Big League Stew
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew10 hrs ago
The Walk-Off is your end-of-the-day collection of news and gossip from the world of baseball, plus the best of the blogosphere and other assorted goodness.
GOSSIP: Could the stingy Houston Astros be the team that ends up with sought-after free agent Shin-Soo Choo? [Climbing Tal's Hill]
GOOD READ: Can baseball make a comeback in Montreal? [Wall Street Journal]
YEAR IN REVIEW: 2013 in MLB, as told by Twitter. [Twitter]
ICYMI: One of the most explosive things that happened at the winter meetings? An agent fight in the parking lot. [Yahoo Sports]
GOSSIP: Padres and Indians are the frontrunners to land Joaquin Benoit. [@JeffPassan]
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
Logan Morrison — baseball's self-professed Twittaholic — is a brand new addition to the Seattle Mariners, after being traded from the Miami Marlins on Wednesday. It might be a good move for the Mariners, as Morrison is a guy who has more potential than what he's shown on the field thus far in his short career.
Seattle's gay population might not be cheering for Morrison once it sees his recent Twitter spat with a Texas Rangers fan who was trolling him about joining the Mariners.
Before we get into Morrison's transgression, let's first point out that this is a pretty stupid troll move. That's a joke you aim at Robinson Cano, not something you say to a guy who was previously playing for the Marlins.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew13 hrs ago
Robinson Cano is officially a Seattle Mariner. It's for real. The papers are signed. He's been trying on uniforms. The M's are selling T-shirts. Cano is being introduced to the Seattle media on Thursday afternoon.
On this occasion, whoever runs Cano's Twitter account, figured the right thing to do was thank New York for nine seasons in pinstripes that set him up to make $240 million on the open market.
I’m looking forward to the future and joining the @Mariners in Seattle! Thank you New York & my amazing fans for the support thru the years.
— Robinson Cano (@RobinsonCano) December 12, 2013
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew14 hrs 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 Stew16 hrs 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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- David Brown at Big League Stew17 hrs ago
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The San Francisco Giants added a big man with big power Thursday, the final day of baseball's winter meetings, signing slugger Michael Morse to a one-year contract for $5 million, plus incentives. Buster Olney of ESPN reported the money first. Morse, who turns 32 years old in March, likely will play left field, but also has put in time at first base.
He's sized like a beast, at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds. It's still hard to believe, no matter how much it's repeated humorously, that Morse came up through the minors as a shortstop. But he's shown he can hit, and hit it far, at the major league level — when healthy. He also resembles actor/funny troublemaker Sacha Baron Cohen.
- David Brown at Big League Stew18 hrs ago
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The National League Championship Series is over and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers fair and square, L.A. manager Don Mattingly acknowledged.
But... the Cardinals also were trying to steal their signs. St. Louis batted .330 with runners in scoring position during the regular season — which is absurdly good — but were down to .259 with RISP in the NLCS. Was it in part because their intelligence — as in information obtained through spying — wasn't as good?
Before leaving baseball's winter meetings, Mattingly told ESPN Los Angeles that the Dodgers made some adjustments to reduce the possibility that Cardinals coaches on the field would steal their signs:
The Dodgers complained to the umpires at times about where Cardinals third-base coach Jose Oquendo stood while coaching third base.
- David Brown at Big League Stew19 hrs ago
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Russell Wilson changed teams Thursday morning. No, the Seattle Seahawks didn't drop their Pro Bowl quarterback. That would be loopy, and actionable in court. Wilson changed baseball teams. The Texas Rangers selected Wilson in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft, taking him after the Colorado Rockies organization left him unprotected in their minor leagues.
The Rule 5 draft annually ends the winter meetings, where major league teams and their minor league affiliates come to talk trade, free agency and chum around at the bar. This season's meetings were light on official transactions, but Wilson's name popping up is a highlight. Here's his baseball card, which proves he's for real on the diamond.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew21 hrs ago
We've reached the final day. Baseball executives, agents, players looking for new teams and media members have gathered in Orlando this week for baseball's annual Winter Meetings. Thursday is fourth and final final day.
Given how the offseason has gone thus far, things are sure to be busy and unpredictable. We've already seen Roy Halladay declare his retirement, Mark Trumbo get traded in a three-team deal and the Mariners gobbling up players. What's going to happen on Day 4?
The Stew is here to help you stay up to date with the latest news and rumors. We've set up his handy tracker for you to follow all the final-day flurry.
- David Brown at Big League Stew22 hrs ago
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Baseball's winter meetings have come, and are going, quietly. Not a lot of trading or signing has happened at Walt Disney World — mostly just talking. One exception was that MLB has moved to outlaw crashes at home plate between runners and catchers. And one guy who's not happy about it is Pete Rose, who was banned from the game himself in 1989 because he was found to have gambled on baseball while manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
Among other things, Rose is famous for bowling over catcher Ray Fosse in order to score the winning run at the All-Star Game in 1970. Fosse was injured on the play and his career was never the same afterward. The Associated Press found Rose on Wednesday to get his take on the death of the home-plate collision. He thinks the game has been sacrificed to a bunch of wimps:
''What are they going to do next, you can't break up a double play?'' Rose said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press after MLB announced its plan Wednesday.