Mike Oz

  • Padres bring back their brown uniforms, sort of

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 16 hrs ago

    There's a legion of baseball fans out there who've campaigned for years to get the San Diego Padres to bring back their brown uniforms. On Wednesday, their wish came true — sort of.

    The Padres announced that they'll wear their brown pinstriped uniforms from the late '80s for five games during the 2015 season. Five games are better than no games, right? If you're a baseball fan of a certain age, you know these jerseys well. You've probably seen Tony Gwynn get a few hundred hits in them.

    New in 2015: Way Back Wednesdays! For 5 Wednesday day games, team will wear home brown pinstripe uniforms ('85-'90) pic.twitter.com/w2QrZr0a0H

    The "Bring Back the Browns" movement got a viral boost recently when John Brubaker, a Padres fan and designer, mocked up some nice-looking brown uniforms inspired by the team's late '70s/early '80s look. 

    Here are Brubaker's mock-ups:

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  • Pablo Sandoval has become a basketball trick-shot master

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 20 hrs ago

    When Pablo Sandoval chose to leave the San Francisco Giants for the Boston Red Sox in free agency, he talked about wanting "new challenges." Maybe that meant hitting homers over the Green Monster.

    But maybe it also meant hitting half-court basketball shots from his butt:

    This appears to be part of his offseason training regimen, and apparently it's repeatable, because Sandoval did it again the very next day:

    Yes, the Kung Fu Panda has apparently become some sort of basketball trick-shot master since the Red Sox made him a $100 million man. Maybe he's spent his need-new-challenges winter watching Dude Perfect videos. You know, their slogan is "five best friends and a panda."

    BLS H/N: Cut4

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  • Report: Nats sign Casey Janssen to help back-end of bullpen

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 21 hrs ago

    After spending big to net the biggest free agent on the market this offseason — you know, that Max Scherzer guy — the Washington Nationals made a savvy move to address the other end of their pitching staff.

    They've reportedly signed ex-Toronto Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen to a one-year deal, a move they hope will strengthen their bullpen and add some insurance should closer Drew Storen meltdown.

    Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports was first to report Janssen's deal with the Nats. Barry Svrluga at The Washington Post writes Janssen is guaranteed $5 million — a $3.5 million base salary for 2015 plus a $1.5 buyout for 2016. Or the Nats could keep Janssen for 2016 and pay him $7 million.

    Another way to think of Janssen: Nats will spend $8.5M this year on their eighth-inning guy AND starting 2B, less than Clippard will make.

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  • Royals make bobblehead of Mike Moustakas' ALCS catch

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The Kansas City Royals had a handful of memorable postseason moments on their way to the 2014 World Series, but one of the absolute best was third baseman Mike Moustakas tumbling over a rail to make a catch in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles.

    You've probably seen the highlight a dozen times at this point, but now Moustakas' amazing catch is getting the bobblehead treatment. The Royals are giving away this beauty on June 20:

    How could a Royals fan NOT want this? The team has also captured Salvador Perez and Lorenzo Cain at their postseason best for bobbleheads. Check out Perez's game-winning hit from the AL wild-card game and one of Cain's many phenomenal playoff catches in bobblehead form:

    Yesterday’s #RoyalsTweetPeek revealed Lorenzo Cain will be repped in bobblehead form on 6/6 courtesy of Farmland. pic.twitter.com/wYCrLqEUcj

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  • Rob Manfred walks back his idea about banning defensive shifts

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Good news, rational-thinking baseball fans — it doesn't sound like your new supreme overlord, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, has any plans to ban defensive shifts tomorrow, by opening day or anytime soon, actually.

    Manfred, on his first day as commish, dropped the much-sneered-at idea that eliminating defensive shifts could bolster offense around the league. Many people didn't care for this, because it's essentially dumbing down the game, telling teams not to prepare the best game plans defensively. The Stew is among those who mocked the ban-the-shift idea.

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  • MLB has made it harder for Cuban players to enter the league, but that could be changing

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Given the influx of exciting Cuban players we've seen take baseball by storm in recent years, you'd think MLB would be eager to see more in big-league uniforms —especially considering the U.S.'s recent steps toward smoothing out relations with Cuba.

    In fact, the opposite has happened in recent years. MLB has reportedly made it tougherfor Cuban players to sign contracts with its teams and enter the league. Most recently, that's slowed the signing of Yoan Moncada, themuch-hyped 19-year-old infielderwho is the top Cuban free agent on the market right now. He could be better than Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Abreu, some scouts say, and has already worked out for the Yankees, Dodgers, Giants and others.

    Moncada's market will come down to this: Who can most afford a giant cash payout for the bonus penalty? It is due a month after he signs.

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  • Hey, MLB, here are more things you can ban to boost offense

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    It's only new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred's second day on the job, and he already has people rolling their eyes. On Sunday, the day he took over for Bud Selig, Manfred made diehard baseball fans facepalm when he talked about banning defensive shifts as a way to boost offense in games.

    It's a strange idea that basically says: Hey, MLB team, I know you've invested time and resources into scouting your opponents' tendencies, but in the interest of getting more kids to turn off their video games and watch baseball, we're not going to let you do that anymore. Yeah, yeah, strategy is cool, but let's make more money. 

    Getting rid of the shift, though, is pretty bland. Good luck getting a 13-year-old to turn off his PS4 because the shortstop isn't allowed to play behind second base anymore. He's yawning already!

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  • A-Rod planning to make a public apology during spring training

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    If you've been too tied up in the latest deflate-gate whatever-whatever to notice, the Alex Rodriguez circus has strolled back into town. We're still a month away from spring training, but the sideshow is already gearing up for what ought to be another wacky A-Rod spectacle.

    And we know how it will start — with an apology for PED-using, MLB-fighting ways.

    Alex Rodriguez is expected to address the media and publicly apologize when he he reports to the #Yankees spring training camp in a month.

    Yankees position players report to Tampa on Feb. 25, so go ahead and set a reminder in your smartphone right now for A-Rodapologypalooza . Rest assured, however, you have plenty of time to attend the virtual A-Rod outrage tailgate party, happening in an Internet comments section near you.

    It's going to be the best.

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  • The beer-guzzling legend of Wade Boggs keeps growing

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    The legend of Wade Boggs continues to grow — and we're not talking about his skills with a baseball bat.

    Boggs, the Hall of Famer who collected 3,010 hits in his day, is also famous for his beer-guzzling ways. A couple weeks ago, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" used Boggs' most famous beer story as a plot point. Boggs had supposedly drunk 64 beers on a cross-country flight when he was playing for the Boston Red Sox.

    For that, we turn to David Laurila's Sunday notes column at Fangraphs. He talked to ex-big league pitcher Brian Rose, who shared the following story about playing for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2001 when Boggs was the hitting coach there:

    Rose soon learned that Boggs could put away cold ones like nobody else.

    Well then!

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  • Report: Yankees refusing to pay A-Rod's $6M home-run bonus

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    The New York Yankees certainly imagined a different future when they signed then-superstar Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year, $272 million contract in 2007.

    They weren't thinking about PED suspensions and tabloid turmoil. They were thinking of the ultimate long-ball spectacle — A-Rod chasing the all-time home run record in Yankees pinstripes, and how much attention it would bring them.

    This is proven by the "milestone" incentives in A-Rod's contract, which pay $6 million with every MLB home-run titan he passes on the all-time list.

    He gets $6 million when he passes Willie Mays, another $6 million each if he passes Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds. The last three likely aren't in A-Rod's target, as he sits at 654 homers, but Mays certainly is. A-Rod needs seven homers to move past Mays, become fourth on the all-time list and collect $6 million.

    The deal was considered unique for the Yankees and was tied to Rodriguez making public relations and promotional appearances as he pursued the milestones. These kinds of marketing bonuses are not allowed in the standard player contract, according to the game’s Basic Agreement, which is why there was a separate contract.