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.

MLB In Full Bloom 1/8/2014

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37 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

84– Number of days until Opening Day

Today is an exciting day as the Hall of Fame Class of 2013 was announced earlier today! Congratulations to Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas on their induction today to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Maddux was drafted by the Chicago Cubs and began his climb to the majors in Peoria, IL with the Class-A Peoria Chiefs. I was so fortunate to watch him begin his career in my hometown and to see him enter the Hall of Fame this morning was a special moment for me. We've talked alot about the Hall of Fame today, but there was other news around the league.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • The $20 million posting fee that goes to the Japanese team receives after Masahiro Tanaka or any other player from Japan comes over here it is not a single lump sum payment. Instead, the $20 million will be paid in two installments. Teams will have to send $13 million the first year and $7 million the next year. The reason for this is to allow more teams the opportunity to get involved in the bidding process. So, conceivable, a small market team can afford to pay the posting fee since it is split. The posting fee does not apply to the salary cap threshold, but the player's contract does. Whatever it is that allows more teams to get involved in the international pool, I am in favor of it.
  • Jose Iglesias and the Detroit Tigers agreed to a one-year, $1.65 million contract on Tuesday. Iglesias is so strong defensively and he batted .303 with three homers and 29 RBI over 109 games last season. He will be the Tigers' starting shortstop in 2014.
  • Ramon Hernandez and the Kansas City Royals agreed to minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Hernandez, who turns 38 in May, hit .208 in 17 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season and also spent some time with the Toronto Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate. He'll have to beat out Brett Hayes for the backup catcher job in Kansas City.
  • Xavier Nady signed a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres on Tuesday that includes an invite to spring training. Nady didn't appear in the major leagues in 2013. Instead, he spent the season between the Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies  Triple-A affiliates. He hit .296 with 15 homers and four steals in 124 games.
  • Joel Hanrahan (forearm) hopes to audition for teams in March. Hanrahan said that he is throwing off a mound at about 75 percent right now and hopes to be close to full strength by the conclusion of spring training. It's unlikely that any team would sign him to be their closer coming off a major arm injury, but he could offer a nice return on a low-cost, incentive-laden deal.
  • Andruw Jones signed a one-year, $3.8 million contract with Rakuten of the Japanese Pacific League on Tuesday. Jones, 36-years old, will remain with Rakuten after helping lead the squad to its first Japan Series title last season by putting up 26 home runs and 94 RBI in 143 games.

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