Baseball's on deck: Prepare to pick now!

Supporting cast helps boost Harper past Trout for top spot

Baseball's on deck: Prepare to pick now!

We're roughly two months away from Opening Day, when hope will spring anew at a ballpark near you.

Are you ready to swap sweater weather for fitted hats and baseball stats? If so, we have just what you need. Welcome to MLB.com's Fantasy Player Preview, your one-stop information shop for the upcoming campaign.

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Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Paul Hagen

Step into spring: 11 storylines to follow

New managers and top prospects promise plenty of intrigue

Step into spring: 11 storylines to follow

The final whistle at the Super Bowl is also the beginning of the final countdown toward Spring Training. In fact, now that football season is over, there are just 11 days until camps open across Florida and Arizona.

With that in mind, here are 11 story lines to follow during Spring Training:

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Finding a common thread among MLB's best teams

Top 5 clubs show player development, smart talent assessment can be key

Finding a common thread among MLB's best teams

Baseball people spend a lot of time thinking about successful organizations. Specifically, is there a common thread running through them? Can success be traced back to spending, drafting, managing or some combination of everything?

With that in mind, let's look at baseball's winningest regular-season teams the past three seasons:

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Week Ahead: Teams prep for Spring Training

Sydney to host World Baseball Classic qualifier; free agents still remain

Week Ahead: Teams prep for Spring Training

The roar of dust and diesel kicks up as football is left in the national sports rearview mirror. Pitchers and catchers are straight ahead, with nothing blocking the roads to get there.

That's what's on tap for the week ahead in Major League Baseball: big rigs following a wonderful procession, carrying the precious gear and belongings of the 30 teams of the American and National Leagues all the way to their spring homes in Arizona and Florida.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mexico's walk-off HR wins Caribbean Series

Mazatlan defeats Venezuela to give nation third title in four years

Mexico's walk-off HR wins Caribbean Series

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- The rhythmic chants began before the first pitch at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal.

"Meh-he-co, Meh-he-co, Meh-he-co."

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jays hold all-onesie Super Bowl party

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Jays hold all-onesie Super Bowl party

Perhaps the best part of the Super Bowl is getting to watch it with all your friends, ideally while eating enough food to make you immobile for days. Of course, after you've consumed your first mountain of wings, you want to be comfortable.

That's why Marcus Stroman and his Blue Jays crew clearly had the best Super Bowl party idea of all time

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MLB.com Columnist

Roger Schlueter

50 ways to plan for a super MLB season

50 ways to plan for a super MLB season

With a tip of the cap to Super Bowl 50, here's a checklist of 50 things to ponder, plan for, debate, celebrate and track during the 2016 baseball season. Some are on the calendar, some are almost givens, and others hopefully offer a reasonable balance between heart and head. But if any day is about high expectations and hype, it's this one. So on with the show.

Expectations

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Roger Schlueter is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's Gray stars in Super Bowl ad with zombies

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A's Gray stars in Super Bowl ad with zombies

Starring in a commercial is pretty cool. But what's cooler? If that commercial airs during the Super Bowl. And what's coolest? If that commercial airs during the Super Bowl and also has zombies in it. Sonny Gray, during Sunday's Super Bowl 50 XFINITY commercial, was the coolest.

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Bryce, Joc among fans at Super Bowl

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Bryce, Joc among fans at Super Bowl

There are a lot of reasons to be jealous of Bryce Harper and Joc Pederson. First of all, they get paid to play baseball! Second, they're both really, really good at baseball. But now you can add another thing to the list -- they were both at Super Bowl 50.

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New, cooler spring jerseys, caps available

MLB shows off on-field Flex Base designs for all 30 clubs

New, cooler spring jerseys, caps available

It is almost time for Zack Greinke to suit up for the D-backs, Todd Frazier for the White Sox, David Price for the Red Sox, Justin Upton for the Tigers, Johnny Cueto for the Giants, Jason Heyward for the Cubs, and all those other new faces in new places.

Shop now for new Flex Base Spring Training gear

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The most impactful addition in each division

The most impactful addition in each division

The most important offseason additions aren't always the most expensive ones.

A year ago, Kendrys Morales, Brett Anderson and Luke Gregerson all switched teams and were pivotal pieces on postseason-bound clubs.

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AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yanks announcer Sterling calls Kitten Bowl III

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Yanks announcer Sterling calls Kitten Bowl III

Perhaps the greatest thing about the Super Bowl isn't the game itself, nor the commercials, nor even the excuse to get together with your friends and revel in gluttony and excess. 

No, it may just be the counterprogramming. After years of having only the Puppy Bowl to watch for football-themed-animal-cuteness, the Hallmark Channel added the Kitten Bowl three years ago. Naturally, it would be announced by Yankees broadcaster John Sterling. 

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Beyonce to perform concert at Citi Field

Singer's Formation tour set for New York on June 7

Beyonce to perform concert at Citi Field

Beyonce is headed to Citi Field.

Just moments after performing in the Super Bowl 50 halftime show, Beyonce announced a new world tour in a television ad spot.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gibbons weighs in on Blue Jays' 2016 outlook

Manager gives updates on bullpen roles, injured players and more to season-ticket holders

Gibbons weighs in on Blue Jays' 2016 outlook

TORONTO -- The success of 2015 apparently has earned Blue Jays manager John Gibbons some goodwill in Toronto, as he was treated to a standing ovation at Thursday night's annual season-ticket holder event, The Leadoff.

"What a difference a year makes," Gibbons said in his typical sense of humor.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals in Asia: Oh just first step

Signing of reliever signals long-term commitment to market

Cardinals in Asia: Oh just first step

On the heels of South Korean reliever Seung Hwan Oh signing with the Cardinals, MLB.com began an examination of the organization's decade-long journey back into the Asian market. Earlier installments of this three-part series included a look at the foundation the organization built in Asia, and an inspection of the nuances of scouting there. In this final installment, MLB.com will trace the road to signing Oh and examine what that signing could mean for the organization's future in this market.

ST. LOUIS -- Almost seven years before they would make him the organization's first Asian-born signee since So Taguchi in 2002, the Cardinals laid eyes on a then-26-year-old South Korean reliever pitching inside San Diego's Petco Park in March 2009.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Angels coloring book will help you relax

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Angels coloring book will help you relax

Spring Training is so, so close. Before you know it, you'll be watching Albert Pujols and Mike Trout smash homers into the lower rungs of the atmosphere. Seriously, we know you're excited, but stop jumping up and down so much! Here, to help you calm down in these last few days before pitchers and catchers begin workouts, we made you these Angels coloring pages. 

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MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Scout reminisces about signing Elway, Lynch

Veteran baseball executive renowned for signing multi-sport athletes

Scout reminisces about signing Elway, Lynch

Gary Hughes was the left fielder on a Serra (Calif.) High School team in the late 1950s that featured future All-Star shortstop Jim Fregosi. In addition to being a star shortstop, Fregosi was the star quarterback on Serra's football team, as well as a standout in basketball who also set the California high school record in the triple jump.

Hughes never forgot. As one of the higher-profile scouts in baseball, Hughes always had Fregosi in his mind when he evaluated players, and has become known over the years for his willingness to take a chance on multi-sport stars.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Caribbean Series has place in Cooperstown

Hall of Fame president bringing artifacts back from this year's event

Caribbean Series has place in Cooperstown

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- This year's Caribbean Series has found a home in Cooperstown, N.Y.

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum president Jeff Idelson and Jean Fruth, the Hall of Fame's traveling photographer, are on the island this week gathering items and documenting the annual tournament between the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Cuba, an original member of the Caribbean Confederation, is participating in the tournament as a special guest for the third consecutive year.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Goldy always looking to improve routine

Star first baseman makes small tweaks to offseason program to continue progressing

Goldy always looking to improve routine

PHOENIX -- Given the results from each of his first four full seasons in the big leagues, it is clear that not much, if anything, is lacking in Paul Goldschmidt's offseason workout program. But that doesn't mean the D-backs' first baseman is not always looking for ways to make even the slightest of improvements.

"I have my base program that I've been doing really since the year before I got called up five years ago, and it's basically the same," Goldschmidt said. "Every year, I sit down with Nate Shaw, our strength and conditioning coordinator, and we kind of tweak the program a little bit."

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Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Close friends Betts, Bogaerts poised to lead Sox

Young stars are looking to build on excellent 2015 seasons

Close friends Betts, Bogaerts poised to lead Sox

BOSTON -- Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts are just six days apart in age, having both been born during the first week in October 1992. And as the two ultra-talented players enter their age-23 seasons, they might be ready to take center stage for the Red Sox.

Sure, you'll hear plenty over the next few weeks about newly acquired star pitchers David Price and Craig Kimbrel. There will be a lot of talk about the great David Ortiz entering his final season. Dustin Pedroia, the gritty second baseman, will again be a focal point of Red Sox Nation.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Report: Chavez wins arb case, to earn $4M

Report: Chavez wins arb case, to earn $4M

Right-hander Jesse Chavez won his arbitration case against the Blue Jays and will earn $4 million this season, according to ESPN. The club filed a $3.6 million offer.

Toronto has not confirmed the deal.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Spring cleaning: Rockies gear shipped

Clubhouse-operations staff clears out Coors Field for annual trip to Arizona

Spring cleaning: Rockies gear shipped

DENVER -- Tyler Sanders finished his Friday walking through the eerily empty clubhouse and storage areas of Coors Field, knowing that baseball and all its paraphernalia would greet him by the time he landed in Scottsdale, Ariz., Saturday afternoon.

Sanders, Colorado's assistant to the director of clubhouse operations, was responsible for making sure that when the final truck pulled out for the trip to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick -- the Rockies' Spring Training home -- there was nothing left behind. That meant every piece of baseball equipment, every jacket and coat, every pen and pad and desk calendar, even every bicycle and game console for the staff and their families.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubbie scare: Sharks swim by Kris Bryant

NL Rookie of the Year posts dramatic video on Instagram

Cubbie scare: Sharks swim by Kris Bryant

CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant may have given manager Joe Maddon an idea for an in-season stunt -- and also given Cubs fans a scare by swimming with sharks in Hawaii.

Bryant posted a video on Instagram that features at least three sharks very close to the National League Rookie of the Year, who, thankfully, is safely in a protective cage.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

King of Crash course: Top 10 Ruth statistics

King of Crash course: Top 10 Ruth statistics

The first week in February is apparently a popular time to give birth to some of the game's greatest home-run hitters of all time.

While legendary slugger Hank Aaron celebrated his 82nd birthday on Friday, it was 121 years ago Saturday that fellow Hall of Famer Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore. With that in mind, what better way to celebrate Ruth's birthday than by examining 10 of the most amazing statistics surrounding his illustrious career?

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Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arrieta, Cubs reportedly reach one-year deal

Ace avoids arbitration with $10.7 million agreement

Arrieta, Cubs reportedly reach one-year deal

The Cubs and ace Jake Arrieta have agreed to a one-year contract for 2016 worth $10.7 million to avoid arbitration, according to the Associated Press. It's the richest one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of Major League service, per the AP.

The club has not confirmed the deal.

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Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Best of the rest: Top FAs need homes

Fowler, Gallardo and Desmond still sit on open market

Best of the rest: Top FAs need homes

A certain season-ending football game will be played Sunday night, and we are within two weeks notice of Spring Training camps opening in Florida and Arizona. So how is it possible that you could still field an entire squad of viable free agents?

No more messing around, everybody. It's time to attack baseball's unemployment rate and find a home for some of these guys, so they can start shopping for that spring condo rental.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brisbane captures first Australian Baseball title

The Brisbane Bandits' magical playoff run continued Saturday night, when they capturing their first Australian Baseball League championship with a dominant 7-1 victory over the Adelaide Bite in the second game of the ABL Championship Series.

After earning their first playoff berth in six years, the Bandits needed just two games in the best-of-three series to defeat the heavily favored Bite.

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prepare for the rally machine Jung Ho Kang

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Prepare for the rally machine Jung Ho Kang

Last year, the Pirates surprised many when they signed Korean infielder Jung Ho Kang. After all, while a number of pitchers like Hyun-Jin Ryu and Byung-Hyun Kim had come over from the KBO and found Major League success, most batters had struggled. The conventional wisdom said that the overall pitching in the KBO was weaker than in other overseas leagues, so you couldn't trust a batter's performance. Add in the $5 million that the Pirates had to bid for the rights to negotiate with the Nexen Heroes slugger, and it wasn't the kind of move Pittsburgh tended to make. 

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Ex-manager Wedge joins Blue Jays' front office

Ex-manager Wedge joins Blue Jays' front office

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays added another voice to their expanding front office by officially hiring former Major League manager Eric Wedge as a player development adviser on Saturday afternoon.

According to a team statement, Wedge will work closely with president Mark Shapiro, general manager Ross Atkins and player development director Gil Kim on "strategies to enhance the player development system."

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Marty Noble

X (10) Super baseball things from 50 years ago

X (10) Super baseball things from 50 years ago

This weekend, football's final fling until after baseball's All-Star break, is all about number 50. Not the 50-yard line or Ken Strong of the New York Giants of the 1930s and '40s, the only player for whom No. 50 is retired, but for the 50th Super Bowl. You might have heard it's being contested on Sunday.

Inspired by the NFL's emphasis on the two-digit Arabic numeral that baseball fans most readily associate with J.R. Richard, Jamie Moyer, Adam Wainwright, Tom Henke, Sid Fernandez and John Montefusco, herein is a recognition of the 50th anniversaries of 10 intriguing baseball news stories.

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Marty Noble is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.