Mike Oz

  • Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez lead 2015 Hall of Fame ballot

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 59 mins ago

    The 2015 Hall of Fame ballot is out, and it's loaded with stars, a scenario that could give us a large group headed for enshrinement in Cooperstown. There are 17 new players on the ballot, but two imposing names stand out: Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez, two of the most dominant pitchers of their era.

    Also on the ballot for the first time are John Smoltz, Carlos Delgado, Gary Sheffield and Nomar Garciaparra. Carryovers who have a good chance to gain election include Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell. Then there are embattled candidates such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, whose cases will be watched closely.

    Martinez and Johnson seem like sure things, considering they both earned multiple Cy Young awards — three for Martinez, five for Johnson. The only knock on Martinez might be that he only won 219 games instead of the magic threshold of 300, but he figures to be on the right side of the vote.

    Don Mattingly, who got 8.2 percent last year, is in 15th and final year on the ballot. He's likely to get some sentimental votes in his final year, but not enough to help him reach 75 percent.

    - - - - - - -

  • Reports: Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval finalizing deals with Red Sox

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 hrs ago

    It appears as if the Boston Red Sox are trying to shift baseball's balance of power from the West Coast back to New England. 

    Separate reports have the Red Sox signing both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval in an effort to jump start their offense. 

    Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says that Ramirez is on his way to Boston to finalize a deal with the Red Sox on Monday. It's worth about $90 million over five years, Rosenthal reports.

    Meanwhile, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Sandoval and the club agreed to a deal worth five years and $100 million.

    Ramirez, 30, is a career .300 hitter, but his numbers were down a bit in 2014, as he hit .283 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs. For his career, he averages 25 homers and 87 RBIs per 162 games, but he's been injured quite a bit the past two seasons.

    So Ramirez could move to third base, but that's where Sandoval has played for the Giants.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

    - - - - - - -

  • Rays name three finalists for manager job, including Raul Ibanez

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    There's one open manager job in Major League Baseball, it belongs to the Tampa Bay Rays and it seems like they're running their job search like a reality TV show.

    The Rays announced their final three finalists Friday — Kevin Cash, the bullpen coach of the Cleveland Indians, Don Wakamatsu, the bench coach of the Kansas City Royals and player Raul Ibanez, who isn't yet retired and last played for the Royals.

    That is pared down from 10 candidates that the Rays announced on Nov. 6. Most notably absent from the finalist list is Dave Martinez, who many considered the favorite for the job after serving as the Rays' bench coach under Joe Maddon since 2008.

    The Rays put together these bio cards for each finalist. See what we mean about a reality show.

    Get to know #Rays managerial finalist Kevin Cash: pic.twitter.com/MS5i5p18KT

    There won't be a public vote, like most reality TV competitions. Not that we've heard, at least.

  • MLB isn't making any major changes to its video replay system

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    If you hate the video replay system MLB put in place last season and want to heave it out of a window, well, too bad.

    There aren't any major changes coming to the replay system, commissioner-elect Rob Manfred told reporters.

    MLB will tweak the system, but not overhaul it in any substantial way. From the sound of things, the tweaks are mostly behind-the-scenes, things the average fan might not have even noticed. From the New York Post:

    "I think the core of replay is going to be similar,” Manfred said. “I think the changes that we’re contemplating are largely technology, cameras, things like that. There are some issues related to exactly how long it takes to get the replay going that we’re looking at.”

    There's one other tweak that Manfred didn't talk about it and it's a good one. Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, told reporters last week that they won't allow managers to stall the game while figuring out whether to challenge.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

    - - - - - - -

  • Why Yankees GM Brian Cashman spent the night on the street

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    Temperatures hit an overnight low of 27 degrees in New York City on Thursday, so Yankees general manager Brian Cashman bundled up in layers, put a beanie over his head and tried his best to stay warm. If Cashman were lucky, he might just get a couple hours of sleep — though the solid concrete under his body would make that tough.

    For Cashman, this was one night. For some people, this is life. Every day.

    So Cashman spent his night helping out in an unusual way. He was one of hundreds of executives nationwide who participated in the annual "Sleep Out" organized by Covenant House, sleeping on the streets of Manhattan as if he were homeless. Covenant House is a non-profit that manages shelters for homeless youth in 21 cities across the country. Last year, it helped more than 57,000 kids.

    Your browser does not support iframes.

    Cashman told MLB.com that $1.6 million was raised in New York on Thursday, a big chunk of about $5 million raised nationally.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

    - - - - - - -

  • Oscar Taveras' family uses his Twitter to share fan tributes

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    The family of St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, who died last month at age 22 in a car accident in the Dominican Republic, has started using his Twitter account as a digital memorial.

    On Thursday night, an unidentified family member told the public that Taveras' account would be used to share fan tributes that had been sent to them.

    The family simply wished to offer its thanks, they said. For the rest of us, it's an interesting look at how fans mourn a dead ballplayer — particularly one who didn't have a long MLB career, but created a very memorable moment for Cardinals fans.

    This is how Taveras' family started it off:

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

  • Dodgers get reliever Joel Peralta in four-player trade with Rays

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    The Los Angeles Dodgers, who have spent the last year trying to build a stable bullpen, went out and acquired a relief pitcher Thursday that new boss Andrew Friedman knows well.

    Joel Peralta, the veteran right-hander, is joining the Dodgers after being shipped across the country in a four-player trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. Friedman, who became the Dodgers' president of baseball operations in October, was the GM of the Rays all four years Peralta played there.

    Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times sizes up the particulars on Peralta

    Peralta, who turns 39 in March, has pitched in 69 or more games in each of the last four seasons. He led the major leagues with 80 appearances in 2013, when he posted a 3.71 earned-run average. Peralta is under contract next year for $2.5 million. His deal includes $2.5-million team options for 2016 and 2017. 

    In return, the Rays get two pitchers too: Jose Dominguez, who can pump the radar gun up to 103 mph but has a 6.14 career ERA in 14 appearances, and Greg Harris, a 20-year-old who pitched in Single-A in 2014.

  • The Red Sox will look brilliant if they can lure back Jon Lester

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    It always seemed like such a novel idea: If you're a team not in contention and you have a star who's going to be a free agent after the season but wants to stay, why not trade him and then sign him again a few months later? 

    You get a prize in return at the sacrifice of a few meaningless months. What's there to lose? The two sides shake hands, agree this is only temporary and plan for better things in the following year.

    It's devious, somewhat conniving and glorious on a "House of Cards" sort of level.

    That's not exactly what's happening with the Boston Red Sox and Jon Lester, there’s a little more nuance than that. But the Red Sox are in the rare situation where they could re-sign their traded-away star and put him in the same lineup as the guy they got in return, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

    Was he really that upset with the Red Sox? Or was the whole thing blown out of proportion?

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

    - - - - - - -

  • Brace yourself for Guy Fieri's mullet at a 2000 Giants game

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    Hey @gewqk were you diggin through my family photos? #tbt to 2000 watchin the @SFGiants pic.twitter.com/jhppB51Rs5

    Guy Fieri turned Throwback Thursday into Party-in-the-Back Thursday by sharing a picture of his mulleted self at a San Francisco Giants game in 2000.

    It figures that Fieri, the prolific Food Network host, once had a mullet. It makes perfect sense, actually. We'd just never imagined it before.

    Alternate versions of Guy Fieri's hair are a hot topic on the Internet this week. Buzzfeed posted an image of what Fieri might look like with a different hairdo and it attacked trending-topic lists far and wide.

    By 2030, he might even catch up with current trends.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

    - - - - - - -

  • Jose Canseco lied to us all about his finger falling off

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    Like many things on the Internet, some of what shows up on Jose Canseco's Twitter feed is too good to be true.

    A perfect example is that made-to-grab-headlines moment last week when Canseco said his reattached finger fell off during a poker tournament.

    Turns out Canseco made it up. It was a hoax, he admitted to TMZ Sports, inspired by Halloween. Canseco shooting off his finger isn't a hoax — at least as far as we know. But that odd Chapter Two, when it supposedly fell off and was caught on camera? Never happened.

    Per TMZ Sports:

    Canseco had Tweeted a picture of his detached finger, but he's since deleted it. And he's been quiet on Twitter for almost a day. You gotta figure he's up to something.