MLB In Full Bloom 1/24/2014

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22 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

69 – Number of days until Opening Day

Happy Friday to everyone! Hard to believe that January is flying by as quickly as it is right now. But, you won't hear me complaining as we're just another day closer to pitchers and catchers reporting. As expected, now that Masahiro Tanaka is off the market, the pace is heating up in the hot stove as other free agents are beginning to find new homes. Thursday brought some interesting headlines so let's get right to it!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports was the first to report that on Thursday that Matt Garza had agreed to a 4-year $52 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers pending a physical. However, shortly after those reports surfaced, the Brewers posted on their Twitter account that talks were "ongoing" and there is "no deal yet". This is an unusual situation because that physical was scheduled in Milwaukee followed by a press conference at Miller Park. Well, that press conference never took place. The Brewers are saying that there is no issue with Garza's physical, but they are hammering out the final details of the deal. That certainly could be the case, but it also could be that an issue did arise during the physical and the Brewers are adjusting the contract similar to what the Red Sox did with Mike Napoli a year ago. It's unknown where this is going so stay tuned.
  • Grant Balfour and the Tampa Bay Rays agreed on 2-year $12 million deal. He did sign for less money than the Orioles had agreed with him on which was 2-years for $15 million. Balfour said that he had better offers elsewhere. Reportedly the Mets were that team and the Nationals were also in the mix for the right-hander. So clearly other teams took a different view on Balfour than the Orioles. He is in a good situation. He is going back to Tampa Bay and he has a great relationship with Rays manager Joe Maddon. He lives in Clearwater in the offseason, no state taxes in Florida, and he is on a contending team. While he did lose some money, he ended up OK.
  • Stuart Sternberg, Rays principal owner, said on Thursday that the Rays are not actively trying to trade David Price this year. Sternberg said that his expectation is that Price will be in Tampa. The Rays feel they have a team that will contend the AL East. For all the financial challenges the Rays have they have made several moves to improve their chances this year. They are certainly not punting. Despite Sternberg's comment, my honest belief is that Price will not make it through the season.
  • Miguel Cabrera said at the Tigers' Winter Caravan Thursday that he's been fully recovered from October sports hernia surgery for about two weeks. Cabrera shouldn't have any restrictions when spring training begins in a few weeks.
  • David Robertson will be the Yankees closer in 2014 according to managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said Wednesday. Robertson has huge shoes to fill as he takes over for the great Mariano Rivera. Robertson has posted a 1.91 ERA over the past three seasons and has made progress with his control. He has the potential to be a top-10 closer in fantasy leagues.
  • Jon Lester said he'd be willing to take a discount in order to get an extended contract from Boston. After the Dodgers inked left-hander Clayton Kershaw to a lucrative deal, baseball watchers in Boston have speculated about the kind of deal it would take to keep Lester in a Red Sox uniform beyond 2014. Apparently, Lester is motivated to stay in Boston and may not hit the free-agent market.
  • Matt Harvey (elbow) is hoping to begin playing catch by the end of February. Harvey has progressed from rehabbing his arm to regular upper-body workouts. He is even hopeful of returning at some point in late 2014, but he understands that the Mets aren't going to let that happen.