Mark Townsend

  • Michael Kohn predicted he'd play for the Braves at age 10

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 7 hrs ago

    As children, we're often encouraged to dream big and work hard to make those big dreams come true. Of course, as life goes along, sometimes those dreams change or life leads us in a new direction. but for Michael Kohn, a native of Charleston, SC and a lifelong Braves fan, his path has taken him right where he always wanted to be.

    We have proof of that too, because MLB.com's Mark Bowman posted a mission statement on Twitter that the now 28-year-old reliever wrote as a contract to his parents when he was only 10. 

    New #Braves reliever @MichaelKohn58 wrote this when he was 10-years-old. pic.twitter.com/NuSFqa1Zq5

    As presented, the message reads:

    Still, he's plenty motivated coming off a four-year stint with the Los Angeles Angels. In 126 games, he posted a 3.67 ERA over 110.1 innings, and even notched a pair of saves. Overall though he wasn't thrust into too many critical situations, which is something he'll aim to change in Atlanta. 

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  • Chris Davis receives Adderall exemption following suspension

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 8 hrs ago

    After receiving a 25-game suspension on Sept. 12 for unauthorized use of the drug Adderall, Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has requested and  been granted a theraputic use exemption from the league in order to continue using it in 2015.

    This according to Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who made the revelation during a team-related event on Tuesday.

    Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday that he was told by Davis that the first baseman has received a therapeutic use exemption for Adderall next season.

    “It's a good thing,” Showalter said during the 36th annual OriolesREACH Holiday Party for Kids at Dave & Buster’s in Arundel Mills. “Yeah, he told me he was approved for it.”

    Of course, what matters now for Davis and the Orioles is that it appears he'll be covered in 2015, allowing him to use Adderall without the threat of a larger suspension. But it would have been interesting to see how Baltimore would have fared against the Kansas City Royals with Davis in the lineup. 

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  • Marlins announce Michael Morse signing by Morse code

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 9 hrs ago

    Credit where it's due, the Miami Marlins are doing some serious work this winter and seem to be on track to field a very competitive team in 2015. 

    It would also appear they're on top of their social media game. On Wednesday, the team announced its most recent acquisition on Twitter, that of free-agent slugger Michael Morse on a two-year, $16 million contract, in a way that would only truly make sense under the circumstances: Morse code. 

    You'll want to make sure the Vine is unmuted for full effect.

    If you're in a spot where that's not possible, like say a work cubicle or a school play, the Marlins provided the code in text form.  

    Sorry, that was confusing. Translation: -- .- .-. .-.. .. -. ... / ... .. --. -. / -- --- .-. ... .

    Impressive, but Big League Stew would a little further with the Morse code in reporting his trade from the Seattle Mariners to the Baltimore Orioles back in 2013. Check that out here

    Now, here's the full translation of the Morse signing by Miami

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  • Rene Rivera welcomes new teammate to San Diego, is immediately traded

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 11 hrs ago

    The unpredictable nature of baseball's offseason struck again on Wednesday, resulting in what would best be described as an awkward tweet from veteran catcher Rene Rivera.

    Like any good teammate, Rivera went out of his way to welcome free-agent pitcher Brandon Morrow to the San Diego Padres after  he inked a deal with team on Tuesday

    @2Morrow23 good to have you in the team! Excited to work with you! Welcome to the @Padres

    The awkward part? Just as Rivera was welcoming his new teammate to town, he became a new teammate himself. New Padres general manager A.J. Preller continued his aggressive offseason, shipping Rene Rivera to the Tampa Bay Rays as a part of the three-team, 11-player deal that included the Washington Nationals and was highlighted by Wil Myers going to the Padres.

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  • Padres GM A.J. Preller continues overhaul with Wil Myers deal

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 12 hrs ago

    For the first time in a long time, the San Diego Padres resemble an organization with a sense of urgency.

    On Wednesday, new general manager A.J. Preller agreed to his second blockbuster trade in eight days, acquiring 2013 AL Rookie of the Year Wil Myers from the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-team, 11-player trade that also includes the Washington Nationals. At last week's Winter Meetings, he agreed to a major trade with the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers, acquiring outfielder Matt Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz in exchange for catcher Yasmani Grandal and a pair of pitching prospects. 

    Both deals are pending physicals and perhaps other seemingly minor hangups, but once completed would immediately give San Diego two middle-of-the-order bats with which to rebuild their 30th ranked offense around. 

    Enter Preller, who is neither shy nor apprehensive when it comes to being aggressive and taking risks. 

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  • Jose Canseco wants shot at CM Punk in UFC

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    Since it was annouced that Phil "CM Punk" Brooks had signed a multi-fight deal with UFC, fighters ranging from rookies to mixed martial arts legends have been coming out of the woodwork looking to be his first opponent.

    A few celebrities with fighting experience have joined that parade as well. Most notably. "Power Ranger" Jason David Frank, who has five professional fights under his belt, called out Brooks earlier this week.

    He wasn't the last though. Predictably, and perhaps even sadly, we can officially add the name of Jose Canseco to that growing list.

    I can beat the crap out of @cmpunk. I am ready @ufc

    Yeah, those definitely qualify as fighting words.

    BLS H/N: Fox Sports

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  • John Hart on retooling Braves: Not like I’m breaking up ’27 Yanks

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    New Atlanta Braves president John Hart has been around the block a few times.

    As the general manager of the Cleveland Indians throughout the entire 1990s and later the Texas Rangers from 2002-05, Hart has shown he's not afraid to take on a challenge head-on, and his track record with both clubs suggests he'll find a way to overcome it.

    His new challenge with the Braves is a little different though. Hart is taking over a team that topped 85 wins five years running before dropping to a disappointing 79-83 in 2014. They've tasted regular season success on a regular basis, but they also haven't won a playoff series since 2001, and now flaws are showing on an offense that finished near dead last in MLB, and in a starting rotation that thinned out even further with Ervin Santana leaving for Minnesota. 

    “Let’s be honest: This team finished 29th in offense,” Hart said. “It’s not like I’m breaking up the ’27 Yankees.”

    And to that we proclaim: Well played, Mr. Hart.

    He also recently inked Nick Markakis to a four-year, $44 million deal, which could prove more cost effective than extending Heyward would have.

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  • Larry Lucchino regrets how Red Sox handled Jon Lester talks

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    How are the Boston Red Sox feeling after losing the Jon Lester sweepstakes to Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs? Not very good, according to team president Larry Lucchino.

    Speaking at the team’s Christmas at Fenway event on Saturday, Lucchino was forthright and honest in sharing his disappointment with the team's efforts, stating that they "failed" in their pursuit and that he "had regrets" with how the process played out.

    From The Boston Herald: 

    “We didn’t succeed, so I don’t give us a very good grade,” Lucchino said. “We were trying, sincerely, to get him signed, and wanted him to come back here, but free agency is a special opportunity for a player, and it only comes up once or twice if you’re lucky in your career.

    It's a question we might be pondering right up until opening day. But hey, like Lucchino said, at least Jon Lester didn't end up in the American League. Which, actually, is probably his way of saying thank goodness the Yankees didn't dive into the fray. Oh, the regrets he'd have then.

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  • Chicago White Sox agree to three-year deal with Melky Cabrera

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    If it wasn't official before, it's official now: The Chicago White Sox mean business.

    After taking the Winter Meetings by storm, acquiring Jeff Samardzija in a six-player trade with the Oakland A's and signing free-agent reliever David Robertson to a massive four-year,  $46 million deal, general manager Rick Hahn has struck again, agreeing to a three-year deal with outfielder Melky Cabrera. 

    Bruce Levine of The Score 670 in Chicago was the first to report a deal was in place. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com later confirmed the money will land between $42-$43.5 million, which seems like a fair deal for both sides. It was believed Cabrera would seek out a fourth year in the $12-$13 million range, but the consolation here will be the opportunity to enter free agency again at age 33. 

    For what it's worth, the Mariners were also believed to be in on Cabrera, if not the favorite to land him before Saturday. So obviously the concerns they had doing business with Cruz  stemming from his suspension last offseason have completely disappeared. 

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  • New Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius was knighted in 2011

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    It turns out being chosen as the successor to Derek Jeter as shortstop of the New York Yankees is only the second greatest honor of Didi Gregorius' baseball career. During a conference call with the New York media on Friday, the slick fielding star from the Netherlands confirmed what many had suspected based on his Sir Didi Gregorius Twitter handle.

    He's officially been knighted.

    We're not kidding. It's not a reference to a nickname from his childhood. It's a real title Gregorius earned while representing his country in the 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup. As Bryan Hoch of MLB.com notes, the Netherlands won that tournament, and rather than rewarding the players with money, each member of the team was knighted.

    Sir Didi it is if we're being proper, though Gregorius says he's not too concerned about how people acknowledge him.

    "What does he have to do? Enjoy himself. Work hard. Play hard. He'll be just fine."