MLB In Full Bloom 12/6/2013

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68 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

115– Number of days until Opening Day

My seat is hot because the hot stove has been on fire this week. This is unbelievable what is happening right now. Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners, Curtis Granderson to the New York Mets, Scott Feldman to the Houston Astros, and rumors of other big names are flying all over the place. The money that teams are spending is staggering right now and this hectic pass is going to keep going as the Winter Meetings begin on Sunday afternoon. All I can say is television money is good. Really good!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners agreed to a 10-year $240 million deal this morning. It's a staggering turn of events after reports surfaced this morning that talks had broken off between the two sides late last night. Cano is 31-years old and will be 41-years old by the end of this contract. How often do these long deals pan out? Almost never. These signings always sound great on the first day, but what will we be saying in the years to come? The bottom line is the Mariners had to do something to turn this franchise around as they have lost over million paid customers since 2007 and they have a $2 billion dollar television contract coming up. Its mind blowing that Cano turned his back on the New York Yankees to move to Seattle. Now the Mariners have to build a team around Cano. The Mariners are not done yet as they still need several pieces to be put around Cano to be competitive. The Mariners need to get Cano some protection and Nelson Cruz is on their radar. They need a closer and to add depth to the starting rotation.
  • Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times is reporting that the Mariners' next move will be making a trade for David Price. It makes sense, as the Mariners have been connected to Price and now appear ready to go for broke following the Robinson Cano signing. The Mariners will have to include top prospect Taijuan Walker in any deal along with some other pieces to make the deal work.
  • Curtis Granderson and the New York Mets have agreed on a four-year deal for $60 million. Where were the Cubs and White Sox?  The Mets needed to make a splash and they did it by adding Granderson. He is a legitimate power guy in the middle of the lineup that will provide a respected bat behind David Wright. The Mets would have preferred to sign Granderson to a three-year deal, but how often this offseason have we seen teams have to add years to a contract to get players.
  • Scott Feldman and the Houston Astros have agreed to a three-year deal for $30 million. It's an interesting deal for the Astros because they are at least a couple of years away from playoff contention. However, the Astros were in desperate need of more pitching after last year's starters combined for a 4.72 ERA.
  • Rafael Furcal and the Miami Marlins have agreed to a one-year deal for $3 million plus incentives pending a physical. Furcal is coming off Tommy John surgery and not what he once was, but he brings energy and he is going to be able to mentor Adeiny Hechavarria. Hechavarria is going to be a really good player and to learn from Furcal will be invaluable to his future success.
  • Ronald Belisario and the Chicago White Sox agreed to a one-year $3 million contract on Thursday. The White Sox lack depth in the bullpen and had to do something to get the ball to Addison Reed in the ninth.  Belisario should help bridge that gap to Reed, and could even find himself pitching in the seventh or eighth inning.
  • Jarad Saltalamacchia and the Miami Marlins have agreed to a three-year deal for $21 million. The market for Saltalamacchia turned out to be softer than expected for Salty and the Marlins swooped in with a very reasonable three-year deal. The move isn't good news for his fantasy value, as he'll be on a poor offensive team and in a big ballpark.

MLB In Full Bloom 12/5/2013

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69 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

116– Number of days until Opening Day

Wednesday brought more free agent signings during what has been a crazy week before the Winter Meetings. However, the big news today is that Major League Baseball (MLB) and Nippon Professional Baseball appear very close to a new deal for the posting system. What is going to happen is that instead of old system in which teams submitted blind bids and the highest bid got the exclusive rights to negotiate with the player, now there will be a maximum bid of $20 million. If multiple teams bid $20 million than all those teams will get the opportunity to negotiate with the player. Basically, this has now become free agency. Only the team that gets the player will have to pay the $20 million posting fee and the luxury tax will apply only to the salary, not the posting fee. Overall, this is a good thing for MLB. It will limit what goes to the Japanese teams and it increases the number of teams that can negotiate with the player. The question is why would the Japanese agree to this new deal. MLB has played hard ball and the Japanese teams and they would rather get the $20 million rather than nothing. Since players in Japan have to wait nine years to become a free agent, they may just revolt and leave the country. Masahiro Tanaka is now in play for several teams and not just the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Miguel Cabrera (groin) will permanently move to first base next year. This was widely assumed following the Prince Fielder trade, but the team confirmed that Cabrera will take over at first, with Nick Castellanos moving into an everyday role at third.
  • Joe Nathan and the Detroit Tigers agreed on a two-year contract on Wednesday. Nathan has enjoyed a late-career surge since Tommy John surgery, posting a 2.09 ERA over the past two seasons while going 80-for-86 in save chances. He is a perfect fit for a team that is trying to win right now.
  • Kelly Johnson and the New York Yankees agreed on a one-year deal today. Johnson will serve as a utility player for the Yankees, and as a potential insurance policy at second base in case they are unable to re-sign Robinson Cano. Johnson hit .235 with 16 home runs last season for the Rays in 2013.
  • George Kottaras and the Chicago Cubs agreed to one-year contract earlier in the week. Kottaras will likely back up Wellington Castillo at catcher next year.
  • Wesley Wright and the Chicago Cubs agreed to a one-year contract on Wednesday. Wright will provide some depth in a Cubs bullpen that was one of the worst in the majors in 2013.
  • The annual debate regarding whether Aroldis Chapman will continue to be the Reds closer or  become a starter has surfaced again this offseason. But, this time it appears the Reds have decided to keep Chapman in the bullpen. Based on comments by Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty on Wednesday, it looks like they are considering using Chapman for multiple innings out of the pen. If they considered using him as a starter, why not use him for back-to-back innings. The problem I see with this scenario is that Chapman struggled with his control when he was used for more than one inning last year. It remains to be seen h0w this will play out, but there is no doubt he is best suited for the bullpen.

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