MLB In Full Bloom 2/13//2014

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2– Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

46 – Number of days until Opening Day

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced on Wednesday that he will retire after this season "with absolutely no regrets," ending one of the greatest careers in the history of baseball's storied franchises. A 13-time All-Star who has led the Yankees to five World Series Championships, Jeter was limited to 17 games last season as he tried to recover from a broken left ankle. As word spread quickly, ticket prices for his final home game at Yankee stadium and across the baseball landscape is sky rocketing. For the Yankees final home game on September 25th against the Baltimore Orioles, tickets are going as high as $11,000 with the cheapest seat with an obstructed view going for $285.50. This is going to be a special season for Jeter and he deserves everything that is coming his way.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Mike Trout and the Angels are currently discussing a long-term deal with the goal being to reach an agreement before the start of the 2014 season. Trout and his agent were disappointed last spring when the Angels committed just a $510,000 salary to him for the 2013 season. Trout is still in the pre-arbitration stage of his career and won't have a say over how much he makes in 2014, but it will be considerably more than the major league minimum if a long-term extension can be worked out. It was reported that this contract will make Trout one of the highest paid players in the game and he deserves it.
  • Carlos Gonzalez is "way ahead of schedule after appendectomy and hernia surgery", according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. CarGo had emergency surgery on January 11 and was cleared for physical activity less than two weeks later. With Dexter Fowler gone, CarGo could conceivably play in center field this year, a position he hasn't played since 2011. Whether it's in left or center, it looks like CarGo should be ready to roll for Opening Day.
  • Cole Hamels (shoulder) said he is probably 8 to 10 days away from throwing a bullpen session. Hamels felt discomfort in his shoulder during his offseason throwing program, and he was advised to push things back for one month. He  does not expect to be ready to pitch Opening Day, but plans to join the Phillies rotation at some point in April.
  • Jose Lobaton was traded to the Washington Nationals by the Rays today. The Rays received Nate Karns in the deal. Negotiations went back and forth on for about a month, but the Rays finally pulled the trigger and sent Lobaton to Washington. He isn't a major factor at the plate, but he showed improvement last season and can hit from both sides of the plate. The Nats desperately need another option behind Wilson Ramos, and they didn't have to give up a whole lot to get one.
  • Suk-Min Yoon and the Orioles agreed to a three-year contract on Wednesday. The contract is pending a physical, which has been a sticking point for the O's this offseason, but the expectation is that Yoon will pass. He has experience as both a starter and reliever in Korea so it will be a wait and see for fantasy owners to decide how to determine his value.
  • Taijuan Walker will be limited early in camp due to shoulder soreness. The Mariners top pitching prospect is expected to be a member of the season-opening starting rotation and this shoulder issue shouldn't affect that as long as it doesn't linger into March.
  • Hisashi Iwakuma (hand) won't throw for 4-6 weeks due to a strained tendon in his right hand. Between this and the Cole Hamels news, this has not been a good day for starting pitchers. If Iwakuma can't throw for at least one month, it's hard to imagine him making it back to the Mariners until mid-to-late April and that's assuming everything goes according to plan. Be sure to push him down your drafts boards in fantasy leagues.

MLB In Full Bloom 2/12//2014

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3– Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

47 – Number of days until Opening Day

This edition of MLB In Full Bloom quickly became the relievers version today with so much news about bullpen pitchers in the news. Guys that may not get many headlines are fantasy produces and they do get the headlines on this blog!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Mike Trout and the Angels have three weeks or so left before the renewel date of his contract. Last year, we saw one of the most surprising contracts in a long time after Trout was the runner-up MVP in 2012. The Angels renewed his contract for $510,000, which was only $20,000 above league minimum. The Angels have the right to take a hard ball stance in 2014 as well. The Angels have themselves in a bind and they may have missed their window with Trout after he has put back--to-back terrific seasons. He is feeling good about himself and he is going to go play again on a one-year. The Angels should have locked up Trout a year ago, but they took a hard stance with him and now it could certainly cost them long-term.
  • Kenley Jansen and the Dodgers avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year contract on Tuesday. Jansen blew batters away last season, and he's certainly in the top tier of fantasy closers entering the season, but the Dodgers have Brian Wilson, Chris Perez and Brandon League to fall back on in case Jansen struggles this year.
  • Jason Motte (elbow) will begin spring training behind the team's other relievers, but the Cardinals believe that it's possible he'll be ready for the start of the regular season since he won't need as much time to build up stamina. Motte had Tommy John surgery in May 2013 and the normal rehab time is a year. With Trevor Rosenthal cemented in as the Cardinals closer, Motte will be in a set-up role in the Cardinals bullpen once he returns.
  • LaTroy Hawkins is not necessarily the team's "everyday" closer according to Rockies owner Dick Monfort. Rockies manager Walt Weiss could play the match-ups in the late innings, using Rex Brothers in the ninth when the opposition has left-handed hitters coming up. Brothers is simply a better pitcher and could be the Rockies closer this season.
  • Jose Valverde and the Mets agreed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Valverde had a difficult 2013 season when he was the owner of a 5.59 ERA in just 20 appearances with the Tigers. Valverde is just looking to keep his career going at this point. He will provide bullpen depth for the Mets, but has very little fantasy value at this point in his career.
  • Justin Verlander (abdomen) threw 20 pitches off a mound Monday. Verlander said his return to elevated ground, following core muscle repair surgery last month, went very well and that he feels good. If everything goes as expected, Verlander hopes to be ready to start the year.
  • Roy Oswalt has decided to retire after 13 seasons rather than pursue another chance at the major leagues. A three-time All-Star, Oswalt went 0-6 with a 8.63 ERA in nine games (six starts) with Colorado last season. The right-hander won 10-plus games in each of his first eight seasons, and will walk away from the game with a 163-102 career record and a 3.36 career ERA.
  • Jamie Moyer has accepted a job with Comcast broadcasting Phillies games. Moyer has never officially retired from baseball, but it seems safe to say Moyer's playing days are behind him. Now 51, the left-hander pitched in the majors until age 49, with his career spanning 25 seasons. He'll enter the broadcast booth with former teammate Matt Stairs.

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