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Daniel Rathman 

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09-27

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What You Need to Know: Dee Gordon and the Marlins Honor Jose Fernandez
by
Daniel Rathman

09-20

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1

What You Need to Know: The Best Bullpens Are the Ones You Don't Need
by
Daniel Rathman

09-14

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1

What You Need to Know: The Ownage That Won The West
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Daniel Rathman

09-06

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2

What You Need to Know: Freak Out About Brian Dozier!
by
Daniel Rathman

09-02

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6

In The Air Every Night
by
Daniel Rathman

08-30

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What You Need to Know: Werth Is Back, For the Thousandth Time
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Daniel Rathman

08-23

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5

What You Need to Know: Homer Story
by
Daniel Rathman

08-16

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What You Need to Know: Green Light, Now Begin
by
Daniel Rathman

08-09

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What You Need to Know: Can't Stop, Won't Stop
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Daniel Rathman

08-02

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What You Need to Know: Soft-Tossin' Salazar
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Daniel Rathman

07-26

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1

What You Need to Know: Give 'em Hell
by
Daniel Rathman

07-20

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What You Need to Know: Fret No More
by
Daniel Rathman

07-05

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9

What You Need to Know: Oh, That Fernando Rodney
by
Daniel Rathman

06-28

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4

What You Need to Know: A Five-Hit Night Unlike Any Other
by
Daniel Rathman

06-21

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What You Need to Know: Eight Solo Shots!
by
Daniel Rathman

06-14

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What You Need to Know: Near-Max Effort
by
Daniel Rathman

06-07

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2

What You Need to Know: James Paxton's 101s
by
Daniel Rathman

05-31

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5

What You Need to Know: So This Is Matt Harvey!
by
Daniel Rathman

05-27

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6

What You Need to Know: Would You Believe It, A New Strikeout Record
by
Daniel Rathman

05-17

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5

What You Need to Know: Jose Berrios: Not An Instant Ace
by
Daniel Rathman

05-10

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5

What You Need to Know: Sonny Gray's Short-Lived Mound Shuffle
by
Daniel Rathman

05-03

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What You Need to Know: Nomar Mazara Makes Five Of Us Look Smart
by
Daniel Rathman

04-26

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2

What You Need to Know: Chris Archer Says Goodbye To All That
by
Daniel Rathman

04-19

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2

What You Need to Know: Let's Roll It Up
by
Daniel Rathman

04-12

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What You Need to Know: The Year Of The Botched Infield Fly
by
Daniel Rathman

04-05

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14

What You Need to Know: Picking Up Where They Left Off
by
Daniel Rathman

03-29

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Rumor Roundup: The Two Most Exciting Fifth Starters Named
by
Daniel Rathman

03-22

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Rumor Roundup: Dodgers Consider Their Options, e.g. Zach Lee
by
Daniel Rathman

03-15

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4

Rumor Roundup: Keon Broxton, Front and Center
by
Daniel Rathman

03-09

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2

Rumor Roundup: Sorry, Missed Jackson
by
Daniel Rathman

03-02

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Rumor Roundup: Arroyo's Hopes Alive, If Nats Can't Find A Better Man
by
Daniel Rathman

02-24

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Rumor Roundup: The Sultriest Fifth-Starter Showdown?
by
Daniel Rathman

02-17

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2

Rumor Roundup: Cotts' Contracts
by
Daniel Rathman

02-09

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Rumor Roundup: The Next Two Cubans
by
Daniel Rathman

02-02

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Rumor Roundup: Staying in Searage
by
Daniel Rathman

01-26

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Rumor Roundup: The Josh Reddick Extension Conversation
by
Daniel Rathman

01-19

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Rumor Roundup: Diamondbacks Will Make Pollock Prove It
by
Daniel Rathman

01-13

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Rumor Roundup: There Were Four In the Bed and the Little One Said...
by
Daniel Rathman

01-05

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6

Rumor Roundup: The Slow Burn Of Ian Desmond's Free Agency
by
Daniel Rathman

12-29

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2

Rumor Roundup: Yo Back to Motown?
by
Daniel Rathman

12-22

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Rumor Roundup: On the Dodgers' No. 2 Starter
by
Daniel Rathman

12-16

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Prospectus Feature: The New Dominican Dandy?
by
Daniel Rathman

12-15

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2

Rumor Roundup: Rumors About Melancon Aboil
by
Daniel Rathman

12-07

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4

Rumor Roundup: You Can Never Have Enough Pitching Rumors
by
Daniel Rathman

12-01

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Rumor Roundup: Cueto Aims Higher
by
Daniel Rathman

11-23

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Rumor Roundup: What a Lovely O'Day
by
Daniel Rathman

11-16

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Rumor Roundup: Is Yovani Gallardo Worth the 13th Pick?
by
Daniel Rathman

11-09

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Rumor Roundup: Wait 'Til Next Year
by
Daniel Rathman

10-05

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6

What You Need to Know: Fin
by
Ian Frazer and Daniel Rathman

10-01

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What You Need to Know: Cardinals Clinch; Cardinals Are Doomed?
by
Daniel Rathman

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I mean, there have been two of them, so there you go. Meanwhile, David Price and Craig Kimbrel couldn't get it done, and Taylor Jungmann really couldn't get it done,

The Monday Takeaway
We’re but a week and change into the 2016 campaign, and already, the Phillies have had a season’s worth of misadventures with the infield-fly rule. Last Friday, Cesar Hernandez seemed to forget what the rule means all together:


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April 5, 2016 6:00 am

What You Need to Know: Picking Up Where They Left Off

14

Daniel Rathman

Harper is still Harper, Kershaw is still Kershaw, Arrieta is still Arrieta, and the new rule banning takeout slides claims its first victim.

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Young & Exciting Vincent Velasquez and Aaron Sanchez win rotation spots, while Brian Duensing wins more time with his family.

Phillies choose Vincent Velasquez to be their fifth starter
Position battles abound for rebuilding teams like the Phillies, but as the spring winds down, one of the biggest battles in Clearwater, Florida, has now been decided. On Monday, manager Pete Mackanin told the media that Vincent Velasquez—who came over from the Astros in the Ken Giles blockbuster earlier this winter—has won the no. 5 starter job, relegating Adam Morgan, who started 15 games for Philadelphia last season, to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Velasquez, who turns 24 in June, debuted with the Astros last year in a swingman capacity. He made seven starts and appeared 12 times in relief, racking up 58 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings, a reflection of big-league-ready stuff. Chris Crawford wrote in our Transaction Analysis of the Giles trade, “At worst, Velasquez marks a strong central piece as a potential high-leverage reliever,” but the Phillies will let him start until he proves he can’t, and his ceiling could be substantially loftier than the late-inning floor.


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Many a fifth starter is down in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Pablo's gain might be Travis Shaw's... gain.

Dodgers fifth-starter spot back up for grabs
The theme song for the Dodgers rotation this spring has been “Another One Bites the Dust”—and that’s not a reference to opposing hitters digging in against Clayton Kershaw. Over the weekend, manager Dave Roberts revealed that the group’s latest ailing member is right-hander Mike Bolsinger, who was supposed to be the failsafe when the fragile veterans ahead of him went down. Now, the 28-year-old Bolsinger is sidelined with an oblique injury, and while it’s not believed to be a long-term matter, it does open up another void in Roberts’ Opening Day rotation.

Here’s the carnage to date: Brett Anderson is out several months with a back injury; Hyun-jin Ryu is still dealing with shoulder discomfort and can’t be counted on until late May; Brandon McCarthy and the recently acquired Frankie Montas will start the year on the 60-day DL; free-agent pickup Scott Kazmir is struggling to light up 9s on the radar gun; Brandon Beachy is dealing with elbow tendinitis; and Alex Wood just returned on Saturday from a minor case of forearm tightness.


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The Brewers look to settle the battle for center field, while Eric Sogaard might be facing Triple-A.

Keon Broxton emerging as possible center-field favorite in Brewers camp
The Brew Crew arrived in Arizona with a vacancy in center field, where Carlos Gomez once roamed before then-general manager Doug Melvin shipped him to the Astros at the 2015 trade deadline. At the time, now-GM David Stearns was in Houston, but since the Brewers hired him away in late September, it was Stearns’ job to fill the void created by his predecessor. And if Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat writer Tom Haudricourt is reading the situation correctly, Stearns may have done so in a relatively nondescript December trade.

As Christmas approached, the Brewers struck a deal with the Pirates, sending first baseman Jason Rogers to Pittsburgh in exchange for two minor-leaguers: right-hander Trey Supak and outfielder Keon Broxton. The latter hit .273/.357/.438 in 133 plate appearances split between Double-A and Triple-A last year and has the athleticism to play up the middle, but with his 26th birthday looming in May, Broxton was running out of time to prove his major-league value. Now, his chance seems to have arrived.


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You can plan a pretty picnic but you can't predict Almonte. Meanwhile, the Cubs have balked at a long extension for Jake Arrieta, and Tim Lincecum's unemployment shows why.

Austin Jackson chose White Sox for opportunity to play center field
When Austin Jackson put pen to paper last week, the headline on the website of the Cleveland Plain Dealer read, “Austin Jackson signs with an AL Central team in need of outfield help.” The Indians were a natural fit for Jackson, even before Abraham Almonte was slapped with an 80-game suspension. Almonte’s half-season ban seemed likely to add urgency to their pursuit of the former Tigers outfielder, perhaps enough for general manager Mike Chernoff to overcome his budgetary constraints.

Alas, it wasn’t in the cards. The AL Central team that now employs Jackson is not the Tribe but the White Sox, who inked him to a one-year, $5 million contract. And the runner-up in the race to sign the 29-year-old wasn’t Cleveland, but Anaheim, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.


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Unfortunately, his pitches are given to fly.

With Ian Desmond officially off the board, the offseason rumor mill is on its last legs. The spring training position battle and intriguing-opt-out time of year is only just beginning. Here are two situations in that vein that could be worth monitoring in the coming weeks…

Pending Nats fifth-starter competition, Bronson Arroyo could be a late-March rotation option
There were plenty of teams in greater need of rotation depth than the Nationals when Bronson Arroyo was deciding where to sign in late January. A host of those clubs phoned to express interest in the veteran righty, who’s now a year-and-a-half removed from the Tommy John surgery that made his old contract with the Diamondbacks a sunk cost. In the end, Arroyo chose comfort over depth-chart security, preferring the familiarity of working with manager Dusty Baker over a greater chance of locking up a rotation job—albeit with an opt-out to let him pursue the latter elsewhere.


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Michael Taylor could be the league's most important fourth outfielder, while Robbie Ray ain't guaranteed nothin' yet.

Nationals will spread the wealth when it comes to outfield playing time
When Denard Span left in free agency, the Nationals appeared poised to install the homegrown Michael Taylor as their new primary center fielder, stomaching a boatload of strikeouts to enjoy his excellent defense and electric power/speed profile. Then, in early January, general manager Mike Rizzo acquired Ben Revere from the Blue Jays, bumping Taylor back into the fourth-outfielder role he served in last year.


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The Red Sox look for bullpen help and the Rangers look to extend one of their elder statesmen.

Red Sox eyeing left-handed relievers
As the offseason winds down, teams stocking up on bullpen options qualifies as noteworthy news. Peter Abraham, who covers the Red Sox for the Boston Globe, brought us a dose on Thursday, tweeting that Dave Dombrowski and his staff are in the market for a southpaw. Specifically, Abraham mentioned Neal Cotts and Franklin Morales as possibilities for the Red Sox, who are likely hoping that one of the veterans would accept a minor-league deal and come to camp as a non-roster invitee.


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The Gurriel Brothers are coming.

Gurriel brothers defect from Cuba
In something of a stunning Monday morning development, the Gurriel brothers—the 31-year-old Yulieski Gurriel and the 22-year-old Lourdes Gurriel Jr.—are reportedly defecting from Cuba. The El Nuevo Herald had the story first, and MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, the go-to source for news on soon-to-be Cuban free agents these days, expanded on it yesterday. The Gurriels defections come as a surprise mainly because the two were not expected to leave Cuba without permission from the government. It appears, however, that the allure of the majors proved too strong to resist.

Yulieski Gurriel is a veteran infielder, considered one of the elite players in Serie Nacional, and would not be subject to the international bonus pools. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., a shortstop and outfielder regarded as one of the top amateur talents in Cuba, would put his first big-league employer in the penalty—assuming he signs before turning 23 on October 19th. Sanchez pointed out that “it could take several months” for the Gurriels to receive clearance from Major League Baseball, by which point the younger Gurriel might be tempted to weigh the benefits of waiting until the fall to secure a major-league contract.


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The Pirates' pitching guru is a free agent next winter, while an AL East team wants to ship Andrew Cashner across the country.

Ray Searage wants to stay with Pirates beyond 2016
Next offseason’s free agent pitching market might pale in comparison to the bonanza that teams were treated to over the past couple of months, but the market for pitching coaches could feature a marquee name.

Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote Sunday about the value of the Bucs’ pitching coach, Ray Searage, who is widely regarded as one of the game’s best teachers, able to extract maximum value out of arms who come to the Steel City with middling reputations. General manager Neal Huntington is able to rummage through the bargain bin, confident that every pitcher he finds will exceed expectations because, as Cook put it, “Ray will make him better.” But Huntington is only guaranteed that comfort for one more year, because Searage’s contract expires at the end of the 2016 season.


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The A's and Josh Reddick might work out an extension, while the Diamondbacks could move Aaron Hill.

A’s will discuss long-term deal with Josh Reddick
About 10 days ago, the Athletics avoided an arbitration hearing with Josh Reddick by compromising at $6.575 million. Now that the outfielder’s 2016 salary is settled, both he and the club are ready to look further into the future.

According to John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group, extension talks with Reddick will commence shortly, and at the very least, there appears to be mutual interest in a long-term relationship. At the club’s weekend Fan Fest, Reddick told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he was “thrilled” to hear the A’s wanted to keep him in Oakland beyond the 2016 season, his final year of arbitration. The question now is whether the sides can agree on dollars and years.


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