MLB In Full Bloom 1/3/2014

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42 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

89– Number of days until Opening Day

All eyes will be focused on Major League Baseball despite the winter storms that are pummeling the east coast as the Hall of Fame will open it's doors once again and welcome in a group of worthy candidates. It's always a week that is met with great anticipation and excitement for baseball purists! I'll give you my Hall of Fame ballot and we'll look at some other news and notes around the league.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes are well underway and it appears the Arizona Diamondbacks could be a surprise team to watch to land the right-hander. Multiple reports have the D'Backs pursing Tanaka as their #1 target since they missed out on Shin-Soo Choo. There are a number of teams involved including the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Los Angeles Angels as strong possible destinations for Tanaka. We'll know by January 24th where he will pitch.
  • Alex Rodriguez may finally get a decision on his arbitration case next week. It certainly won't be today, but lets hope this report is accurate and we all can move on from this situation. The Hall of Fame Ballot announcement in next Wednesday so it's doubtful Major League Baseball will allow this to get in the way of us celebrating those that played the game the right way. ARod will probably learn his fate maybe late next week at the earliest. Maybe. What we do know is that ARod is spending time on the beach with Torrie Wilson and seems to be doing just fine while he is waiting for his decision.
  • The Hall of Fame (HOF) Inductees will be announced next Wednesday. Unlike last year when nobody got in, this will be a banner your for the HOF. The ballot includes: Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Frank Thomas, and Alan Trammell. Below are my selections for induction:
  • Greg Maddux will get 100% of the vote- no doubt about it! If Maddux does not receive 100% of the vote, it will be a travesty. Career Summary: 355 wins, at least 15 wins in 17 straight seasons, 3,371 strikeouts, 4 Cy Young Awards, 18 Gold Gloves
  • Tom Glavine is on the HOF ballot for the first time and like Greg Maddux, Glavine will go into the HOF on his first try. Career Summary: 305 wins, 2 Cy Young Awards, World Series MVP
  • Frank Thomas is also on the HOF ballot for the first time and he too will go in on his first try. Career Summary: 521 HR, 1704 RBI, .301 BA, 5x All Star, 4 Silver Sluggers award, 2x American League MVP.
  • Craig Biggio first appeared on the writers' ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013. He led all Hall of Fame vote-getters, but that was still short of the 75% needed for induction. This year, Biggio gets the call! He ranks 21st all time with 3,060 hits. Career Summary: 3060 Hits, 7x All Star, 4 Gold Gloves, 5x Silver Slugger awards.

MLB In Full Bloom 1/2/2014

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43 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

90– Number of days until Opening Day

I hope you all had a safe and happy New Year! I'm excited to get the New Year underway and for the record, I am not a resolution guy. I have not done it for years so why start now? The calendar has flipped to a new year and there are still several big names still on the free agent market.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Mark Mulder and the Los Angeles Angels agreed to a minor league deal on New Year's Day. This is an interesting signing and an interesting comeback. Mulder is 36-years old and has not pitched in the majors since 2008. He has not pitched with any regularity, a 30 start guy since 2005. He joins an Angels rotation that is still in transition. The five that make up the Angels starting rotation as of today is Jared Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Santiago, Richards, and Tyler Skaggs. There is no certainty for Santiago or Skaggs making the rotation in 2014 so it's possible that Mulder could win a spot in this rotation. He is going to try and make the team in spring training. This is a low risk move for the Angels and I really like this move.
  • Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes is taking longer than expected and will end January 24th. Major League Baseball (MLB) is on guard against the Rakuten Golden Eagles receiving a donation from Tanaka for improvements to the stadium or better facilities for fans and players. I'm not sure you can tell a player or a team how to spend their money. MLB wants to be vigilant and be sure that the Golden Eagles do not receive more than the $20 million posting fee, but there is only so much than can do to police these negotiations. Let's just get this guy signed and get him over here. I want to see him pitch!
  • Joaquin Benoit and the San Diego Padres agreed to a two-year deal. The deal also includes a vesting option for 2016 if Benoit finishes 55 games in 2015. Benoit excelled as the Tigers closer last year and should join Huston Street to form a formidable duo at the back of the Padres bullpen in 2014.
  • Jesse Crain and the Houston Astros agreed to a one-year contract. Crain posted a 0.74 ERA over 38 appearances in 2013, but didn't pitch after June 29 due to a right shoulder strain and had surgery in October to fix biceps inflammation. The Astros already added Chad Qualls this winter, but Crain is another option to close.
  • Yasiel Puig was arrested on Saturday in Los Angeles for reckless driving. Puig's 2013 Mercedes was clocked speeding through the Alligator Alley section of I-75 at 110 mph in a 70 mph zone. Puig had a similar incident in Tennessee last April, but those charges were eventually dismissed.
  • Vin Scully served as the Grand Marshall of the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade. Scully summed it up as "exhilarating". Scully is entering his 65th season as a broadcaster for the Dodgers and is regarded by many as the greatest play-by-play announcer in baseball history.

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