MLB In Full Bloom 2/27/2014

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33 – Number of days until Opening Day

31,262 - Number of signatures at www.budweiser.com/openingday to make Opening Day a National Holiday

Spring training games have begun and so has the excitement and anticipation that comes with it! I watched a couple innings of the Blue Jays/Phillies game. Today, there is a full slate of spring training games and for all of you still experiencing winter needs to watch a game today. The site of sunshine and baseball should do the trick to convince you that spring is coming!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Mike Trout and the Angels are now discussing a 6-year contract worth around $140 million.  The prospective deal would keep Trout with the Angels through the 2020 season. A long-term extension has been reported for the past few days, and now with Trout's new $1 million salary for 2014 out of the way the two sides can focus on working out a long-term deal.
  • Jonathan Niese is headed to New York for an MRI on his left shoulder. This unfortunate development comes just a couple days after the Mets named the left-hander their Opening Day starter. The good news is that the discomfort is in a different area than the rotator cuff he partially tore last summer. 
  • Carlos Santana will make his Cactus League debut at third base on Thursday. Santana received positive reviews playing third base in winter ball, but the Indians want to see him play the position during the spring.  If Santana can stick at third base, the Indians will move ahead with Yan Gomes as their full-time catcher and will have some flexibility with the DH spot.
  • Jaime Garcia (shoulder) was diagnosed with left shoulder inflammation following a pair of exams this week. Garcia met with Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday, but will be back in Cardinals' camp today. It was easy to fear the worst after Garcia left over the weekend due to shoulder discomfort, but no structural damage has been found. The question remains when he will pitch again and in what capacity. There is no timetable for his return and fantasy owners should consider him day-to-day.
  • Manny Machado (knee) is tentatively scheduled to have a follow-up exam with his surgeon on March 18. Machado could receive full clearance for baseball activities at that time. Machado hasn't had any issues with his surgically-repaired knee this spring and can do most of the drills in camp, but he still needs to run the bases at full speed and begin sliding. He could be ready for Opening Day, but a more realistic expectation for fantasy owners is early-to-mid April.
  • Stephen Drew continues to remain a free agent and the Red Sox don't appear to be as interested in him as once was expected. Drew is struggling to attract offers because his free agency is tied to draft pick compensation and there's been rumors that he will wait until the early part of the summer to sign with a team.
  • Carl Pavano announced his retirement Wednesday. Pavano had his 2012 season cut short with a shoulder injury and missed all last season after rupturing his spleen while shoveling his driveway. Pavano attempted a comeback this year, but he made the decision to end his 14-year career. He played in 302 games with the Expos, Marlins, Yankees, Indians, and Twins. 
  • Josh Hart needed a history lesson at Orioles spring training on Monday. The outfielder, selected 37th overall in last June's amateur draft, was visiting Baltimore's major league camp earlier this week when O's manager Buck Showalter introduced him to Frank Robinson. Showalter asked Hart if he knew who Robinson was and the 19-year-old did not. Showalter embraces Orioles history and made Hart write a one-page essay on Frank Robinson by Tuesday. A few hours before the Tuesday deadline, Hart had completed his assignment.

MLB In Full Bloom 2/26/2014

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33 – Number of days until Opening Day

19,953 - Number of signatures on the petition to make Opening Day a National Holiday

A common mistake on draft day is when GMs reach to get a top-tier closer. Unless you can draft Craig Kimbrel or Aroldis Chapman, wait on drafting your closers until later in the draft. Another strategy to try is searching for setup men that are usually "closers-in-waiting" since they usually appear in the 8th inning, sometimes getting a few 9th inning save opportunities when a closer has pitched multiple days in a row. The 2014 season will feature new closers on many teams, but their setup men may have more experience with the 9th inning. They may not break camp with the closing job, but a fine line exists between them watching the 9th inning and trying to get the 27th out.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

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