MLB In Full Bloom 11/6/2013

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98 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

145 – Number of days until Opening Day

As General Managers and Owners make their way to Orlando next week for their annual meetings, there is just one General Manager and Owner that needs to hire a manager for next season. That team is the Chicago Cubs and Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. There are multiple reports floating around that this search is close to coming to an end as soon as today or tomorrow. Rick Renteria appears to be the front runner and I think he is the right guy for the job for multiple reasons and I outline them in today's addition of MLB In Full Bloom.

News & Notes

  • The big news today in baseball is that Lloyd McClendon has been named the Seattle Mariners new manger. McClendon did not do a great job in his first managerial job with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but that was a bad Pirates team. McClendon is the 8th Mariners manger since Lou Piniella left Seattle in 2003, which is the most in baseball. This screams dysfunction within the organization to me and this choice of McClendon needs to work for the organization. They have tried everything in Seattle and they have not been successful. They have swung and missed at big free agents and its not like they are not willing to write the big checks because they have made big offers. In addition, they have developed their own players and have kept them. The biggest name  is Felix Hernandez just to name one.
  • The Chicago Cubs are the only major league team without a manager. Rick Renteria is the favorite to be the Cubs manager and it appears an announcement is coming soon. Renteria is a strong teacher and with a young Cubs roster that is a key to the Cubs brass. Renteria has been in the game a long time and he has been a bench coach with the San Diego Padres. He knows Anthony Rizzo and Jedd Hoyer from their days in San Diego and Renteria should make a good fit.
  • The Washington Nationals are looking for some elite starting pitching. There is very little talent on the free agent market so the Nationals are going to have to find it via the trade market. David Price is mentioned, but I doubt Price ends up with the Nationals.
  • The Arizona Fall League began before the World Series started, but very few paid attention. That all changed this week because instant replay rules are being reviewed for the first time. In a game last night between the Mesa Solar Sox and the Salt River Raptors there were four players reviewed and none of them were overturned. We learned a couple things about how the process could look on Opening Day next season. First, a head set was brought out to the home plate umpire for each challenge that was made during the game for him to communicate with the umpire reviewing the play. Second, each review was done quickly. The longest review lasted 1 minute and 18 seconds. Its all experimental and it could all change by Opening Day, but they are implementing it now and first impressions were positive.
  • Dustin Pedroia will have thumb replacement surgery on November 12th in Arizona. Pedroia sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb while making a head-first dive at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day, and dealt with the injury all season. Now that the season is over, he can get the surgery.
  • Geovany Soto and the Texas Rangers agreed to a one-year deal on Tuesday. Rangers manager Ron Washington said,"he's our guy" so it appears we can scratch the Rangers off the list as one of the teams that would be pursuing free agent catcher Brian McCann.

MLB In Full Bloom 11/5/2013

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99 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

146 – Number of days until Opening Day

You would think that there would be no baseball news to report on a day like today, but that is not the case. Don't blink because at MLB In Full Bloom there is always news and today I am going to give you the top five teams that I think will be the most aggressive this offseason as they try to rebuild their roster for next season. The first three teams on the list were easy to identify, but the final two were pulled from a list of about 17 teams on my list and one can make an argument for all of them.

Top 5 Most Aggressive Clubs

1. New York Yankees - The Yankees lose Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte to retirement. They will most likely lose Alex Rodriguez to his 211-game suspension, Phil Hughes is going to leave via free agency, and Curtis Granderson is a wild card to me in the free agency market. He has power and speed and I don't see him staying in New York on a one-year deal. So what's left? CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova make up the Yankees starting rotation as of today. What will Mark Teixeira give the Yankees next year after a injury riddled season in 2013?

2. Texas Rangers - Josh Daniels, Rangers GM, is in complete control of the purse strings now that Nolan Ryan has retired from the organization and Daniels has money to spend and I think he is going to be very aggressive this offseason. The Rangers need help at catcher, middle infield, and corner outfield. The other question I want to see get answered is what will Daniels do with Ian Kinsler. Will they look to trade Kinsler and move Jurickson Profar to second base.

3. Los Angels Dodgers - We know money is not an issue for this organization and Ned Colletti, Dodgers GM, seems to enjoy spending it. The Dodgers will be in the market for more pitching to add to Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. It would surprise me if the Dodgers are not in on Masahiro Tanaka and David Price could be on their radar as well. Lets take it one step further and say that its very possible the Dodgers go after and get both Tanaka and Price! If that happens, the starting rotation for the Dodgers would be sick. The organization has the depth in the minor league system to give the Tampa Bay Rays the top prospects they are looking for to get a deal done for Price and they have the financial resources to get Tanaka. Along with the need to add pitching, the Dodgers will also be in the market for a third baseman.

4. Los Angels Angels - The Angels have massive financial commitments in place to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. Jerry Dipoto is going to have to get creative to add starting pitching and bullpen help because the Angels are very close to the luxury tax and they want to stay below. The Angels are going to score runs, but Dipoto has to add at least two arms for the starting rotation. The Angels do not have the minor league depth or the talent to get in the mix for David Price, but they could send Mark Trumbo and a prospect to the Miami Marlins for one of their top pitching prospects. Ricky Nolasco is one free agent that must be on the Angels radar. Nolasco is a west coast guy and may be willing to take a little less to stay in Los Angeles.

5. San Francisco Giants - Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy were embarrassed in 2013. The Giants need help at left field, first base, and they have to add starting pitching. The Giants need to add two big RBI producers to the lineup and they have to get at least one starting pitcher.

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