Ian Denomme at Big League Stew 5 days ago
Without a playoff appearance since 2006 and mired in also-ran status behind the powers of the National League West, the San Diego Padres are going all-in in 2015.
Friday was another day of frantic dealing for Padres general manager A.J. Preller, capping off a week of bold moves. On Friday Preller landed outfielder Justin Upton in a deal with the Atlanta Braves. That was quickly followed by acquiring third baseman Will Middlebrooks from the Boston Red Sox.
Here’s a look at what their potential revamped 2015 batting order might look like, compared to what their 2014 lineup often looked like on a typical summer day after third baseman Chase Headley was traded in July:
1. Alexi Amarista, SS
1. Everth Cabrera, SS
2. Jedd Gyorko, 2B
2. Yangervis Solarte, 3B
3. Justin Upton, OF
3. Seth Smith, OF
4. Matt Kemp, OF
4. Yasmani Grandal, C
5. Wil Myers, OF
5. Jedd Gyorko, 2B
6. Derek Norris, C
6. Will Venable, OF
7. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
7. Cameron Maybin, OF
8. Yonder Alonso, 1B
Ian Denomme at Big League Stew 8 days ago
After back-to-back seasons in which he made just a combined 16 starts for the Toronto Blue Jays, right-handed pitcher Brandon Morrow is set to try to revive his career with the San Diego Padres.
The 30-year-old with a history of oblique, forearm, and finger issues agreed Tuesday to join the Padres on a low risk, high reward one-year deal worth $2.5 million plus incentives. MLB.com Padres reporter Corey Brock was first to report the news and has the contract details:
Morrow's deal with the #Padres: $2.5 million guarantee + chance to earn $5 million in bonuses for starting and $1 million for relieving.
Morrow, who in addition to his injury woes suffers from diabetes, can only hope to do better in San Diego than Johnson did. Morrow was reportedly offered an opportunity to fight for a spot in the Blue Jays bullpen, but his preference is to start.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
For the past 18 years, the Toronto Blue Jays have been a reluctant member of an unenviable club in Major League Baseball. Since the wild-card era began in 1995, only three teams – the Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals, and Pittsburgh Pirates – have failed to reach baseball’s expanded playoffs.
Over that span, and indeed since Joe Carter touched ‘em all in 1993, there have been glimmers of hope but no real breakthrough in the uber-competitive American League East.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos set out to change that following a dismal 73-win season in 2012. Recognizing that traditional powers New York and Boston are currently in a transitional phase, Anthopoulos oversaw a remarkable, rigorous overhaul of the Blue Jays roster.
A blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins brought in shortstop Jose Reyes, and pitchers Mark Buerhle and Josh Johnson and brought on comparisons between Anthopoulos and Pat Gillick, the architect of the great Blue Jays clubs in the early 1990s. Anthopoulos then signed Melky Cabrera, the 2012 All-Star Game MVP who was later suspended for PED use and missed out on the San Francisco Giants’ World Series run.
If only it were that simple.
1. Stay healthy
It’s no secret that athletes often speak in clichés. But when members of Canada’s national baseball team talk about how close the team is, and how fond they are of each other, you can tell they are serious.
Canada’s best ball players get together only every three or four years. The players love the experience and the time together, though there has yet to be an on-field breakthrough at the World Baseball Classic. Canada again missed out on the second round of the tournament following a heartbreaking 9-4 loss to the United States in Phoenix on Sunday.
On paper, this was supposed to be one of the best teams Canada has assembled for the event. But the loss of major-league caliber players like Brett Lawrie, Russell Martin, Jesse Crain and Scott Diamond became too much of a hurdle to overcome. Still, the Canadian team, in its gritty Canadian way, battled to the end and come within five outs of upsetting the mighty American team on its home turf. The 2013 Canadian will be remembered for that near upset – and its headline-grabbing brawl with Mexico on Saturday.
So is he a Canadian player for the long haul?
PHOENIX – After Saturday’s brawl with Mexico, Canada didn’t quite have enough fight left for the United States. Canada came close – five outs away – from knocking off the United States on its home turf, but came up short.
Canada lost a heartbreaking World Baseball Classic decision to the U.S., 9-4, in a winner-moves-on game on Sunday at Chase Field. The final score is not at all indicative of the way the Canadians played, or how close and tense the game was.
Consider, the Americans did not have a lead until the eighth inning and scored seven runs in the final two innings to put the game away. Canada took a 3-2 lead into the eighth inning and turned the game over to their Milwaukee Brewers bullpen combination of Jim Henderson and John Axford.
“If you have a game plan, you draw it up just like that,” manager Ernie Whitt said. “You have your best pitchers closing out the game for you. But, again, sometimes it doesn't always come the way you expect it to.”
[Slideshow: Canada eliminated at World Baseball Classic]
PHOENIX – Canada may have found its newest baseball folk hero on Saturday, the new Stubby Clapp, if you will. Even before he was partially responsible for causing a massive brawl, catcher Chris Robinson was winning the hearts and minds of Canadians.
And if there was any doubt that the World Baseball Classic doesn’t matter to the teams or players, those doubts vanished in the top of the ninth inning of Saturday’s game between Canada and Mexico.
With Canada leading a must-win game 9-3, Robinson bunted down the third-base line for a single. As soon as Mexico third baseman Luis Cruz picked up the ball, he motioned to pitcher Arnold Leon to hit the next batter.
Rene Tosoni came to bat for Canada. Leon threw two pitches near him before finally plunking him in the back.
Then chaos ensued.
Tosoni made a move toward the mound which prompted both dugouts and bullpens to empty, prompting an all-out brawl.
Robinson was asked whether he broke “the code” when he bunted in the ninth with such a big lead.
PHOENIX — Out pitched. Out hit. Out managed. And barring a miracle, out of the tournament.
To say Canada’s 2013 World Baseball Classic debut was a disaster would be putting it lightly. Canada was embarrassed by Italy, succumbing to the mercy rule after eight innings in a 14-4 loss. Canada’s WBC hopes unraveled quickly against the surprising Italians, who are now 2-0. Italy is almost assured of advancing to the second round for the first time, while Canada has faint hope of moving on.
“We just got beat. They came up with some key hits that really kind of hurt,” Canada manager Ernie Whitt said.
Yes, Italy had some key hits. It had a lot of hits. Small hits, big hits, 17 hits when it was all said and done. Canada’s pitchers looked helpless against the Italian hitters, a mix of a few major leaguers and lot of players few have heard of. Canada used six different pitchers and all but one – righty Dustin Molleken – gave up at least two runs.
“They came out swinging. They were hot, they hit us. They played awesome today,” said Canada reliever Scott Mathieson, who surrendered four runs on five hits in 1.1 innings.
“We know we can beat Mexico, we know we can beat the U.S., we’ve done it before.”
PHOENIX – If you can believe it, Canada is ranked sixth in the world baseball rankings, well ahead of such baseball factories as the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. For reference, Canada is ranked fifth in the world hockey rankings.
That impressive ranking is mostly a result of some fine performances in world competition – a gold medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games and a bronze at the World Cup in 2011. But when Canada’s major-leaguers take the field together, success has been hard to come by. The Canadian team assembled for the 2013 World Baseball Classic has a chance to change that.
Canada opens the tournament on Friday against Italy in the third rendition of the (supposed to be) best-on-best tournament. Canada has yet to advance out of the first round of the event, finishing ninth in 2006 and 12th in 2009.
“It’s important for me to show my support because I still feel like part of the team,” said Lawrie, who was injured in Wednesday night’s exhibition game against the Cincinnati Reds. “But for the most part I will not be playing, and I don’t foresee myself in the tournament at all.”
Ian Denomme at Yahoo Sports 2 yrs ago
TORONTO – As Canada’s biggest city, with a crowded pro-sports market and dozens of other entertainment options, it’s difficult for the Argonauts, and indeed the entire CFL, to steal the spotlight in Toronto.
In October, a local paper even ignored the team altogether when discussing the poor play of Toronto teams in recent years.
What a difference a month makes. On Sunday night, in front of a boisterous, pro-Toronto crowd of 53,208 at the Rogers Centre, the Toronto Argonauts captured the 100th Grey Cup thanks to a 35-22 win over the Calgary Stampeders.
There’s no telling if the buzz generated from a successful Grey Cup week, capped with the home team winning the title will last in Toronto. But for at least one night, the city belonged to the Argonauts.
It was something Argos receiver Mike Bradwell never thought he would see.
“This is incredible,” the Toronto native said about winning a title with his hometown team. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. This place was so loud, the crowd was awesome. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
That’s all forgotten after the Argos won the 16th Grey Cup in their long history.
For Bradwell and many other Argos players, that’s still unbelievable.