MLB In Full Bloom 1/15/2014

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30 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

77 – Number of days until Opening Day

Today's blog is going to focus on the players not using PEDs. We are going to focus on the things that make baseball great! Several story lines from Tuesday and it feels like we are on the verge of several big signings soon! We're just 30 days until pitchers and catchers report!  Now that the Hall of Fame announcements are over the next thing on the baseball calendar is club's exchanging arbitration figures with players and that process begins on Friday, but players did file yesterday.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers continue to discuss an extension for the 25-year old left-hander. Kershaw's future in L.A. is a hot topic as he filed for arbitration on Tuesday afternoon. The Dodgers want to get a long-term deal done by Friday. The two sides have been negotiating for almost a year so why is it important to get a deal done in the next couple days? Well, the Dodgers feel that the exchange of figures - Kershaw requesting one number and the Dodgers offering another number will lead to a difference that is so big that it could create problems. Who knows where this may be going, but it would not surprise me to see Kershaw get a contract with an annual salary of $30 million a year for ten years. With Zack Greinke making $25-$26 million a year for the next five years, it's not hard to imagine Kershaw making $30 million a year.
  • Pablo Sandoval announced on Tuesday that he's lost 42 pounds this offseason. Sandoval is motivated as he enters his walk year. He also lost about 40 pounds in the winter prior to the 2011 season before going on to bat .315 with 23 home runs.
  • Josh Hamilton has gained 20 pounds this offseason. He dropped the weight last offseason after signing the big five-year contract with the Angels, but he's hoping that a return to his old weight will lead to better results. Hamilton hit just .250 with 21 home runs and 79 RBI in 151 games last season.
  • Seth Smith and the San Diego Padres avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year deal. Smith was acquired in December for Luke Gregerson and he is slated to start in right field for the Padres this year.
  • Michael Young appears to be inching closer to deciding if he wants to continue to play baseball or retire. Young has four teams that are interested in him and the offers are good enough. But, he is struggling with is the desire to stay at home and spend more time with his wife and three sons. All three boys are 8 years old or younger and he is strongly considering retirement.
  • John Buck and the Seattle Mariners agreed to a one-year deal on Tuesday. He makes sense for the Mariners as he will back up Mike Zunino. Buck's offensive numbers are not great nor are his defensive numbers, but he will be a good veteran presence for Zunino.
  • Cameron Maybin (wrist/knee) who began hitting off a tee last week, aims to report to the Padres' spring complex about the time pitchers and catchers check in on Feb. 13. On Monday, Cameron said, "There have been no setbacks." During the past few months, Maybin has slowly but surely tested out his recovering right wrist and right knee, with the knee already checking out OK. Now, the focus is building the strength back in his wrist.
  • Derek Holland's (knee) left knee surgery last week was a microfracture procedure. It certainly explains why the Rangers wasted no time announcing that Holland will miss the first half of the season. Holland, who was injured when his dog - Wrigley- tripped him as he was running up the stairs.

MLB In Full Bloom 1/14/2014

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31 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

78 – Number of days until Opening Day

As we continue to wait to see where Masahiro Tanaka decides to sign this offseason, movement with other free agents remains at a snail's pace with some position players signing. The free agent pitcher's that remain are on the market remain in a holding pattern as they wait to see Tanaka signs for before they will sign. The good news is that Tanaka will sign by within the next ten days, so we're inching closer to that date.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Reports surfaced on Monday that the Yankees, Dodgers, and Angels were the three finalists for Masahiro Tanaka. However, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said Monday that the club did not meet with Tanaka while he was in Los Angeles last week. Tanaka did meet with 8-10 teams while in the states, but apparently the Angels weren't one of them. It doesn't necessarily mean they won't meet with him eventually, but that is certainly unlikely since they did not have that meeting while Tanaka was in town.
  • Dayan Viciedo and the Chicago White Sox agreed to one-year deal. The 24-year-old outfielder batted .265 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI last season. White Sox general manager Rick Hahn had stated earlier this offseason that they may look to trade Viciedo and that could certainly still happen even though  they signed him. If Viciedo remains with the White Sox, look for him to be a part of a platoon in the Sox outfield.
  • Delmon Young and the Baltimore Orioles agreed to a minor league deal which includes an invitation to spring training. Young should easily earn an Opening Day roster spot, as there's playing time available for him at designated hitter and possibly left field. He hit .260 with 11 home runs and 38 RBI between the Phillies and Rays in 2013.
  • Jeff Francis and the Cincinnati Reds agreed to a minor league deal which includes an invitation to spring training. Francis had an ugly 6.27 ERA over 12 starts and 11 relief appearances with the Rockies last year. He will provide some insurance for the starting rotation.
  • Alex Rodriguez has sued Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association in federal court in an attempt to have his 162-game suspension overturned. It is shocking that Rodriguez would sue his own union. He thinks he is suing the legal team at the MLBPA that protects and provides for the players. They funded his arbitration and the research that was needed to get Rodriguez ready for this process. However, in reality, Rodriguez is suing each and every players because they pay dues for this support by the legal team. He just pushed every ballplayer to the side with this decision. Rodriguez is on an island now that has nobody on it. Rodriguez has made $350 million in his career and now he is going to sue the hand that fed him. He will lose support from all the players.
  • Fredric Horowitz, the arbitrator for the Alex Rodriguez case, came to the decision of a 162-game suspension for Rodriguez. Many have asked how Horowitz came to that number of games - why 162 games? What we learned is that Rodriguez used three different substances over three years and also made two attempts to obstruct the investigation that Major League Baseball was conducting of Biogenesis. The issue here was continued and prolonged use by Rodriguez as to an opposed single violation. So separate uses get separate penalties. Since Rodriguez used testosterone, human growth hormone, and insulin factor 1 - he received 50 games per substance plus 12 games for the obstruction.

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