Mike Oz

  • Not as thrilling as the rumors: Mariners trade for Justin Ruggiano

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 hr ago

    Nothing's come to fruition yet on the first two. But the last one, well, that happened but the hype didn't match the outcome. It's a lesson in how wild our imaginations get this time of year.

    The Mariners on Wednesday acquired platoon outfielder Justin Ruggiano from the Cubs, in a mostly ho-hum deal that's not going to make the Hot Stove burst into flames. Ruggiano is a nice enough player — he should help the Mariners against lefty pitchers — but he's not what people were hoping for when the rumor mill starting spinning. 

    It started with this tweet from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, totally innocent, but a jolt that awoke our imaginations.

    Hearing rumblings that the #mariners are closing in on a trade for a hitter.

    Strong indications that Seattle is the third team in Rays-Padres Wil Myers trade scenario. Walker may end up in SD. Myers to SEA.

    ESPN's Krasnick, who you'll recall started this entire conversation, must have been hearing it from Mariners fans who had dreamed a little too big. Shortly after the Ruggiano trade was official, he tweeted this:

  • Jackie Robinson West should be stripped of title, says rival

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 23 hrs ago

    The feel-good story about Chicago's Jackie Robinson West Little League team is a sham, says a rival Little League coach, who is alleging the team recruited ringers from outside its boundaries to advance to the Little League World Series and win the U.S. championship. But so far, Little League International doesn't agree.

    Four months after the Little League World Series ended, officials in Evergreen Park, a suburb that's right next to Chicago, are still upset. Chris Janes, who is the vice president of the Evergreen Park Athletic Association, says many of the Jackie Robinson West players were recruited from the suburbs, thus violating Little League rules. He told CBS Chicago that the team should be stripped of its title:

    Little League International issued a statement Tuesday saying the Jackie Robinson West team met its eligibility requirements. Fromthe Chicago Tribune:

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  • Marlins sign Michael Morse, add to impressive offseason haul

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The Miami Marlins gave Giancarlo Stanton the richest contract in MLB history, and that was only the start of their offseason maneuvering.

    They've traded for Dee Gordon and Mat Latos, two players who immediately make them better, and Tuesday the Marlins reportedly signed slugger Michael Morse to a two-year contract.

    Morse is expected to play first base for the Marlins, adding another power bat to a lineup that's already centered around Stanton. Word hasn't trickled out yet about how much Morse will make for his two seasons. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald was the first to report the signing.

    The Marlins could use another quality starting pitcher, but as they sit now, these aren't the Marlins we've used as a punchline. These made-over, more mature Marlins can contend.

  • Royals sign Alex Rios, hoping to find one-year contract magic

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Ahhh, the wonders of the one-year veteran contract. The best recent example one-year magic is Nelson Cruz, who signed an $8 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles before the start of the 2014 season, then led the league with 40 homers and drove in 108 runs.

    For players with baggage or players trying to get over a subpar season, the ol' one-year deal is a way to prove themselves and get back on the open market. It's also a way for teams to buy low and cross their fingers for the best. The Orioles got one of Cruz's best seasons, won the AL East, then waved goodbye when he signed a four-year, $57 million deal with the Mariners.

    To the point here: The Kansas City Royals and Alex Rios would both pretty happy if they produced the sequel to Cruz's one-year magic.

    The Royals are expected to put Rios in right field, where free-agent Nori Aoki played last season. Manager Ned Yost will likely spell Rios in the late innings for Jarrod Dyson, whose speed and defense helped the Royals down the stretch in 2014. 

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  • Jon Lester wearing No. 34 in Chicago to honor Walter Payton, Kerry Wood

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The Chicago Cubs gave Jon Lester $155 million to be their new ace, but they couldn't give him the number he previously wore on his jersey. In Cubs history, No. 31 is retired in honor of both Ferguson Jenkins and Greg Maddux.

    So instead, Lester chose No. 34 — another number that sports fan in Chicago are used to rooting for.

    Lester was officially introduced as a member of the Cubs on Monday, putting on his new No. 34 and saying it's a tribute to three people, two of whom Chicago loved: Kerry Wood and Walter Payton. The third No. 34 is Nolan Ryan, and if the Lester can throw a few no-hitters, Chicago would dig that too.

    Kerry Wood told #Cubs it would be an honor if Jon Lester wore 34, so he took it

    Hey @JLester31 if you wanted my number all you had to do was ask jajajaja.....best of luck in chicago bro!!! pic.twitter.com/pjkTSzmxij

  • Dodgers sign pitcher Brett Anderson to risky $10 million deal

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    If any team has the money to spend $10 million on oft-injured, high-potential pitcher, it's the Los Angeles Dodgers. So it makes sense that free-agent pitcher Brett Anderson is reportedly headed for Hollywood.

    ESPN's Buster Olney reported Monday that a deal had been struck between the two sides, giving Anderson — who has started just 30 games the past three seasons — a chance for reinvention in Dodger blue.

    Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan confirmed the details, which include additional incentives that kick in if Anderson reaches 150 innings pitched. Only once in his six-year career has he pitched more than 150 innings, and that was as a rookie in 2009.

    Yankees, Braves and Royals were runners-up for Brett Anderson, who goes to the Dodgers for one year and $10M. Incentives start at 150 IP.

    Dodgers rotation now Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, McCarthy and Anderson. Could take 'em out of Hamels sweepstakes. @Buster_ESPN had signing first.

    Sup. pic.twitter.com/Zxq0hnEmkh

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  • Jed Lowrie returns to the Astros on a three-year, $23M deal

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Jed Lowrie is headed back to Houston.

    The free-agent infielder has agreed to a three-year deal with the Astros that'll have him playing shortstop in Houston again, which he did in 2012. Lowrie is making $23 million guaranteed, and could make more in a fourth year. Per Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle:

    Source: $23 million over three years for Jed Lowrie, with a team option that could bring it to $28 million.

    Lowrie, 30, could have fit a number of teams because he's versatile in the infield. The Giants, for instance, were considering him for third base. Last year in Oakland, he hit .249 with six homers and 50 RBIs. It was a down year for Lowrie, as his OPS plummeted from .791 to .676.

    The A's traded for Lowrie before the 2013 season, sending slugger Chris Carter, pitcher Brad Peacock and catcher Max Strassi back to Houston. Now Lowrie's returning to Houston, where he makes his offseason home, with things on the way up the Astros. 

    The Astros should be fun to watch in 2015, unlike when Lowrie was last playing there.

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  • Bryce Harper, Nats settle contract dispute with new $7.5M deal

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    We've avoided a salary war between the Washington Nationals, their young star Bryce Harper and his super-agent Scott Boras.

    The two sides have agreed to a new two-year contract that will pay Harper a total of $7.5 million for 2015 and 2016, according to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post.

    There was a dispute about the language in Harper's original contract, signed after he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft and whether he'd be eligible for salary arbitration. 

    Harper and the Nationals had been at odds over how his salary would be determined because of a rare dispute over the contract he signed as a first-round draft pick in 2010. If the sides had not settled, the Nationals and their most recognizable player would have engaged in a potentially contentious hearing Tuesday.

    Harper's bigger paydays are still to come. He's 22 and will be a free agent in 2019. In other words: The Nats and Boras have many more years in which they can argue about money.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

  • Chase Headley's four-year deal with Yankees puts A-Rod in limbo

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Alex Rodriguez might have been the only person expecting Alex Rodriguez to be the starting third baseman for the New York Yankees in 2015.

    But after the Yankees' latest move, even the ever-proud A-Rod has to see the writing on the wall.

    With the team committing upward of $50 million to sign third baseman Chase Headleyfor four years, it proves the Yankees aren't saving a spot for A-Rod or counting on him to contribute after his yearlong suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. 

    A-Rod, 39, hasn't played since Sept. 25, 2013, when he finished out a 44-game, injury-shortened season with the Yankees in which he hit .244 with seven homers and 14 RBIs while the Biogenesis scandal consumed him.

    "We've just got to go through spring training and see where he's at," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said last week at the MLB Winter Meetings. "He hasn't played a lot in two years. Third, DH, or whatever, depending on the makeup of the club, we have to see where he's at. 

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  • Female exec sues Frank Robinson, MLB for gender discrimination

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    Sylvia Lind has worked for Major League Baseball since 1995, most recently as its director of baseball operations initiatives, making her the top-ranking female Hispanic executive in the game.

    During a recent performance review, however, Lind was allegedly told by her boss, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, that "there are places women can't go," which is when her career at MLB took a drastic turn.

    Lind, in a lawsuit filed Thursday in New York City, came out blazing against the Commissioner's Office. Among her allegations: gender discrimination, a lack of opportunities for Hispanic females and that Robinson, theexecutive vice president of baseball development, isn't qualified for his job. MLB has denied all the claims in the suit.

    Lind also says she was never considered for Robinson’s current job, which pays over $1 million annually.

    “The claims in this suit are absolutely without merit. Since this is ongoing litigation we cannot comment further."

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