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.