Friday, January 31, 2014

Machado to be Cleared for Baseball Related Activities

21-year old Baltimore Orioles third baseman, Manny Machado, may finally be cleared to return to baseball related activities as soon as this weekend.
Machado suffered a season-ending injury to his left knee last September while running out a ground ball in the seventh inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. As Machado’s foot hit the bag his leg appeared to go limp and he fell to the ground clutching his knee. He had to be carted off the field on a stretcher. Machado under went surgery for a torn medial patellofemoral ligament in October and his recovery time was slated at approximately six months.
The surgery went well and numerous reports have put Machado in the lineup on opening day which is great news for the Orioles. Their young star batted .283 in 2013, his first full season in the majors, with leading the American League with 51 doubles and making his first All-Star Game appearance. He even won the AL Gold Glove for his outstanding defense at third base.
The latest news on Machado’s comeback time table is that he may be ready to start baseball related activities within the week as he is making excellent progress in his recovery. After he, hopefully, receives good news at his doctor’s appointment this week he could be ready to resume baseball activities earlier than expected. He has been rehabbing in Miami using light weights, running and pool work.
Orioles manager, Buck Showalter, told Brittany Ghiroli of back in November,
“I think he’s got a real chance to make the start of the season. [He] needs to play in [spring] games by March 15 to make the season.”
It appears that being ready to play by March 15th is certainly a good possibility for the Orioles’ star third baseman. 
For more of the latest news around the league check out MLB Nation

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Anna Kendrick IS the shit!!

I hardly share non sports stuff ... but this is kinda sports and it's related to BEER! Which is one of the best things on the planet! And seriously if you don't LOVE Anna Kendrick (almost as much as Jen Lawrence) then you definitely are crazy! I LOVE HER! SHE'S SO GREAT (except in Twilight etc ... those movies sucked total ass. Almost as much as all four books I wasted time reading but at least I tried them before saying they sucked ...but yeah, the movies may have been better if she had been Bella but probably not .... anyways ...she rocks!! I hope she is somehow in Pitch Perfect 2!! Pitch Perfect is like one of the funniest movies ever!! LOVE IT!)

Michael Young to Retire! (and a whole litany of other stuff - I got off topic a bit)

Well I really have nothing witty or interesting to say, this is all pretty straight forward ... that said I will still in my usual long winded way say something ... I always liked this guy (except when he was batting against the A's of course), found him respectable and it's pretty fitting that he retire now, spend time with his fam while he is still young and still has an exact .300 career batting avg - I mean why risk that, right? One at bat could kill ya! LOL! But seriously ... it like would. 

Anyway, the only thing that freaks me out about all these guys' retiring like Mo (although it felt like he pitched for an eternity ... like what is baseball without Mariano Rivera? I'm sorry but it's true. He's like so awesome every way you look at it! I adore him but then again who doesn't - oops, sorry I forgot about the city of Boston although they at least have respect for him right? I'd love for a Boston fan or two to comment on that .... but I am getting super off track here!!) and Jeter's almost done and A-Rod and Andy Pettitte and all these guys I've watched for what feels like all my life and I still think they are young - like even baseball wise - when they are not. Like Lance Berkman just retired and he was one of the young Killer B's on the Astros in 2007 but when you think about that - crap that was already 7 years ago - where does the time go? Didn't bother me so much with the Mark McGwire, Edgar Martinez, Bo Jackson, Terry Steinbach, Darryl Strawberry types retired ... ok, really I am just pulling names off of from 1962-63 because I used to think that they were like adults when I was a kid - but in reality they were all like 18-20! So weird!! But as far off point as I am right now I just don't feel like the group of guys retiring or going to be retiring in the next year or two are that old - baseball wise - already! Anyways, onto Michael Young .... (who in my opinion is still young! lol)

After mulling over retirement for most of this off season Michael Young has officially announced his retirement according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and the Dallas Morning News.
A seven-time All-Star Young, 37, spent last season with the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers, batting .279 over a total of 147 games between the two teams. Young is the best known for his time with the Texas Rangers. He spent 13 years of his 14 year career with Texas and has played more games in a Rangers' uniform than any other player. He was also a very scary opponent to have at the plate when he's not on your team. Naturally, this makes him the Rangers' all-time leader in almost every offensive category:
  • Hits - 2230
  • Runs - 1085
  • Total Bases - 3286
  • Doubles - 415
  • Triples - 55
He holds also 4 of the top seven career years in terms of hits by a Texas player (2003-2006) and he holds the Ranger's club record for doubles in a season with 52 in 2006. He finishes his career with a .300 batting average and a total of 2,375 hits.
According to Rosenthal, Young had a number of "good offers" he could have accepted for 2014. Instead he has chosen to retire now and spend more time with his family. Over his career he has made more than $90 million according to
Young appeared in the playoffs four different times all coming at the end of his career. He played for Texas in the World Series in both 2010 and 2011, neither of which ended with a title. Overall though one can definitely say that he had quite a nice career and even though he didn't play there in 2013 will leave a legacy at the Ballpark in Arlington.

For more baseball news check out MLB Nation 

So He's Not Retiring! Where will AJ Burnett end up? Maybe not where you think!

Been MIA the last couple of days due to the passing of my beloved and only son, Harry James Potter Rainwater.
Haven't felt like writing or even staying awake or staying ... how to put it delicately - or more like bluntly - not drunk. But I still have my girls - Hermione Jean Granger Rainwater, Little Kitty and my dog, Bebe - so all is not lost and I woke up this morning missing baseball with a vengeance. 

I mean it feels like in two days (where in reality I didn't miss all that much) I missed EVERYTHING ... was gonna write first about Big Papi and I will get to that eventually today. For now we are gonna go with AJ Burnett who as most know had been mulling the idea of retirement that was until yesterday. The 37 year old does intend to pitch in 2014 the question is where ... Baltimore most likely, Tampa Bay yes is in the mix ... but the Phillies? Where did that come from ... oh just a Philadelphia reporter but it makes so much sense it's scary. Well not really scary in that I'm worried about the Phils coming after my A's in the World Series, scary in the sense that it makes so much sense ... so here's a little piece I did for MLB Nation on the subject: 

Pitcher A.J. Burnett, 37, had been mulling retirement until an announcement yesterday that changed a few teams' minds on which of the handful of free agent pitchers remaining that they were looking to sign. Wednesday Burnett announced that he is still planning to pitch in 2014.
Thought by many to be a lock for the Orioles if he were to change his mind regarding retirement Burnett, who resides in Maryland after all, it now appears may have a couple other interested suitors. Another obvious team in the mix is the Tampa Bay Rays, even after avoiding arbitration and re-signing LHP David Price to a 1-year $14 million deal. The Rays actually have the capacity to keep both pitchers if they were to sign Burnett. However, a trade for Price would be more lucrative as he will become a free agent in 2015. They also have the option to wait till mid-season to shop Price for possibly an even better deal. So as the Rays have options, they are still making up their mind.
A tweet by Peter Gammons confirmed that the
Orioles are "all in" on AJ Burnett, Rays in, early in process
But also possibly throwing their hat in the ring for Burnett are the, out of nowhere, Philadelphia Phillies. With a fifth spot left open in their rotation ready to be fought for at spring training, the Phillies could fill that role with Burnett, a proven starter and workhorse. Already their rotation consists of Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez, all locks for the 2014 season, but to have a proven 5th starter could help solidify the aging Phillies team for at least another year.
As of Monday Phillies' general manager, Ruben Amaro Jr. and manager Ryne Sandberg, were "keeping their eyes open" according to Todd Zolecki of But as of yesterday it seems they may have a vested interest in A.J. Burnett, as reported by Ryan Lawrence at
He's got a point. Burnett could fit in not only as their much needed reliable fifth starter, he could end up in the number two role to break up lefties Lee and Hamels. Burnett who went 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, also led National League starters in strikeout and ground ball rates which would work well in Philadelphia's home run friendly ballpark. Not to mention the fact that since the Pirates let him go without a qualifying offer whichever team picks him up would be not have to give up a draft pick as compensation, unlike some other free agent starters like Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez.
With their opening day payroll still well below the $189 million luxury tax threshold the Phillies might very well be in the running with the the Orioles and Rays to be the first to try and snatch up A.J. Burnett.
Any thoughts?!?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Zambrano Brawls, Sandoval Injured During Venezuelan League Championship Game

It's news to most, not all but most, baseball fans that there is plenty going on in the game during Major League Baseball's off-season. Besides just contract negotiations and player trades, there are leagues being played in other countries such as Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Those leagues also just happen to be filled with future, current and former Major League Baseball players who are practicing for the upcoming season, preparing for their future careers or finishing up what's left of theirs.
Saturday's game three of the Venezuelan League Championship Series between the Navegantes de Magallanes and Caribes de Anzoategui was full of excitement. It started with a bench clearing brawl led by free-agent MLB pitcher Carlos Zambrano, formerly of the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins, and ended with an injury to current MLB player, Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants. 
Zambrano, only 32, should be trying to resurrect his dying career but this incident was not conducive to such a plan. Already known for his fiery temper, Zambrano was not even on the field when the brawl began. As soon as it did however, he was suddenly found in the middle of the fray swinging furiously at any player around. Despite having tried to get his anger issues under control over his 11-year MLB career, it appears little or no progress has been made by the right-handed pitcher.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported from during the brawl. However, it appears that the Giants' third baseman was injured during the game. According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Francisco Chronicle, Sandoval tweaked something while attempting to run out a grounder during the eighth inning. The extent of the injury is unknown. While the third baseman did spend time on the disabled list last season with a strained tendon in his left foot, there is no indication that this injury is at all related to that one.
Yet two incidents in one game, in one of many winter leagues, does show that there is plenty of baseball excitement all year round.
For More MLB News you can visit MLB Nation
& now a quick note from Oakland A's Sock's Girl to any of you gnats "fans":
** Any of you gnats "fans" probably won't be reading this because you don't care about baseball at all unless the gnats are winning, let alone even actively playing during the MLB regular season - Sandoval is that guy you call "Panda" who btw is NOT your mascot though thanks to Bat Kid you probably now know that your actual mascot is a ______. (either you know or you don't but I won't help you out! ha!) Anyways, I just think it's funny because last week was all about his weight loss and consequently his GINORMOUSLY disproportionate head and then this week he may be injured ... that's funny to me. Can't imagine why .....lmao! (to those of you Giants fans actually reading this I am not talking to or about you!! Because you're well - reading this - I just had to get in my little dig because it's my blog and because I can!) **

Indians to Unveil Statue of Jim Thome

Harry How/Getty Images
The Cleveland Indians announced Saturday that they will unveil a statue of former player Jim Thome at Cleveland’s Progressive Field on August 2 of this year. Thome, who played two stints (1991-2002, 2011) with the Indians over his 22-year career, is the Indians’ all time leader in home runs (337) and one of their most popular players ever. Only one other Cleveland player, Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, has received the same honor.
The statue is going to be a depiction of Thome in the batter’s box directing his bat towards the pitcher. The stance was inspired by Robert Redford’s character, Roy Hobbs, in the movie The Natural. While in coming up in Cleveland’s minor league system his hitting coach, Charlie Manuel, suggested the stance to Thome as a way to loosen him up while at the plate. It certainly worked for Thome. He told members of the Associated Press,
Charlie had seen a clip of Roy Hobbs pointing the bat. When I got in the box, I was tense, everything was tight. He wanted to create that relaxing feeling in the box for me and pointing the bat did that. It got my trigger ready to hit.
Thome is humbled and honored by the Indians’ tribute to him saying,
As a player, I don’t even want to say you dream of that. When it happens, when the opportunity comes about, it’s humbling. It’s just a wonderful thing. My family is just ecstatic about it.
Besides his two stints with the Indians, Thome also played for the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago White Sox, the Lost Angeles Dodgers, the Minnesota Twins and the Baltimore Orioles. He retired in 2012 with a total 612 home runs (seventh all-time) being one of only eight players to ever hit over 600 home runs in their career.
Thome now works as a special assistant to the White Sox.

For more check out MLB Nation!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Garza and Brewers Finally Reach an Agreement

t was reported by most news and internet sources last Thursday that the Brewers and free-agent, RHP Matt Garza had come to terms to a four-year $52 million deal pending a physical. Apparently, the sources used by the media were not as credible as first thought. Later in the day the Brewers posted a statement saying,
Despite media reports, negotiations between the Brewers and Matt Garza are ongoing, but there is no deal yet.
So that made some of us in the media feel a little bit silly about having jumped the gun on this one. Many thought it implied that Garza, having just come off of two injury plagued seasons, had not passed his physical. We had all seen what happened to an all but done-deal between the Baltimore Orioles and All-Star Closer Grant Balfour. After his phyiscal the team decided it wasn’t worth it to remain in talks with Balfour who eventually signed with the Tampa Bay Rays.

It was announced early Sunday morning that a deal had indeed come to fruition between the Brewers and the 30-year old pitcher. The deal is still four-years but only for $50million, while Garza can earn up to $4 million more in incentives and has a vesting option for 5th year at $13 million.
The Brewers are hoping Garza can bolster their rotation that already contains pitchers like Yovani Gollardo, Kyle Lohse, Willy Peralta, and Marco Estrada. The Brewers rotation in 2013 could have been called decent, finishing sixth in hits allowed, ninth in ERA and 11th in batting average allowed, in the National League. According to Brewers’ general manager Doug Melvin,
Matt is an established top-of-the-rotation pitcher who provides our staff with experience and quality depth.
The Brewers, who finished at just 76-69 last year in the wins column, do need the help. Garza has some impressive stats in his career. He was the MVP of the 2008 League Championship Series with the Tampa Bay Rays and in 2010 he threw his first no hitter against the Detoit Tigers. He then went on to pitch well for the Cubs and the Rangers albeit fighting injuries.
If Garza can remain healthy he offers stability and balance to the Brewers’ rotation. He also has a good track record at the Brewers’ Miller Park posting a 3.42 ERA and 27 strikouts in 23 2/3 innings in four starts there.
To learn more go to MLB Nation

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Is Fernando Rodney the Last Hope for the Orioles, Mets? Who Will Win Out?


With pitchers and catchers set to report to Spring Training in just weeks, there are still teams in need of key players and the free agent pool is getting smaller by the day. The Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets have this problem and both need to fill the same key role. They need a late-inning reliever, preferably an experienced closer.
Grant Balfour
The Orioles traded their closer Jim Johnson to Oakland then proceeded to blow off a what seemed like done-deal with former Oakland closer Grant Balfour due to medical concerns about his wrist and knee. The Mets, who have basically ignored their bullpen needs this off-season, seemed to have suddenly remembered that their closer, Bobby Parnell, is coming off of neck surgery and may be a liability in the closer role. With just a group of youngsters to back up Parnell, it seems they need a
Fernando Rodney
plan “B” as well.

For more and to find out how Fernando Rodney fits in this situation go to Sports Unbiased! - Your Site for all Sports, News, Polls and Predictions!

Friday, January 24, 2014

A-Rod Offered Job to Coach Young Athletes in Connecticut. Should he be the one Mentoring the Stars of the Future?

Apparently not everyone dislikes disgraced New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez these days. He was suspended for the entire 2014 season and post season for his involvement of the Biogenesis scandal. Rodriguez has been practically shunned by the players union who want him out and the entire baseball world has lost respect of the once heralded slugger. It’s sad but true.
Apparently though the people in Torrington, Connecticut do not have a problem with A-Rod, in fact they think it would be a great idea for him to work as an assistant coach for the Torrington Titans who are part of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL).  Titan's General Manager Joey Abis said that they have not yet reached out to Rodriguez with their offer but they have one ready. Abis said,
We can offer him $5,000 for the season. The Donut Station has offered him free coffee and donuts for the entire summer.
That's not exactly what the former Yankees star is used to receiving as compensation for his services but it might help him to clean up his image. In a statement Titans manager, Dan McNamara said,
I see him being more a hitting coach. I’ve been in professional baseball for the past six years as a player and a coach. I can teach the players about getting there. A-Rod can show them they way to the big leagues, it’s priceless. To be honest, there is a lot of bad going on in his life and we’re trying to give him some good.
There would be benefits for the city as well said Abis,
Torrington is phenomenal, having him around would be great for local businesses, people from all over the country would come out.
About people coming out to see A-Rod, that may be a stretch but being that he will always be a celebrity, Abis just could be correct. Even though Rodriguez has admitted to using performance enhancing drugs (PED) for a three year period while with the Texas Rangers and has been linked to the Biogensis scandal Abis told the press,
No way steroids will be in our clubhouse or in our league.
McNamara would even let Rodriquez workout with the team to stay in shape as he is still eligible to return to Major League Baseball in 2015. All of this is an interesting development - A-Rod, now at the forefront of PED use in baseball would be mentoring and coaching younger athletes. One can only hope that he has learned his lesson and would be ready to try and turn over a new leaf however unlikely that may seem.
Calls to A-Rod's agent, Dan Lozano and the MVP Sports Group were not returned regarding this recent development.

For more on A-Rod and other baseball news you can go to MLB Nation - delivering the latest news, insights, and analysis from around the league.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

La Russa, Maddux to Enter Hall of Fame with Blank Caps

The Baseball Hall of Fame announced  the cap selections for the 2014 inductees, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas on Thursday. The big surprises came from La Russa and even more so from Maddux, both of whom will enter the HOF with blank caps.
For La Russa this makes sense. I know a lot of fans who were asking, "A's or Cardinals? A's or Cardinals?" Living in Northern California most were hoping for La Russa to enter the hall as an Oakland Athletic. But the choice to enter such a prestigious, historical place as one thing or another has to be a hard decision to make, especially for La Russa and the HOF committee. The committee ultimately chooses the cap but they take the player/manager's wishes into their consideration.
Many forget that La Russa was not only the manager for the Oakland Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals but also the Chicago White Sox. Granted his accomplishments in both St. Louis and Oakland were what made his career, it does make sense for that to be the real question. La Russa was manager of the White Sox for eight seasons, the Athletics for ten and the Cardinals for his final 16 seasons.
Read more on this story at Sports Unbiased - Your site for all Sports News, Polls and Predictions!

Garza Contract NOT Confirmed by Brewers!

Contrary to all of today's media reports, including my own, Matt Garza has NOT finalized a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. It was reported early Thursday morning that a four-year, $52 million deal had been reached between the two parties, pending a physical. But come afternoon Thursday the Brewers released the following statement, 
Despite media reports, negotiations between the Brewers and Matt Garza are ongoing, but there is no deal yet.
 There is no indication that the lack of a concrete deal has anything to do with Garza medically but the 30-year old pitcher is coming off of two injury plagued seasons.

As of now, Garza is still the most coveted free agent pitcher on the market, since Masahiro Tanaka was signed by the Yankees, followed by Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez and Bronson Arroyo. Jimenez is the most available as both Santana and Arroyo have draft picks tied to them.

Garza Signs 4- year Deal with Brewers

Dominoes Start to Fall; Brewers Sign Garza to 4 Year Deal

28-year-old right-hander Matt Garza is the first domino to fall after the Tanaka signing. Everyone’s been ready for it to start happening and happening quickly as the free-agent pitchers need homes and all the teams waiting out to see if they would get Tanaka are now scrambling to get their starting rotations in order.
Honestly, the Brewers were a huge surprise in the Garza signing as they were not in the race to sign the Japanese phenom and were until today the only big league club to have yet to sign a free agent. So Garza has agreed now to a four-year, $52-million deal, pending a physical. It  is a good fit for them though to bolster their rotation. Garza started 24 games for the Texas Rangers last season and posted a 3.82 ERA.

With those numbers though do come concerns about his health. He’s had trouble the last few seasons battling a rib cage strain in 2013 and elbow issues in 2011-2012. But the physical should answer any questions there. But there are still the questions of his temper and sometimes erratic behavior. A quick and poignant example would be the tirade Garza took to on Twitter after Oakland Athletics’ second baseman Eric Sogard bunted in a run. He openly disrespected and violated the privacy of not only Sogard but of Sogard’s pregnant wife Kaycee making Garza look at best, a bit unstable. But the key factor is that they guy can pitch, period. And that is what the Brewers need.
Garza was in Milwaukee Thursday apparently to take a physical and when the contract is confirmed by the club, he will become only the fourth pitcher in Brewers history signed for at least four years. The others were Jeff SuppanYovani Gallardo and Ben Sheets.
Garza will join the Brewers expected starting rotation of Kyle Lohse, Yovani Gallardo, Wily Peralta,Marco Estrada and Tyler Thornburg. Thornburg is likely going to be the depth in the rotation, ending up in a relief role as he is relatively new and unproven. Gallardo is entering the final year of his contract in Milwaukee and with the addition of Garza could be used as trade bait.
Garza started out his career being drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Twins in 2005 and made the big league club by 2006 after the departure of Lohse to the Cincinnati Reds. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2007 where he was highly successful in the tough American League East Division. In 2008 he was named MVP of the American League Championship Series and in 2010 he threw a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers.
Garza is a surprising yet good addition to the Brewers. In his 3 seasons in the National League with the Chicago Cubs he went 21-18 with a 3.45 ERA. Overall in his career which includes last season with the Texas Rangers, Garza, is 67-67 with a 3.84 ERA. Hopefully for the Brewers this surprising turn of events will be beneficial as long as Garza stays healthy and off of Twitter. 
For more news check out MLB Nation

With Tanaka Taken, What's in Store for Santana and Company?

The free agent market has been nearly dead since Masahiro Tanaka was posted by the Rakutan Eagles in December. But now that Tanaka has signed a 7-year $155million deal with the New York Yankees there's going to be a lot more action in a short period of time.
The left over major contenders for Tanaka: the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Mariners  and even some smaller less-likely contenders like the Toranto Blue Jays or the Chicago White Sox, for example, are going to be scrambling to get the good players who have been waiting to sign with a team. Scarily enough, even with the signing of Tanaka, the Yankees could still be in the mix. With the amount of money they've been spending what's a little more for another starter to help out their aging rotation?
Of those  starting  pitchers who are still free-agents four stand out: Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Bronson Arroyo. 
  • Ervin Santana is a right handed pitcher who played for the Royals last season. He has been one of the most reliable pitchers in baseball with the exception of 2012. He posted a 3.24 ERA in 30 games last season. He has had an ERA below 4.00 in three of the last four years. So his potential to do well is certainly high. His value has been diminished slightly this off season as most interested teams with the exception of the Blue Jays would have to give up a first round draft pick to sign him. The bottom 11 teams in the league have protected first round draft picks so they would only have to give up a second round pick for Santana.

  • Ubaldo Jimenez was considered one of the best pitchers in the game until he had some major problems in the end of the 2011 season and most of the next season. Jimenez bounced back in 2013 posting a 3.30 ERA  in 32 starts with the Indians. Even though he made a comeback last season Jimenez could be considered a risk because he has control issues. Last season he walked 80 batters in 182 2/3 innings. He could be a liabilty but he's overall ERA stands well for itself. The right handed Dominican might just be lucky enough to grab a spot on someone's big league roster.

  • Matt Garza, well there are a lot of things I would like to say about Matt Garza but I will stick with his stats unfortunately I cannot be biased here. One, the guy can pitch period. Last season with the Rangers he started 24 games and posted a 3.82 ERA. But there are health question regarding the 28 year old right hander. He was injured part of last season and there are always the questions of his temper and erratic behavior. Here is what I was not going to mention this but it should make a difference to the club who signs him. Last year he went on a well documented tirade on Twitter against Oakland's Eric Sogard and his wife Kaycee, making him look, at best, a bit unstable. It was all over a bunt. So regardless of how Garza can pitch he has his downfalls as well.

  • Bronson Arroyo could be a catch for any team. He reportedly had a deal with the Twins in the works but it never panned out. So here he is still on the market just a month away from Spring Training. He's one of the most durable pitchers in the league, pitching at least 200 innings in all but one of  the past nine seasons. In 2011 he missed that mark by one inning.  Here's the issue most teams will have with  Arroyo, he is seeking a three year deal at the age of 37 and most clubs won't want to put too much money into that kind of risk. But in reality a lot of  pitchers, including starters, have been pitching into their 40's. It's not exactly a new thing. Yet the age factor can sometimes go a long way when deals are being made.
So now the question remains who is going to end up where?

Balfour to Sign with Tampa Bay Rays

Is the " Grant Balfour Saga" Finally Over? Can the All-Star closer RAGE again? 

Fortunately for the former Oakland Athletic it appears the answer is yes! After first being rejected by the Orioles for medical reasons and just last week being in talks the Washington Nationals to possibly become their eighth-inning set up man, it was announced today that the Tampa Bay Rays are most likely the team that Balfour will end up with and he will not have to take a set up role. He will be able to pitch the inning he loves. Balfour is a closer through and through and he loves to RAGE in the ninth! According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal the contract with the Rays is for two years and $12 million, only $3 million less than his potential contract was going to be with the Baltimore Orioles.

Read more at Sports Unbiased - your site for all Sports News, Polls and Predictions

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A's Sign Lefty Reliever O'Flaherty to 2 Year Deal

Today the A's signed left handed reliever Eric O'Flaherty from the Atlanta Braves to a two year, $7 million deal. At first I was skeptical of this signing for two reasons. The first reason was that well, since I don't study every guy in every National League bullpen I didn't really know who he was and the second was because he will not be available until mid-season due to having had Tommy John Surgery in May 2013.

Upon further review I learned that this signing could indeed be yet another one of Billy Beane's genius moves! The 28-year old lefty has been one of the best relievers in the league in the past few years, until being sidelined with Tommy John Surgery last season. He has a career ERA of 2.85 and in 2011 his ERA was .98. His stuff his just nasty against left handed batters. Over the last three years he posted a 1.45 ERA, 124 strikeouts vs. only 45 walks and a .419 OPS against lefties. 

Taking on a guy for $3.5 million a year just off of Tommy John Surgery does sound a little crazy at first but with players getting salaries of over $100 million this is a great move for a small market team like the A's. It's a gamble for sure but it just might end up being a HUGE payoff and the A's definitely needed a lefty specialist to replace Jerry Blevins, who was traded to the Washington Nationals this off-season. I love Blevins - personality, good at his job, all around sweetheart - but I must say if O'Flaherty comes off the disabled list and is as good or possibly better than before than he is an upgrade from Blevins. 

Billy is sticking with his pattern of signing players with high ceiling talent but some health issues. Think about guys like Coco Crisp, Bartolo Colon and Jed Lowrie all of whom have helped the A's to win back to back American League West Titles! With a limited budget you have to take gambles once in a while and the A's have shown that it pays off.

Tanaka Signs with the Yankees

Image courtesy of Getty Images
Image courtesy of Getty Images
Get ready for this one folks, it is going to be a huge shock. Japanese phenom, RHP Masahiro Tanaka, has finally chosen a home – a home in New York. This winter’s most coveted free agent has signed with the New York Yankees at least according to a source who passed the breaking news on to ESPN’s Buster Onley.
The contract is reportedly a seven year deal worth $155 million with a club opt-out after four years and is the fifth largest ever for a pitcher. Apparently the Yankees are sparing no expense in order to return to their former dominance. The Yankees missed the post season in 2013 for just the second time since 1995.
Having been on a winter spending spree by already signing OF Jacoby Ellsbury, OF Carlos Beltran, and catcher Brian McCann to lucrative deals, it’s no surprise that the Yankees went after Tanaka. All four of those contracts combined comes to around $438 million.

Read More and give us your opinion on Tanaka on Sports Unbiased - Your site for all Sports News, Polls and Predictions!

*I woke up to my phone giving me this news this morning ... and it wasn't all over the internet yet! Kinda shocking and funny .... technology! LOL! SMH.*

Memories of a Perfect Game!

Oakland Athletics’ pitcher, Dallas Braden, officially retired from baseball last week at only 30 years of age. Braden told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser,
“There is nothing left in there, it’s just a shredded mess, “I left my arm on the mound at the Coliseum, and I’m OK with that. …
Upon the announcement of his retirement last week Oakland Athletics’ pitcher, Dallas Braden, reminded me of one of the best days of my life (and most certainly the best of his). While Braden had good numbers and was a solid part of the A’s starting rotation in 2010 no one expected what happened on that May afternoon in Oakland.
 It was Mother’s Day. The weather screamed baseball, it was not too hot, not too cool, a couple of clouds floated in the sky and a light breeze wafted through the Oakland Coliseum keeping those of us in the sun pleasantly comfortable. Compared to those hot days in July one might say the weather was perfect. The stadium wasn’t full, it hardly ever is in Oakland, but there was a good crowd, a lot of kids there to celebrate with their moms.

Read the rest of the story on Sports Unbiased - your site for all Sports News, Polls and Predictions (and apparently memories! LOL!)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Nats Interested in Balfour; Overbay inks Minor League Deal with Brewers

Nationals Interested in Balfour

Free agent closer Grant Balfour may have finally found a home with the Washington Nationals — or at least they have expressed their interest, according to a source at Balfour was an All-Star closer for the Oakland Athletics last season. Unfortunately for Balfour, the Nationals have had their closer,Rafael Soriano, signed to a two-year, $28-million contract since January 2013. If Balfour ultimately makes a deal with Washington, he would have to pitch in the set-up role. 

After leaving the A’s via free-agency this off-season, both Balfour and the Baltimore Orioles expected him to be their new closer. But after a physical on Balfour, the Orioles rescinded their offer of $15 million for two years because of issues with his wrist and knees, though it was first reported that it may have been his throwing shoulder. Balfour was unhappy about this and voiced his opinion to the media. He made a statement to The San Francisco Chronicles’ Susan Slusser who tweeted,
Balfour told me he told (Orioles’ executive vice president Dan) Duquette that he deserves to be treated w/ respect and he was not & #Orioles just lost their best chance at winning.
He is also quoted by Slusser as saying,
I am 100 percent fine. I am the All-Star pitcher I was last season. My shoulder is fine. Everything’s fine. I’m ready to come out there in the ninth inning, do what I do.
Last season with the Athletics, Balfour, 36, acquired 38 saves in 65 games and posted a 2.59 ERA. He also beat Oakland’s record, previously held by Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley, for consecutive saves.
As of today, the Nationals’ roster is at the 40-man limit, so if they were to sign Balfour, someone would have to be traded or designated for assignment. According to a baseball source that could be reliever,Drew Storen. Storen struggled towards the end of the 2012 season for Washington and in the National League Division Series that year. He lost his job as closer in 2013 when Soriano was signed. During the 2013 season, his struggles continued to mount and he was eventually sent back to Triple-A Syracuse but did finish the season with the Nationals.
As the Nationals are in the process of fine tuning their roster before Spring Training and Grant Balfour is still available and looking for a place to play in 2014, this might just be the right match.

Read more on MLB Nation - delivering the latest news, insights, and analysis from around the league.

Overbay Inks Minor League Deal with Brewers

Even quite a few other options available to play first base in 2014, the Milwaukee Brewers signed Lyle Overbay to a minor-league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. The signing was announced on Twitter earlier today by the team’s official account.

This comes as a bit of a shock as just last week they also signed Mark Reynolds to a minor league contract complete with an invite. Not to mention the fact that there will be three other players, Juan FranciscoSean Halton and Hunter Morris, also competing for a spot at the big league level.
Overbay, 36, has played with a number of teams in his career including the Brewers. In his two seasons with Milwaukee, Overbay hit.289 with 35 homers and 87 doubles, setting a club record in his first year with 53 doubles.  He spent last season with the New York Yankees appearing in 142 games and hitting .240 with 14 home runs and 59 RBI.
After first breaking into the majors with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Overbay was traded to the Brewers in 2003 and became their starting first baseman in 2004 and 2005. He was then traded to the Toronto Blue Jays where he spent five seasons after which he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a free agent in 2010. Since then he has played with the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox and the Yankees and has been released three times.

OverBay, who turns 37 this week, has played in 1,446 games over his thirteen-year career hitting .267 with 342 doubles, 147 home runs and 640 RBI.
Read More on MLB Nation - delivering the latest news, insights, and analysis from around the league.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

MLB Expanded Replay and How it Works

Image courtesy of Elsa/Getty Images
Image courtesy of Elsa/Getty Images
Since August 2008 there has been limited instant replay in Major League Baseball. Since then, the idea of expanding the range of plays that instant replay covers has been part of the conversation. After a 2013 season of poor umpiring and missed calls, it was announced Thursday by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig that the use of expanded replay had been approved for the 2014 season by the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), the World Umpires Association and all 30 MLB teams.
How does this new system actually work? What are the changes? How many challenges does a manager get? What types of plays are allowed to be reviewed? Who reviews them? And who makes the final decision?
Expanded Replay will cover 90 percent of all plays in the game, officially 13 different types. Here, as posted on by Paul Hagan, is a quick description of each of the thirteen plays that may be challenged by the club’s manager

Read more about the new expanded replay on Sports Unbiased - your site for all Sports News, Polls and Predictions

Friday, January 17, 2014

MLB Expanded Replay Benefits the Game .... Here's Why!

On August 28, 2008 the use of instant replay was officially instituted into Major League Baseball’s official rules. It’s use was limited to the discretion of the umpires on the field who made the call in the first place. It was restricted to only plays related to whether a home run had actually left the playing field, if there was the possibility of fan interference or if the potential home run was fair or foul.

For the past few years the idea of the use of expanded replay has been thrown around MLB as a possibility. In 2013, which should be known as the year of missed calls and bad umpires, the talk got a bit more serious. Yesterday all 30 MLB clubs, the World Umpires Association and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) voted unanimously to launch the use of expanded replay in 2014.

Read more of my story on Sports Unbiased - your site for all Sports News, Polls and Predictions!