Mike Oz

  • Josh Hamilton should retire from baseball, says his close friend

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 hrs ago

    There are still many unknowns in the Josh Hamilton story. Reports say he relapsed and started using cocaine again. We don't know for certain that's true, nor do we know what action MLB will take against Hamilton, though it has been confirmed that he met with league officials Wednesday in New York City.

    If the reports are true, then Roy Silver, a longtime friend of Hamilton's, says the Los Angeles Angels outfielder should just retire from baseball. Life is more important than baseball, as we'd all agree, and as Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown eloquently emphasizedin his latest column.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

    - - - - - - -

  • Giancarlo Stanton will wear a custom helmet to protect his face

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 6 hrs ago

    You can't blame Giancarlo Stanton for going the extra step to protect his face with a one-of-a-kind helmet he plans to wear for the 2015 season. And not because he recently signed a $325 million contractor because he's getting the model treatment from Sports Illustrated.

    In a scene that's still hard to shake, Stanton's 2014 season endedwhen he was hit in the face with a pitch. He sustained facial fractures, dental damage and was carted off the field. It was both gruesome and unfortunate, considering he was having an MVP-like season for the Miami Marlins.

    So this year, Stanton will wear a new custom helmet that will prevent a sequel. Check it out:

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

    - - - - - - -

  • California stars are dominating MLB merchandise sales

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    If you need more proof that California is the most interesting state in baseball these days, consider this: The top five merchandise movers in all of MLB play for California-based teams, according to new data from Fanatics.com, the top online retailer for sports merchandise.

    Couple that with the fact that four out of the five California MLB teams made the playoffs in 2014, and the sunny West Coast is doing quite well on the diamond these days. Even the San Diego Padres bumped up their Q rating this offseason.

    Fanatics' list isn't limited to just jersey sales, but all MLB licensed merchandise. Here's the top five:

    1. Madison Bumgarner 2. Mike Trout 3. Buster Posey 4. Clayton Kershaw 5. Yasiel Puig

    You can check out the rest of the top 10 list in the slideshow above. Spoiler alert: There are no additional California stars to be found.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

    - - - - - - -

  • Report: Josh Hamilton meeting with MLB about 'disciplinary issue'

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    It sounds like trouble and Josh Hamilton might have found each other again.

    The Los Angeles Angels acknowledged Wednesday that their injured outfielder has been summoned to meet with MLB officials at the league office in New York City. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports Hamilton's trip is regarding a "disciplinary issue."

    From The Times' Mike DiGiovanna:

    “I can say that Josh is going to meet with league officials in New York,” [GM Jerry] Dipoto said. “At this point I have no other information to offer.” The Los Angeles Times learned the meeting involved a disciplinary issue through a person with knowledge of the situation.

    Hamilton has an injured shoulder, and he doesn’t have a locker in the Angels’ spring training clubhouse at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Hamilton’s agent, Michael Moye, did not return several messages, and MLB spokesman Pat Courtney declined to comment.

    Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal adds:

    Asked a baseball executive if Hamilton’s discipline was for PEDs. His response: “Worse.” The executive declined to elaborate.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

  • Giancarlo Stanton and his muscles get body painted for Sports Illustrated cover

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Giancarlo Stanton became the first MLB player to sign a $300 million contract last November, and now he's following that up with another history-making feat: He's the first male athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated in body paint.

    Him and his muscles, that is. Here's the newest SI cover in which Stanton gets anointed the "model slugger," a reference to both his hunky 6-foot-6 frame and his 37 homers last year. 

    This week's national cover: @Marlins slugger @Giancarlo818 is no paint-by-numbers star http://t.co/amCQTykcbw pic.twitter.com/RP7zt5DGep

    [Baseball is back! Check out Yahoo For Spring Training for great spring training pics.]

    We're just happy no one at SI pushed to have Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria body painted too.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

    - - - - - - -

  • Giants GM says California taxes make it harder to sign free agents

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Coming off an unspectacular offseason in the player-acquisition department, San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean identified a culprit you might not expect: the state of California and its taxes.

    The Giants failed to re-sign Pablo Sandoval, who left for Boston. They were runners-up for Jon Lester. They were rumored to be interested in James Shields and Yoan Moncada at various times of the winter, but landed neither.

    The Giants did sign Nori Aoki, traded for Casey McGehee and brought back pitchers Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong, but that wasn't exactly a top-flight offseason for the defending World Series champs.

    [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today!]

    "To entice a free agent to come to San Francisco, we're almost in an overpay situation, so why get involved in all those battles where you're not going to be able to go up the totem pole money-wise?" Sabean said.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

    - - - - - - -

  • California lawmaker wants to ban chewing tobacco for MLB players

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    New commissioner Rob Manfred isn't the only person with ideas that would radically change the culture of MLB. Tony Thurmond, a state assembly member in California, introduced a bill Tuesday that would ban the use of chewing tobacco at MLB games in his state — even among players.

    Forget a pitch clock, you want something that would force MLB players to change their routine? This is it. 

    Chewing tobacco is plentiful all over the league, with many players carrying a canister in their back pocket or dipping into a bag in the dugout. Having to stop that for California games? That would take some getting used to. Here's the explanation of the bill, via Reuters:

    "I'm hopeful that this bill will lend to his legacy, that it will help to prevent illness for young people and young athletes."

    - - - - - - -

  • You know who's rooting for A-Rod this season? Hank Aaron

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    The ever-beloved Hank Aaron is backing the ever-hated Alex Rodriguez, as A-Rod returns from his year-long PED suspension. More specifically, Aaron told Newsday's Steven Marcus that he's rooting for A-Rod to make a strong comeback in 2015.

    This might fly in the face of popular baseball narratives, which paint A-Rod as a villainous cheater out to steal the home-run records of the greats before him, like Aaron, who "played the game the right away."

    If that's how you feel, by all means don't fight the feelin', but know that Aaron has no ill will toward A-Rod:

    [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today!]

    Don't worry, Hank, the Internet is full of people who will happily judge A-Rod.

    BLS H/N: @DrewGROF

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

    - - - - - - -

  • Cal Ripken Jr. denies claim that he abusively hazed Orioles rookies

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Baltimore Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. says the recently made public tales of him as an abusive clubhouse hazer are completely false, a stance corroborated by other Orioles of the era.

    Journeyman catcher Gregg Zaun, who played with the Orioles in 1995 and 1996, portrayed Ripken as a clubhouse bully who destroyed Zaun's suit because he crossed an imaginary line on a team plane, who held him down on a training table and who punched him repeatedly in the ribcage. Zaun, strangely, revealed all this, then said he appreciated what Ripken did because it "kept him in line."

    [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today!]

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

    - - - - - - -

  • Cubs hire Manny Ramirez as a hitting consultant

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    It seems like, for now at least, Manny Ramirez is ready to put aside his dreams of playing in the big leagues again and slide into coaching.

    Ramirez, who spent part of 2014 as a Triple-A player/coach in the Chicago Cubs organization, has been hired by the Cubs as a hitting consultant. It's a "significant" role, says Cubs president Theo Epstein. 

    Ramirez got rave reviews last year in his Triple-A role. The Cubs wanted his at-the-plate know-how, and let him indulge in playing some too. Now, there's no part-time playing. Just teaching the young Cubs hitters. It's worth a mention, however, that Ramirez hasn't officially announced his retirement as a player.

    From Mark Gonzales at the Chicago Tribune:

    Ramirez will continue to work with the club’s major and minor league hitters on the fundamental and mental aspects of hitting.

    It seems especially important for the Cubs to have someone with Latin American roots to help their crop of talented youngsters — including Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Arismendy Alcantara — as they progress from prospects to full-time big leaguers.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

    - - - - - - -