BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are moving closer to landing the best free-agent starter still available: Yovani Gallardo.
An industry source confirmed to MLB.com Wednesday afternoon that Gallardo and Baltimore were in serious contract discussions on a three-year deal that would give the O's a key rotation piece. Gallardo -- who has been on the Orioles' radar all offseason -- has reportedly dropped his desired contract length with Spring Training approaching, and the O's have ramped up their efforts.
Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa vying for spot in 2017 tournament
By Niall Adler
Special to MLB.com |
The first leg of the 2017 World Baseball Classic gets underway with the first of four qualifying tournaments starting at Blacktown International Sportspark just outside Sydney on Thursday (9 p.m. ET Wednesday). Australia, the favorite, will host New Zealand, the Philippines and South Africa.
The modified double-elimination tournament is scheduled to be played over four days. Sunday's finale, however, will be a winner-take-all game rather than part of the double elimination. The team that wins on the first two days gets an off-day on Saturday. Four of the six games, including the final, will be aired live on MLB Network, and all of the games will stream live on MLB.com and WorldBaseballClassic.com. ESPN Pac-Rim will broadcast games across the Oceania region, and the games will also appear on Solar Sports in the Philippines.
Dinn Mann is Executive Vice President, Content for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Champs load up truck for trip to spring home
Royals open Cactus League schedule March 2
By Jeffrey Flanagan
KANSAS CITY -- Yet another sign that Spring Training is almost here: It was Royals Truck Day at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday.
Royals clubhouse personnel packed almost 60,000 pounds worth of bats, balls, luggage, video equipment, medical supplies, strength and training equipment, jackets, pine tar, bubble gum, sunflower seeds and much more into an 18-wheeler headed for Surprise, Ariz., in preparation for the beginning of Spring Training next week.
TORONTO -- Construction has begun, and the Blue Jays are well on their way to having an all-dirt infield installed at Rogers Centre in time for the start of the 2016 season.
The work began Monday morning and will continue until the end of March. That will give the grounds crew a full week to groom, treat and monitor the conditions in preparation for the home opener against Boston on April 8.
The collective efforts of your rabbit's foot, horseshoe and four-leaf clover have paid off -- you have been tabbed to pick first in your upcoming fantasy draft. But now the real fun begins. Because three players -- Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Paul Goldschmidt -- each present a compelling case to anchor your 2016 squad, the dilemma at the top of the draft is unusually difficult this year. Making the best choice could be the difference between a narrow victory and an agonizing defeat.
Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
The clubs that will dictate the int'l market
Padres, Braves, Nationals, Brewers, Cards, Phils, Rangers most aggressive
By Jesse Sanchez
The start of the international signing period is months away, but teams have been hard at work scouting prospects across Latin America and the Caribbean since last summer in search of future stars.
The Padres, Braves and Nationals have been very aggressive on the international market, and each team expects to have a solid class of prospects for the next international signing period that starts July 2. Milwaukee, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Texas have also been very busy and expect to sign a good crop of teenagers.
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.
Homers' odyssey: Statcast explains epic blasts
These balls managed to leave the yard despite having a high or low launch angle
By Andrew Simon
To hit a home run, a batter must accomplish two main goals.
First, he has to hit the ball hard. Or, in the parlance of Statcast™, he has to generate a high exit velocity. The second piece of the puzzle is perhaps less sexy but, as we have learned, no less important. The batter also must strike the pitch at the proper angle.
The countdown to Feb. 18, the official report date of Yankees pitchers and catchers, is underway. Activity has already started at the team complex in Tampa, Fla., and anticipation is kicking into high gear for the upcoming season.
In the second installment of our Spring Training preview package, "The New Guys," MLB.com will take a quick glance at some of the players who will be showing up to try on their pinstripes for the first time.
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays were not going to downplay the accomplishments of Josh Donaldson, but now that the arbitration process has been avoided, the risk of upsetting their star player is no longer a concern.
Toronto officially signed the reigning American League MVP Award winner to a two-year contract worth $28.65 million on Wednesday. Donaldson is set to make $11.65 million in 2016 and $17 million in '17, then he will have one final year of arbitration in '18.
KANSAS CITY -- As we gear up for the beginning of Spring Training, we continue our series of previews with Part II: The New Guys.
The Royals certainly didn't get crazy with offseason free-agent signings. Royals general manager Dayton Moore maintains it is a flawed way of building a roster. But their primary focus was on retaining two key pieces to their 2015 championship run -- left fielder Alex Gordon and right-hander Chris Young -- while strengthening the bullpen and the rotation.
DETROIT -- The Tigers head to Spring Training with more prominent new faces than they've brought in over any offseason since 2009, the year after their previous last-place finish. GM Al Avila was part of that offseason, serving as then-general manager Dave Dombrowski's top assistant. This offseason was different.
PITTSBURGH -- Snow covered the field at PNC Park early Wednesday morning as winter weather finally settled in along the Allegheny River. But down the dugout stairs, in the tunnel underneath the stands, was one of the first signs of spring.
Wednesday was "Truck Day" for the Pirates. Clubhouse manager Scott Bonnett and his staff packed up a moving truck and sent it on its way to Bradenton, Fla., where the Pirates will begin Spring Training next week. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to work out on Feb. 19, and the first full-squad workout is set for Feb. 23.
With the start of Spring Training almost here, anticipation is building for the 2016 season. MLB.com is going around the horn to break down each area of the Yankees' roster, continuing this week with the starting rotation.
The Yankees never tried to keep their offseason plan a secret, sending smoke signals that they were ready and willing to make a deal that would upgrade their fragile starting rotation.
CINCINNATI -- Funeral arrangements have been set for longtime Reds clubhouse manager Bernie Stowe, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 80.
Visitation for Stowe will be from 3-7 p.m. ET on Sunday, at the Schaeper Center in Elder High School on 4005 Glenway Ave. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. ET on Monday at the Holy Family Church, on 3006 West 8th St.
Reliever Dale Thayer signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Baltimore's Spring Training camp on Wednesday, and the 35-year-old right-hander will be trying to rebound from a season in which he posted a 4.06 ERA for San Diego.
Thayer has pitched to an 11-17 record and a 3.47 ERA in 264 big league appearances, and he had a three-season run of effectiveness for the Padres. Thayer went 9-12 with a 3.02 ERA in 203 games for San Diego from 2012-14 before struggling last season.
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' biggest move of the offseason wasn't adding a new face, as the organization signed first baseman Chris Davis to a record seven-year, $161 million deal to keep him in Baltimore. The O's also were able to retain free agents Matt Wieters and Darren O'Day, moves that have dominated -- along with Davis -- the team's headlines.
But there will be some new faces in Sarasota, Fla., over the next few weeks, hoping to make their mark and win an Opening Day roster spot. In continuation of MLB.com's Spring Training preview, let's take a closer look at some of the new guys:
Longtime closer in Korea, Japan will serve as Cardinals' setup man in 2016
By Jenifer Langosch
ST. LOUIS -- Seung Hwan Oh, the South Korean reliever signed by the Cardinals last month, has received his work visa and is expected to report on Jupiter, Fla., on time for the start of Cardinals Spring Training.
Recent reports out of Oh's home country speculated that the 33-year-old may be delayed from traveling to the U.S. because of an extended visa application process. But he had his interview with South Korean officials late last week, and he has now received the necessary paperwork to travel.
ST. PETERSBURG -- Checking out the new faces in camp is always a big part of the fun of Spring Training. Luckily, the Rays have plenty of offseason additions to get to know over the next two months, each of them looking for a chance to play a significant role for the team in 2015.
Here's a look at some of the new players fans will be able to watch once camp opens in Port Charlotte, Fla.:
As MLB.com's Spring Training primer continues, it's time to introduce all the new faces on the Red Sox. After a highly productive offseason by president of operations Dave Dombrowski, there are plenty of reasons to be excited.
The pitching staff has a new ace, a new closer and a new setup man. The bench has a new power bat.
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays entered the offseason knowing they would retain one of the best lineups in baseball, but there were plenty of question marks about whether there will be enough pitching to repeat as American League East champions.
No. 1 starter David Price is gone, but his departure created just one of several holes on the pitching staff that needed to be filled. The club had to get better not only in the starting rotation, but also in the bullpen. After several moves, the Blue Jays feel the mission was accomplished.
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies added some infield depth to their system on Wednesday by acquiring Taylor Featherston from the Angels for a player to be named or cash.
Featherston, 26, hit .162 with a .459 OPS in 169 plate appearances last season. The Angels selected him from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft in 2014, and Featherston remained on the 25-man roster the entire season, despite his lack of production at the plate.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.