MLB In Full Bloom 2/7//2014

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1 – Number of days until the Dodgers pitchers and catchers report

8– Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

52 – Number of days until Opening Day

The Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers have reported to camp and the Dodgers show up tomorrow. There was not as much activity this week with free agents that I expected, but we did see a couple names come off the board. Stephen Drew, Bronson Arroyo, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Ervin Santana all remain free agents as we close out the week. Let's look at the action on Thursday.....

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Fernando Rodney and the Mariners agreed to a two-year, $14 million contract with on Thursday. Rodney should inherit the ninth-inning role with the Mariners. He was not nearly as dominant last year as he was in 2012, but he still finished with a 3.38 ERA and 82 strikeouts over 66 2/3 innings and racked up 37 saves.
  • Carlos Marmol and the Marlins agreed to a one-year deal on Thursday. Somehow, Marmol managed to own a 2.53 ERA in 21 appearances with the Dodgers after his trade from Chicago in July. Even with a fastball that remains in the mid-90s, it is unlikely Marmol will be put in game-winning situations for the Marlins.
  • Mark Trumbo and the Diamondbacks avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year contract on Thursday. Trumbo was the centerpiece of a three-team trade with the Angels and White Sox in December and he Trumbo provides additional right-handed power for the Diamondbacks and protection for Paul Goldschmidt.
  • Joel Hanrahan (elbow) is throwing every other day at 75 percent according to FOX Sports' Jon Morosi. Hanrahan is coming back from Tommy John and flexor tendon surgery and isn't expected to be game-ready until late April or May. Once he is 100% he will audition for clubs.
  • Pat Neshek and the Cardinals agreed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training on Thursday. Neshek, 33, had a 3.35 ERA in 40 1/3 innings last season with the Athletics. He will compete for a spot in the Cardinals bullpen.
  • Archie Bradley will compete with Randall Delgado for the D-Backs' No. 5 starter spot this spring. Bradley has the tools -- a high-90s fastball and power breaking ball -- to emerge as the D-Backs' best starting pitcher in very short period of time. However, if the Diamondbacks sign a veteran pitcher like Br0nson Arroyo, Bradley will be the first to get bumped since Delgado did have success in the D'Backs rotation. It won't be long until Archie Bradley is in the D'Backs rotation for a long time to come.
  • Carlos Quentin said Wednesday that his right knee feels much better now that it did heading into spring training last year. Quentin had an operation on the knee in September, which was his third in 18 months. The outfielder has played in just 168 games over the last two seasons and is always going to be a health risk.
  • Todd Helton has retired and now the Colorado Rockies have announced that they will retire his #17 uniform on August 17th.

MLB In Full Bloom 2/6//2014

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0 – Number of days until the Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers report

2 – Number of days until the Dodgers pitchers and catchers report

9– Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

53 – Number of days until Opening Day

Today's installment of MLB In Full Bloom features the latest player news and we look at what MLB and the Players Union are discussing while the Texas Rangers may have just started an alarming trend. The Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers are reporting today with the first workout scheduled for tomorrow! The Dodgers pitchers and catchers report in two days and then the remaining teams report in nine days!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Albert Pujols has enjoyed a normal offseason according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Pujols has been hitting baseballs since October and has not had any setbacks from the partial tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot.  Pujols was limited to 99 games in 2013 due to the injury and is looking for a big rebound year.
  • Bronson Arroyo appears to be willing to accept a contract offer that is less than three years. To this point, Arroyo has stood firm in his request for a three-year contract, but with training camps about to open, he has backed off that request and is willing to accept a two-year contract.  The Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Orioles are believed to be the primary contenders for Arroyo, who posted a 3.79 ERA in 32 starts last season for the Reds and has been the most durable pitcher in baseball over the past nine years.
  • Ivan Nova and the New York Yankees avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year contract on Wednesday. Nova is slated to be fourth in the Yankees' rotation, after the team re-signed Hiroki Kuroda and won the bidding for Masahiro Tanaka behind CC Sabathia.
  • Masahiro Tanaka received his work visa to pitch for the New York Yankees and could be on his way to the United States as early as Sunday. Tanaka has been working out in Japan and feels that he is in better shape than  in past seasons.
  • Jerome Williams and the Houston Astros agreed to a one-year contract on Wednesday. He becomes one of the Astros' better starters and should be a mainstay in Houston's rotation in 2014. Williams had a 4.57 ERA in 169 1/3 innings with the Angels last season.
  • Justin Turner and the Dodgers agreed to a minor league contract with the Dodgers on Wednesday, which includes an invite to spring training. Turner, 29-years old, heads to Los Angeles in hopes of earning a utility infield role. It's a good fit for both sides, as Turner gets a chance to play for a contender, and the Dodgers get some cheap insurance behind Alex Guerrero.
  • MLB and the Players Union are currently meeting to go through their annual look at the Joint Drug Agreement (JDA). At this time, the JDA calls for a 50-game suspension for a first time offense, 100-game for second offense, 80-game suspension for a third offense, and a possible lifetime ban for a third or fourth offense. The current JDA is not strong enough in my opinion. I would like to see a 100-game suspension for a first time offense and a lifetime ban on the second offense. In addition to the 100-game ban on the first offense, I feel strongly that teams should have the right to tear up the current contract with that player and re-negotiate a lesser contract upon his return from suspension.
  • The Texas Rangers announced that The Ballpark in Arlington in now called Global Life Park in Arlington. The Rangers sold the rights to Global Life Insurance, which will work with the Rangers Foundation according to Rangers owner Ray Davis. The multimillion deal is for ten years. This has me wondering when Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, and Wrigley Field will no longer be known by those historic ballpark names.
  • Happy Birthday to the Sultan of Swat - Babe Ruth. Ruth was born on this day in 1895 and would be 119 years old. Bob Marley and Ronald Reagan were also born on this day.

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