MLB In Full Bloom 11/18/2013

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86 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

133 – Number of days until Opening Day

It was a quiet weekend for the Hot Stove that is the offseason in baseball. Since I spent last week giving you my Top 15 free agents this offseason, I missed some headlines and transactions that did take place. Lets get caught up:

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Max Scherzer won the American League Cy Young Award last week and has had to answer questions about trade rumors that include him being shipped out of Detroit. Scherzer wants to stay with the Tigers after his contract expires at the end of 2014. Scherzer, went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA this season to make his first All-Star team this year.
  • Brian Wilson told the New York Yankees last week to cross them off their list this offseason because he will not shave his beard. Yankees GM, Brian Cashman, told reporters last week that he had reached out to Wilson to determine if there was any interest, but Wilson is unwilling to shave his beard.  Since the Yankees do not do beards that will not work.
  • Bryce Harper has proven to not be an average player - Rookie of the Year and an All Star in his first two seasons. However, he is still on his five-year $9.9 million dollar deal that he signed after being drafted #1 overall in August 2010. Its been reported that there is a clause in his contract that allows him an opt-out when he reaches arbitration eligibility, which should happen after the 2014 season. Harper and agent Scott Boras would pursue that opt-out via grievance hearing. It will not surprising if the Nationals and Harper come to an agreement on a new contract before the start of next year.
  • Carlos Ruiz and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed to a three-year $26 million deal with an option for 2017. Ruiz, 34, hit just .268 with five home runs and 37 RBI in 92 games this year after batting .325 in 2012. He'll be the primary catcher again in 2014.
  • Chase Headley may be on the move sooner than most expect this offseason. The Padres seemed determined to keep Headley and look to sign him to an extension this winter. Those talks have not begun, so its possible to Padres have decided to move Headley. If they do try to trade him, they would be selling low as he is coming off a very disappointing 2013 season.
  • Brendan Ryan and the New York Yankees have reached an agreement. No specifics have been announced, but Ryan is coming off a miserable offensive season in 2013, but he is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. Ryan will provide back up to Derek Jeter.
  • Cubs prospect Kris Bryant was was named as the 2013 Arizona Fall League MVP on Saturday. It was a great debut season for the second overall selection from this past June's draft. Bryant hit .336 with nine homers and 32 RBI in 36 games across three minor league levels. Then he hit .364 with six homers and 17 RBI in 20 games in the Arizona Fall League. Some think Bryant won't arrive at Wrigley Field until 2015, but with a glaring need a third base and the need to improve the Cubs offensively, I think Bryant will arrive in 2014.

MLB In Full Bloom 11/15/2013

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89 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

136 – Number of days until Opening Day

General Managers and Owners have completed their meetings in Florida and at BEONDECK, we're wrapping up the top 15 free agent list for this offseason. On Thursday, we learned that MLB was withdrawing its proposal for a new bidding system with Japan, making it uncertain whether prized pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will be on the market this offseason. Uncertainty was one of the reasons I lowered my ranking for Tanaka on this top 15 free agent list. There are several unknown factors that come along with Japanese players and it will be interesting to see if this situation is resolved and Tanaka will be made available by his current team in Japan. Here are the last three players in my top 15 free agent list.

13. Joe Nathan

Joe Nathan is coming off his best season since 2009 after he had struggled with arm issues the past two years. He reasserted himself as a dominant ninth-inning closer in his second season removed from Tommy John surgery. In 2013, Nathan had 43 saves, a 6-2 record, a 1.39 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings with the Texas Rangers. he will be pursued by multiple teams this offseason. One of those teams will not be the Rangers as Neftali Feliz will be given every opportunity to win back the closer role for them. The Detroit Tigers appear to be interested in Nathan and he is interested in the Tigers. It makes sense as Nathan is familiar with the American League Central after his time in Minnesota. The Cleveland Indians may be in the mix as well.

PREDICTION: Detroit Tigers

14.Bartolo Colon

This 40-year-old right hander is coming off a solid 2013 campaign with the Oakland Athletics. His two-seam fastball has tremendous movement and all his does is throw strikes. He relied on strong Athletics defense and he will need to find a team that provides that same type of strong defense if he is going to continue to have success in 2014. Since his shoulder surgery in 2010, Colon has proven that he is durable and can give a team a complete season. It's doubtful the Oakland Athletics will pursue Colon with the asking price expected to be out of their range. There will be a few suitors, but the team that makes a lot of sense is the Pittsburgh Pirates. Their pitching and defense philosophy fit Colon. Signing a 40-year-old is dangerous, but you can be sure a 2.65 ERA will not be ignored. The Cleveland Indians will be in the mix along with Pittsburgh and possible the Los Angeles Angels.

PREDICTION: Pittsburgh Pirates

15. Tim Hudson

Tim Hudson is 38-years-old, but like Bartolo Colon, he has figured out more ways to pitch late in his career. Hudson was throwing the ball really well before he broke his ankle this past season. Hudson finished the 2013 regular season with an 8-7 record, 3.97 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 131 1/3 innings. Hudson is a staff leader and I can't imagine that the Atlanta Braves won't want him back. Having said that, there will be other suitors for Hudson and the San Francisco Giants are in need of adding starting pitching. I think Hudson is a better off in the National League so while American League teams will pursue him, I think he stays in the Senior Circuit.

PREDICTION: San Francisco Giants

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