- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew5 hrs ago
Full page thank you ads when professional athletes change teams or retire have become such a common occurrence in recent years that it's almost a surprise when we don't see one. With that in mind, it doesn't really matter how frequently we see them, the message and the gesture always take on an extra special meaning when it involves a long tenured veteran who has spent a memorable segment or the entirety of his career with one organization.
Such was the case when Roy Halladay and Jacoby Ellsbury took out full page ads earlier in the offseason, and the same scenario would apply with former Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Corey Hart after he recently signed a one-year deal with Seattle Mariners.
On Saturday, Hart appropriately followed suit by taking out a full page ad in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew7 hrs ago
News travels fast in this social media driven world, but apparently it doesn't travel as fast as personalized baseball gear. Not long after Yahoo's Jeff Passan reported Shin-Soo Choo had agreed to a seven-year, $130 million contract with the Texas Rangers, Choo's wife took to Facebook to post photos of their three children already decked out in Choo Rangers shirseys with other assorted Texas items also in the photos.
The photos were originally posted in the comments section over at Lone Star Ball. Our pal Dan from MyKBO confirms those are in fact Choo's children, so we definitely have legitimate photos on our hands.
Of course, the reality is these photos indicate the Rangers and Choo were on the same page well before Saturday morning's agreement. But that doesn't change how cool it is to see the Choo children excited about the next phase of their father's career.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew10 hrs ago
According to Yahoo's Jeff Passan, one of the biggest pieces of baseball's offseason puzzle finally found a home on Saturday after Shin-Soo Choo agreed to a seven-year, $130 million contract with the Texas Rangers.
The Shin-Soo Choo deal is a straight seven-year, $130M deal with a limited no-trade clause and no opt-outs or options.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 21, 2013
Passan also reported earlier this week that Choo previously turned down a seven-year, $140 million contract offer from the New York Yankees prior to them signing Carlos Beltran. Obviously his gamble didn't pay off with more money guaranteed or more security in terms of years, but the price didn't come down as far as many suspected it could. Also, there's no state income tax in Texas, so he'll come out ahead on that front.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
A lot of ground was covered in the ongoing drama between free agent Grant Balfour and the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. In short, we learned the Orioles were reneging on their two-year, $15 million agreement after concerns over Balfour's shoulder were raised during the pre-signing physical exam. Balfour’s camp quickly responded by stating two independent doctors had reviewed Balfour’s medicals and determined he was perfectly healthy. It was also reported Balfour and his agents were considering filing a grievance against Baltimore.
With all of that said, the always intense Balfour actually took a laid back approach after Orioles general manager Dan Duquette confirmed the deal was off.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew21 hrs ago
While we await an official decision from the Rakuten Golden Eagles on the posting status of prized pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, the Nippon Professional Baseball team made headlines elsewhere by agreeing on a one-year deal with former major leaguer Kevin Youkilis. Nikkan Sports initially reported the deal on Friday. Alex Speier of WEEI confirmed and adds it will be worth $4 million with another $1 million possible through incentives.
Youkilis, 34, spent the entire 2013 season with the New York Yankees, but you'd be hard-pressed to remember it as he was limited to 28 games due to back problems. With that in mind, it's likely his incentives are based around the number of games he's able to play with Rakuten, though none of those details have been confirmed.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew1 day ago
Grant Balfour’s two-year, $15 million contract agreement with the Baltimore Orioles was officially nixed on Friday and Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal is reporting the 35-year-old veteran is considering filing a grievance against the team as a result.
The latest news comes after Orioles general manager Dan Duquette confirmed he was left unsatisfied by the results of Balfour's pre-signing physical exam. The Orioles remained open to negotiating a more team friendly contract with the former Oakland A's closer, but Duquette states they were unable to come to terms on a deal and were now focusing on other targets.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew2 days ago
Those anxious for the next big name free agent signing or blockbuster trade may be left waiting through the holidays, but that doesn’t mean general managers around the league haven’t remained active since the end of the winter meetings. Said activity resulted in a flurry of moves on Wednesday, mostly involving second and third tier free agents. There were also a handful of under-the-radar trades. Here’s a quick recap, beginning with the headline move of the day.
Joaquin Benoit agrees to two-year, $15.5 million deal with the San Diego Padres
Yahoo’s Jeff Passan was the first to report the deal early Wednesday, noting that its completion was still contingent on a physical.
BLS take: Assuming all goes as planned, San Diego will have a pair of relievers on staff with closing experience in Benoit and Huston Street, who is due $7 million next season. It’s assumed Street will retain his role with Benoit sliding in as the setup man, but there’s still a lot of offseason left and they may end up dangling Street in a follow up deal. If not, that would be a lot of money for a low payroll team to have tied up in two relievers.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew3 days ago
Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff recently scoffed at the proposed $500 million waterfront ballpark that would be located at the Port of Oakland's Howard Terminal. That came as no surprise to developers behind the project, since it‘s obvious Wolff has no interest in spending his own money to upgrade his team’s stadium. That’s also part of the reason why he continues to seek options outside of Oakland, because he knows the city doesn’t have the funds available to pick up all or a significant portion of the tab.
Still, despite the expected response from Wolff and a potential long, uphill battle to get what they want, the developers behind the waterfront ballpark are still moving forward with their plans and are currently seeking out potential investors that will get behind their proposal.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew3 days ago
On Monday we learned that ownership of the Rakuten Golden Eagles had given consent to coveted right-hander Masahiro Tanaka to pursue a career in the United States. That seemingly put an end to the mystery of whether or not the team would post Tanaka this winter, therefore making him available for all 30 MLB teams to bid on.
Not so fast, says Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. Apparently Rakuten isn't ready to give up the fight just yet, and are planning on offering Tanaka a large chunk of change in hopes of keeping him around for at least one more season.
Looks like Rakuten is not giving up on Tanaka. Hochi says they are going to offer him an $8m salary. http://t.co/PJRk1Cqa0U
— Patrick Newman (@npbtracker) December 19, 2013
That's $8 million in U.S. dollars, which equates to 800 million Japanese Yen.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew6 days ago
Back in April the United States Mint announced the opening of a national coin design competition that would culminate with the Secretary of the Treasury selecting the images for their planned 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin.
On Friday, we finally got our first peak at the winning selection and finished product, and it turns out these special baseball coins will be notable for more than their acknowledgement of the Hall of Fame's milestone 75th anniversary.
As you can clearly see in the picture above, the coins are curved as opposed to flat, making them the first-ever curved coin the U.S. Mint has released in its history.