MLB In Full Bloom 2/4//2014

Share

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

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

11– Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

55 – Number of days until Opening Day

The confetti has barely been cleared off after Super Bowl XLVIII, yet we're just three days away from the start of the baseball season. But, before the Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers report on Friday, let's look at where a few more free agents have landed while we continue to wait for several other free agents to find summer homes.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Derek Jeter (ankle) took on-field batting practice for the first time since suffering the injury that ended his 2013 season. Jeter hit in the batting cage and took 39 swings and then took 34 grounders at shortstop Monday at the Yankees' spring training complex in Tampa. This upcoming season could certainly be Jeter's last season so let's hope that he can stay healthy for it.
  • Jeremy Hellickson (elbow) had surgery on his throwing elbow last week and is expected to miss the first 6-8 weeks of the regular season.  He took a step back with the Rays last season, going 12-10 with a 5.17 ERA. He cut down on his walks, but was hit hard with regularity leading some to believe he was dealing with some arm discomfort. Jake Odorizzi seems the most likely candidate to fill in his spot in the rotation.
  • Yasiel Puig could hit leadoff this season according to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Carl Crawford was the primary leadoff hitter for the Dodgers last season would slide down to the No. 2 spot. Mattingly believes that the change could give the team's lineup better balance. Puig would have fewer RBI opportunities this way, but he remains a dynamic fantasy performer.
  • David Freese and the Angels avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract. The two sides settled at the midpoint of figures that were exchanged earlier this month. The Angels hope that Freese can rebound from disappointing year that saw him bat just .262 with nine home runs.
  • Gerardo Parra and the Diamondbacks avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year contract on Monday. Parra hit .268 atop the Diamondbacks lineup in 2013 and he scored a career-best 79 runs. Parra also hit 10 home runs with 48 RBI and 10 stolen bases. While hit provides more real-life value than fantasy value because of his defensive abilities, Parra is certainly provides value in all NL-Only formats and deep mixed leagues.
  • Kyle Farnsworth and the Mets agreed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Farnsworth posted  a 4.70 ERA last season between the Rays and Pirates. The Mets don't have much experience in their bullpen, so he should have a decent chance at making the Opening Day roster if he's healthy.
  • Cody Ross (hip) took batting practice Monday for the first time since hip surgery and is way ahead of schedule. Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers said that Ross may be out until May, but he suggested Monday that the start of the regular season is still possible. Ross hit .278 with eight homers and 38 RBI in 94 games last season.

MLB In Full Bloom 2/3//2014

Share

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

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

12– Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

56 – Number of days until Opening Day

Super Bowl 48 is over and we're still waiting for the Denver Broncos to show up. Seriously, congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks! It was a phenomenal performance by Seahawks and they are well deserved champions! OK - that is enough football talk for this baseball blog. Time to get focused back on baseball as the Diamondbacks will be the team to have pitchers and catchers report Friday! The Dodgers will follow just a couple days after the D'Backs and then we're off and running towards Opening Day 2014. This week could provide alot of headlines as there are still several free agents that are looking for new homes. Three that stand out to me are Stephen Drew, Nelson Cruz, A.J. Burnett, and Bronson Arroyo

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Matt Kemp (ankle) said Saturday that he might not be ready to play on Opening Day. Kemp does not want to rush himself back and risk re-injury, so he's not ready to commit to playing in the team's opening series in Australia, March 22-23 against the Diamondbacks. His shoulder is said to be pain-free, but Kemp still has not run outdoors since undergoing a major operation on his left ankle three months ago. Several questions surround Kemp as fantasy owners prepare for their draft. Continue to monitor Kemp's status and don't get stuck in a bidding war for this guy.
  • Yasmani Grandal (knee) could "possibly" be ready for Opening Day, according to Padres GM Josh Byrnes. Grandal, who underwent reconstructive ACL surgery back on Aug. 6, says he will be ready for Opening Day, but it seems the team isn't quite as certain. Rehab for an injury such as Grandal's typically takes around nine-to-12 months.
  • A.J. Ellis and the Dodgers avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year contract over the weekend. Ellis is often a forgotten one among the star-studded Dodgers lineup, but he's still been a dependable option at the catcher spot in NL-only and deeper mixed leagues the past two seasons. He'll serve as the Dodgers primary catcher in 2014.
  • A.J. Burnett has made the decision to pitch in 2014 and the three teams that he is interested in pitching for are the Orioles, Phillies, and the Pirates. The Blue Jays and Rays also showed some interest, but it's looking like a three team race. Look for a decision to be made sometime this week.
  • Bronson Arroyo has been looking for a three-year deal and it appears that the Dodgers won't be that team willing to give it to him. According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Dodgers are "very interested" in Arroyo, but don't want to give him a third year. At the very least, Arroyo would like a two-year deal with a vesting option which seems to be a reasonable request  given his durability, but it's also likely what has kept him from catching on with someone to this point. If he is willing to drop that request for a third year, I think he will sign with a team quickly. 
  • Jason Hammel and the Cubs agreed on a one-year contract last Friday. Hammel posted a disappointing 4.97 ERA last season, but could be a sneaky addition if he can rebound to his 2012 form when had a 3.43 ERA while striking out nearly a batter per inning. The Cubs have now added five free agents this offseason and only spent $14.3 million.
  • Yasiel Puig apologized to Dodger fans on Saturday at the Dodger FanFest. Puig was asked by host Alanna Rizzo what he wanted to say to the fans about his recent run-in with a Florida state trooper. Puig stated that it was his fault and he is no longer to drive fast or slow. He now has a driver and he went on to apologize to those in attendance. A reckless driving charge against Puig was dropped by the Florida state attorney's office last week, but he still received a ticket for driving 110 mph in a 70 mph zone.

Page 53 of 192