MLB In Full Bloom 12/20/2013

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54 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

101– Number of days until Opening Day

Christmas is just five days away and the lack of activity in Major League Baseball on Thursday is proof that there are already GMs and Owners that have began their holiday vacation. We did learn on Wednesday that the overall big league average salary rose 5.4 percent in 2013 to a record $3.39 million, according to the annual report released Wednesday by the Major League Baseball Players Association. The increase was the steepest since 2006. The Yankees had the highest average for the 15th consecutive season at $8.17 million and the Los Angeles Dodgers were second at $7.82 million. The Houston Astros were average of $549,603 was the smallest since the 1999 Kansas City Royals at $534,460.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • The Rakuten Golden Eagles are prepared to offer Masahiro Tanaka an $8 million salary to stay with the team next season. Tanaka has expressed his desire to play in MLB next season, but it appears that his Japanese club isn't ready to let him. Even if he isn't posted this offseason, Tanaka will be able to leave on his own after the 2015 season.
  • Grant Balfour's deal with the Baltimore Orioles was pending a physical. Balfour had that physical yesterday and it's seems that the O's have concerns about his physical due to a shoulder issue. There is a real chance that this deal will fall apart.
  • Nelson Cruz and the Texas Rangers appear to be far apart on a contract extension. On Tuesday, Rangers GM Jon Daniels said he doesn't expect to bring Cruz back, so it's not surprising that the two sides a far apart. The Seattle Mariners appear to be the favorites to land Cruz, but it's also been reported that Cruz has no interest in making Seattle his summer home. The Orioles have been rumored to have interest as well.
  • Scott Downs and the Chicago White Sox agreed to a one-year deal on Thursday pending a physical. Downs is a ground ball specialist that is is best suited for a specialist/setup role.
  • Franklin Gutierrez and the Seattle Mariners agreed to one-year deal for $1 million. This is a huge pay cut for Gutierrez who made $7 million last year. The issue is his health as he played in just 41 games in 2013. Gutierrez will be used in games that the Mariners face left-handed starters.
  • Eric Surkamp was designated for assignment by the San Francisco Giants on Thursday. This move was made in order to clear room on the 40-man roster for the arrival of Michael Morse. Surkamp has struggled in his seven starts at the major league level. However, he owns a 2.84 ERA with 541 strikeouts over 484 minor league innings. There will certainly be a team that will pick him up.