Big League Stew

  • Yoenis Cespedes and his excellent cars are back at spring training

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 16 hrs ago

    Blurry photos of players throwing, stories about men being in the best shape of their life and New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes pulling into a parking lot with the coolest car we’ve ever seen. These are the signs that spring training has officially arrived.

    The first two have been on display for a week now, but we finally got a glimpse at the final harbinger Monday.

    That’s Cespedes. pic.twitter.com/aIairBKJ0X

    — Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) February 20, 2017

    Ah, yes. It’s glorious. Now spring training can officially begin. It has our permission.

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  • This 41-year-old, ex-Cy Young winner is ready to make a comeback

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 18 hrs ago

    New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra once summed up baseball by saying, “it ain’t over, ’til it’s over,” but we’re not sure this is what he meant. Despite not pitching in the majors since 2008, 41-year-old, former Cy Young winner Eric Gagne believes it’s time for a comeback.

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    Gagne, who has been working with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a pitching instructor this spring, has his eyes set on a return to the mound. He’s been throwing bullpen sessions in his downtime to stay sharp, and has already thrown for both the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres.

    That second half skid was the beginning of the end for Gagne. He was awful with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008, putting up a 5.44 ERA over 46 1/3 innings. That was his final season in the majors. He was out of baseball at age-32.

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  • World Baseball Classic 2017: Australia doesn't have stars but could play spoiler

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 18 hrs ago

    From now until the World Baseball Classic begins on March 6, we’ll be helping you get to know each team involved in baseball’s global tournament. First up: Australia.

    Australia will not bring a star-studded team to the 2017 World Baseball Classic, but they will bring a team hopeful of making history.

    In their previous three WBC appearances, the Aussies were unable to advance beyond the first round of pool play. In fact, they’ve only recorded one single victory in nine games, which shows just how much ground they will have to make up.

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    Those early exits should serve as motivation for a team that hopes to make up for its lack of talent with experience. Australia will feature 11 pitchers currently in MLB organizations. Some you know. Most you don’t. If you know them one month from now, though, that will mean they’ve taken a big step forward.

    THREE BIG QUESTIONS ABOUT AUSTRALIA

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  • This outfielder ran through a wall but still gave up an inside-the-park grand slam

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 21 hrs ago

    If I told you that you were about to watch an inside-the-park grand slam, you’d probably think that’s pretty exciting, right? Fact is, any kind of inside-the-park home run is among the most exciting things that can happen on a baseball field.

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    How might you make an inside-the-park home run even more wild? How about adding an outfielder running through the outfield wall? Enter Austin Bogart, the left fielder for Stetson University, who did this Sunday:

    How do you hit an inside-the-park grand slam? Stetson LF Austin Bogart literally runs through the wall. (He's OK). pic.twitter.com/t43zYOjLZB

    — Saluki Baseball (@SIU_Baseball) February 19, 2017

    At least no one can doubt Austin Bogart’s effort.

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  • Watching batting practice may become more convenient for home fans

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    If you’re a fan that only attends a handful of MLB games each season, chances are catching batting practice is a high priority.

    Unfortunately though for fans of the home team, that’s not exactly convenient under baseball’s current set up. Even the earliest arrivals usually only catch a glimpse of the home team’s session, but that could change sooner than later.

    According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the commissioners office and the Major League Baseball Players Association are discussing a plan that would flip-flop the batting practice batting order before all games. The means the visitors would hit first and the home team would hit second, allowing more home fans to watch their team warm up.

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    Now we’ll see if the players are willing to get on board.

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  • Bryce Harper and Noah Syndergaard are building an old-school feud

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    As if the escalating tensions at Yankees camp weren’t enough drama for the opening weekend of spring training, the rivalry between the Nationals and Mets — and specifically Bryce Harper and Noah Syndergaard — appears poised to continue.

    After arriving to camp on Saturday, Harper was given an opportunity to fuel tensions or dismiss them with the Mets ace, who seemingly disparaged him with a one-word comment on Instagram.

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    While Harper avoided dumping gasoline on the situation, he didn’t dismiss it either. Instead, he seemed to characterize it as behavior he expects from Syndergaard, whose tweets sometimes blur the line between playful and adversarial.

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  • Spring Training 2017: Padres add Jered Weaver to depleted rotation

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Welcome to The Stew’s Spring Headlines, our daily look at the biggest MLB stories and news items from around spring training. Here you’ll find a quick recap of all the day’s action and other fun stuff from around the internet that we think is worth your time.

    BIGGEST NEWS OF THE DAY: The San Diego Padres have agreed to a one-year deal with Jered Weaver, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The veteran right-hander will earn a base salary of $3M million, adds Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, with an additional $250K available through an assignment bonus.

    Though he’s far beyond his prime, Weaver seems like a lock to earn a spot in the Padres’ depleted starting rotation. The 34-year-old right-hander has no fastball left to speak of, but the Padres hope he’ll be crafty enough to eat innings and lead a staff filled with retreads and unproven prospects.

    Weaver posted a 5.06 ERA last season to go along with a 5.2 K/9. [@BNightengale]

    THANK YOU: Weaver didn’t waste any time saying thank you to Angels fans.

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  • Blake Swihart's catching comeback encounters an unexpected glitch

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    A lot of eyes are on Blake Swihart this spring. The Boston Red Sox catcher is trying  to get back in the groove at his natural position after a move to the outfield derailed his 2016 season.

    Unfortunately, his early spring training workouts are not providing much optimism thanks to an unexpected glitch.

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    Swihart, whose season ended on June 4 after he crashed into a wall in foul territory while trying to catch a fly ball at Fenway Park, has encountered some issues with his accuracy on some throws back to the pitcher.

    That’s actually putting it mildly. According to Mass Live’s Christopher Smith, what Swihart has is a good old fashioned case of the yips, and so far it’s been one of the biggest stories at Red Sox camp.

    Not that he’s going to admit it.

  • Yankees president fuels tension with Dellin Betances after winning arbitration hearing

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    There’s a situation brewing at Yankees camp that could have a long-standing impact on the relationship between the team and star reliever Dellin Betances.

    On Saturday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that Betances was defeated in his arbitration hearingagainst the team, meaning he will earn just $3M in 2017. The hard-throwing right-hander had filed at $5M, which would have set a new precedent for set up relievers.

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    Betances’ elevated asking price has been a source of debate among writers and even fans. Many believe Betances’ role on the team as a set up man has unfairly capped his value. Others believe he shouldn’t be rewarded based on the assumption he’d excel in the closers role.

    Yankees president Randy Levine rips Dellin Betances' agents for "half baked attempt" to "use a player to change a well-established market."

    Woah, man. Slow that roll.

  • Yasiel Puig is ready to crush baseballs and kill zombies

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Attention, pitchers of the Cactus League and zombies of the greater southwest. Yasiel Puig is coming to get you.

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    The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder has been spotted holding a new piece of lumber that would help him strike fear into the hearts of opponents again, while also helping fend off a zombie apocalypse should one materialize.

    Yasiel Puig is ready for the zombies this season, with his "The Walking Dead" bat. Photo… https://t.co/6Xc3O3XTNy pic.twitter.com/8c8sAH78VL

    — Doug Padilla (@DougPadilla) February 17, 2017

    For those familiar with the hit television show “The Walking Dead,” you’ll recognize Puig is holding a replica of “Lucille,” the barbed wire-wrapped bat often used to kill the show’s previously deceased antagonists.

    It’s pretty clear here that Martinez is a fan of the show.

    Run!