Prospect Watch: Top 10 third basemen

Bryant, Gallo, Sano bring plenty of power to the hot corner

Prospect Watch: Top 10 third basemen

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday, Jan. 30, on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

If chicks dig the long ball, then there's no doubt third base is the sexiest position among prospects. It's home to the three best power prospects in the game in Kris Bryant (Cubs) and Joey Gallo (Rangers) -- the last two Minor League home run champions -- and Miguel Sano (Twins). It will be interesting to see how many of these guys remain at the hot corner in the long term, because position changes have been hinted at for at least eight of them, and only Jake Lamb (D-backs) projects as a quality defender.

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MLB.com Columnist

Lindsay Berra

Players, coaches discuss impact of the infield shift

Players, coaches discuss impact of the infield shift

MLB's new Commissioner, Rob Manfred, got people's attention right out of the gate.

In an interview that aired on ESPN on Sunday, his first official day at the helm, Manfred responded to a query by Karl Ravech by saying he was open to the possibility of doing away with defensive shifts. This stirred up immediate chatter in social media, on sports radio and among sportswriters, which was a good thing, according to the game's 10th Commissioner.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Time for hitters to counter defensive shifts

Time for hitters to counter defensive shifts

New Commissioner Rob Manfred certainly wasn't speaking in binding terms when he floated the possibility of eliminating or limiting the defensive shifts that have become so prevalent in baseball. In fact, he was simply replying to a question about any "radical" changes he might consider. That said, the impact of shifting is a topic many executives, coaches and players have bandied about in the office or locker room at a time when offensive production is at its lowest levels in decades.

But as is the case with so many of the game's evolutions in circumstances and strategy, the players themselves will probably dictate the direction taken here. Shifts, after all, are the byproduct of historical data, and they inherently create present and future areas of vulnerability on the field. And so it is incumbent upon the hitters to disrupt the data with revolutionary results.

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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.

Dave Winfield's favorite player: Giancarlo Stanton

Dave Winfield's favorite player: Giancarlo Stanton

Dave Winfield knows what it means to be a great outfielder. The Hall of Famer was a 12-time All-Star who won seven Gold Glove Awards and six Silver Slugger Awards.

Winfield's favorite big leaguer to watch these days? Giancarlo Stanton.

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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.

My Favorite Player

My Favorite Player

Baseball players are fans, just like the rest of us. Who do they love to watch? Former Major Leaguers weigh in, with new opinions added all the time.

Dave Winfield
Giancarlo Stanton
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Hot Coco, Freese make All-Blizzard lineup

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Hot Coco, Freese make All-Blizzard lineup

If you're located along the East Coast, you know that there's a blizzard coming. A snowpocalypse. Snowzilla. SNOW MERCY.

In honor of the storm, we decided to put together an All-Blizzard team of MLB players. Check it out below.

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Dyson, Royals avoid arbitration with 1-year deal

Dyson, Royals avoid arbitration with 1-year deal

The Royals have avoided arbitration with outfielder Jarrod Dyson by agreeing to terms on a one-year deal worth $1.225 million. The club confirmed that the sides reached a deal, but did not disclose the terns.

The agreement was first reported by Kansas City Star and confirmed by a source to MLB.com. Dyson will receive a $25,000 bonus if he reaches 350 plate appearances in 2015 and a $50,000 bonus if he is named an All-Star.

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

Castellanos off to Texas for defensive refresher course

Tigers third baseman to focus on his range, quickness, lateral movement

Castellanos off to Texas for defensive refresher course

DETROIT -- Nick Castellanos spent last offseason at home in Miami taking ground balls from Omar Vizquel in preparation for his return to third base. This offseason, his followup work is taking him next week to Lubbock, Texas.

Yes, Lubbock.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Manfred ready for Majors from Day 1

New Commissioner ahead of baseball curve thanks to advanced 100-day plan

Manfred ready for Majors from Day 1

NEW YORK -- Rob Manfred's first day in the office as Major League Baseball's 10th Commissioner was, well, normal.

"It has been more routine than I would have expected, in the sense that I'm just dealing with the kind of everyday issues that come along," Manfred said on Monday afternoon.

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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.

Commissioner Rob Manfred's letter to fans

Commissioner Rob Manfred's letter to fans

Dear Fans:

On the night of August 14, 2014, I left a Baltimore hotel after being elected Commissioner of Baseball. As I began to reply to the overwhelming number of congratulatory messages coming in, it hit me that I'd just been entrusted to protect the integrity of our National Pastime and to set a course that allows this great game to continue to flourish -- now and in the years to come. Needless to say, I was deeply honored by the trust the owners placed in me.

Today is my first day as Commissioner, and I am incredibly excited to get to work. I am grateful to Commissioner Selig for his expertise and friendship. His leadership set a direction that led to historic success.  

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Reds lock up Mesoraco with four-year pact

Homegrown catcher avoids arbitration, makes long-term commitment

Reds lock up Mesoraco with four-year pact

CINCINNATI -- Keeping their young and blossoming talent in the organization has been something the Reds have done the past few years. Homegrown players such as Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto were all signed to multiyear contracts as they approached their years of arbitration eligibility.

Catcher Devin Mesoraco became the latest Reds-developed player to join that list. On Monday, Mesoraco and the club avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms on a four-year, $28 million contract.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Banks, Wrigley formed relationship to remember

Mr. Cub never felt underappreciated by generous owner despite salary restrictions

Banks, Wrigley formed relationship to remember

Ernie Banks wasn't just the all-time leader in love of the game. He was at the top of the charts in trust too.

At a time when the reserve clause allowed baseball owners to hold onto players almost like personal property, with salaries limited to levels that are now unthinkable, Banks landed in the lap of Cubs' owner Philip Knight Wrigley in September 1953. They formed a lasting relationship that benefited both men.

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

Mays man of the hour as Giants return to New York

Mays man of the hour as Giants return to New York

NEW YORK -- About 75 men, all old enough to remember John F. Kennedy's assassination or even Sputnik, gathered on Saturday in the ballroom of a midtown Manhattan hotel and lined up in two parallel rows to form a path between them. They stared expectantly at the ballroom's double doors as if they awaited a bride's entry.

All they really wanted to see was the best man.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers' Clark live tweets 'The Bachelor'

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Brewers' Clark live tweets 'The Bachelor'

If it's Monday night during the offseason, there's only one thing for a ballplayer to do: Watch The Bachelor, of course.

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Santana, Escobar to engage in shortstop competition

Santana, Escobar to engage in shortstop competition

MINNEAPOLIS -- When Paul Molitor took over as Twins manager from Ron Gardenhire, one of the major questions was how he'd handle the shortstop position in 2015.

Gardenhire opted to play Danny Santana mostly out of position as a rookie last season, as he made twice as many starts in center field than he did at his natural position with 62 starts in center and 31 at shortstop. It was mostly out of necessity, as the Twins didn't have a capable everyday center fielder and Eduardo Escobar had a breakout season at shortstop, hitting .275 with 35 doubles in 133 games.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Visitation, service for Banks to be held Friday, Saturday

Visitation, service for Banks to be held Friday, Saturday

CHICAGO -- Public visitation and memorial services for Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, will be held Friday and Saturday at Fourth Presbyterian Church, the Cubs announced.

The public visitation will be from 12-8 p.m. CT at the church, located at 126 East Chestnut Street, Chicago. On Saturday, there will be limited public seating available for the memorial service, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. CT at the church.

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

How MLB is getting through Snowmageddon 2015

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How MLB is getting through Snowmageddon 2015

Snowmageddon: Sadly, not a sequel to the smash 1998 hit, Armageddon, where Ben Affleck has to attempt to blow up a giant space snowball to the strains of Aerosmith. Instead, it's the day the snow fell endlessly from the skies in the Northeast. You know, kind of like the winter version of that other film, Deep Impact

But have no fear. While the Northeast may be coated in snow, fortunately the Cut4 subterranean offices are warm and toasty, allowing us to bring you all the updates from the blizzard-affected baseball world. 

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Five of the most interesting post-MLB player careers

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Five of the most interesting post-MLB player careers

There are people who play a single game in MLB, and there are others who play for decades. But no matter how long the MLB career, there is one certainty: It ends. So what do professional baseball players do upon retirement?

Some retired players take it easy, reveling in the spoils that come from years of playing professional baseball. Some stay wedded to the game, coaching, managing, or working in the front offices -- whatever they can do to be around baseball. There are a select few, however, that strike out on their own.

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Blue Jays president Beeston signs extension, to retire after season

Blue Jays president Beeston signs extension, to retire after season

Paul Beeston will remain the Toronto Blue Jays' president and CEO through the end of the 2015 season.

Rogers Communications made the announcement Monday night that Beeston signed a one-year contract extension with the organization, but with the caveat that he will retire at the end of the season. The announcement ends the pursuit of Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette for Beeston's position.

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

After wait, Shoemaker sees dreams come to fruition

Undrafted righty happy to find success in bigs, become new father

After wait, Shoemaker sees dreams come to fruition

Danielle Shoemaker, wife of the bearded sensation on the Angels' pitching staff, likes to say "God wanted to give us all our blessings at once," with good reason.

Danielle is alluding to her husband, Matt Shoemaker, who went undrafted in 2008 and willed his way into the American League Rookie of the Year Award discussion in 2014, two years before his 30th birthday.

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Speed thrills: Running down top 2B prospects

Braves' Peraza heads list, followed by White Sox's Johnson, Rockies' Wall

Speed thrills: Running down top 2B prospects

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at the Top 10 prospects at each position.

Graduations to the Major Leagues have taken a heavy toll on this list in the past year. Six of the second basemen on last year's preseason Top 10, including the top four, have lost their rookie eligibility, creating room for several newcomers.

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

Astros' roster upgrades have Hinch raring to go

Manager enjoying 'active winter,' ready to lead club at Spring Training

Astros' roster upgrades have Hinch raring to go

HOUSTON -- The roster has been retooled and improved since A.J. Hinch took over as manager of the Astros last fall. The team has beefed up the offense, strengthened the bullpen and created competition that will take center stage at Spring Training next month in Kissimmee, Fla.

Simply put, the Astros have given Hinch a club with which he can compete. After six consecutive losing seasons, Houston hopes to be in the thick of the American League West race and build off last year's 19-win improvement from 2013.

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

Brewers bring back mascot and hero, Barrelman

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Brewers bring back mascot and hero, Barrelman

From 1970 to 1977, the first eight years of the Brewers' Major League existence, the team was visually represented by the lovable and jolly Barrelman. With a thick, barrel-shaped belly, wide smile and powerful bat in his arms, he was the representation of beauty and baseball for the Midwestern city.

But then, like Batman at the end of The Dark Knight, he disappeared. For 38 years.

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Napoli energized, refreshed after sleep apnea surgery

First baseman overcomes condition that prevented him from feeling rested

Napoli energized, refreshed after sleep apnea surgery

LEDYARD, Conn. -- To say Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli is energized for the coming season is far from the typical mantra you hear from just about every baseball player at this time of year. The slugger has the energy now that he lacked for close to a decade as he battled a severe case of sleep apnea.

To get to this point wasn't easy. Napoli had major surgery in November to treat his condition, and it might stun you to realize the kind of ordeal it was.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hurdle back in action after 2nd hip surgery

Pirates manager in Florida for rehab, speaks at fantasy camp

Hurdle back in action after 2nd hip surgery

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After undergoing right hip replacement surgery Oct. 6, Clint Hurdle promised wife Karla that he'd be dancing by New Year's Eve.

There is no documented proof of Hurdle cutting the rug on Dec. 31. But if he vowed to be back on the field in Pirate City 19 days after also having his left hip replaced, the Buccos manager nailed that one.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Presenting the official 2015 MLB baseball

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Presenting the official 2015 MLB baseball

There's a new signature on the official Major League Baseball ... well, um ... baseball.

Commissioner Rob Manfred's John Hancock will be prominently featured on every potential souvenir pitched, batted, thrown and belted over the outfield wall in 2015 and beyond.

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Apprehensive at first, Morneau finds home with Rockies

Longtime Minnesota slugger adjusts quickly to Colorado, wins batting title, serves as team leader

Apprehensive at first, Morneau finds home with Rockies

DENVER -- First baseman Justin Morneau wasn't sure how he'd fit with the Rockies when he signed with them before last season. He was a Twins mainstay from his Major League debut in 2003 until August 2013, when he was dealt to the Pirates -- where he helped during a playoff run but admitted he felt like an outsider.

Morneau did more than fit with the Rockies. He won the National League batting title in 2014. His professionalism and mature hitting approach were part of the reason the Rockies, in need of pitching, asked such a high price in trade talks that the Marlins backed away. On top of it all, Morneau found a home with his new team.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beloved former Boston pitcher Monbouquette dies

Massachusetts native, eight-year Sox vet passes away at 78 after battle with leukemia

Beloved former Boston pitcher Monbouquette dies

Bill Monbouquette -- a Medford, Mass., native and Red Sox legend -- died on Sunday at age 78 after a long battle with leukemia.

Monbouquette, who pitched eight seasons for the Red Sox from 1958-65, tossed a no-hitter in 1962 and won 20 games for the club in '63. He was also a three-time All-Star who spent more than 50 years in professional baseball.

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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.

Valverde, top prospects among Padres' spring invites

Former All-Star closer, Elbert, Wallace part of experienced contingent to get chance with Friars

Valverde, top prospects among Padres' spring invites

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres have extended Major League Spring Training invitations to 18 players, several with big league experience and a handful of their top prospects.

The team has signed eight Minor League free agents, including right-handed pitcher Jose Valverde and left-handed pitcher Scott Elbert in addition to infielder Brett Wallace.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.