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.

MLB In Full Bloom 12/27/2013

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47 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

94– Number of days until Opening Day

Today's edition of MLB In Full Bloom is the 500th post at BEONDECK.com! The best part is that we're just getting started with so much more to come! In recent weeks, the Hot Stove that is the offseason for Major League Baseball (MLB) has been overflowing with free agent signings and offseason trades. However, on Thursday, there was not a single transaction that took place in MLB, so today I'm going to give you my Top 5 things to beginning for your 2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft for Keeper Leagues.

Top 5 Things to Properly Prepare for Your 2014 Fantasy Baseball Keeper League Drafts

5. Before the Draft: For those of you that participate in keeper leagues, you need to decide whom to keep. No duh. But how do we go about that? By protecting the best players we have, right? Wrong. You protect the best value. Not the best players. That's an important distinction. My rule of thumb is that you keep the guys who are undervalued or somebody so awesome you won't be able to get him back (Paul Goldschmidt). I have Goldschmidt in my NL-Only league for $12. There is absolutely no chance I would get him back for less than $40 in this year's draft.

4. Research: Obviously, you should be reading as much as possible. You need to find a website that you find user friendly and check it at least once a day. There are millions of sites devoted to fantasy baseball, many of them good. See which you like, which you trust, which you agree with and which you don't care for. I also recommend that on draft day, don't take multiple resources to the draft table. You spend more time going through those resources and unable to stay focused on what is happening at the draft table. The other thing you can do is watch the MLB Network, listen to Sirius XM Fantasy Sports, and of course follow @BEONDECK!

3. Depth Charts: Get yourself up to the minute depth charts for every team in the NL and/or AL. When the draft is nearing its conclusion and you're desperately searching for a starting middle infielder or a No. 5 starting pitcher, knowing who's starting -- or even who is apart of a platoon will help a great deal. As you should know, generally speaking, the more at-bats you get, the better.

2. Breaking Down Positions: In my opinion whatever magazine or website list you use for your player rankings, just bring one. And if you are drafting online, look at that site's rankings before you draft. If you don't agree with those rankings, that's fine, but when you are in the draft room on YAHOO, those will be what's in front of your face. It's easy to get influenced by them, so have your cheat sheet, with your marking in front of you.

1. NEVER PAY FOR SAVES: I have been playing Fantasy Baseball for 14 years and the longer I play this game, the stronger I believe that you should never pay for saves! It's a volatile position; there's a ton of turnover; it's only one category. Assuming you play in a league with people who know what they're doing, you won't be able to leave the draft table with the ideal team. You want to maximize value there and then pick up pieces during the season.

This is the final post for 2013. I want to wish everyone a very safe and Happy New Year celebration and we'll be right back at it on Thursday, January 2nd!

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