MLB In Full Bloom 2/18/2014

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40 – Number of days until Opening Day

Fantasy baseball is something that involves a lot of emotion. Unlike fantasy football, there are few casual fantasy baseball players. When you spend so much time monitoring your teams it is natural to get frustrated when they do not perform. Fantasy baseball players get angry when players do not perform at the level we expected. Last year, B.J. Upton was that player for me. However, despite Upton's incredibly disappointing season with the Braves, I still won my NL-Only league for the first time. We don't know who will disappoint us this year, but it is certain that there will be players that don't live up to expectations.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Ubaldo Jimenez and the Orioles agreed to a four-year deal on Monday pending a physical. Pending a physical takes on added importance, given the Orioles' reputation for being particularly picky. The team already nixed deals with pitcher Grant Balfour and outfielder Tyler Colvin this offseason, though Colvin may still sign with Baltimore. The deal with Jimenez is reported to be worth $48-$50 million which is a bargain in this market. Jimenez held a 3.30 ERA in 182 2/3 innings for the Indians last season.
  • Ryan Dempster announced Sunday that he will not pitch in 2014 or perhaps forever. Dempster said that neck issues which have become tougher to deal with factored into this decision. Dempster has also said he wanted to spend more time with his family, but he hasn't ruled out the possibility of returning in 2015.
  • Manny Machado (knee) has been cleared to perform all drills other than running the bases and sliding. Machado won't be cleared to run the bases until mid-March. If everything goes according to plan, the young infielder should still have time to get ready for Opening Day.
  • Carlos Gonzalez possibly will stay in left field according to Rockies manager Walt Weiss. The Rockies would like to move CarGo to center, and that remains the plan for now, but Weiss has reserved the right to change his mind. One thing is for sure that Cargo will not be moving around once the season starts.
  • Mark Mulder (Achilles) announced that he will undergo left Achilles surgery on February 25. Mulder's attempt at a comeback in 2014 ended Saturday, when he ruptured his Achilles while doing a side-to-side warmup drill. There is no word yet on exactly how long his rehab will take, but Mulder said recently he has not ruled out attempting to pitch again in 2015. This is a tough setback for Mulder who had worked hard to get to this point. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Mulder was throwing the ball like he did in his prime.
  • Matt Garza received a four-year $52 million offer from the Angels, but true to owner Arte Moreno‘s negotiating style — the offer was only good for short amount of time. Six weeks later Garza accepted a similar offer from the Brewers so the question is why did not not take the Angels offer. Simple - he was on vacation and did not want to deal with it. Garza went on to say that he was given a certain number of hours to take it or leave it. So, he left it since he and his wife were enjoying their vacation.
  • Clayton Kershaw could pitch in three of the Dodgers first six games due to the unusual schedule necessitated by the Dodgers' season-opening trip to Australia. However, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly seems reluctant to have Kershaw carry that heavy of a work load early in the season. There is no need for Mattingly to push Kershaw and add in the travel to Australia and it is too much.
  • Barry Zito plans to take some time off but is not retiring according to CBS Sports Jon Heyman. Zito, 35, doesn't plan to pitch this season, but he has no plans right now to hang up his cleats. Zito finished his Giants' career with a whimper last season, posting a 5.74 ERA across 133 1/3 innings last year. He'll still be young enough next year that if there is a team that is interested in him.

MLB In Full Bloom 2/14/2014

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45 – Number of days until Opening Day

Every camp is now open with pitchers and catchers reporting either yesterday or today. With the majority of the country dealing with winter storms and below freezing temperatures, it is difficult to imagine players playing long toss or taking batting practice. But, we're only 45 days until Opening Day. Let's put a wrap on the week that was in the MLB Hot Stove!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Jhonny Peralta has reported to Cardinals camp four days early. Peralta is eager for the fresh start with a new team and wants to put his 50-game suspension last year for PED use in the rear view mirror. Peralta became a free agent after the 2013 season and signed a four-year contract with the Cardinals worth $53 million, a deal that didn't sit well with many around baseball. Peralta should provide the Cardinals with more offense than Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma did last year.
  • Yasiel Puig (shoulder) is currently on a limited throwing program due to right shoulder inflammation. This has been an issue Puig has dealt with off and on last season and it flared up when he overthrew during the first day of camp.The Dodgers don't think it is a serious injury, but manager Don Mattingly wants to get to the bottom of why Puig continues to deal with the shoulder issue
  • Kole Calhoun "still looks like the leading candidate" to hit leadoff for the Angels. Erick Aybar is the other candidate, and it's possible he'll hit leadoff against lefties and Calhoun will hit there against righties. With Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton following him, Calhoun makes for a big-time fantasy sleeper if he settles into the top spot in the order. He hit .282 with eight homers and 32 RBI in 195 at-bats for the Angels.
  • Albert Pujols has already reported to Angels spring training camp in Arizona and is looking healthy. Pujols dropped seven pounds over the offseason and told reporters Thursday in Angels camp that his knee and foot are 100 percent healthy. He went on to say that he may even steal five or six stolen bases. Pujols has batted just .275 through his first two seasons with the Angels. He was a .328 hitter in 11 seasons with the Cardinals. Anaheim still owes him $222 million in guaranteed money.
  • Jake Arrieta (shoulder) is not expected to be healthy at the start of the 2014 regular season. Cubs manager Rick Renteria acknowledged that on Thursday after it was revealed that Arrieta battled shoulder tightness over the winter. The Cubs have several rotation candidates in camp, but they were hoping for a smooth spring from Arrieta, who posted a 3.66 ERA last year.
  • Erik Bedard and the Rays agreed to a minor league contract which includes an invitation to spring training. The Rays needed to enhance their pitching depth following Jeremy Hellickson's injury, and they've now done so with the addition of Nate Karns and Bedard over the last two days. Bedard posted a 4.59 ERA last season for the Astros, but he did strike out 138 in 151 innings.
  • Derek Jeter will address the media next Wednesday to discuss his retirement. Jeter stated on Thursday that he is waiting for position players to arrive before holding the press conference.
  • Jim Fregosi, 71, who spent 53 seasons in professional baseball, died early Friday morning from complications after suffering multiple strokes. Fregosi managed 15 years in the majors with the Angels, White Sox, Phillies, and the Blue Jays. He was a six-time All-Star shortstop played 18 seasons for the Angels, Mets, Rangers, and the Pirates.

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