Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hot Stove season wrapping up and spring training is drawing near



This has been a very busy off-season for many MLB teams.  There has been free agency as always but there have  been many trades, more then I can ever remember in one offseason.  It is now about a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting which means that for the most part all of the heavy lifting is done.  This year though it is still pretty active.  I take a look at the latest and what may come next. 

Max Scherzer signs a 7 year 210 million dollar deal with the Washington Nationals.  It is actually half deferred which means he gets half of that in seven years and then the other half for the next seven years.  It is actually a 14 year deal where he will only play for the team for seven years though.  This is a crazy deal and I guess we can say Scott Boras does it again.  The Nationals right now look to be loaded with pitching and are an instant favorite for the World Series. 

James Shields is the only big name left out on the open market and who knows where that is going.  We have heard some things here and there but nothing major regarding Shields.  I would expect his situation to be resolved though in the next couple of weeks. 

The Houston Astros signed Colby Rasmus to a one year deal and were close to acquiring Ryan Vogelsong but that appeared to fall apart and now he may be close to rejoining the San Francisco Giants on a one year deal.  Yovani Gallardo was traded to the Texas Rangers for prospects.  The Red Sox signed Dana Eveland to a minor league deal. 

The Braves have signed former Brave Kelly Johnson and also now on Thursday night have agreed to a one year contract with Jhonny Gomes.  The Cincinnati Reds have signed pitcher Jason Marquis to a minor league deal.  Dontrelle Willis is back in baseball signing a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. 

I wouldn't expect anything really major to happen the rest of the way.  Shields will be signed by someone and there may be a couple of more trades.  It is looking more likely now though that the Philadelphia Phillies will hold on to Cole Hamels until the trade deadline and that the Washington Nationals may hold onto all of their pitchers for right now also.  There is a chance that anything can happen at anytime  though as it already has been a crazy off-season. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

New York Yankees and New York Mets news and rumors



The New York Yankees have been busy settling their coaching staffs for their major league team and all of their minor league teams.  The Yankees Hal Steinbrenner was quoted on Wednesday at the owners meetings in Arizona.  He basically said what they have been saying all along that they have a high payroll and he would like to cut it even more but never say never.  He left the door open just slightly for Max Scherzer or James Shields for those that are dreaming but I still wouldn't expect it.  I would expect some lesser pitchers like Johan Santana on a minor league contract or maybe a trade.  The Mets have been involved in rumors for Ian Desmond of the Washington Nationals.  The first report the other day said that they balked at giving up Noah Syndergard and now it is coming back up again today with Dan Duquette making some comments about it.  I am not sure if it was close or still close but it does sound like they had substantial talks so we will see what happens there.  If I was the Mets I would trade Syndergard because you have to give up something to get something and having a really good SS could put them over the top. 

The New York Yankees avoided arbitration with pitcher Ivan Nova on Wednesday agreeing to a one year 3.3 million dollar deal that is non guaranteed.  The only other Yankees stuff that is going on is what is not going on.  Alex Rodriguez had posted some pictures of him fielding and hitting the ball to instagram but other than that he remains quiet.  He is still a big mystery and I honestly have no idea what to expect.  There are those that think he will just hang it up in spring training collect his money and the Yankees can collect there money through insurance and then there are some who think he will hit really well and don't count him out and some that think he will play but may not be very good.  It all remains to be seen but in a little over a month the circus will be in town in Tampa, Florida. 

As for the Mets they really haven't done much of anything this offseason.  They did sign Michael Cuddyer but that was pretty much it.  They are now involved in rumors of Dillon Gee being traded but that hasn't happened yet and also for a SS with the focus now on Ian Desmond.  I think they should go out and get him if they can.  I don't buy into Wilmer Flores being an option at SS right now.  I think the Mets are close enough that they need to go for it by acquiring a legit SS.  They have a good young pitching staff with plenty of guys other then Syndergard as well.  I personally would trade him knowing you already have Harvey, Wheeler and DeGrom with Niese, Gee, Colon etc.  We will see what happens but I think if they really want to contend this year go get a SS. 
There are still big names out there on the free agent market such as Scherzer and Shields but ultimately I

don't see either NY team getting involved and getting them.  I would say it is more likely for the Yankees of

course but I really don't see them getting involved either

Monday, January 12, 2015

The New York Yankees announce their coaching staff for 2015



The New York Yankees made official their coaching staff on Monday.  Jeff Pentland takes over as the new hitting coach after they let go of Kevin Long.  The Yankees for the first time in their history will also have an assistant hitting coach and they shuffled some of the other coaches as well as naming a new infield coach who will also serve as the 3B coach.  Alan Cockrell will be the assistant hitting coach and Joe Espada is the new infield/3B coach.  Tony Pena who was the bench coach will move to 1B and Rob Thompson will move from 3B to the bench coach. 

Pentland is 68 years old and he will begin his 17th season as a hitting coach.  He was with the Marlins in 1996, the Cubs from 1997-2002, Royals from 2003-2005, Mariners from 2006-08 and the Dodgers from 2008-2011.  In 2012 he was the hitting coach for Seattle AAA team in Tacoma and last season he was the hitting coordinator in Miami's player development system.  He was a scout for the Marlins in 92-93 before becoming a hitting coach and in 1997 was a minor league hitting coordinator for the New York Mets.  He was an assistant coach at Mesa community college before becoming a major league coach.  He started there in 1972 then went to Arizona State University from 1983-91.  He was at the University of California, Riverside in 1974 and assistant athletic director for Wichita State University in 1973.  He earned his bachelors and masters degrees from Arizona State University.  He was a member of the schools 1967 championship team and was later inducted into their hall of fame in 2002.  He spent three seasons in the San Diego Padres minor league system from 1969-71 as a left-handed batter.  He played first base, outfield, catcher and pitcher. 

Espada will begin his fifth season as a major league third base coach.  He held the same position for the Marlins from 2010-2013.  He was a professional scout for the Yankees last season, has also been a minor league hitting coach in 2006 and 2007.  in 2008 and 2009 he was the minor league infield coordinator for the Marlins.  He is a native of Puerto Rico and was selected by Oakland in the second round of the 1996  first year player draft.  He played nine minor league seasons from 1996-2004.  He played one season in independent ball in 2005 and combined to bat 286 with 24 homeruns and 287 RBI in 779 games. 

Cockrell is 52 and will begin his fourth stint as a member of a major league coaching staff.  He was a hitting coach for the Rockies in 2002 and 2007 and 2008.  He was a hitting coach for the Mariners in 2009-2010.  In 2007 the Rockies led the NL in in batting avg(280), hits(1591),  and OBP(354).  He is a former outfielder who was selected by the Giants as the ninth overall selection in the 1984 first year player draft.  He played in 1,414 career minor league games from 1984-1996. He batted 278 and made his major league debut with the Rockies in 1996 playing in nine games and batting 250.    

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The New York Rangers are rolling


The New York Rangers have been rolling since early December.  They have only lost one game since then with 12 wins in their last 13 games.  The Rangers are completing a tough three city California road trip on Saturday night with the chance to sweep it.  They have been getting great goaltending coupled with good defense and now are scoring goals at a good clip.  The Rangers right now are probably the best team in the NHL and looked prime to make another good run at the Stanley Cup. 
They had been playing really well but then embarked on a three city road trip to California this week.  This was seen as a big test as they were set to face the Anaheim Mighty Ducks who had the best record in the NHL, the defending stanley cup champs the LA Kings and then finally the San Jose Sharks.  The New York Rangers won all three games.  I don't think there is anyone in hockey that wants to play them right now, that is how good they have been.  Henrik Lundqvist has been great and his backup Cam Talbot has been really good as well.  The Rangers are still playing strong defense and now they are one of the top scoring teams in the league as well.  Rick Nash is playing on another level, he may be the best player in the sport right now.  Martin St. Louis is a good goal scorer and guys like Chris Kreider and Carl Hagelin use their speed and can put the puck in the net as well.  The biggest difference is that they can score on the power play now.  They have a good quarterback in Boyle and they are playing with a lot of confidence right now. 
They are currently in third place in their division but have been going back and forth with the Washington Capitals who are fourth and now the first wild card.  It will probably be a battle to the end but the way the Rangers are playing, just make the postseason and then go from there.  They will have the confidence to beat anyone in the league. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Hall Of Fame has four new members



The 2015 Hall Of Fame Class is one of the best as they elected four new members, three of them were first ballot.  John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Craig Biggio are the newest members of the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown, New York.  Last year Smoltz saw his teammates Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux go in on their first ballot and his manager Bobby Cox and now he joins them.  There really wasn't much issue with these guys.  The only controversy is why is Mike Piazza still not in.  He got a little bit closer getting close to 70 percent and he should be elected in next year but for now he waits. 

Randy Johnson is arguably  the best left handed pitcher to ever play the game.  He was big and intimidating and once he got under control he was just dominant.  He had two seasons with the Yankees which are here in my backyard and he won 17 games in both seasons but was never exactly what they thought.  If you can win 17 games two years in a row though and still be called a disappointment it pretty much shows just how good he really was.  He started with the Montreal Expos and then went to the Seattle Mariners and was very wild but once he harnassed that he was just lights out.  He had a career record of 303-166 with a 3.29 ERA and 4,875 strikeouts.  He was with the Expos his first two season in 1988 and 1989 and then with the Mariners for 9 full years and then in his 10th season with the Mariners was traded to the Houston Astros.  He spent six seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and helped them to one world series championship.  He spent two seasons with the New  York Yankees and then back to the Diamondbacks for a couple of seasons before finishing his career with the San Francisco Giants in 2009.  He was a 10X all star and five time Cy Young award winner.  He pitched a no-hitter and a perfect game. 

John Smoltz spend played for 21 seasons and spent all but one of them with the Atlanta Braves.  He spent his final season with the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.  He had a career record of 213-155 with a 3.33 ERA.  He struck out 3,084 and also had 154 career saves.  He was an 8X all star and won a world series in 1995.  He won one cy young award. 

Pedro Martinez played 18 seasons for five different teams.  He was an eight time all star, three time cy young award winner  and won a world series in 2004.  He has the lowest WHIP of any live ball era starting pitcher and his adjusted ERA+ is the best of any starting pitcher in MLB history.  He has the second highest winning percentage in modern baseball history.  He had a career record of 219-100 with a 2.93 ERA.  He had 3,154 career strikeouts and played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. 

Craig Biggio was the only position player to join these three pitchers in the Hall Of Fame class of 2015.  He played 20 seasons all of them for the Houston Astros.  Biggio finished with a career batting average of 281 and he had 3,060 career hits.  He had 291 career homeruns with 1,175 career RBI, he also had 414 career stolen bases.  He was a seven time all star and four time gold glove award winner.  He won five silver slugger awards. 
 

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