MLB In Full Bloom 1/10/2014

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35 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

82– Number of days until Opening Day

A week that was highlighted by the Baseball Hall of Fame announcement on Wednesday that included Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas is coming to an end with concerning news about a future Hall of Famer. Masahiro Tanaka is still in Los Angeles and there is exciting news about a couple younger players. Let's go!!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Justin Verlander will be out for six weeks after core muscle repair surgery. Verlander has made 30 or more starts in eight straight seasons. He is expected to be ready around Opening Day and the Tigers are extremely hopeful that is the case.
  • Mashiro Tanaka is still Los Angeles and had a physical yesterday. He has been meeting with teams and it appears that at least ten teams are in the mix. The Chicago White Sox are in this mix and they have to be listed as a "surprise" team. The Cubs, Mariners, Yankees along with the Dodgers and Angels are also meeting with Tanaka.
  • Johan Santana (shoulder) is being monitored by the New York Yankees as he continue to rehab from shoulder surgery. The Yankees are interested in his progress because if they miss out on Masahiro Tanaka they need to have other options.
  • Jayson Nix and the Tampa Bay Rays agreed to a minor league deal which includes an invitation to spring training. Nix was non-tendered by the Yankees in December after batting just .236 in 2013. He does have some speed and defensive versatility, but Nix will have to really battle for a roster spot this spring in Rays camp.
  • Jamey Carroll and the Washington Nationals agreed to a minor league deal which includes an invitation to spring training. Carroll will serve as a utilityman in 2014 for the Nationals as long as he shows that he has something left in spring training. He turns 40 years old next month and batted just .211 last year.
  • Manny Machado (knee) is expected to be ready for Opening Day according to Orioles manager Buck Showalter. Fantasy owners should still account for the possibility that Machado won't be ready for the beginning of the season, but this is certainly positive news in January.
  • Byron Buxton (shoulder) has been invited to major league camp by the Minnesota Twins during spring training. Buxton is widely considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball. He is coming off a 2013 season in which he hit .334 with 12 homers and 55 steals in 125 games between Low-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers. He is only 20 years old and odds are that the Twins will continue to let him develop in the minor leagues in 2014, but this experience in spring training will be valuable.
  • Happy Birthday to Willie McCovey who turns 76 years old today! McCovey was born in 1938.

MLB In Full Bloom 1/9/2014

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36 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

83– Number of days until Opening Day

Yesterday, we saw Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas receive their tickets into the Baseball Hall of Fame (HOF). It was a special day for the baseball community after a year that nobody was voted in. In the end, I think the voters got it right. Yesterday's vote just proves once again how difficult it is to be elected into the HOF. The three new inductees are no doubt Hall of Famers. There has been a lot of discussion of the process about the voting, but it just seems that with baseball and baseball's Hall of Fame there is more passion about it than any other sport. There are arguments made and discussions being had all over the country today supporting different players on the ballot and what should and should not happen. There is no doubt in my mind that the Baseball HOF is the toughest to get into than any other sport. With football and basketball, players seem to have a few good years and they get in.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Masahiro Tanaka is now in Los Angeles and it appear there will be up to twelve teams gauging interest in him. He is just hanging out in and sitting pretty these days. Both Chicago teams, Los Angeles teams and the New York Yankees met with Tanaka on Wednesday and there is another half dozen teams that are supposed to meet with him in the next few days. There are GMs and scouts saying that he is better than Yu Darvish and if that is the case I can't wait to see Tanaka pitch!
  • Now that the Baseball Hall of Fame voting is over, reports indicate that the Alex Rodriguez decision is coming soon. It may be Friday or Monday. There is an owners meeting next week and I don't expect it to happen while those meetings are going on, so it could be next Friday. I'm not sure AROD will get the full suspension, but it would be very surprising if he did not get some type of penalty.
  • Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers appear to be far apart in contract extension negotiations. The Tigers would very much like to get Scherzer extended this offseason. Before the team traded Doug Fister, they did shop around Scherzer and they got some offers, but they ultimately decided to keep him for one-year and contend for the World Series.
  • According to Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage, A.J. Burnett is leaning towards retirement. The Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles have interest in the veteran right-hander. Burnett posted solid numbers in 2013 that included a 3.30 ERA in 191 innings.
  • Hanley Ramirez (ribs) has not experienced any setbacks this winter and is expected to be ready for spring training. Ramirez struggled through the NLCS last year after being hit by a pitch in the ribs during Game 1 of the series, but the injury isn't expected to linger into next season. In the same article, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said he's talked in general terms with Ramirez' agent, Adam Katz, about a contract extension. Ramirez is signed through 2014.
  • Andre Ethier has resumed running and should be ready for the start of spring training. Ethier dealt with a microfracture in his lower left leg that hampered him in the postseason, but he hasn't experienced any setbacks and is on track to be ready by the start of spring training.
  • Matt Kemp (ankle) has begun hitting and is expected to be ready for spring training. Dodgers GM, Ned Colletti, has gone on record by saying that the Dodgers are going to continue to be very deliberate with Kemp. They expect him to be ready for spring training and play a lot. The Dodgers have not traded any of their outfielders this offseason so the depth they have is necessary with the track record of injuries by Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford.

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