1. #1
    EmpireMaker
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    The 2017 Major League Baseball Player Chatter, News and Fantasy Thread.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!




    WE ARE SO DAMN LUCKY!!!

    ALL THE BEST!!!

    LET'S CONTINUE TO MAKE THIS THE BEST THREAD ON SBR AND BEYOND...

    LET'S GO!!!


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    $20
    Angelman
    donation 2/15/2016


  2. #2
    EmpireMaker
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    Washington Nationals

    1. Bullpen: With Mark Melancon gone, the Nationals are currently projected to rely on Shawn Kelley (11 career saves) as their closer. Based on his output the past couple seasons, Kelley is worthy of the role, but there are durability concerns with the soon-to-be 33-year-old. Kelley has never thrown more than the 58 frames he tossed last season; more alarmingly, he’s a two-time Tommy John surgery recipient who, per a study done by MLBTR contributor Bradley Woodrum, comes with an elevated risk to eventually need another procedure. Even without Kelley’s injury history, acquiring relief help is in order. Washington got a combined 242 2/3 innings last season from Melancon, Yusmeiro Petit, Felipe Rivero, Matt Belisle, Jonathan Papelbon, Reynaldo Lopez and Marc Rzepczynski. Not a single one of them is a member of the organization anymore. Therefore, it would make sense to add at least one more veteran to the likes of Kelley, Blake Treinen, Sammy Solis and Oliver Perez. The club already tried to re-sign Melancon and reel in Kenley Jansen, but those attempts failed. Even with those two off the board, free agency is hardly bereft of options. In the event Washington decides to stick with in-house choices, it has a couple intriguing youngsters in Koda Glover and Trevor Gott.
    2. Infield Depth: The Nationals’ infield depth took a hit with the loss of Danny Espinosa, and current free agent Stephen Drew could also be in another uniform next season. Either re-upping Drew, which is a possibility, or signing another veteran would give the team more proven insurance than Wilmer Difo (77 career plate appearances) behind second baseman Daniel Murphy, shortstop Trea Turner and third baseman Anthony Rendon. Murphy is capable of playing first base if Ryan Zimmerman endures another poor year or suffers an injury in 2017, but that would leave the team wanting at the keystone.
    3. Rotation Depth: In trading Lopez and Lucas Giolito to the White Sox for outfielder Adam Eaton, the Nats subtracted some of their starting pitching depth. That’s somewhat concerning given that starters Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross are coming off injury-plagued years, which perhaps increases the need to add rotation insurance behind those two, Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez. A.J. Cole and Austin Voth might suffice thereafter, but there’s very little of intrigue beyond them (Double-A prospect Erick Fedde could crack the major leagues sometime next season, granted). The Nationals had an established veteran starter in camp last year in Bronson Arroyo, who ended up missing 2016 because of injuries, and could look for a similar depth option prior to next season.

    New York Mets

    1. Outfield: There are only two corner outfield spots, yet the Mets arguably have four starting-caliber players on hand in Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce. Cespedes isn’t going anywhere, obviously, and Conforto’s place on the roster appears secure. The writing is on the wall, then, for either Granderson or Bruce (very likely the latter) to exit the organization via trade by next season. The Mets have been reluctant to deal Bruce without getting anything useful in return, but they might have to settle for dumping his salary in order to clear their corner outfield logjam and free up spending room. In doing so, New York would still face uncertainty in center field. Juan Lagares has fallen off since a strong 2014 showing that led the Mets to sign him to a four-year extension with $23MM in guarantees. Cespedes and Granderson also have experience in center, but neither is an ideal fit there. The Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen has come up as a trade possibility, but he was a defensive nightmare last season and the Mets aren’t actively looking to acquire him (or any other center fielder), anyway.
    2. Right-Handed Reliever: The Mets are going to lose closer Jeurys Familia to at least a month-long suspension, which will leave the team with Addison Reed and Hansel Robles as its go-to choices to preserve late leads. Mindful of that, general manager Sandy Alderson has checked in on the likes of Wade Davis (before the Royals traded him to the Cubs), Brad Brach (Orioles) and Alex Colome (Rays) on the trade front this winter, but nothing has materialized. White Sox closer David Robertson represents another possible acquisition, though he’d be a costly pickup. There are still appealing names on the open market, where Greg Holland, Joe Blanton, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Neftali Feliz and 2016 Met Fernando Salas are among those without contracts.
    3. Left-Handed Reliever: New York has three lefty relievers on its projected 25-man roster in Josh Edgin, Josh Smoker and Sean Gilmartin, but none had encouraging 2016 campaigns (in fairness to Edgin, he was on the rebound from 2015 Tommy John surgery and finished the year well). Jerry Blevins was terrific last season, but he’s now a free agent and, along with Boone Logan, one of the top two southpaw setup men left in free agency. The Mets have shown interest in each this offseason, but payroll limitations have prevented them from signing either (presumably, they’ve also stood in the way of securing right-handed help).

    Miami Marlins

    1. Starting Pitcher: Forced to forge ahead without the late, great Jose Fernandez, the Marlins have made a couple unexciting additions to their rotation this winter with the signings of Edinson Volquez and Jeff Locke. They now have a full starting five on paper with those two joining Wei-Yin Chen, Adam Conley and Tom Koehler, but it’s not the most confidence-inspiring group. With that in mind, Miami is still in the market for a starter, though it’s seemingly limiting itself to low-cost depth types. Luckily for the Marlins, there are plenty of those left in free agency.
    2. First Base: As long as they’re facing a right-handed pitcher, the Marlins are in fine shape at first base with Justin Bour. But, in an admittedly small sample size of 110 major league plate appearances, the lefty-swinging Bour has struggled mightily against southpaw hurlers (.223/.273/.291, no home runs). Thus, it would behoove the Fish to find a better platoon partner for Bour than the penciled-in Miguel Rojas – although a righty, he has posted a woeful .184/.225/.272 line versus lefties in 122 PAs. Any of Dae-ho Lee, Mark Reynolds, Trevor Plouffe, Adam Rosales or 2016 Marlin Chris Johnson could be realistic targets via free agency. Miami hasn’t closed the door on re-signing Johnson, who – despite a subpar 2016 – has historically held his own against lefties.
    3. Left-Handed Reliever: It’s not a must for the Marlins to find a southpaw reliever, as their most prominent righty options – A.J. Ramos, Brad Ziegler, David Phelps, Kyle Barraclough and Junichi Tazawa – are capable of getting all hitters out. Nevertheless, it would be nice for the club to have more than one left-handed reliever on its 40-man roster. As of now, only Hunter Cervenka is in the fold, though same-sided batters hit a paltry .198/.306/.318 against the then-rookie last season. Signing a free agent like Javier Lopez could make sense; even though the longtime Giant’s coming off a season to forget, he has a lengthy track record of success preventing runs and would like to remain close to his Georgia home.

    Atlanta Braves

    1. Third Base: Their interest in Brian Dozier notwithstanding, the Braves appear to have a respectable offensive platoon lined up at second base with Jace Peterson and Sean Rodriguez. On the other side of the diamond, finding a complement to right-handed-hitting third baseman Adonis Garcia would be beneficial. Garcia has hit an underwhelming .262/.293/.407 in 152 trips to the plate against righties, while reserve Chase d’Arnaud (also a righty) hasn’t done any better (.218/.278/.278 in 279 PAs). Free agent Luis Valbuena is a potential fit, but he’s an upgrade over Garcia in general and would warrant an everyday role. Otherwise, the aforementioned Stephen Drew – a left-handed hitter and Georgia native – could be a reasonable free agent target to pair with Garcia.
    2. Bullpen: As it stands, the Braves’ sole 30-something reliever is closer Jim Johnson, with Arodys Vizcaino and Ian Krol serving as only semi-established options. While it’s quite possible the Braves are comfortable with a mostly young bullpen that will also include Mauricio Cabrera and Jose Ramirez, among others, signing one of the many available veterans on a short-term deal would have a chance to pay dividends over the long haul. For example, the Braves could take a similar approach to last year’s Padres, who bought low on Fernando Rodney, got a few good months out of him and flipped him for a prospect prior to the trade deadline. That’s assuming the Braves aren’t contenders next year, of course.
    3. Catcher: With Tyler Flowers and Anthony Recker in the equation, this arguably isn’t a pressing short-term need for a rebuilding club, but free agent backstop Matt Wieters is nonetheless on Atlanta’s radar. It’s debatable how much of an upgrade (if at all) the ex-Georgia Tech star would be over Flowers, though. Wieters, unlike Flowers, is not a well-regarded pitch framer, and the longtime Oriole is coming off one of his worst offensive seasons. If Atlanta doesn’t land the switch-hitting Wieters, it’ll likely be content to roll with Flowers and Recker next season.

    Philadelphia Phillies

    1. Corner Outfield: The Phillies’ most proven corner outfield bat belongs to Howie Kendrick, who has played 1,100 games at second base compared to just 114 in left field and is coming off a below-average offensive year. While the rebuilding club could simply utilize Kendrick and younger players like Roman Quinn, Aaron Altherr and Tyler Goeddel (the latter two were dreadful in 2016) next season, dipping into free agency for another outfielder remains a possibility. If general manager Matt Klentak does sign anyone, odds are it’ll be a left-handed hitter. Of the previously mentioned four, only the switch-hitting Quinn is capable of batting from the left side.
    2. Bullpen: Klentak has revealed he’s looking for more relief help, though he has already been busy on that front throughout the offseason. Philadelphia has acquired three stopgaps in Joaquin Benoit, Pat Neshek and Sean Burnett (on a minor league deal), but its projected major league bullpen could stand to make improvements beyond Benoit, Neshek, Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez.
    3. Left-Handed Starter: The Phillies’ starting five at the moment features nothing but right-handers, and Adam Morgan is their only Triple-A starter who’s a southpaw. Perhaps it would be logical to sign a swingman like Travis Wood, who could initially work out of the bullpen (joining fellow lefty Joely Rodriguez) and then potentially factor into the rotation if someone suffers an injury or underperforms.
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    $20
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  3. #3
    El Nino
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    The thread lives on!

  4. #4
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    Happy New Year!!
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    175 pts

    3-QUESTION
    SBR TRIVIA WINNER 03/20/2017

    250pts

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    250pts

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    672pts

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  5. #5
    Chi_archie
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    Here's to no key MLB fantasy players dying in mid season 2017!

  6. #6
    EmpireMaker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_archie View Post
    Here's to no key MLB fantasy players dying in mid season 2017!
    Amen to that, Jose Fernandez dying in that boat crash was so tragic, the kid was so talented and had such a love for the game.
    80pts

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    175pts

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    250pts

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    $20
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    donation 2/15/2016


  7. #7
    Andy117
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    The best thread on SBR, good luck in 2017!

  8. #8
    EmpireMaker
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    With a variety of top closers now off the market, teams hunting for relievers this January can choose from a number of somewhat less expensive targets. One of the best of those is righty Neftali Feliz, who’s available after a solid season with the Pirates.
    Pros/Strengths
    At just 28, Feliz is young and has a solid recent performance record, a rare combination of traits on the free agent market. Last season, Feliz significantly boosted his status after joining Pittsburgh’s pitching factory, posting a 3.52 ERA, 10.2 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9, all solid numbers worthy of late-inning work. He also threw harder than he had in years, with his 96.1 MPH average fastball velocity ranking as his best since 2011, the year before he moved into the Rangers’ rotation and then had an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. And that very high MPH figure might actually understate Feliz’s future potential to throw gas, since his velocity increased throughout last season, averaging closer to 98 MPH by year’s end.
    Also, while it’s been a long time since Feliz pitched a full season as a closer, he has 99 career saves and could conceivably be a closing option for a rebuilding team that has an opportunity available. The right situation could be a boon for both Feliz and for his new team. Feliz could later market himself as a closer and is certainly young enough and talented enough to get another multi-year deal after his next contract is over. And his new team could get a short-term option at closer and the opportunity to deal him before their contract with him expires.
    Cons/Weaknesses
    Feliz has a lengthy medical history that includes not only Tommy John surgery in 2012, but also arm soreness in 2014 and an abscess in his side in 2015. He also missed time late in the 2016 season to arm discomfort. He failed to reestablish his velocity for several years after Tommy John and had limited success in 2014 and 2015, resulting in his being designated for assignment by the Rangers and non-tendered by the Tigers.
    Of course, it’s normal for a player to struggle somewhat as he attempts to return from Tommy John surgery. But even in 2016, when Feliz appeared to be fully healthy until September, there were a few speed bumps. Feliz allowed his fair share of fly balls, resulting in ten home runs allowed over 53 2/3 innings. That ten-homer total reflected a very high HR/FB% of 19.2%, and that’s likely to come down in 2017. But Feliz’s home run tendencies (probably partially a result of his heavy dependence on his four-seam fastball, as well as his unspectacular command) might mean he’s not a great fit in a homer-friendly ballpark — although, of course, he did just fine for several seasons in homer-happy Arlington.
    Background
    Feliz signed with the Braves out of Azua, Dominican Republic in 2005, then headed to the Rangers in 2007 in the Mark Teixeira deal. He won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2010. His wife, Karina, gave birth to a daughter, Nerali, in 2010. His second child, Neftali Jr., was born in 2015.
    Market
    Feliz’s market has been somewhat quiet thus far, although that isn’t necessarily a surprise — through the first two weeks of December, the relief market revolved around elite closers like Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon and Kenley Jansen. It’s been less than three weeks since Jansen (the last of that group remaining on the market) came to terms, and the holiday season likely slowed activity during some of that time. It emerged last month that the Marlins viewed Feliz as something of a backup plan if they couldn’t land Jansen; they ultimately signed a very different type of reliever, Brad Ziegler, instead, but the way they saw Feliz might say something about the way he’s valued throughout the industry. A month ago, Feliz was also connected to the Nationals, a match that still makes a degree of sense. Any number of other teams could also enter the fray given the right price, since Feliz could conceivably be used in a variety of roles. The Pirates’ signing of Daniel Hudson, as well as the significant commitment Feliz might require, make a return to Pittsburgh unlikely.
    Expected contract
    MLBTR predicts Feliz’s status as one of the better setup men available this winter will help the BTI Sports client land a three-year, $18MM deal.
    80pts

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    $20
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    donation 2/15/2016


  9. #9
    Cross
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    Awesome, keep up the good work on here in 2017.
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  10. #10
    koz-man
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    Get Ready......To Play Ball!!!!!

  11. #11
    Chi_archie
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    How man days until pitchers and catchers report?

    need a tracker

  12. #12
    El Nino
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_archie View Post
    How man days until pitchers and catchers report?

    need a tracker
    41 days, pal.

    http://www.springtrainingcountdown.com/

  13. #13
    BigSpoon
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Nino View Post
    Not that long away, MLB will be back in no time before we know it.
    175 pts

    3-QUESTION
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    175 pts

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  14. #14
    Chi_archie
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    been quiet over the holidays on the free agent front

  15. #15
    mr. leisure
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    Spring training will be here in no time .

  16. #16
    EmpireMaker
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    Rangers

    1. First Baseman/DH: The Rangers make obvious sense for a first base/DH addition after watching Mitch Moreland and Carlos Beltran depart via free agency. Texas can utilize Joey Gallo and/or Jurickson Profar in those roles, but neither has hit to expectations in the majors. The club has been tied frequently to Mike Napoli, but there are other options on the open market as well. Relatedly, the Rangers will need to decide what to do with both Gallo and Profar in the near term, as both appear to have uncertain futures in Texas.
    2. Starting Pitcher: Though the Rangers already slotted in Andrew Cashner after declining a club option over Derek Holland, the team also lost Colby Lewis from last year’s staff. He is among the veterans still available in free agency, presumably on short-term arrangements, and Texas could certainly stand to bolster the back of its rotation. At present. A.J. Griffin seems likely to take the fifth slot, though a few upper-level youngsters could also factor in. Texas would do well at least to enhance the overall depth here, at a minimum.
    3. Sorting out the bullpen: Texas has a variety of interesting arms available to take closing duties, with last year’s ninth-inning man Sam Dyson returning. But the club has been rumored to be dangling some of its righty arms in trade, and could conceivably deal from what is something of a surplus to improve elsewhere (or even just to bolster its prospect pool).

    Mariners

    1. Starter: Seattle’s first three rotation spots are set. Behind that group, though, the club is currently set to sort through Ariel Miranda, Nathan Karns, Chris Heston, Rob Whalen, Brad Mills, and Christian Bergman in camp. Adding another established arm isn’t perhaps an outright necessity, but it would go a long way to firming up the roster.
    2. First Base/Corner Outfield mix: Currently, the M’s project to utilize some sort of platoon involving youngster Dan Vogelbach (a lefty hitter) and Danny Valencia (a righty). But the latter could also factor into the outfield mix while also providing a reserve at third. Meanwhile, the corner outfield situation includes a whole variety of options, including lefty Seth Smith, who is said to be on the trade block. Adding a righty slugger from the still-stocked free-agent market while thinning the corner outfield herd could make good sense for Seattle.
    3. Utility Infielder: With Jean Segura locked in at shortstop and the durable Robinson Cano set to return at second, there’s not a huge need in the middle infield. But projected reserve Shawn O’Malley has never hit much in the upper minors or in his brief MLB time, so at least adding some camp competition would be worthwhile.

    Astros

    1. Left-handed Reliever: Entering the winter, Houston was said to be looking for a southpaw to pair with Tony Sipp, who disappointed after returning via free agency last winter. Jerry Blevins, Boone Logan, J.P. Howell, and Travis Wood (who’d also represent some rotation depth) are among the open-market options. Houston could also continue exploring the trade market; the club is said to have checked in on Justin Wilson of the Tigers.
    2. Starter: Houston has a five-man rotation mix in place after already adding Charlie Morton early in the offseason, and possesses some quality young arms as well, but the team could certainly stand to improve its starting staff as a way of rounding out an aggressive winter. The club has been tied to pitchers such as Jose Quintana, Danny Duffy, and Yordano Ventura, while the free-agent market still includes Jason Hammel and a few bounceback options. Even if a larger strike doesn’t prove achievable, adding a minor-league free agent could make sense.
    3. Another bat? There are limits to the number of true needs for some organizations, and that’s particularly true of Houston, which has accounted for most of its roster holes and touts plenty of versatility on its roster. But the club has looked for ways to add yet more talent in a variety of ways, and reportedly stayed involved on Edwin Encarnacion right up to his eventual signing. It would rate as a surprise at this point, but the ’Stros could conceivably add a power bat at first base (bumping Yulieski Gurriel into the corner outfield mix) or acquire a center fielder (shifting George Springer back to a corner spot) if an opportunity arises.

    Angels

    1. Closer: While Los Angeles has options for the ninth inning — Huston Street could re-take the reins if he can return to form, Cam Bedrosian has the arm for the job, and Andrew Bailey is back after spending time as the closer late last year — that doesn’t mean the organization should rest on its laurels. Several experienced late-inning arms remain available in free agency, potentially creating a solid value opportunity and adding what could be an open camp competition for the closer’s job.
    2. Left-handed Reliever: Jose Alvarez has turned in two solid campaigns as a lefty setup man, but he’s hardly an overwhelming pitcher. Adding another lefty — some possible options are noted above — might provide a nice boost to the late-inning mix while allowing the club to use Alvarez for matchups earlier in a game.
    3. Rotation Depth: Signing Jesse Chavez likely rounds out the Halos’ staff, but that doesn’t mean there’s adequate depth. That’s especially true given the health questions surrounding Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, and Matt Shoemaker. While pitchers like Alex Meyer, Nate Smith, Chris Jones and perhaps Manny Banuelos and John Lamb provide upper-level depth, it wouldn’t hurt to plug in a veteran on a minor-league deal (or perhaps even aim higher, if a good value can be found on a pitcher such as Hammel).

    Athletics

    1. Center Fielder: The A’s currently project to utilize some combination of Brett Eibner and Jake Smolinski up the middle, making for one of the least promising center-field situations in baseball. At a minimum, adding a veteran, left-handed hitter (such as Michael Bourn) would allow the team to set up a platoon. There are also some bounceback players on the open market (including Austin Jackson and Desmond Jennings), and the A’s could still pursue a more impactful asset via trade.
    2. First Base: It came as something of a surprise when Oakland reached agreement on an arb deal with Yonder Alonso, who had seemed a non-tender candidate. But the club has still looked to improve at first, most notably chasing Encarnacion, despite also possessing some other internal possibilities. Stephen Vogt is one, though he could serve as the DH and still appear at times behind the dish; Mark Canha is back as a righty bat; and Ryon Healy may profile as a first bagger if he can’t handle the hot corner defensively. With so many sluggers still floating around in free agency, Oakland could add some thump while deepening its overall roster. As an alternative, the A’s could add a third baseman (Luis Valbuena and Trevor Plouffe remain available) while bumping Healy into the first base/DH mix.
    3. Veteran Starter: While the A’s are said to be high on their rather expansive mix of young starters, the current staff is short on MLB experience outside of staff ace Sonny Gray, who will be looking to return to form in 2017. There’s not a need, strictly speaking, for innings, but Oakland has had success in the past with short-term starters, and a targeted strike could pay dividends — by improving the team’s near-term outlook, but also by adding depth to account for a hypothetical mid-season trade of Gray and reducing the need to press less-established arms into major-league service.
    80pts

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    $20
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    donation 2/15/2016


  17. #17
    Cross
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    That angels staff will not survive, going to get ugly.
    120pts

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  18. #18
    El Nino
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    A's CF sounds like a couple of never fukkin' heard of ya's

  19. #19
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Nino View Post
    A's CF sounds like a couple of never fukkin' heard of ya's
    so is the Padres entire roster
    600pts

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    175 pts

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    672pts

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    $20
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  20. #20
    BigSpoon
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmpireMaker View Post
    Amen to that, Jose Fernandez dying in that boat crash was so tragic, the kid was so talented and had such a love for the game.
    So depressing to look at the Marlins starting rotation without Fernandez. Such a devastating blow to the franchise.
    175 pts

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  21. #21
    koz-man
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    Report: Red Sox, Yankees may play each other in London in 2018

    American League East rivals Boston and New York could be playing each other a bit farther east than usual.The two longtime rivals could play a series in London as soon as 2018 at former 2012 Olympics venue London Stadium, according to the Boston Herald.

    "The Yankees have been at the forefront of suggesting that we bring the great game of baseball to London," Yankees team president Randy Levine said. "There have been some meaningful attempts to do so, and we are hopeful and confident that we can play there soon. Playing the Red Sox in London would be a unique and special event."
    The Red Sox also are interested in taking their rivalry to England, though they say there are no firm plans as of yet.

    "There's nothing to the story at this point," Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said. "However, if MLB decides that we are a good fit for it down the road, the team would love to do it."

    While no official decision has been announced, the new collective bargaining agreement has opened the door for games to be played outside of North America.
    "We made international play a part of our recent new labor agreement with the MLBPA," MLB spokesman Michael Teevan told ESPN's Andrew Marchand. "London specifically was covered for some time during the agreement, among other locations."
    In October, long before the league and players' union agreed to their new collective bargaining agreement, commissioner Rob Manfred said he thought the sport could be "popular in London."

    "I want to be really, really optimistic about it. I think it's an important thing for us to do. I think it's feasible in terms of facility. That's always question one, do you have someplace to play?" Manfred said. "I think we would be popular in London. I think we could sell the games. I think we could make money with the undertaking. So it's something that we'll continue to discuss with the players' association."
    The Yankees lead the all-time series between the two clubs 628-440.

  22. #22
    EmpireMaker
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    8:52pm: ESPN’s Buster Olney provides further detail on Davis’ incentives (Twitter link). He’ll earn $100K for reaching 500 plate appearances, $150K for reaching 550 plate appearances and $200K for reaching 600 plate appearances.
    8:40pm: After spending much of the offseason looking for a center fielder, the A’s announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed free-agent outfielder Rajai Davis to a one-year deal that will reportedly guarantee him $6MM. The 36-year-old Legacy Agency client is also said to be able to earn up to $450K worth of performance bonuses in the new contract, which will bring him back to Oakland for a second stint with the A’s. Davis previously played in Oakland from 2008-10.
    [Related: Updated Oakland Athletics Depth Chart and Athletics Payroll Information]

    Davis will give president of baseball operations Billy Beane and manager Bob Melvin a much-needed option in center field, although he could also shift over to left field in the event that Oakland adds an additional center-field-capable outfielder. He’ll join an outfield mix that currently includes Khris Davis, Matt Joyce, Brett Eibner and Jake Smolinski. Presumably, Davis will be in line for regular work in the outfield, with Khris Davis and Joyce regularly finding their names penciled into the lineup (though Khris may see frequent time at designated hitter, depending on how the rest of Oakland’s offseason shakes out).
    With this new deal, Davis will receive a slight raise from last year’s $5.25MM salary with the Indians, and he’s a good bet to make good on that modest investment based on his glovework and baserunning alone. Davis posted a fairly lackluster .249/.306/.388 batting line in 2016, though he did tally the second-most plate appearances of his career and belt a career-best 12 homers (not including his dramatic home run against Aroldis Chapman in Game 7 of the World Series, which cemented Davis in Cleveland sports lore and will forever live on as an iconic Indians moment).
    Davis’ batting line was still decidedly worse than the league average, but he managed to add value in the outfield (depending on your preferred defensive metric) and was among baseball’s best baserunners. Per Fangraphs, the only player in baseball who provided more value on the bases than Davis was Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton. Indeed, Davis swiped an AL-best 43 bases and also proved adept at taking extra bases in first-to-third situations, second-to-home situations and other baserunning scenarios.
    Strong baserunning has been a hallmark of Davis’ career, as he’s averaged 39 steals per season and 52 per 162 games played since cementing himself as a semi-regular player with the 2009 A’s. While he isn’t a force at the plate, Davis does have a very strong track record against opposite-handed pitching, as he’s hit lefties at a .288/.343/.437 clip over parts of 11 Major League seasons.
    MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently ran down the Athletics’ top three remaining needs of the offseason, and adding a center fielder was tops among those yet-unresolved priorities. From a payroll vantage point, Davis will send Oakland’s projected total to about $70.3MM, as MLBTR’s Jason Martinez outlines in the above-linked Roster Resource payroll projection. Oakland was reportedly willing to offer a two-year, $50MM pact to Edwin Encarnacion and is still about $16MM shy of their payroll from Opening Day 2016 even after adding Davis to the fold, so the team should have the spending capacity to add help at first base and/or in the rotation — both of which were also on Jeff’s list of remaining needs for Beane and GM David Forst.
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  23. #23
    Chi_archie
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    Never thought Rajai Davis would have this long of a career

  24. #24
    Otters27
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    Anyone know if Dansby Swanson will be up in the Majors this year. Good fielder. Not sure about his batting

  25. #25
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSpoon View Post
    So depressing to look at the Marlins starting rotation without Fernandez. Such a devastating blow to the franchise.
    tragic
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otters27 View Post
    Anyone know if Dansby Swanson will be up in the Majors this year. Good fielder. Not sure about his batting
    I think he's going to be their everyday starting SS to start the season. He did pretty good in his 38 games in 2016.
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  27. #27
    koz-man
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmpireMaker View Post
    Per Fangraphs, the only player in baseball who provided more value on the bases than Davis was Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton. Indeed, Davis swiped an AL-best 43 bases and also proved adept at taking extra bases in first-to-third situations, second-to-home situations and other baserunning scenarios.
    Nice. to finally read something positive about the Reds!!!!

  28. #28
    El Nino
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otters27 View Post
    Anyone know if Dansby Swanson will be up in the Majors this year. Good fielder. Not sure about his batting
    His batting stalled out a bit jumping up in the minors. Not sure if he has the average or ops to stay in the bigs.

  29. #29
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    The Reds have officially struck a one-year deal with reliever Drew Storen, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon first reported (via Twitter), making him the first player the organization has signed to a major league deal this winter. It’s a one-year, $3MM major-league deal for the veteran righty, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (Twitter links).

    Storen, a client of CAA Sports, can earn an additional $1.5MM via incentives. He’ll receive $50K apiece upon appearing in 15, 20, and 25 games, plus another $100K upon reaching 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 games finished. He’ll also receive a $500K assignment bonus in the event he’s traded.
    As Steve Adams and I recently discussed, Cincinnati seemed primed to add an experienced, late-inning arm to its bullpen mix. Storen, in particular, appeared to be an interesting fit given his relative youth and high-quality performance in the not-so-distant past.
    Now that he’s slotted into the Reds’ late-inning mix, Storen figures to have a strong shot at returning to the closer’s role he once held with the Nationals. For now, Jason Martinez of MLBTR and Roster Resource is penciling him into a setup spot behind Raisel Iglesias.
    [RELATED: Updated Reds Depth Chart]
    Utilizing the experienced Storen in the ninth would have some side benefits, though. He’d keep Iglesias and fellow youngster Michael Lorenzen free for more flexible, multi-inning stints, and by being the one to accumulate saves would tamp down their future arbitration earnings. Either way, he may end up turning into a summer trade chip, depending upon how things go both for Storen and his new team.
    Of course, there’s a reason that the 29-year-old was available on just a one-year commitment. His 2016 season represented a significant departure from his prior years’ work, as Storen scuffled to a 5.23 ERA over 51 2/3 frames split between the Blue Jays and Mariners. Declining fastball velocity (92.3 mph average, down from 94.1 mph in 2015) and elevated home-run tallies (six in 33 1/3 innings with the Jays) were just two of the major problems that arose.
    Storen ended up being designated for assignment by Toronto and ultimately swapped in a change-of-scenery deal for Joaquin Benoit. He did pick up the pace upon the move to Seattle, allowing seven earned runs on just 13 hits, three walks, and one home run over 18 1/3 innings. But Storen ultimately hit the DL with shoulder inflammation, adding to the concern about his near-term outlook.
    While there’s obviously some cause for concern, Cinci isn’t taking much of a gamble here and has much to gain. Storen racked up a career-best 11.0 K/9 in 2015, and metrics suggested he was unlucky to end that year with a 3.44 ERA. In the season prior, he ran up a 1.12 ERA by allowing just 44 hits and 11 walks over his 55 strong innings. Despite his loss of velocity in his most recent campaign, he did manage to maintain his swinging-strike rate, which provides some additional cause for optimism. If he can return to anything approaching his prior form, Storen would represent a screaming value for a Reds organization that trotted out a historically bad bullpen in 2016.
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  30. #30
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    Reds finally make a move

  31. #31
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSpoon View Post
    I think he's going to be their everyday starting SS to start the season. He did pretty good in his 38 games in 2016.
    He should be or it will be a major disappointment.
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  32. #32
    BigSpoon
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    Can't believe how bad Storen was for his brief stint in Toronto. He was supposed to be a major piece of the bullpen supposedly. Worst contract year performance in recent memory.
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  33. #33
    El Nino
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    Twins are trying to get more out of The Doyers for Dozier.

  34. #34
    koz-man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_archie View Post
    Reds finally make a move
    The Reds love to take chances with players like this....sometimes It works out, But most Don't!!!!

  35. #35
    EmpireMaker
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    Between now and Opening Day, teams will continue to look for ways to improve, plugging a hole here and supplementing their depth there. But this Hot Stove season already has seen plenty of transactions that should make a significant impact.
    Which of these acquisitions represent the biggest upgrades? That is a complicated question, but projection systems, in this case Steamer, help provide an answer by forecasting the 2017 wins above replacement (WAR)* for every player .


    • Hot Stove Tracker
    Here are the 10 players acquired so far this offseason via free agency or trade whose 2017 projections provide the biggest increase in value over the players they are replacing.
    10. Edwin Encarnacion, DH/1B, Indians
    Projected 2017 WAR: 2.2
    Replacing Mike Napoli: 1.0 in '16
    Upgrade: +1.2

    In Encarnacion, the defending American League-champion Indians are getting a player who is similar to Napoli, but a year younger and with a more impressive recent track record. If Encarnacion matches his 2016 production (.263/.357/.529, 134 weighted runs created-plus) he will bring a much more significant boost, but he is projected to slide a bit offensively in his age-34 season (123 wRC+).
    Encarnacion's impact for Tribe Ed Coleman discusses Edwin Encarnacion's potential impact in Cleveland with Harold Reynolds and Robert Flores on MLBN Hot Stove
    9. Ian Desmond, 1B, Rockies
    Projected 2017 WAR: 1.5
    Replacing Mark Reynolds: 0.1 in '16
    Upgrade: +1.4

    Signing Desmond to a five-year, $70 million contract to man first base, a position he has never played, may have been an unorthodox move for Colorado. But the club did need help at the position after Reynolds surprisingly hit for average but not only moderate power last year, resulting in a slightly below league average 99 wRC+. Desmond bounced back with the bat after a rough '15, although it remains to be seen how he will handle his second position switch in as many seasons.
    8. Dexter Fowler, CF, Cardinals
    Projected 2017 WAR: 2.1
    Replacing Matt Holliday: 0.7 in '16
    Upgrade: +1.4

    By snatching Fowler away from the division-rival Cubs, the Cardinals didn't replace Holliday directly, but the signing allows them to shift Randal Grichuk from center field to left. That should improve the club's overall outfield defense considerably, while Fowler brings his patient approach to the top of the lineup. The switch-hitter is projected to notch a .359 OBP, in line with his career mark of .366.
    Langosch on Fowler's defense MLB.com Cardinals reporter Jenifer Langosch talks about how the signing of Dexter Fowler improves the Cardinals' outfield defense
    7. Taijuan Walker, SP, D-backs
    Projected 2017 WAR: 2.2
    Replacing Patrick Corbin: 0.5 in '16
    Upgrade: +1.7

    It's not clear at this point exactly how the Arizona starting rotation will shake out, but last year's group combined for only 8.0 WAR, ranking 21st in the Majors. Corbin wasn't the only D-backs starter to struggle, but he had a 5.58 ERA before shifting to the bullpen in August. In Seattle, Walker also endured a disappointing season, with a 4.22 ERA and 4.99 FIP in 25 starts. However, the former top prospect is only heading into his age-24 season, and projects to make strides in 2017.
    6. Jaime Garcia, SP, Braves
    Projected 2017 WAR: 2.3
    Replacing Matt Wisler: 0.5 in '16
    Upgrade: +1.8

    Atlanta sought to bolster its rotation with veterans this offseason, not only acquiring Garcia in a trade with the Cardinals but also signing a pair of over-40 right-handers in Bartolo Colon (projected 2.2 WAR) and R.A. Dickey (1.8). Those three should provide some solid innings and buy time for the likes of Wisler and Aaron Blair to develop. Garcia is the riskiest bet of the Braves' new arms, having just completed his first season with more than 130 innings since 2011. But the lefty also is only 30, with a career ERA of 3.57.
    5. Howie Kendrick, LF, Phillies
    Projected 2017 WAR: 1.0
    Replacing Cody Asche/Tyler Goeddel: -1.0 (average) in '16
    Upgrade: +2.0

    The Phillies wanted a solid veteran bat and got one in Kendrick, a longtime second baseman who saw the bulk of his playing time in left for the Dodgers last year. The 33-year-old will try to rebound from his lowest offensive output (91 wRC+) since he was a rookie in 2006. He should help Philly, which started nine different players in left -- Asche and Goeddel combined for 103 starts -- and got a collective 60 wRC+ and -3.6 WAR.
    Klentak on Kendrick to Phils Phillies general manager Matt Klentak discusses what he thinks Howie Kendrick will bring to the table to help the team in 2017
    4. Josh Reddick, RF, Astros
    Projected 2017 WAR: 2.6
    Replacing Jake Marisnick: -0.1 in '16
    Upgrade: +2.7

    Houston also has added Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran to its lineup, but its biggest improvement came in signing Reddick to a four-year deal. While the left-handed batter figures to see most of his time in right, George Springer is expected to handle the move to center, displacing the slick-fielding Marisnick, who hit .209/.257/.331 in 2016. Reddick struggled after a trade to the Dodgers last summer but still has averaged 2.8 WAR per season since '12 and brings a formidable bat against right-handed pitching.
    3. Jean Segura, SS, Mariners
    Projected 2017 WAR: 2.2
    Replacing Ketel Marte: -0.7 in '16
    Upgrade: +2.9

    Seattle paid a hefty price for Segura and two others when it sent Walker and the 23-year-old Marte to Arizona. On the other hand, Marte's 66 wRC+ was fifth-lowest among all players who received 450-plus plate appearances in 2016. Meanwhile, Segura experienced a profound resurgence in his age-26 campaign, hitting .319/.368/.499 with 20 homers, 33 steals and 5.0 WAR. He will have to acclimate back to short, however, after starting only 17 games there while spending most of his time at second.
    2. Adam Eaton, CF, Nationals
    Projected 2017 WAR: 2.5
    Replacing Ben Revere: -1.2 in '16
    Upgrade: +3.7

    Washington did actually have one highly productive center fielder last year in Trea Turner, but he only finished third in starts at the position to Revere and Michael Taylor. With Turner now returning to his natural position of shortstop, Eaton takes over in center. The Nationals stunned many by giving up three highly regarded pitching prospects for Eaton, who is signed to a team-friendly extension that could run through 2021. As far as '17 goes, the Nats will hope Eaton can stick closer to his three-year average WAR (4.3) than his projection indicates as he returns to center.
    Eaton on playing center field Adam Eaton talks about playing center field again following his trade to the Nationals
    1. Chris Sale, SP, Red Sox
    Projected 2017 WAR: 4.7
    Replacing Clay Buchholz: 0.5 in '16
    Upgrade: +4.2

    Boston made a splash at the Winter Meetings by landing Sale from the White Sox, and the left-hander ranks fifth among pitchers in the projections after generating at least 4.7 WAR in all five seasons as a big league starter. His arrival pushed out Buchholz, who was traded to the Phillies after a rollercoaster season in which he lost his rotation spot multiple times but finished strong, dropping his ERA to 4.78.
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