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.

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.

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.

Venezuela, Mexico reach Caribbean final

Tigres defeat Puerto Rico, Mazatlan eliminates Cuba in semifinal games

Venezuela, Mexico reach Caribbean final

SEMIFINAL GAME 1
Venezuela 13, Puerto Rico 3

The Tigres de Aragua are going back to the Caribbean Series championship game.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Garcia to bid farewell in Caribbean finale

21-year veteran will start for Venezuela in championship game

Garcia to bid farewell in Caribbean finale

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Former Major League pitcher Freddy Garcia will end his career the same way he started it: On the mound representing Venezuela with the baseball hopes of a nation riding on his right arm.

Garcia, who announced his retirement from Winter League play in Venezuela last month and has not pitched in the Major Leagues since 2013 with the Braves, will make the final start of his 21-year professional baseball career on Sunday when his Tigres de Aragua take on Mexico's Venados de Mazatlan in the Caribbean Series championship game.

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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.

Love of baseball resonates with Broncos' Harris

Lineman dishes on diamond days with Super Bowl on deck

Love of baseball resonates with Broncos' Harris

DENVER -- Denver Broncos left tackle Ryan Harris will use his 6-foot-5, 300-plus-pound frame on Sunday to keep Carolina Panthers pass rushers from drilling quarterback Peyton Manning in the back during Super Bowl 50.

But Harris understands it will take more than a big body to stop Panthers veteran defensive end Jared Allen, who may play despite a broken right foot, or second-year player Kony Ealy. That's where his baseball background and love of the game come in.

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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.

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.

Can we guess who your Super Bowl team is?

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Can we guess who your Super Bowl team is?

The Super Bowl has arrived, so we're pretty sure you've made up your mind about which team you're cheering for. The question is, can we guess who it is? Here's the game: You tell us your opinions about baseball, and we'll use our psychic internet powers to figure out which football team you like. It's like reading tea leaves, but instead of a blob of Earl Grey forecasting you'll meet the Grim, it's your feelings about Mike Trout cluing us into whether you like the Panthers or the Broncos.

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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.

Celebrate Babe Ruth's birthday with this photo of him singing 'Happy Birthday' to himself

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Celebrate Babe Ruth's birthday with this photo of him singing 'Happy Birthday' to himself

Saturday would have marked Babe Ruth's 121st birthday. Eighty-one years ago, as he turned 40 years old, Ruth and his family celebrated by gathering around the family piano and singing "Happy Birthday." You can see the lovely moment in the photo above.

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Blue Jays hoping to swing deals with sluggers

Bautista, Encarnacion contracts are high priority for club

Blue Jays hoping to swing deals with sluggers

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have a lot of heavy lifting to do this spring and most of the action will be taking place away from the field, in contract negotiations with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.

Toronto president Mark Shapiro went on record Thursday night to confirm contract talks with two sluggers will take place during Spring Training. First things first, the Blue Jays need to settle Josh Donaldson's arbitration case but the focus will shift quickly after that.

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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.

Puig, Lazarito take in Caribbean Series game

Cuban teenager thrilled to meet Dodgers outfielder

Puig, Lazarito take in Caribbean Series game

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Two of the most popular and intriguing figures in Cuban baseball decided to take in a Caribbean Series game Friday night.

Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and teenage prospect Lazarito Armenteros watched parts of the game between Cuba's Ciego de Avila and Dominican Republic's Leones del Escogido together from the stands at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal.

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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.

Top Cuban prospect Gurriel Jr. dreams of MLB

22-year-old playing for home country in Caribbean Series

Top Cuban prospect Gurriel Jr. dreams of MLB

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. can still recall the clothes he was wearing on the best day of his life: a white short-sleeved button-down shirt with a red stripe down the middle over the buttons, stylish black pants with rips across the knees and white high-top tennis shoes.

The aviator-style sunglasses were wiped clean, and the haircut was fresh. His big silver watch was polished.

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

Pickles Pub hosts Babe's Birthday Bash

Great Bambino was born 121 years ago in Baltimore

BALTIMORE -- Babe's Birthday Bash went to the bar this year.

The annual event, the proceeds of which benefit the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation, was hosted Friday night for the first time by Pickles Pub in downtown Baltimore. With the abrupt closing of The Sports Legends Museum -- located next to Oriole Park at Camden Yards -- in October, the venue change made for a different feel in commemorating the 121st anniversary of Ruth's birth in Baltimore.

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

Equipment trucks head south for Spring Training

Equipment trucks head south for Spring Training

The unofficial road to Spring Training began on Friday for three clubs.

A pair of moving trucks left Progressive Field in Cleveland for a cross-country trip to Goodyear, Ariz.; one from U.S. Cellular Field on the South Side of Chicago headed to Glendale, Ariz.; and one left Coors Field in Denver, bound for Scottsdale, Ariz.

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

Crane ready for another Astros playoff run

Owner a year ago correctly predicted postseason trip

Crane ready for another Astros playoff run

HOUSTON -- It was this time a year ago that Astros owner Jim Crane raised a few eyebrows by making the bold proclamation his team would make the postseason in 2015. Crane didn't beat his chest about his prediction when speaking to the media Friday at Minute Maid Park, but said he's pleased with the direction of the club and looks forward to big things in 2016.

The Astros -- who were baseball's biggest surprise team last year, when they won the American League Wild Card before losing in five games to the Royals in the AL Division Series -- are poised to contend again and are one of the favorites to win the AL West.

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Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wondering who will win Super Bowl 50? The Yankees have made their predictions

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Wondering who will win Super Bowl 50? The Yankees have made their predictions

Super Bowl 50 presents so many factors to consider: How will Cam Newton hold up against the NFL's best defense? Does Peyton Manning have anything left in the tank? Making your pick can seem nigh impossible. But fear not: The Yankees have delivered a verdict, and these dark days of uncertainty have ended. 

On Friday night, 13 of New York's players and coaches sent in their pick via Twitter, and the answers were all over the map.

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