MLB In Full Bloom 12/16/2013

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58 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

105– Number of days until Opening Day

With the Winter Meetings in the rear view mirror, this week in the hot stove could be taking shape for the relief pitching. There is a long list of relievers and it may take shape this week as John Axford signed late Sunday night with Cleveland. Several other names are rumored to be close to signing, but is going to be an interesting scramble to see how it works out. I don't think teams value closers like they once did and this idea of $10 million a year for a closer. Most teams feel they can find an option within their organization or they can invent a closer on their own. This is a big week in the hot stove because with Christmas next week very little will take place.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • John Axford and the Cleveland Indians agreed on a one-year deal pending a physical. The Indians get the experienced closer that they desired while keeping Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw in their customary setup roles. As a trio, they should form one of the more formidable late-inning attacks in the American League.
  • Juan Uribe and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed on a two-year deal. The most expensive baby sitter is back with the Dodgers and Yasiel Puig will be happy and should not act up. Having said that, Uribe did play well last year and third base is a tough position to fill at the major league level.
  • Mark Ellis and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a one-year deal. This appears to be a perfect fit for both sides. Kolten Wong is going to be the starting second baseman, but this will challenge Wong and at the very least he provides a right handed complement at second base. If Wong struggles or gets injured next year, Ellis provides that security blanket. The Cardinals continue to have a really good offseason and should be a strong contender in 2014.
  • James Loney and the Tampa Bay Rays agreed to a three-year deal. Loney drew serious free agent interest from the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates, but he decided to go back to Tampa Bay where he revitalized his career in 2013. Loney hit .299 with 13 home runs and 75 RBI last year.
  • Omar Infante and the Kansas City Royals agreed to a four-year deal last week. The Royals lost a bidding war to the New York Yankees for Carlos Beltran, but they won this free agent bout with the Bombers. Infante batted .318 with 10 home runs and 51 RBI this past season for the Tigers. He'll be a big upgrade at second base for Kansas City.
  • Mike Pelfrey and the Minnesota Twins agreed  to a two-year deal for $11 million. Pelfrey posted a 5.19 ERA in 152 2/3 innings with the Twins this past season, but they must have seen something to want to give Pelfrey this contract. Pelfrey rejoins a rotation that has improved from 2013 with the additions of Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes.

MLB In Full Bloom 12/13/2013

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61 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

108– Number of days until Opening Day

It's Friday the 13th in the Hot Stove and we'll put a bow on the week that was the Winter Meetings! It was a great week that saw trades, free agent signings, and major decisions going forward on how the game will be played. It's been a very compelling week for all baseball fans across the country and the best part is that there is still alot of the Hot Stove season left. There are big name free agents to be signed and trades will be made. A lot is left, but let's take a look at what took place on Day 4 of the Winter Meetings in Orlando.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Robinson Cano was officially announced as the newest Seattle Mariner on Thursday afternoon. Cano said during the press conference that he felt "disrespected by the Yankees" and their $175 million offer they made to him. It's not the contract offer, but the underlying story here is that Cano did not feel that the Yankees wanted him back. Players measure themselves by how much they make and Cano knew the Yankees would not offer more than the $175 million. Then Jacoby Ellsbury was offered $153 million by the Yankees and they would not go where Cano wanted to be financially. That is where the "disrespect" factored in for him.
  • Michael Morse and the San Francisco Giants agreed on a one-year deal. Morse dealt with a nagging wrist injury for the better part of the 2013 season and he is in need of a strong 2014 season to position himself for a multi-year deal. Morse is not much of a defender, but he will play right field for the Giants and if healthy, Morse can be a strong source of power.
  • Roberto Hernandez and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed on a one-year deal on Thursday. Hernandez is not overly dominant at this point in is career, but he's a serviceable and cost-efficient No. 5 starter.
  • Justin Ruggiano was traded by the Miami Marlins to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday in exchange for Brian Bogusevic. Last year, Ruggiano he 31-year-old hit just .222 with Miami, but he did hit 18 homers and steal 15 bags. Considering the fact that the Cubs' lack quality outfield options, Ruggiano could win a starting spot next spring.
  • Boone Logan and the Colorado Rockies agreed on a three-year deal on Thursday. Logan is currently recovering from surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, but he is expected to be ready for the start of spring training. It will be interesting to see if Rockies with the addition of Logan will give Rex Brothers the ninth inning as the team's closer.
  • David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox are discussing a contract extension that would keep Ortiz in Boston through the 2015 season. Ortiz will be paid $15 million next season before hitting free agency, but the Red Sox want to make sure he never hits the open market.
  • Jason Kubel and the Minnesota Twins agreed on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Kubel hit 30 homers for the D'Backs in 2012 but fell off the map last season, batting just .216 with five homers in 97 games. Kubel was drafted by the Twins and spent his first seven big league seasons in Minnesota. He should make the team and see plenty of action at the corner outfield spots and DH.
  • Daniel Hudson and the Arizona Diamondbacks agreed on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Hudson will miss most, if not all, of 2014 while recovering from his second Tommy John surgery but could wind up being a bargain if he eventually returns healthy.

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