MLB In Full Bloom 2/10//2014

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5– Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

49 – Number of days until Opening Day

The Diamondbacks and Dodgers are in camp and preparing for the 2014 campaign. The rest of the camps open on Thursday or Friday this week. It is incredible to see so many free agents on the market looking for work in 2014. Hard to believe that pitching is at such a premium and there are still key starting pitchers on the free agent market on this date. Let's take a look at what happened over the weekend!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Paul Maholm and the Dodgers agreed to a one-year deal over the weekend. Maholm could wind up working out of the Dodgers bullpen if Josh Beckett is healthy and able to claim the fifth spot in the rotation. The first four spots in the rotation are locked up with Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dan Haren. Maholm provides insurance in the event that Beckett, who is recovering from surgery to repair a nerve issue, isn't available for the start of the season.
  • Francisco Rodriguez and the Brewers agreed to a one-year deal over the weekend. K-Rod compiled a 2.70 ERA with 54 strikeouts over 46 2/3 innings for the Brewers and Orioles last season. Rodriguez will be the primary setup man for Jim Henderson and would be first in line for saves should Henderson slip up.
  • Yasmani Grandal (knee) intends to be "behind home plate" on Opening Day, which takes place Mar. 30 when the Padres play the Dodgers. Grandal tore the ACL in his right knee on Jul. 6 and underwent surgery to repair the concern exactly one month later. The typical 9-to-12-month timetable for a recovery for this injury. The Padres will ease him into the lineup during their six-week stay in Arizona, but it appears Grandal is determined to be the Padres Opening Day catcher.
  • Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year contract over the weekend. Samardzija made 33 starts for the Cubs last season and p0sted a 4.34 ERA in a slightly disappointing season. He'll look to improve on those numbers this season.The question remains whether or not the right-hander and the Cubs can agree on a long-term contract. If not, the Cubs will look to trade him by the trade deadline this summer.
  • Coco Crisp and the Athletics agreed to a two-year contract extension over the weekend. The deal also includes a vesting option for 2017. Crisp is coming off an impressive 2013 campaign that saw him hit a career-high 22 homers and 21 steals. Crisp has had a long list of injuries during his career, but if he can stay healthy he should continue to produce.
  • Grady Sizemore (knee) arrived at Red Sox training camp over the weekend proclaiming he's healthy and "good to go,". Sizemore went on to say that he is not in baseball shape, but he is physically in good shape and moving around well. There is alot of risk involved with Sizemore, who is coming off microfracture surgery on both knees and fantasy owners should consider him only as a late-round pick.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana still remain on the free agent market with the majority of camps opening at the end of this week. It is incredible to see these two pitchers still looking for work after they both had such strong 2013 campaigns.
  • A Babe Ruth autographed baseball sold for for $250,641 by Grey Flannel Auctions last Thursday night. An official with the auction house said the buyer wishes to remain anonymous. The price paid for the ball falls short of the record for a Ruth signed ball. In 2012, a ball with a pristine Ruth signature sold for $388,375.

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.

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