Big League Stew
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew3 hrs ago
It's that time of the year again. Baseball executives, agents, players looking for new teams and media members have gathered in Orlando this week for baseball's annual Winter Meetings.
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 and Mark Trumbo get traded in a three-team deal this week at the winter meetings. What's going to happen on Day 3?
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 third-day thunder.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew9 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.
IMPORTANT: MLB is moving forward with new posting system, but it's still unclear whether Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka will come to America for the 2014 season. [Yahoo Sports]
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew14 hrs ago
Former Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay officially retired on Monday after signing a one-day contract with his original team, the Toronto Blue Jays.
That type of short-term agreement is a little unusual in MLB — at least compared to the other major sports — but allowed Halladay’s career to come full-circle, while also affording him an opportunity to say a proper good-bye to the organization and fans that practically raised him out of high school. From that perspective, it was cool to see his career wrap up as a Blue Jay. But it was just as cool to see that on Tuesday, Halladay made sure the fans in Philadelphia got their proper thank you and good-bye as well in a newspaper ad that ran in the Philadelphia Daily News.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew16 hrs ago
When Mark Mulder retired in 2010 at age 32, it was begrudgingly. "I guess I have retired," he said. He guessed. Not exactly full of conviction.
Injuries had derailed his once-stellar career. He pitched in only 23 games from 2006 to 2008. After baseball, he transitioned into an analyst gig, talking baseball for ESPN. He's been doing that since 2011. Turns out that watching baseball made him realize he might be able to pitch again.
And thus, Mark Mulder has declared that he'll attempt a comeback in 2014.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick gives us the news, including the unlikely inspiration that started Mulder on the comeback path:
[T]hings changed in October when Mulder watched Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez on TV and found something in Rodriguez's delivery that he could emulate. Mulder spent the month of November working himself into shape at a Phoenix-area facility run by former big-league catcher Chad Moeller, and recently threw off the mound for three unspecified teams near his home in Scottsdale.
- David Brown at Big League Stew17 hrs ago
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — A first-time manager, Matt Williams of the Washington Nationals says he has taken the pulse of his new club, figuratively, and he likes the results.
Talking to reporters Tuesday at the winter meetings, Williams said the Nationals are motivated by what happened in 2013 when the team underachieved and missed the playoffs.
"They want to make amends for that. They want to make sure that doesn't happen again. And that's the players talking, which is great," said Williams, who coached for the Diamondbacks before being hired by Nats general manager Mike Rizzo. "So you sit there as the manager, man, these guys are on it. They're ready to go."
Williams is excited about the lineup the Nats can unfurl. Not only the brute force brought by sluggers Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Wilson Ramos and Adam LaRoche, but also their collective look. Several of those players — notably Werth, Harper and La Roche — sport beards. Not surprisingly, Werth is particularly "shaggy" right now, Williams said.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew17 hrs ago
A fact of baseball in 2013: If you can acquire a slugger capable of hitting 30 homers per year, you do it. Power is a commodity, an expensive commodity at that.
However, that doesn't mean Arizona Diamondbacks fans should look at newly acquired slugger Mark Trumbo — obtained in a three-team swap with the Los Angeles Angels and Chicago White Sox — as Superman. The D-backs gave up a pitcher in Tyler Skaggs whose upside seems to have diminished a bit, and an outfielder in Adam Eaton who might become really good, but was expendable in Arizona if it meant acquiring a power-hitter. The D-backs needed another power bat, and they went out and got it in Trumbo.
It's not a bad deal for the Diamondbacks. It's just that behind the 35-homer, 100-RBI power, sits a player with flaws, and a player going into a situation that's flawed. Just warning you, Arizona: Trumbo may end up being that Christmas gift you don't like as much a month after you take it out of the box.
Done Deals: Mark Trumbo traded to D-backs in three-team deal; Rockies acquire Brett Anderson from the A'sMike Oz at Big League Stew19 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.
Mark Trumbo goes to Diamondbacks in three-team deal with Angels and White Sox Slugger Mark Trumbo, one of the Los Angeles Angels' big bats, will join Paul Goldschmidt in the Arizona Diamondbacks lineup, after the Angels, D-backs and Chicago White Sox completed a three-team trade. Speedy center fielder Adam Eaton will go from Arizona to Chicago, while the Angels get the starting pitching they so desperately needed — Tyler Skaggs from the D-backs and Hector Santiago from the White Sox. The D-backs are also getting two prospects, one each from the White Sox and Angels.
- David Brown at Big League Stew20 hrs ago
Well, that escalated quickly...
— Adam Eaton (@AdamSpankyEaton) December 10, 2013
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — There are two kinds Adam Eatons in this world of Major League Baseball. The Chicago White Sox are getting the Adam Eaton who plays the outfield, not the guy who used to pitch for the Padres, Phillies and others — but not since 2009.
Adam C. Eaton, 25, heads to the White Sox on Tuesday in a three-team trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Angels. The D-backs get slugger Mark Trumbo from the Angels, who get left-hander Hector Santiago from the White Sox and lefty Tyler Skaggs from Arizona.
Trumbo has been on the market for a while, and the D-backs have been dangling Skaggs, their top prospect from a year ago, but Eaton has a point — the deal as it went down did seem to escalate quickly at the winter meetings, where very little action had occurred so far. The White Sox, with some pitching depth and a woeful offense, stepped in to make it a match.
- David Brown at Big League Stew22 hrs ago
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Oh, no he didn't.
During his official introduction as a new New York Mets player Tuesday afternoon at baseball's winter meetings, Curtis Granderson stuck a metaphorical knife in the backs of New York Yankees fans. In saying he was looking forward to the challenge of Citi Field, reputed to be much less hitter-friendly than Yankee Stadium, Granderson drifted into another perceived difference between his old and his new franchise:
"I'm looking forward to getting out there, and one, playing defense, two, hitting the baseball, seeing where it's going to bounce around, getting a chance to run and seeing some great fans come out there," Granderson said.
"A lot of the people I've met in New York have always said true New Yorkers are Mets fans. So I'm excited to get a chance to see them all out there."
Just to repeat: "... true New Yorkers are Mets fans."
Taking thumb out of cheek, let's take him earnestly for a moment. Is he right? It's impossible for a non-New Yorker to answer. Granderson's comments bring up more questions than answers:
• What's a "true New Yorker"? Does he mean cabbies?
- David Brown at Big League Stew23 hrs ago
The second overall pick in the 2001 draft by the Chicago Cubs, right-hander Mark Prior came to the majors a year later with all of the promise in the world. Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 23o pounds with thick legs and a pretty delivery, Prior looked like Hollywood had cast him to be the perfect pitcher in a movie.
And he was one of the best pitchers in the league in his second season, finishing third in Cy Young voting and ninth in MVP while also leading the Cubs to within five outs of the World Series. And yet, by the time Prior turned 23 years old, he was on the decline because of injuries to his shoulder and other body parts. He threw what would be his last big-league pitch about a month before his 26th birthday in 2006.