MLB In Full Bloom 1/30/2014

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

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

16 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

60 – Number of days until Opening Day

The Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers and catcher report to spring training in just ten days to Camelback Ranch and position players will surely not be far behind. On Wednesday, an interesting development surfaced regarding who will start at second base on March 22nd in Australia. The Dodgers are trying to convince Michael Young to hold off on retirement and be the team's second baseman this year. The Dodgers signed Cuban defector Alexander Guerrero to a four-year $28 million contract in October and seemed confident that he would be their second baseman in 2014. Guerrero is known for his power at the plate and the Dodgers were hoping he would be in the Opening Day lineup. Now, the Dodgers are so concerned about Guerrero's ability to play second base that they are trying to convince Young not to retire, but instead return as the team's stopgap second baseman. Either way, it seems that Guerrero will have to earn his playing time with a strong spring. If not, he could find himself in the minor leagues to start the season.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • David Ortiz said in an interview on Wednesday that he is just looking for a one-year extension. Earlier in the week, Ortiz made waves by saying he was looking for another long-term deal from the Red Sox and he went as far as to say that it could be “time to move on,”. Now, Ortiz seems to have backtracked significantly since making that statement and reports are that his representatives and the Red Sox are talking on a one-year extension that would keep the 38-year old DH in Boston through 2015.
  • Lance Berkman announced that he will retire after 15 MLB seasons. This announcement does not come as a surprise as Berkman's body simply broke down the past couple years and it was a surprise to me that he came back last year. He had a terrific career with over 1905 hits, 366 career home runs, 1234 RBIs, and one of the best switch hitters of all time. He will be sorely missed.
  • Justin Ruggiano and the Cubs avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year contract on Wednesday. The Cubs outfield options are pretty thin this year and Ruggiano seems to have as good a chance as anyone else to earn a starting spot this year. With regular at-bats, Ruggiano could be a decent late-round target in fantasy drafts, given that he hit 18 homers and stole 15 bases for the Marlins last season.
  • Manny Machado (knee) could be cleared to resume baseball activities in the next few days. Machado will have a check-up on his knee later this week, and it is expected that he will be given the green light to resume baseball activities if doctors are satisfied with his progress. Either way, Machado's recovery appears to be far ahead of schedule, and it's possible he could be ready for Opening Day.
  • Bronson Arroyo told ESPN's Jayson Stark on Wednesday that he has yet to receive an official offer. It's hard to understand why Arroyo is still out on the free agent market. Yes, he is turning 37 years old in February, but look at the track record. He has never been on the disabled list - period! He is durable, consistent, and he is out there. So, it's easy to understand why Arroyo is unhappy that he hasn't received any offers while Matt Garza just received a 4-year $50 contract from the Brewers and he has serious questions about his health and yet Arroyo is not getting respect.
  • Scott Baker and the Mariners agreed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Baker missed all of 2012 following Tommy John surgery and made just three late-season starts with the Cubs last season, so he ultimately had to settle for a minor league deal. It's a good gamble for the Mariners.
  • Ramon Santiago and the Reds agreed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training on Wednesday. He batted just .224 in 80 games last season for the Tigers, but Santiago can play all over the infield.
  • Chipper Jones retired from baseball, but he is still helping out a teammate. With thousands of motorists trapped on Atlanta's frozen interstates by a deep freeze that had engulfed much of the Southeast, Jones got on his four-wheeler and rescued Freddie Freeman after he spent 11 hours in his car. The two made it home safely and Freeman hugged Jones the entire way home.

MLB In Full Bloom 1/29/2014

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9 - Number of days until the Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers report

11 - Number of days until the Dodgers pitchers and catchers report

17 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

64 – Number of days until Opening Day

We've added two new items to our countdown because pitchers and catchers are reporting on different days. Since the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers start the season in Australia on March 22nd, both teams have their pitchers and catchers reporting a few days earlier than other teams. So, to be fair to those fan bases, the staff at MLB In Full Bloom made the decision to pull out those two teams and have them be recognized on their own. The bottom line for baseball fans everywhere is that we are another day closer to Opening Day!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  •  A.J. Burnett announced on Tuesday that he will return to pitch in 2014. After weighting his options, Burnett, 37, made the decision to return for his 16th season. Burnett lives in Maryland during the offseason and he would prefer to sign with a team close to home. The Orioles makes alot of sense for alot of reasons, but the question has been this entire offseason is why the Orioles have not been more active in the free agent market to improve a weak starting rotation. The Orioles do not like to give out long-term deals and a one-year offer to Burnett will probably get a deal done. The Pirates and Phillies are two other possible destinations for the right-hander.
  • Aroldis Chapman and the Reds avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year deal for $5 million on Tuesday. The two sides saved themselves the hassle of going in front of an arbiter, and instead split the difference right down the middle. Chapman's role heading into 2014 remains unclear. The Reds continue to say they want to get more innings out of him, but a return to the closer's role seems the most likely scenario.
  • Carlos Pena and the Angels agreed to a minor league deal which includes an invitation to spring training on Tuesday. Pena played in 89 games for the Astros and Royals in 2013, before an emergency appendectomy cut his season short. Pena would be a decent option to give Albert Pujols a rest at first base, as he always poses a solid power threat, but nothing like the 25 home run power he once did in his career.
  • Brandon Boesch (shoulder) and the Angels agreed to a minor league deal which includes an invitation to spring training on Tuesday. Boesch is a solid option to plug into the corner outfield spots if Raul Ibanez or Josh Hamilton need a day off, or be used as a designated hitter on a given day.
  • Dillon Gee and the Mets were able to avoid arbitration and agreed to a one-year deal on Tuesday. Gee is coming off a strong 2013 campaign in which he posted a 3.62 ERA in 199 innings. Gee certainly has decent fantasy value in NL-Only leagues and deep mixed leagues in 2014.
  • Chad Tracy and the Orioles agreed to a minor league contract with includes an invitation to spring training. Tracy, 33, spent the last two years with the Washington Nationals and will provide the Orioles depth as on the bench and in the event that Manny Machado suffers any type of setback in his recovery, Tracy could be a short-term solution at third base. Fantasy owners already know that Tracy provides little to no value and should not be considered in any format.
  • FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that Yuniesky Betancourt has reached an agreement with Japan’s Orix Buffaloes. It was reported earlier this offseason that Betancourt was receiving plenty of MLB interest, but it's no surprise that he ultimately found a better opportunity overseas.

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