Justin Verlander: Astros nearing two-year, $66 million extension with SP | SI.comThe Astros acquired Verlander during the 2017 season. https://www.si.com/mlb/2019/03/22/justin-verlander-astros-two-year-66-million-contract-extension?xid=socialflow_twitter_si&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sinow&utm_source=twitter.com
Eloy Jimenez contract: White Sox sign prospect for six years | SI.comThe 22-year-old outfielder has not accumulated any service time. https://www.si.com/mlb/2019/03/20/eloy-jimenez-contract-white-sox?xid=socialflow_twitter_si&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=sinow&utm_medium=social
Sources - Angels, Trout near $430M extensionTwo-time AL MVP Mike Trout is close to smashing the record for the largest contract in professional sports history, as he's finalizing a 12-year extension with the Angels worth more than $430 million, sources told ESPN. http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/26306935/sources-angels-trout-reach-430m-extension
MLB rule changes: Why the three-batter minimum is a huge mistake | SI.comMLB decided to litigate strategy by implementing a three-batter minimum for 2020. It's an awful idea, even if the other rule changes are more tolerable. https://www.si.com/mlb/2019/03/14/mlb-rule-changes-three-batter-minimum-home-run-derby?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=sinow&utm_medium=social&xid=socialflow_twitter_si
Fansided: Blue Jays: Max Pentecost leaves Jays camp, weighing multiple options
Shi Davidi with Sportsnet has reported that Max Pentecost left Blue Jays spring training in order to think over his future and his baseball career. This comes as a bit of surprise as Pentecost was most likely going to be the starting catcher for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, where he spent all of the 2017 season.
Drafted 11th overall in the 2014 amateur draft, Max Pentecost was seen by many as a bonafide major league baseball player with lots of potential at the catcher position. While an efficient player with Kennesaw State, Pentecost has been kept off the field as injuries have derailed all but one of his professional seasons since 2014.
Star-Telegram: What Calhoun's reaction to his demotion to minors might have told the Rangers
To say that Willie Calhoun took his demotion to Triple A Nashville hard would be an understatement, but he's hardly the first player in baseball history to believe his team made a poor decision.
Players in Texas Rangers history have done it, general manager Jon Daniels said, just not as publicly as Calhoun did Thursday morning after being told he wouldn't be on the Opening Day roster.
Now, it was his turn to make a choice, the difficult but mature approach of accepting the assignment and continuing to get better by doing his job. Or taking the day off to contemplate, or sulk or whatever, about what had just happened.
DRaysBay: Tampa Bay Rays make 10 more cuts with less than a week until Opening Day
On Friday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Rays announced 10 more spring training cuts as they narrow down their roster to 25 players in time for Opening Day this upcoming Thursday.
The following players were reassigned to minor league camp:
Emilio Bonifacio, Jason Coats, Oliver Drake, Mac James, Andrew Kittredge, Hoby Milner, Casey Sadler, Cole Sulser, Jake Smolinski, and Kean Wong.
This leaves the Rays with a total of 30 players left on their spring roster and not many more decisions to make, regarding who will actually make the team.
The positional players are basically set, as to who will be here on March 28th.
Viva El Birdos: Does Jordan Hicks Need a Changeup?
With only a week until baseball season starts (thank goodness), there's going to be new baseball to analyze soon. It's a good thing, too, because my goodness, I'm tired of variously prognosticating doom and patience for the 2019 Cardinals. This isn't a knock on anyone else, to be clear -- I just mean that this offseason has gone on so long I've written both sides of the argument to fill time. Spring training hasn't been much help, either; yeah, the Cardinals have been terrible in the spring, but it's pretty much meaningless. Maybe there are some underlying issues, but for the most part it's just concern trolling -- Cardinals fans are thin-skinned after a few years in the wilderness, so the easiest way to get clicks is with a liberal soupcon of doom.
Lookout Landing: Mariners Moose Tracks, 3/22/19: Ichiro Suzuki, Blake Snell, and the Washington Huskies.
In case you missed it, Ichiro announced before today's game that he will retire after the game. It was a bittersweet moment for him, the players, and the fans but fitting that he played his last game where it all started.Ichiro, you are a legend. Thank you and congrats on an outstanding career. Next stop, Cooperstown.
Most of the attention was on Ichiro, but Yusei Kikuchi shined in his Mariners debut in his home country.
Fansided: San Francisco Giants: What Should the Giants do with Aramis Garcia?
Garcia has continued to impress this spring. He quickly captured the attention of new San Francisco Giants executive, Farhan Zaidi:
Farhan Zaidi said Giants will have three lefty relievers, which could help a guy like Travis Bergen, the Rule 5 pick. One early impression he's had in camp: Aramis Garcia's power. "That's been a revelation to me," he said.
-- Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) February 19, 2019
Garcia batted .286 with a very round .800 OPS as he debuted for the Giants last September. However, September stats can be misleading. Since he has posted a .
Empire Sports Media: New York Yankees: Brett Gardner Has Some Gas Left In The Tank
While Greg Bird and Luke Voit slug it out for the first base spot and Domingo German, Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Gio Gonzalez vie for two spots in the rotation, Brett Gardner has had a surprisingly successful spring training and here's why we should celebrate.New York Yankees: Brett Gardner is stepping on the gas
First of all, the numbers - Gardner is hitting .423/469/.769 with a 1.238 OPS with 3 homers and 6 RBIs on the spring. Granted, it is spring training, but these numbers are gaudy compared to the numbers Gardner put up in '18 when he hit .
Elite Sports NY: Be careful; the New York Mets may shock the baseball world in 2019
The toughest aspect of the entire situation was accepting the reckless "win-now" model. The very moment the Wilpons pegged young Brodie Van Wagenen as the New York Mets newest front office boss was the split second Queens understood reality.
The Mets were not satisfied with a rebuild. They refused to roll with a quick reset.
In owning two bona fide starting pitchers--Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard--the temptation of a modern general manager to trade one for young positional assets is massive. The 30-year-old NL Cy Young award winner (who'll turn 31 in June) is scheduled to hop on the open market after 2020.
Think Blue: Dodgers Spring Training Notes: Opening Day Roster Taking Shape
For those readers who remain enthused about the Opening Day 25-man roster of the Dodgers, manager Dave Roberts revealed a few more hints as to how his squad will stack up against the Diamondbacks next Thursday.
First and foremost, the team named lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu as the new starter for the opener, replacing ace Clayton Kershaw, who will begin the season on the injured list with problems in his left shoulder. Ryu will be the second Korean pitcher to make an Opening Day start for the Dodgers, as it comes 18 years after Chan Ho Park started the home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 2, 2001.
Royals Review: Royals Rumblings for March 22, 2019
Moore also said the organization didn't have nearly enough starting pitching depth to feel comfortable, though he pointed to Foster Griffin, Scott Blewett and Arnaldo Hernandez (Blewett and Hernandez are on the 40-man roster) as players who the front office has kept close tabs on as starter candidates.
How does Moore balance the overall lack of starting pitching depth with moving starter Ian Kennedy into the bullpen?
"You look at where can this particular pitcher be utilized to be in a dominant role," Moore said. "We felt that when we look at Ian Kennedy, he can really be exceptional in a relief role.
Purple Row: Bryan Shaw aiming for a return to form with the Rockies in 2019
Getting to the bottom of Bryan Shaw's dreadful 2018 season and how he's trying to find himself | The Athletic ($)
Colorado Rockies' pitchers Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee and Chad Bettis all had their share of struggles in 2018. All three worked out at high-tech pitching factory Driveline over the winter in hopes of returning to past forms in which they have had success. In Shaw's case, there had been nothing but consistent success at the Major League level prior to putting on a Rockies' uniform. Two particular problems have been identified with Shaw's 2018: pitch location and "wayward mechanics," writes Nick Groke of The Athletic.
Let's Go Tribe: Both Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis will miss opening day, as roster remains unsettled
Unless the Indians are able to dumpster dive from last-minute DFAs, it is looking like the middle infield on opening day will be Eric Stamets and Max Moroff.
Cleveland 8 - Chicago (NL) 3
Hanley Ramirez complicated things for everyone by hitting two homers, and Corey Kluber struck out seven in 5.2 innings.
Cleveland Indians have hole in middle of infield: Lindor, Kipnis will miss opener - cleveland.com - Terry Francona said Thursday that All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor will open the season on the 10-day injured list and All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis has been shut down for seven to 10 days with a low-grade strain of the right calf.
Redleg Nation: Cincinnati Reds Win, Lose or Draw: Goodyear 2019
What a difference a year makes.
Twelve months ago, I nearly scrapped my annual spring training pilgrimage to Goodyear. As I wrote at the time, I was underwhelmed by the Reds' moves during the 2017-18 offseason and questioned the wisdom of spending a dozen hours driving to and from Arizona to see games that didn't count, especially when the ongoing rebuild had no end in sight.
This year, however, I couldn't wait to return to Arizona to witness the new-look Reds in person. Living in Los Angeles, I've seen Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp play numerous times - I still shudder at the memory of Puig hitting a walk-off home run in extra innings to beat the Reds during his rookie season - but I was still extremely excited at the prospect of seeing the pair dressed in red (and green, as it turned out).
CSN Chicago: Alex Colome unsurprisingly named White Sox closer, though bullpen mysteries abound ahead of Opening Day
Though Rick Renteria isn't fond of naming one, the White Sox have a closer.
Alex Colome, acquired in a trade with the Seattle Mariners this offseason, will be the White Sox designated closer when the season starts next week in Kansas City, Renteria shared with reporters Friday in Arizona.
Reynaldo Lopez will start the White Sox second game of the season. Rick Renteria is willing to anoint Alex Colome as closer, though he again mentioned Kelvin Herrera and Nate Jones in the mix-- James Fegan (@JRFegan) March 22, 2019
As that tweet shows, Renteria is still very much standing by his philosophy of "having a bunch of different guys who can close out games," not a bad philosophy to have should Colome spend any time on the disabled list, struggle in a significant fashion or just get tired and become unavailable at various points throughout the 162-game season.