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Thread: Cnotes MLB 2019 Spring Traning News Notes and Rumors !

  1. #106
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    Orioles have many open infield jobs, and several candidates
    February 18, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) The Baltimore Orioles have many jobs up for grabs, and nowhere is the competition less defined than in the infield.

    As the team held its first full-squad workout on Monday, only one infield position is secured - first base. Chris Davis is entering the fourth year of a seven-year, $161 million contract.

    Besides Davis, there are 13 players on the roster competing for the three starting positions, and a utility job or two.

    Davis, like the Orioles, had a horrid 2018 season. He hit just .168 with 16 home runs and 49 RBIs and 192 strikeouts in 128 games as Baltimore lost a franchise-record 115 games.

    There aren't any clear favorites early on.

    The Orioles obtained Jonathan Villar in their July remake from Milwaukee and he played both second and shortstop over the season's last two months. Villar was originally labeled as a shortstop by new general manager Mike Elias, but that was before Richie Martin was taken with the first overall pick in the Rule 5 draft.

    On Saturday, the Orioles signed veteran Alcides Escobar to a minor league deal. Escobar, who played 162 games in 2014, 2016 and 2017 for Kansas City, won the Gold Glove at shortstop in 2015. He's not scheduled to report until Tuesday.

    Manager Brandon Hyde is pleased with the addition of Escobar.

    ''I think it just creates the competition going in camp,'' Hyde said. ''Excited about the mix of middle infielders we have. It's just a guy that's been there that has nine-plus years playing defense in the middle of the field at the big league level. To add competition is always a good thing.''

    Baltimore has another Rule 5 pick in camp, Drew Jackson, who was from the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, and selected by Philadelphia. The Orioles immediately traded with the Phillies for Jackson.

    ''We're just all out here trying to win a job,'' Martin said. ''Whoever plays the best - simple as that - wins a job.''

    It's no small group competing.

    The incumbent third baseman is Renato Nunez, who was added to the team last July after shortstop Manny Machado was traded to the Dodgers.

    Nunez hit .275 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs in 60 games in the second half of the season. In his first major league acquisition, Elias claimed left-handed hitter Rio Ruiz on waivers to compete with Nunez at third base.

    Elias also claimed Hanser Alberto on waivers from Texas, and he inherited Steve Wilkerson, who can play multiple positions. Wilkerson jokingly said he brought 10 gloves to spring training, and he'll likely compete for a utility job.

    ''I get my work in at every position almost every day,'' Wilkerson said. ''I work on the abnormal plays and the web gems. One of my favorite things to do is dive for a ball and work on making a play that might get me on TV or something.''

    Non-roster infield candidates are Jace Peterson, who played 93 games at seven positions, including an inning on the mound, Chris Bostick, Jack Reinheimer and Zach Vincej, all of whom played in the majors last season.

    Rookie Ryan Mountcastle, who's one of the team's most highly touted prospects is also in camp. Mountcastle played third base for Double-A Bowie a year ago, and he's not considered a candidate for a major league job yet.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #107
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    Guerrero Jr. could start in minors, delaying free agency
    February 18, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is not worrying about whether he will start the season with the Toronto Blue Jays.

    The 19-year-old son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero is considered the top prospect entering 2019. Yet, it would not be surprising if Toronto kept the third baseman in the minor leagues for the first 15 days and delayed his debut until at least April 12. By denying him 15 days of major league service, the Blue Jays would delay his eligibility for free agency by a year, until after the 2025 season.

    "Controlling what I can control and then working hard everyday,'' Guerrero said through a translator on Monday as the Blue Jays held their first full-squad workout. ''Making the best out of it. Trying to get better every day and giving the best of me.''

    Guerrero hit .402 at Double-A and .336 at Triple-A last year, combining for 20 homers and 78 RBIs.

    ''Can't relate to being 19-years old and being that even-keeled and cool like that kid is,'' new Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. ''I'm impressed, to tell you the truth. That's the mark of a star. He's going to be a star someday, as we all know.''

    Guerrero took part in defensive drills and made several smart plays during a bunting session. He earned a high-five from pitcher Justin Shafer after charging a bunt and picking up the ball barehanded, then making a strong and accurate to first.

    In batting practice, Guerrero hit the ball with authority to all fields over 28 swings during six rounds.

    ''Really talented,'' Toronto shortstop Freddy Galvis said. ''He seems like a really good guy. Good mentality. He's a mature kid. Coming from his father, he was a hard worker. So, he has kind of the same mentality from what I've seen so far. ''

    When asked about being an improved player compared to a year ago, a smiling Guerrero said ''wait for the next game and see.''

    MULTITASKING

    Galvis also has the ability to play other positions.

    ''You give me a glove, I can play whatever - well not catcher,'' a smiling Galvis said.

    Galvis hit .248 with 31 doubles, five triples and 13 homers for San Diego last year, playing in all 162 games for the second straight season.

    He agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract in January that includes a $5.5 million club option for 2020.

    TRAINER'S ROOM

    RHPs Matt Shoemaker (right forearm) and LHP Clayton Richard (left knee), both coming back from injuries, had bullpen sessions. GM Ross Atkins said the pair will join RHPs Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez in the rotation. ... RHP David Phelps (Tommy John surgery) also had a mound session.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  3. #108
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    Gonzalez, Newman competing to be Pirates' starting shortstop
    February 18, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) Erik Gonzalez and Kevin Newman are competing to start at shortstop for Pittsburgh, the one open position in the Pirates' everyday lineup.

    The job opened when Jordy Mercer left after seven seasons and signed with the Detroit Tigers.

    Gonzalez was acquired from Cleveland on Nov. 14. Newman made his major league debut with the Pirates last August and retains his rookie status.

    Gonzalez spent the last three years as a utility infielder, stuck behind such stalwarts as shortstop Francisco Lindor, third baseman Jose Ramirez and second baseman Jason Kipnis.

    ''I was starting to lose my passion for baseball,'' Gonzalez said. ''I was talking to my agent to try to move to another team. I just want the chance to play.''

    He will have a chance to prove himself during the exhibition season, which begins Saturday. The Pirates feel they may have unearthed a potential impact player in Gonzalez.

    ''We've had people that've seen this man play defense and said, `This guy can be dynamic,''' manager Clint Hurdle said. ''`OK' wasn't a word that came out of anybody's mouth. `Above average. Dynamic. Very good. More range than anybody you've had at short.'''

    Whether Gonzalez will hit enough to be a regular is the question. In 162 career games, he has a .263 batting average and five home runs.

    ''It's hard when you only play once a week to keep your timing,'' he said. ''I did the best I could to stay ready. I worked hard every day before games.

    ''I do think I learned a lot about hitting from my teammates. I talked to Lindor a lot, talked to Ramirez, talked to (Edwin) Encarnacion. They are all great hitters, and they helped me.''

    Newman struggled in his initial trip to the big leagues, hitting .209 in 31 games. However, he was the Pirates' first-round draft pick in 2015 and was once considered among the top 100 prospects in baseball.

    The Pirates feel Newman is a better player that what he showed last year. General manager Neal Huntington pointed out that Newman lost 10 pounds during the season and was not at his best physically once he reached the major leagues.

    Newman, though, has come back stronger this spring. He was one of the few Pirates with a chance to make the opening-day roster to attend the team's minicamp in January, and he also showed up to spring training more a week before the full squad was scheduled to report.

    ''Getting an opportunity is all you could ever ask for,'' Newman said. ''I'm really excited about it. Every day, I worked as hard as I could, got as toned as I could, got as prepared as I could to come in ready to fight for a spot.''

    NOTES: The Pirates held their first full-squad workout Monday. The full contingent of 61 players was on hand. ... Right-hander Rookie Davis was signed to a minor league contract and given an invitation to major league camp. He made his big league debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 2017 but spent last season in the minors while rehabbing from hip surgery. ... Former Pirates players who are guest instructors in camp include Steve Blass, John Candelaria, Bill Mazeroski, Omar Moreno, Manny Sanguillen and Rennie Stennett.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  4. #109
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    Tuesday’s 6-pack

    Who will have more wins for this baseball season?

    — Bronx (-2.5) vs Boston

    — Bronx (-9.5) vs Mets

    — Mets (even) vs Atlanta

    — Cubs (-0.5) vs St Louis

    — Cubs (-12.5) vs White Sox

    — Phillies (-8.5) vs Pirates

    Quote of the Day
    “My door is always open to talk about playing time. If you want to talk about playing time, be prepared for the truth.”
    Brad Stevens

    Tuesday’s quiz

    Who was the Knicks’ coach the last time they made the playoffs?

    Monday’s quiz
    Michael Jordan played baseball for the Birmingham Barons of the AA Southern League; they were a farm club of the White Sox.

    Sunday’s quiz
    Gonzaga has the nation’s longest current win streak, 15 in a row; Wofford is 2nd, at 14.

    **************************

    Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……

    13) NBA should have an event in the summer, just after the Summer League in Las Vegas; a 32-player 1-on-1 tournament, with money going towards charities that each player chooses to represent. Do you know how popular this would be?

    They had a 1-on-1 tournament back in the 70’s, shown at halftime of games on CBS, until Julius Erving’s agent killed it but not letting his client play.

    TV ratings would be huge for this, and a ton of money could be raised for charity.

    12) The tremendous basketball movie Blue Chips is 25 years old this week; Nick Nolte plays a college basketball coach who breaks NCAA rules to bring in great players who will restore his team to excellence. Two of the players he recruited were played by Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway.

    The climactic game scenes were between Nolte’s Western University Dolphins and Indiana, coached by Bob Knight; they were filmed at Frankfort HS in Indiana.

    Know what Frankfort HS’s mascot is? The Hot Dogs!!!! Seriously, the Frankfort Hot Dogs.

    11) Indiana’s point guard in Blue Chips? Current Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley.

    10) Who would you consider to be the best shooter ever? Not player, just shooter.

    Steph Curry? Reggie Miller? Rick Barry? Larry Bird? Interesting debate.

    9) When you see the sons of three former NBA players on the same college team, you’ve got a pretty good idea that this team’s coach is very good at his job.

    Cal-Irvine has the sons of Doc Rivers, Caron Butler and Christian Welp, which speaks volumes that the Anteaters’ coach, Russell Turner, is an excellent coach.

    8) Giannis Antetokounmpo was the 15th player taken in the 2013 NBA Draft. Here are some players who were taken ahead of him that year:
    1st— Anthony Bennett, Cleveland
    4th— Cody Zeller, Charlotte
    5th— Alex Len, Phoenix
    14th— Shabazz Muhammad, Utah (traded to Minnesota)

    7) There have been 87 college basketball coaches who faced AP #1 ranked teams at least 7 times. John Calipari (5-4) is the only one of those 87 with a winning record in those games.

    6) Michigan State loses C Nick Ward for an indefinite time with a broken hand; he is the second Spartan starter out with a serious injury, so Michigan State is in trouble right now.

    5) Bill Walton mentioned on the air Saturday night that ESPN announcers are told to talk about Duke more than other teams. The constant promos about Duke and Zion Williamson make it kind of obvious; when EVERY announcer rattles on about him during promos, you know the word is coming down from the bosses.

    4) 2019 will be Bruce Bochy’s last year managing the Giants; he’s won three World Series with San Francisco, but he also got the Padres to a World Series in 1998. A definite Hall of Famer.

    3) Quinnipiac’s Cameron Young scored 55 points Sunday in a 107-100 triple-OT win against Siena, the most points by a Division I player since North Dakota State’s Ben Woodside scored 60 points against Stephen F. Austin in triple-overtime on Dec. 12, 2008.

    Jalen Pickett scored 46 for Siena in that game; the record for most combined points by two players in the same game is 115, which was set in 1970 when Pete Maravich scored 64 for LSU and Dan Issel scored 51 for Kentucky.

    2) Marshall Thundering Herd is struggling, losing seven of their last ten games; not only that, but they’re 0-10 against the spread in those games. Not good.

    1) Sunday morning, I found a cool t-shirt on the Interweb on a website I had never heard of, and I bought one. Ten minutes later, I’m scrolling thru Instagram on my phone, and an ad for that same website pops up on there.

    Thats a little eerie, that someone, somewhere knows everywhere we go on our devices.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  5. #110
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    Manny Machado, San Diego Padres reach deal

    Manny Machado, one of the top free agents available on the market, has reached a deal with the San Diego Padres, league sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan on Tuesday.

    Machado, a four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner at third base, made $16 million between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles last season.

    The 26-year-old slugger posted a career-high .905 OPS in 2018, finishing the season with a .297/.367/.538 slash line, 37 home runs, 107 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. In 66 regular-season games with the Dodgers, Machado hit .273 with 13 homers and 42 RBIs.

    EDITOR'S PICKS


    Buster's Buzz: The Pads must be crazy! Why Manny makes no sense for San Diego
    You can't blame the Padres for being interested in a superstar in his prime. But the timing just isn't right, the moment isn't right, and the deal would seem destined to fall flat.

    Machado spent most of this past season at shortstop, his preferred position, and produced the third-worst Defensive Runs Saved total (minus-13) among the 22 players with enough innings to qualify at that spot. The 26-year-old played a better shortstop upon joining the Dodgers, who gave up five minor leaguers to acquire him from the Orioles on July 18, but his 15-week stint in L.A. was tumultuous.

    The former No. 3 overall pick drew incessant criticism for constantly loafing up the first-base line, then fanned the flames when he told Fox Sports during the postseason that hustling is "not my cup of tea."

    "He got booed in Baltimore three weeks before we traded for him," the Dodgers' Andrew Friedman said at the general managers meetings on Nov. 6. "It's not like it was a secret. ... I think there are other times where guys do it and they really do care. And by care, I mean the effort they put into their work, the type of teammate they are, and Manny checks all those boxes."

    The State of MLB Free Agency

    As winter bleeds into spring, here's how the free-agent landscape looks right now.

    • Passan: The Bryce, Manny stalemate and the latest on MLB free agency »

    • Miller: Welcome to a small-market team's worst nightmare »

    • Olney: The next Aaron Nola? These stars could look to cash in now (ESPN+) »

    • Gonzalez: How Dodgers' clubhouse embodies baseball's free-agency concerns »

    Machado had several big moments with the Dodgers, several of them while the team was fighting for a sixth consecutive division title in September and a few more during a victorious NL Championship Series. But he hit just .182 in the World Series, committing the final out as the Boston Red Sox won the championship.

    Machado was limited to 82 games in 2014, but he has played at least 156 games in each of the past four seasons. He has hit at least 30 home runs and 30 doubles in each of those four seasons, making him one of just two players, along with Colorado's Nolan Arenado, to reach both of those marks every season since 2015.

    He has compiled 29 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement since his first full season in the majors in 2013, tied with Joey Votto for sixth among position players since then. Only Mike Trout, Josh Donaldson, Paul Goldschmidt, Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve have a higher WAR in that six-year stretch.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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