MLB In Full Bloom 1/6/2014

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39 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

86– Number of days until Opening Day

Things remained quiet over the weekend with free agent signings and trades and until Masahiro Tanaka signs with a team, I think things will continue to be slow. Tanaka is the big fish out there and the lack of activity tells me that there are several, if not all, teams focused on pursing Tanaka. Let's take a look at what did happen over the past few days.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Ben Badler of Baseball American reports that the Seattle Mariners appear to be be the favorites to land Masahiro Tanaka. Badler has his finger on the pulse of all international signings matters, so if he says Seattle is the favorite for Tanaka, everyone would be wise to believe him.The Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, and the Los Angeles Dodgers remain in the mix.
  • The Los Angeles Angels have spent much of the offseason trying to stay under the $189 million threshold and right now they are within $13-$15 million of that threshold. So, they are right on the edge and they could possibly sign Matt Garza or another free agent pitcher. But, the bigger question is should the Angels go over the threshold and pay the luxury tax? They will eventually because if they sign Mike Trout to a long-term deal they are going over anyway. At some point they will sail past $189 million so they might as well go over it now and add the starting pitching they desperately need to compete in 2014.
  • According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports the Los Angeles Dodgers and Don Mattingly are making progress in a contract extension. The two sides have been discussing an extension since the end of last season. The two sides could agree soon.
  • It appears that Nelson Cruz could settle for a one-year contract in an attempt to rebuild his value. Cruz has been seeking a four-year $75 million deal, but there have been nobody willing to give Cruz that contract. It's good to see Cruz struggling to find work after testing positive for PEDs in 2013.
  • Chris Dickerson and the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Dickerson batted just .238  in 109 plate appearances last season for Baltimore. He'll likely have to report to the Pirates' Triple-A club at the start of the 2014 season
  • Ryan Theriot has officially retired from Major League Baseball. He hasn't appeared in the big leagues since he was a member of the San Francisco Giants during the 2012 season. He finishes his eight year career with a .281 BA, 17 homers and 121 stolen bases in 899 games.
  • Aubrey Huff announced his retirement from Major League Baseball. Huff didn't play in 2013 but had left the door open that he may return. He's taken a job as an announcer for the Pac-12 Network. He finishes his MLB career by hitting .278 in 13 seasons with 242 home runs.