Young players who could show that they're big league ready in exhibition action.
You'll hear these things throughout February and March—probably more often than you should.
Our staff identifies holes that teams might want to address as spring training approaches.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates: Mid-rotation starter/Bring back A.J. Burnett
Last year was, by any metric, a magical season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They had stars, they had character, and most importantly, they finally had the record to contend with the perennially, annoyingly great Cardinals. But if they want their romance with the MLB postseason to last more than one frustrating date, they need to do something about their rotation, and fast.
A.J. Burnett was the team’s rock last year, eating up 191 innings with All-Star caliber pitching. But the 37-year-old Burnett, a free agent this offseason, has wavered between resigning with the Bucs and calling it quits altogether. Contract talks have gone silent of late, so there’s no telling when this issue will get resolved. If Burnett does decide to retire, the Pirates’ options are severely limited: Masahiro Tanaka is now off the market, and the best remaining arms—Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez—both cost a compensatory draft pick. (With the team’s recent track record of developing talent, that pick figures to be a huge obstacle to any potential deal.)
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The staff recounts transactions made after January 22 that significantly helped or hurt a team during the ensuing season.
From college football players to cricketers, the staff hopes to see these athletes on the diamond someday.
The staff makes Cooperstown cases for people who left their marks on the game.
The staff comes up with resolutions for players and teams, and for ourselves.
From bat flips to closer rage, the staff celebrates some of the oddest things ballplayers do.
December 18, 2013 6:37 am
The staff gets creative in compiling offers for the Angels' star.
1. The Orioles Deal Manny Machado and Kevin Gausman
There aren't too many organizations in baseball who can boast a pre-arb one-two punch strong enough to offer a duo for Trout and not get laughed out of the room. For the Orioles, the duo of Manny Machado and Kevin Gausman is plenty powerful to accomplish that goal (of not getting laughed out of the room, that is). With an outfield of Trout, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis, the fly ball pitchers on the Orioles' staff would giggle the kinds of giggles generally reserved for Leif Garrett and David Cassidy. They could then play a Ryan Flaherty/Danny Valencia platoon at the hot corner until top prospect Jonathan Schoop was ready. It would require picking up a second baseman to compete with Jemile Weeks for the job, but those are easier to find both in free agency and the trade market than a third baseman (or a Mike Trout, for that matter).
From the Angels' side, Gausman would become the future ace of the staff and would allow them to either keep Tyler Skaggs in the minors to start the season without having to subject fans to watching any more Joe Blanton starts or use Hector Santiago as a swing man. The presence of Machado would allow them to finally move Erick Aybar (who is only owed a reasonable $8.5 million per season over the next three years) for an outfielder or just slide David Freese over to DH and continue to play Machado at third. Of course, this trade idea would have worked a lot better before the Angels traded away Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos—as Trout's natural replacement in center is now gone and having Trumbo's thump in the lineup would slightly lessen the blow of dealing away Trout. As if that's even possible. —Bret Sayre
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December 11, 2013 7:29 am
Our staffers decide whom they would hire after taking over a front office.
The staff comes up with possible barters to help keep the already-sizzling Hot Stove warm through next week.
The staff looks back at some of the 2012 Hot Stove rumors that proved fruitless, and what might have been had they come true.