What do you think about the talk that David Price wants to return to the Blue Jays? Is this realistic? Or should we spend more time on other free agents?
-- Bryn C., Edmonton, Alberta
The report you are referencing came from Baseball Essential and suggested that Price and his agent have made it clear the Blue Jays are "far and away [Price's] first choice" in free agency. This rumor understandably created a lot of excitement in Toronto, but it's important to take these early reports with a grain of salt.
President Barack Obama was on board Air Force One, on the way to the St. Louis for the 2009 All-Star Game, where he was set to throw out the first pitch. Still fresh into his first term, President Obama turned to Willie Mays to tell him just how important he was to his own personal success.
"It was because of giants like Willie that someone like me could even think about running for president," President Obama recalled on Tuesday evening as the White House erupted in applause during the ceremony for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Puig's best could still be on deck for Dodgers
By Richard Justice
We acknowledge that Yasiel Puig occasionally drives the Dodgers crazy. OK, maybe more than occasionally. He's not always -- let's phrase this delicately -- punctual. He's not always the hardest-working guy in the building, and there are days his attitude could use an adjustment.
Puig seemed to drive former Dodgers manager Don Mattingly up a wall a time or two, and he's sure to do the same thing to the new skipper, Dave Roberts. On the field, his judgment isn't always the best, and that's being delicate.
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.
Japanese star Maeda requests posting
Right-hander wants to leave Hiroshima in Central League to join MLB
By Joey Nowak
Another potential ace starting pitcher is reportedly close to entering the free agent market.
According to a report from the Kyodo News, right-hander Kenta Maeda of the Hiroshima Carp in the Japan Central League has asked the Carp to post him, making him available to Major League clubs' bidding.
ANAHEIM -- The Angels scratched "catcher" from their offseason to-do list Tuesday, signing Geovany Soto to a one-year, $2.8 million contract that gave them a veteran complement to the young Carlos Perez behind the plate.
Soto, an All-Star and the National League Rookie of the Year while with the Cubs in 2008, is a .246/.331/.434 hitter in his 11-year career. The 32-year-old right-handed hitter batted only .219/.301/.406 in 210 plate appearances for the White Sox last season, but threw out a solid 30 percent of would-be basestealers in 73 games.
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles signed first baseman Ji-Man Choi to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training, one of eight Minors signings the club announced Tuesday.
The news originated from an online report out of South Korea's Ilgan Sports on Saturday. Choi, 24, is the O's first outside-the-organization signing this offseason, and he will make $650,000 should he make the team. There are also several incentives that could push that initial figure up.
ANAHEIM -- The Angels announced Tuesday that they have hired Bud Black as a special assistant to new general manager Billy Eppler, news of which was first reported by MLB.com last week.
Black was the Angels' pitching coach from 2000-06, then served as the Padres' manager for the next 8 1/2 years until being dismissed this summer. His official hiring comes six days after Ron Roenicke, yet another one of Mike Scioscia's high-profile coaches from the 2002 World Series championship team, was named the third-base coach.
While there weren't as many elite prospects in the Fall League this time around, there still was plenty of intriguing talent. As usual, the hitters stood out more than the pitchers -- position players claimed 13 of the first 16 spots on our Top 20 Prospects list -- because most clubs opt not to pile more innings on their best young arms.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Zimmerman: No problem in Nats' clubhouse
Veteran first baseman speaks on number of topics
By Joey Nowak
Ryan Zimmerman said he's already looking forward to what the Nationals can do in 2016 -- lofty expectations or not -- especially behind newly-minted National League MVP Bryce Harper.
Zimmerman spoke to MLB Network about a variety of topics, including what it's like to face the high expectations his club has faced over the last handful of years and what it takes to live up to them.
With the recent news of Robinson Cano being unhappy in Seattle and missing New York, is there any realistic chance the Yankees make a play for him, being that there had been rumors of Brett Gardner going to the Mariners?
-- Joe S., Mount Sinai, N.Y.
It's a fun idea -- especially since the Yankees have been looking for a sweet-swinging, slick-fielding second baseman for a few years now. (Hey, didn't they used to have a guy like that?) But whether Cano does or doesn't miss New York -- his camp sent word to the Mariners on Monday that everything is just peachy -- the money alone that remains on his monster deal seems to rule out a reunion; he still has eight years and $192 million remaining on his contract.
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten, speaking publicly for the first time about the hiring of Dave Roberts as manager, said the person whose decision "mattered the most" was president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.
Kasten told MLB Network Radio that ownership was involved when the field was trimmed to the final two, Roberts and Gabe Kapler, after a "collaborative" search driven by Friedman and top lieutenants Farhan Zaidi and Josh Byrnes.
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.
Boston's best prospects? Moncada's pythons
By Mike Bertha |
When it was first reported that the Red Sox had signed Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada to a $31 million contract, scouts lauded his incredible bat speed, his defensive versatility and his speed on the bases.
Pitching has become increasingly dominant over the past decade, and we could spend thousands of words explaining all the various reasons why that has been the case. Here's the scary part for hitters: It could, and perhaps should, be more difficult to hit. The starting rotation of the future may not look at all like it does today -- and we're already seeing some teams beginning to catch on.
When you think of a pitching staff, you think of starters and relievers. Five starters each pitch once every five days and are expected to get through six, seven or eight innings, depending on skill. Seven (or eight) relievers, all with very specialized roles -- closer, lefty-killer, setup man, etc. -- are available to back them up multiple times per week. That's the way it's been for most of the past 30 years, since Tony La Russa began to modernize the way bullpens were used back in the 1980s with Oakland.
SEATTLE -- Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto refuted a report in The New York Daily News on Monday that second baseman Robinson Cano is unhappy and wants out of Seattle, saying the situation is "quite the opposite" after speaking with one of Cano's agents.
Dipoto said Brodie Van Wagenen, one of Cano's representatives, called him Monday morning after the newspaper reported that one of Cano's longtime friends said the player was displeased with the regime change in Seattle and would "love to find his way back to New York" if possible.
ANAHEIM -- Terry Pendleton calls Andrelton Simmons "one of my sons." In Atlanta these past four years, the current Braves first-base coach and former All-Star third baseman cared for Simmons as if he were one of his own. He disciplined him, encouraged him and supported him. And when the Braves traded Simmons to the Angels as part of their steadfast rebuilding efforts on the night of Nov. 12, "It hurt my heart," Pendleton said.
Pendleton shared an infield with the great Ozzie Smith in St. Louis for seven years, so he appreciates the benefit -- the luxury -- of a premier defensive shortstop. Pendleton watched Simmons single-handedly impact countless games with his glove, in much of the same way Smith once did. Through it all, Pendleton was constantly in awe of Simmons' unrelenting desire to work.
After a sizzling start to the offseason, Major League executives slowed their pace in recent days. But the past week provided several transactions that will impact 2016 draft rankings. The Tigers and A's made multiple moves, and the Blue Jays received a disappointing prognosis on one of their most exciting youngsters.
CHICAGO -- The White Sox on Tuesday acquired right-hander Tommy Kahnle from the Rockies in exchange for Minor League right-hander Yency Almonte.
Kahnle, 26, has a live arm and can touch 98 to 99 mph with his fastball. He has recorded 102 strikeouts over 102 Major League innings for his career and averaged 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings last season while holding right-handed hitters to a .203 average (15-for-74) and briefly serving as the Rockies' closer. Kahnle also has 59 career walks, so he needs to harness his control.
KC rolls out blue carpet for premiere of Series film
By Robert Falkoff
Special to MLB.com |
KANSAS CITY -- Royals owner David Glass has always enjoyed watching dramatic films with happy endings and thus could hardly wait for Monday's blue carpet premiere of "The 2015 World Series," produced by MLB Network.
"It's even more fun, knowing how it comes out," Glass said. "It got a little stressful as we were going through it. All the stress is gone now. I can watch the DVD and enjoy every bit of it."
BALTIMORE -- Outfield, pitching and the continued pursuit of Chris Davis was how executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette described the Orioles' offseason priorities. Manager Buck Showalter, speaking on MLB Network on Monday morning, affirmed that Baltimore's interest in re-signing Davis is high.
"We're going to be competitive with it and, at the end of the day, he and his people will have a decision to make," Showalter said over the phone on the Network's Hot Stove program. "I try to leave those guys alone; believe me, their agents want us to leave them alone. ... Chris is a grown man. We talked many times. We had plenty of chances to talk [during the season], and he knows how much we like him and would like to have him stay. We are going to make an attempt to stay competitive with it."
'CSI: Citi Field' and five other TV shows starring MLB players that we would totally watch
By Chris Landers |
Between the comedic hijinxs, the heartrending pathos and the heightened drama, the 2015 season was already something out of a TV show. But what if we added some Major League ballplayers to actual TV shows? Instead of straining to come up with some fantastic superhero, why not just cast Kris Bryant?
While the Yasiel Puig telenovela of our dreams remains elusive, here are a few other suggestions sure to improve any network's lineup. Just give us a call, guys.
SEATTLE -- James Paxton is taking a quick break for Thanksgiving with family, but the Mariners' left-hander will be back on the mound Monday in Peoria, Ariz., to throw seven innings of a simulated game as he continues building up his arm following an injury-shortened 2015 season.
Paxton threw 29 1/3 innings in seven starts in the Arizona Fall League, then tossed a seven-inning simulated game on Monday and will complete his work with a similar outing next week against young Mariners prospects.
Chapman a coveted trade chip; O'Day could find home in DC
By AJ Cassavell
The rumor mill revolved around a pair of the game's top relievers on Monday, as both Aroldis Chapman and Darren O'Day were mentioned as potential candidates to be on the move.
Of course, O'Day and Chapman are in very different situations. O'Day is a free agent for the first time in his career and free to sign wherever he chooses. Chapman, meanwhile, has a season remaining on his deal with Cincinnati, but figures to be an ideal trade chip for a Reds team looking to get younger.
CINCINNATI -- When the Reds traded starting pitcher Mat Latos to the Marlins for two prospects on the final day of the 2014 Winter Meetings, it was correctly viewed as a cost-saving move. Before the 2015 season was over, it was already clear that the Reds benefited most from the deal because of Anthony DeSclafani.
A 25-year-old right-handed starter, DeSclafani started the season as somewhat untested. He finished it as the Reds' most dependable -- and consistent -- rotation member.
Sixty-eight years before Yoan Moncada showed off his pythons to the world on Monday, there was 6-foot-2, 240-pound first baseman Ted Kluszewski. The Reds/Pirates/White Sox/Angels slugger blasted 279 dingers during his 15-year career, hitting 40-plus in three consecutive seasons from 1953-55 and leading the league with 49 homers and 141 RBIs in 1954. He also had more long balls than strikeouts in all three of those years. Big Klu was a strong man, so strong that manager Leo Durocher often wondered whether he was a human being.