- Mike Oz at Big League Stew17 hrs ago
Get ready to rage, Baltimore.
The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a two-year deal with pitcher Grant Balfour to become their new closer. He'll make $15 million total — $7 million per year, plus $500,000 deferred from each season. Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com was first to report the deal was done. Balfour and the O's had been linked for the past week.
Balfour, 35, is an Australian who saved 38 games last season for the Oakland Athletics. He had a 2.59 ERA in 62.2 innings. Last year was his first as a full-time closer, though he did close for the A's some in 2012. He blew only five saves the past two seasons. Throughout his 10-year career, he has an ERA of 3.27.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew19 hrs ago
The New York Yankees needed a second baseman to replace Robinson Cano. Free agent Brian Roberts needed a team that wouldn't mind signing an oft-injured, ex-All Star who recently turned 36 and hit .231 in limited action the past three seasons. Honestly, could you find a better match?
Thus, the Yankees have signed Roberts to a one-year contract worth $2 million, proving that either the team can't deny what it has become — a team of old injured ex-stars — or it's just trolling baseball bloggers now.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew5 days ago
The Seattle Mariners made official Thursday their deal with Robinson Cano. Of course, Cano leaving New York for Seattle is old news by baseball standards, but his *official* introduction did reveal a few interesting things. Enough things, in fact, for a bullet-pointed list. Let's do that, shall we?
• Hey, check out that beard Cano either didn't bring a razor with him to Seattle, didn't want to use any of his $240 million to buy one or he's been wanting to have a beard all this time. Beards, of course, are outlawed by the Yankees. But here he is, with a beard. (Imaginary subtext: Take that, Yankees!) Good news, Robbie, now you can scratch your face with $100 bills if your new beard starts to itch.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew5 days ago
This is The Stew's running list of trades and signings that happen during baseball's winter meetings. We'll keep updating this post as the news happens. For more chatter and rumors, be sure to check out our winter meetings tracker.
THURSDAY Joba Chamberlain joins the Tigers bullpen Adding another arm to their rebuilt bullpen, the Detroit Tigers have agreed to terms with Joba Chamberlain, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. The contract is for one year and $2.5 million. Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown first reported Wednesday that the Tigers were a possible destination for Chamberlain. BLS take : Joba was once a star-in-the-making for the Yankees, but floundered in the Big Apple. By 2013, he had the worst year of his career. He posted a 4.93 ERA in 40 innings. Now he'll likely set up new Tigers closer Joe Nathan. Getting out of pinstripes could be a new start for Joba, 28, at least the Tigers are hoping so.
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- Mike Oz at Big League Stew6 days ago
Some pitchers welcome a move to the National League, because it means they get to bat. Bartolo Colon is not one of those pitchers.
Colon agreed to a two-year deal with the New York Mets on Wednesday, which will pay him $20 million. It also means he'll need to bat routinely. Watch the video above. That's him batting last year with the Oakland Athletics during an interleague game against the Milwaukee Brewers where there was no DH to help him.
Notice how he bails out of the box on a called third strike right down the middle. He later made contact and flied out — but ran to first base holding his bat.
Colon has been in the league so long that he was a rookie the year that interleague play began. He's 40 years old. He's played 16 seasons with seven teams, but only once has he played for an NL team. He has 10 hits in his career, which isn't bad for a pitcher considering he only has 96 career at-bats. But he doesn't have a hit since 2005. Five of his hits came in 2002 when he played for the Montreal Expos. He actually only has on hit since then.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew6 days ago
Andrew McCutchen is off the market. The newly minted NL MVP — and probably the coolest guy in baseball — proposed to girlfriend Maria Hansloven ... on national TV! That's how cool he is. Cutch was a guest on Wednesday's episode "Ellen" and promised his fans a "big announcement."
As you'll see in the video above, it was biggest for Hansloven. Cutch cued up a video talking about their relationship, then called her on stage and said, "I didn't do any of this for the publicity. I didn't do any of this for the recognition. I did this to show you that if I could tell the whole world how much I love you, I would do that." Then he dropped to a knee and presented the ring. Judging by Ellen's reaction, it was quite a rock.
Well played, Mr. McCutchen, well played.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew7 days ago
A fact of baseball in 2013: If you can acquire a slugger capable of hitting 30 homers per year, you do it. Power is a commodity, an expensive commodity at that.
However, that doesn't mean Arizona Diamondbacks fans should look at newly acquired slugger Mark Trumbo — obtained in a three-team swap with the Los Angeles Angels and Chicago White Sox — as Superman. The D-backs gave up a pitcher in Tyler Skaggs whose upside seems to have diminished a bit, and an outfielder in Adam Eaton who might become really good, but was expendable in Arizona if it meant acquiring a power-hitter. The D-backs needed another power bat, and they went out and got it in Trumbo.
It's not a bad deal for the Diamondbacks. It's just that behind the 35-homer, 100-RBI power, sits a player with flaws, and a player going into a situation that's flawed. Just warning you, Arizona: Trumbo may end up being that Christmas gift you don't like as much a month after you take it out of the box.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew8 days ago
Apparently Barry Bonds' $25 million Beverly Hills mansion hasn't been dazzling potential buyers since it went on the market last January. Now the ex-MLB slugger has reduced the price by $1.5 million.
Poor Barry. Can't get into the Hall of Fame on his first try, can't sell his house. It is a nice crib too — 17,100-square-foot of nice, in fact. Here's how Realtor.com describes it:
Bonds’ enormous mansion is one of his finest home runs, which is saying something considering he hit 762 bombs over the course of his career. Beyond its sheer size — Bonds expanded the compound-estate by 5,500 square feet after buying it — the Hall of Fame property is flush in the finer things of life.
Looking right at home on its 1.85 acres, the seven-bedroom, 13-bathroom manse comes complete with “smart home” technology, allowing a person to control a number of functions from the touch of an iPad or iPhone (probably Android devices, too).
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew13 days ago
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Famous actor/Red Sox fan/Funky Bunch leader Mark Wahlberg has no hard feelings about Jacoby Ellsbury taking $153 million from the New York Yankees and departing from the Boston Red Sox.
"We got the ring already, let him get his money ... Johnny Damon did it, it is what it is ... I'm very happy for him, he's a great guy."
That reaction might seem somewhat surprising considering how hard some in Boston are taking the news, and how dedicated the Wahlberg clan is to their Boston sports.
- Mike Osegueda at Big League Stew29 days ago
We've given a lot of love to fielders and their wizardry with their gloves in our recent Plays of the Year entries, but today, let's focus on the bats. That's why so many of us like baseball — there's very little in sports that can match the excitement of a big hit.
We saw a number of great ones this season — from midseason marvels to postseason daggers. It was hard to narrow this category down to four finalists, but we did. Two from the postseason, two from the regular season. Which is the best? Most impressive? Most exciting? Well, that's for you to decide.
Head over to the Big League Stew Facebook page and vote for your favorite. But first, watch them all again, in chronological order: