to first base, trapped balls in the infield, and hit by pitches are all not reviewable.
  • Bartolo Colon and the New York Mets agreed on a two-year deal for $20 million. Colon, 40, should replace a bunch of the innings that Matt Harvey would have pitched for the Mets. When will the magic ride end for Colon? That is the question I have with this two-year deal. But, he was an 18-game winner last year and he has excellent fast ball control. He has the ability to bully hitters off the plate and just maybe the magic will continue for two more years.
  • Cory Hart and the Seattle Mariners agreed on a one-year deal for $6 million. My concern with this addition for the Mariners is that he always hit well in Milwaukee, but struggled on the road. Now, he is going to play half his games in a very good pitcher's ballpark in the American League.
  • Logan Morrison was traded to the Seattle Mariners by the Miami Marlins in exchange for Carter Capps. Morrison will likely play first base for the Mariners and has the ability to be an offensive upgrade for a team that is in desperate need to give Robinson Cano protection. For the past three years, Morrison has played a total of 123 games, so can he get on the field? LoMo is certainly capable of providing 20-25 homers and 70 RBI. As for Capps, he posted an ugly 5.49 ERA  in 59 innings last season with Seattle. He'll serve as a setup man for the Marlins.
  • Edison Volquez and the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to a one-year deal for $5 million. Volquez posted an ugly 5.71 ERA over 170 1/3 innings this past season with the Padres and Dodgers. His control will likely always be an issue, but it's possible that he could find success with Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage.
  • Jeremy Blevins was acquired by the Washington Nationals from the Oakland Athletics for the Nationals' 2013 Minor League Player of the Year, Billy Burns. Burns batted .315 with 74 stolen bases in 121 games between High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. He has no power, but Burns is an exceptional athlete and a pretty good return for a left-handed reliever.
  • Charlie Morton and the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed on a three-year deal for $21 million. The Pirates are looking to the performance they saw from Morton after he returned from his rehab from labrum surgery. He posted a 3.26 ERA in 116 innings over 20 starts in 2013.
  • Andrew McCutchen was on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday afternoon and used the opportunity to propose to his girlfriend Maria Hanslovan. McCutchen and Hanslovan have been dating for four years and McCutchen said that he was not doing this for publicity, but he wanted the world to know how much he loves her.