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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Ichiro Suzuki Is In Good Shape For Final Season


One of baseball's all time great players is going to take one more crack at playing on a major league roster after throwing down one of the most extraordinary MLB careers. The all-time single season hits leader, Ichiro Suzuki, 45, may just have a few tricks left up his sleeve.

MLB.com reports:
While Mariners fans and baseball followers across the globe ponder whether the ageless Ichiro Suzuki can and will play beyond Seattle's two-game Opening Series in Tokyo next month, the man himself prefers not to let his mind venture that far down the road. Ichiro has reached a point where few ballplayers ave dared to dream, competing for a roster spot at age 45 for the franchise that gave him his first shot in the Major Leagues in 2001. But there's a reason he checked in after Mariners physicals this weekend with the lowest body fat of any player in camp at 7 percent. The laser focus that has driven Ichiro throughout his career now keeps him zeroed in on getting to Japan for those two games against the A's on March 20-21, an opportunity general manager Jerry Dipoto has promised, as long as he proves he's healthy this spring.

Beyond that?

"I think a 45-year-old baseball player really houldn't be thinking about the future," Ichiro said through long-time interpreter Allen Turner after the Mariners' first full-squad workout of the spring on Saturday. "It's about today. I'm very satisfied with today and how it went. I'm just going to take it day by day."
Last year, fans will recall the official announcement was made about the return of the legend:
The Mariners made it official: Ichiro is coming back to Seattle.
Two days after USA Today's Bob Nightengale broke the news that the M's were close to a one-year reunion with the 44-year-old outfielder, the club announced Ichiro's signing.
"The addition of Ichiro gives our team another versatile and athletic outfielder," Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. "His incredible work ethic, preparation and focus will enhance our environment in many ways.
"He's truly one of the great players in the history of the game and his unquestionable presence is a valuable addition, both on the field and in the clubhouse," Dipoto continued. "We're very glad to bring him back home."
Terms of the contract were not immediately available, but it has been widely reported as a one-year deal. A re-introductory press conference has been scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Pacific at the Mariners' spring training home in Peoria, Arizona.





Friday, February 15, 2019

Pitcher Luis Severino Signs 4 Year Extension With The Yankees


The Bronx Bombers continue to make additional deals concerning their future arms by securing their young star hurler to a lucrative deal that will keep him with the Yanks.
Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports:
The Yankees believe that Luis Severino will continue to stand tall among the sport's young aces for years to come, and they rewarded that promise by announcing a four-year contract extension with the right-hander on Friday, avoiding salary arbitration. The deal includes a club option for the 2023 season.
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand confirmed that Severino is guaranteed $40 million in the deal, and he will make $52.25 million if the option is exercised.
"He's a great pitcher and I hope he's here for a long time," said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. "That would be my hope. I'm excited to get him back in camp, hopefully tomorrow. I missed seeing him out here today."
Severino and the Yankees had been $850,000 apart with their exchange of arbitration figures, with the pitcher filing at $5.25 million. The club countered at $4.4 million, and a hearing had been scheduled for Friday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
A two-time All-Star, Severino earned $604,975 last season, when he was 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 32 starts. He will receive a $2 million signing bonus, $4 million in 2019, $10 million in '20, $10.25 million in '21 and $11 million in '22.
The pact came one day after the Phillies formally announced a four-year, $45 million extension with right-hander Aaron Nola. Like Severino, Nola could have gambled by going to arbitration in future seasons but opted for the security of a guaranteed contract.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Pitcher CC Sabathia Is Going To Retire After 2019 Season



The Bleacher report delivered the news today:

Left-handed pitcher CC Sabathia is calling it a major league career after 19 seasons.

According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Sabathia will officially retire following the 2019 season. He is expected to make the announcement at a press conference Saturday.

The 38-year-old signed a one-year deal in November to remain with the Yankees and will hope to add to his 246 career wins. He also has 2,986 strikeouts to go with a 3.70 ERA and 1.25 WHIP during his time in the majors.

The California native started his career with the Cleveland Indians in 2001 before he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008. He helped lead the Brewers that year to the National League Wild Card—their first playoff appearance since the 1982 season when they were still in the American League—and signed with the New York Yankees in 2009.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Phillies Sign Pitcher Aaron Nola To A 4 Year Extension




Yahoo sports reports:

The Philadelphia Phillies have signed their young ace starting pitcher Aaron Nola to a four-year, $45 million extension.

Nola, 25, had a breakout year on the bump for the Phillies in 2018. He pitched to a 2.37 ERA, a career-best in four major league seasons, over 212.1 innings, a career high. He placed third in the National League Cy Young voting in 2018, behind Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer.
The deal also includes a club option for a fifth year that would take him through his age 30 season.
Looking at the numbers, it’s a very team friendly deal. Especially when you compare it to the six-year, $140 million deal Patrick Corbin signed with the Washington Nationals. Corbin is four years older than Nola, has a spottier track record, and a lower ceiling than Nola. Nola’s worth more than the Phillies are giving him in the first few years of his deal, but the uncertainty of arbitration means his salaries in those years are wildly unpredictable. This extension gives Nola security, and allows him to avoid arbitration.
Aside from wanting to lock down their young ace, there was no urgent reason for the Phillies and Nola to ink this extension. Nola had three years of arbitration left before he would have been a free agent at the conclusion of the 2021 season. But this deal gives the Phillies fewer things to worry about in the coming years. They know exactly what they’re paying Nola instead of heading to arbitration for the next few years, and they don’t have to worry about him hitting free agency until 2023 if they choose.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

R.B.I. Baseball 19 To Hit Gaming Consoles On March 5th



MLB.com reports:

Get ready to take the field early when R.B.I. Baseball 19 is released on March 5.
R.B.I. 19 can be now pre-ordered for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch online now. Fans can also catch a glimpse of what the game will look like in an intro video accompanying Tuesday's release date announcement.
This year's R.B.I. cover athlete is the Astros' Alex Bregman. The 24-year-old is coming off a breakout season in which he hit .286 with 31 home runs and 103 RBIs for the American League West champions. Bregman was revealed to be on the R.B.I. 19 cover in January at Astros FanFest, but he'd known since the middle of last season.
"I was pumped up," Bregman said. "My agent called me and said, 'You're going to be on the cover of R.B.I. Baseball.' I was like, 'Are you serious?' It's unbelievable. Dream come true. I was yelling into the phone. I was super excited."
For the Canadian edition of R.B.I. 19, the Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr. will be on the cover.
"It was extremely exciting. I'm a fan of video games, so when I found out, I was really happy," Gurriel said through a club translator when he was announced as the Canadian cover athlete at Blue Jays Winter Fest. "It's one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to me."



Monday, February 11, 2019

Hunter Pence Agrees To Minor League Deal With The Rangers



One of the all time great 'gamer' baseball players, Hunter Pence, opted against calling it a day on his playing career after winning two World Series titles. Nope, Mr. Gamer is giving it another go round with a team that lost back to back World Series, the Texas Rangers. 

“The darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn. You guys show unconditional love to us and we appreciate that. The dawn is coming.” 
- Hunter Pence

Mercury News reports:

The Texas Rangers announced they signed Pence, who will turn 36 in April, to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training. The 12-year major league veteran spent the last six-plus seasons in San Francisco, where he became a fan favorite and helped lead the Giants to World Series titles in 2012 and 2014.

Pence’s five-year, $90 million contract expired at the end of the 2018 season, but instead of opting to retire, Pence expressed a desire to continue his professional career.

“I want to still play,” Pence said last September. “It’s uncertain. Hopefully I can find an opportunity and I’m going to look for it and do everything I can to be the best I can and come back because I want to come back and contribute to another playoff run.”
With Pence’s future up in the air, the Giants paid tribute to their longtime right fielder during and after the final game of his tenure in San Francisco. Pence’s teammates allowed him to take the field by himself ahead of the season finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers and the organization presented Pence with a scooter during a postgame ceremony. Pence addressed the home crowd and thanked Giants fans for their support during a challenging season.
“From the moment he put on the orange and black, we all could truly see how much this man loves this game,” Bochy said after Pence’s last game. 

“Each and every one of the 772 games he played here, this man was full throttle.”
- Bruce Bochy on Hunter Pence
Despite hitting .226 and slugging .332 in 97 games for the Giants last year, Pence felt confident in his ability to revamp his swing and contribute to a major league club this season. The Texas native worked with a private hitting instructor before traveling to the Dominican Republic to play winter ball for Toros del Este.
Pence recorded eight hits in 31 at-bats (.276) for Toros del Este and found the spotlight back in the United States thanks to a postgame speech he gave to teammates during his first week with the club.
Read more HERE.




MLB Won't Consider Adopting Universal DH Until 2022



With the recent induction of legendary DH Edgar Martinez into the MLB Hall of Fame, fans and many insiders of the sport itself are calling for the implementation of a full-time DH this year. However, it does not look like it will happen just yet.
Yahoo Sports reports:
According to Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, the National League won’t be adopting a full-time designated hitter in 2019.
Speaking Friday after an owners’ meeting in Orlando, Florida, Manfred explained that the proposal to implement a universal designated hitter for the upcoming season is a bit too ambitious.
According to the Associated Press, Manfred added that the complexity of the universal DH proposal will make it difficult to institute before the collective bargaining agreement ends in December 2021. That means the earliest we could see a universal DH is the 2022 season.
A universal DH was formally proposed by the Major League Baseball Player’s Association (MLBPA) in response to the league’s continued push for pace-of-play changes. Manfred says he remains focused on potential pace-of-play changes for 2019, which include a 20-second pitch clock and forcing relief pitchers to face a minimum of three batters to cut down on pitching changes.
Conversations regarding roster size and roster construction are reportedly still on the table. However, the league doesn’t seem too keen on entertaining other MLBPA proposals, such as implementing an earlier trade deadline and rewarding and penalizing teams in the draft based on their records.
Those, too, are looked at as more complex issues that won’t be settled until CBA talks pick up.
“Those are significant economic issues. They are different in kind than the type of playing-rule changes that we have out there,” Manfred said. “I think that there are pieces of their response on the on-field proposal that were very encouraging. I think what needs to be sorted out is how closely the two agendas are tied, in other words, the on-field stuff and the economic stuff.”