Big League Stew
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew10 hrs ago
With the hope of a new season also comes renewed excitement about the future of baseball and those who could become the game's next household names. That will be the focus of MLB Network this Friday night when they air a one-hour special revealing MLB.com's Top 50 prospects for the 2015 season.
To qualify for the list, a prospect must have rookie status for the 2015 season. That eliminates a player like Javier Baez, who broke the 130 at-bat threshold in 2014 despite only joining the Chicago Cubs in August. With that guideline in mind, here are a couple things to ponder going in that will undoubtedly become the source of debates following the announcement.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
Being a relief pitcher in Major League Baseball is a tough job with an even tougher reality. Sooner or later, every fan will be able to place your face to your name, and more times than not it will be something negative that creates that connection.
Despite sharing a name with one of the world's most popular actors and appearing in 78 games during the 2014 seasons, that hasn't happened yet to Milwaukee Brewers reliever Will Smith. He still manages to fly mostly under the radar in his home city, and he recently used that temporary lack of recognition to his advantage to provide some comic relief.
At the Brewers On Deck event over the weekend, Smith traded in his uniform and went undercover as newscaster Bill Schmidt to interview fans about, you guessed it, Will Smith.
The results were predictably entertaining. Here's a look.
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Not surprisingly, Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez and Hank the Dog were among the most popular Brewers, but it seemed like most recognized Smith's contributions, despite not having a clue they were actually talking to him. We'll consider that a plus under the circumstances.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew15 hrs ago
Despite a series of high impact moves this offseason, Chicago White general manager Rick Hahn isn't ready to set his opening day roster just yet. On Wednesday, he was back to work, signing free agent second baseman Gordon Beckham to a one-year, $2 million deal.
The somewhat surprising signing comes less than six months after Hahn traded Beckham to the Los Angeles Angels in a post deadline trade. To make room on the 40-man roster, outfielder Dayan Viciedo has been designated for assignment. That decision comes two weeks after Viciedo avoided arbitration with a one-year, $4.4 million deal.
Indeed, that's some notable maneuvering.
In re-signing Beckham, the White Sox at least know what they're getting, which makes him a more comfortable addition than similar free agents still available. Chicago drafted Beckham eighth overall in the 2008 amateur draft and oversaw a relatively quick development. Beckham debuted in the big leagues one year later and spent his first five plus seasons on Chicago's big league roster, hitting .245/.307/.375 in 765 games.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew15 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:
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew20 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."
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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- Mike Oz at Big League Stew21 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.
- Israel Fehr at Big League Stew1 day ago
When Ryan Braun set off for Milwaukee to attend the Brewers Fan Fest over the weekend, he couldn't have expected to make an appearance in any wedding photos.
However, that's exactly what happened Saturday when a member of a local couple's wedding party spotted the Brewers star. He was walking down the street while they were outside their reception at a downtown hotel taking pictures.
"We heard my friend yell 'Hey Ryan!'" the groom, Jesse Anderson, . "We didn't know what he was doing. We figured he saw somebody he knows from back home or something."
Braun made his way over to join the group and stood in for a few shots. For the couple, well at least for the bride, it was the highlight of the night.
"It was a really fun and memorable moment," said the bride, Janice Anderson. "I'd like to say thank you to Ryan Braun. He definitely has the hearts of everybody who was at our wedding. But don't worry, my new husband has my heart!"
- Israel Fehr at Big League Stew1 day ago
Having lost outfielders Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis in free agency, the Orioles swung a trade with the Pirates on Tuesday to help fill that void.
Source: Travis Snider deal to Baltimore believed to be done. Class A pitcher Stephen Tarpley one of the prospects going to the Pirates.
The lovely and talented @danconnollysun first reported rekindled Travis Snider talks. Deal is indeed done: Snider for Tarpley and PTBNL.
For Snider it's a return to the division where he got his start in the big leagues. A first round draft pick of the Blue Jays in 2006, he played 242 games for Toronto before being traded to the Pirates during the 2012 season. Snider was the odd man out in Pittsburgh, with the team ready to hand the starting right field job to young stud Gregory Polanco.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew1 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:
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew1 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.