Bud Black named Angels’ special assistant

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ANAHEIM — The Angels announced Tuesday that they have hired Bud Black as a special assistant to new general manager Billy Eppler, news of which was first reported by MLB.com last week.


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Black was the Angels’ pitching coach from 2000-06, then served as the Padres’ manager for the next 8 1/2 years until being dismissed this summer. His official hiring comes six days after Ron Roenicke, yet another one of Mike Scioscia’s high-profile coaches from the 2002 World Series championship team, was named the third-base coach.

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Black, who lives in Southern California, was reportedly one of three finalists for the Dodgers’ managerial vacancy, a job that ultimately went to Dave Roberts, his former bench coach in San Diego. Earlier, Black seemed poised to become the Nationals’ manager until he and ownership reportedly disagreed on the terms of his contract, prompting the hiring of Dusty Baker.

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Other front-office positions announced by the Angels include: Steve Martone and Jonathan Strangio as assistant GMs, Mike Gallego as director of baseball development, Justin Hollander as director of player personnel, Mike LaCassa as director of Minor League operations and Bobby Scales as special assistant to the GM.

Strangio, 27, is a Harvard graduate who initially joined the Angels as a baseball-operations intern in 2012 and previously served as manager of Major League operations, a multifaceted role that involved negotiating contracts, navigating the Collective Bargaining Agreement, delving into analytics and helping to construct the 40-man roster.

Scales, 38, spent the last three years as the Angels’ director of player development, which essentially involved overseeing the Minor League system. Hollander, 37, is entering his ninth season in the Angels’ front office after most recently serving as director of baseball operations. LaCassa, 29, is entering his fifth season and was previously assistant director of player development.

The additions of Gallego, the former A’s third-base coach, and Martone, formerly the Yankees’ manager of professional scouting, were reported last week.

Black’s 649 wins rank second only to current Giants manager Bruce Bochy (951) in Padres history. The 58-year-old Black was named National League Manager of the Year after leading San Diego to a 90-win season, but the Padres finished below .500 each of the next four years. After a subpar start to 2015, which cheap mlb hats followed a slew of win-now moves over the offseason, Black was let go on June 15.

Black won 121 games in a 15-year pitching career from 1981-95, then spent four years as a special assistant to then-Indians GM John Hart and one year as a pitching coach in Triple-A. In his seven seasons on Scioscia’s staff, Angels pitchers ranked among the top five in the American League in ERA five times.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments

SEC well-represented in AL Cy Young Award race

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Sonny Gray Jerseys, Dallas Keuchel Jerseys and David Price Jerseys have a couple of things in common.


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Each pitcher is a finalist for the American League Cy Young Award, which the Baseball Writers’ Association of mlb baseball jerseys America will hand out Wednesday (6 p.m. ET, MLB Network). Each one also prepared for the professional level by playing college ball in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). This marks the first time in the history of the award that the top three finishers in either league all played in the same collegiate conference.

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While Keuchel pitched at Arkansas, Gray and Price both starred at Vanderbilt. Previously, no other pair of top-three finishers from the same league had ever come out of the same school, though it had happened in different leagues. In 1970, Jim Perry won the AL Cy Young Award and his brother, Gaylord, finished second to Bob Gibson in National League voting. Both had attended Campbell University in North Carolina.

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In the history of Most Valuable Player Award voting, two players from the school have finished in the top three twice. Former Arizona State players Reggie Jackson and Jim Palmer finished first and second, respectively, in the AL MVP Award voting in 1973, and the next season, Steve Garvey and Mike Marshall of Michigan State placed first and third in the NL MVP Award voting.

Keuchel spent three seasons with the Razorbacks, going 9-3 with a 3.92 ERA as a junior and winning two games in the College World Series. The Astros took him in the seventh round of the 2009 Draft, and the left-hander was an All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner for Houston this season, going 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA.

Price enjoyed a highly successful three-season run at Vanderbilt. The lefty was a Freshman All-American pick by Baseball America in 2005, won the prestigious Golden Spikes Award as the nation’s best amateur player in ’07, and finished with a 2.55 career ERA and nearly 13 strikeouts per nine innings. Drafted first overall by the Rays in ’07, he won the AL Cy Young Award for Tampa Bay in ’12 and went 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA this season for Detroit and Toronto.

Gray followed Price’s lead, pitching for the Commodores from 2009-11. Over his final two seasons, he logged 38 games (35 starts) and went 22-9 with a 2.92 ERA, helping Vandy to the semifinals of the College World Series his last year. The 18th overall pick in the ’11 Draft by Oakland, Gray made his first All-Star team this year, going 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments

Kenta Maeda agrees to terms with Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers apparently followed up the signing of Scott Kazmir Jerseys by reaching an agreement Thursday with Japanese free-agent starting pitcher Kenta Maeda, as reported by Christopher Meola and confirmed by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and Jeff cheap mlb jerseys Passan of Yahoo! Sports.


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The club, however, did not confirm the initial report, which indicated the deal spans eight years. The Dodgers also never confirmed the widely reported agreement with free-agent pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, which ultimately was nixed over physical concerns.

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• Hot Stove Tracker: Free agents and trades

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Maeda was posted by the Hiroshima Carp, who will receive a posting fee that could reach a maximum of $20 mlb jersey size chart million from any club that signs him. He would be the only healthy right-hander in an L.A. rotation that includes Clayton Kershaw Jerseys, Brett Anderson Jerseys, Alex Wood and Kazmir. The latter signed a three-year, $48 million deal with an opt-out after the first year.

Lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu might be ready for Spring Training after shoulder surgery, and right-hander Brandon McCarthy Jerseys is expected back from Tommy John surgery at the All-Star break.

Kazmir and Maeda, who turns 28 in April, became the default best options for the Dodgers as they try to repair the hole left by the departure of Zack Greinke Jerseys to division rival Arizona.

Maeda met with the club at Dodger Stadium last week to conclude his North American interviews with teams. He has until Jan. 8 to reach a deal.

He was 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA in 29 starts in 2015, winning his league’s version of the Cy Young Award. In eight seasons with Hiroshima, Maeda is 97-67 with a 2.39 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments

Blue Jays sign Justin Smoak to one-year deal

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays avoided arbitration with first baseman Justin Smoak Jerseys on Wednesday night by signing the slugging first baseman to a one-year deal worth $3.9 million.


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Smoak was rewarded for his bounceback 2015 season that included 18 home runs in 296 at-bats and Gold Glove-caliber defense. He also hit .226 with a .299 on-base percentage and a .768 OPS in 132 games.

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The final numbers Toronto and Smoak settled on were far greater than the projected arbitration amount by MLBTradeRumors. Smoak earned $1 million this year and was projected to make $2 million in 2016, but that also overlooked the $2.638 million he secured in 2014, which could help explain the final tally.

Smoak is expected to once again compete for playing time at first base with Chris Colabello Jerseys. The two combined to hit 33 home runs with 113 RBIs for the Blue Jays in 2015 and each took turns as the regular starter at various points.

The 28-year-old Smoak typically received most of his playing time against right-handed pitchers and when Colabello started, it was Smoak who came off the bench as a late-inning defensive replacement. More of the same can be expected next season, and at a combined salary of $4.5 million, it has the potential to be a bargain.

Smoak was one of 10 Toronto players eligible for salary arbitration this offseason. The Blue Jays had until Wednesday night at 11:59 p.m. ET to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players. Any player who does not receive a tender offer would become a free agent instead of facing possible arbitration.

The Blue Jays non-tendered Smoak last year but then opted to quickly re-sign him on a one-year deal for $1 million. He would have wholesale baseball jerseys earned far more in arbitration but Toronto opted for a different route this year and locked Smoak up early to a contract.

Smoak is a career .224 hitter with a .308 on-base percentage and a .699 OPS. He has 92 home runs and 293 RBIs in parts of six seasons with the Blue Jays, Mariners and Rangers.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments

Royals manager Ned Yost relaxed at the helm

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KANSAS CITY — The Ned Yost that players, coaches, family and friends see now isn’t the same Ned Yost they saw five years ago, or two years ago, or even one year ago.


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Not even close.

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They’ve all noticed a change from a tense, worried, gotta-do-it-my-way type of man to the relaxed, funny, enjoy-the-moment manager of the Royals, who are about to embark on their second straight trek to the World Series.

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Comedian Jeff Foxworthy, a close friend of Yost’s, said he first noticed the change after the Wild Card win last season.

“We were sitting in his office one day a week or two after that,” Foxworthy said by phone Monday, “and he was over there laughing and grinning about something, and I just said, ‘Dude, it looks like you’re having fun. The managers on the other side are all nervous and tense every series, but look at you. Who are you?'”

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Yost’s son, Ned IV, has noticed the same thing.

“The last year or so, I’ve noticed that whatever we’re doing,” Ned IV said, “it’s all about just enjoying the moment. Enjoy the ride, whether it’s hunting or working or just having breakfast.”

Yost himself can’t quite explain the transformation.

“I think that there was some satisfaction for this group of guys and for them to get to the postseason and experience it,” Yost said. “I was so happy for them. And it’s so rare and unpredictable to get this far, you have to enjoy it.”

Yost preaches that philosophy to his players almost daily.

“Oh yeah, enjoy the moment,” center fielder Lorenzo Cain Jerseys said. “You never know when you’ll get back, so take it all in. We’ve tried to do that.”

Of course, that wasn’t Yost’s view years ago when he was managing the Brewers, his first managerial gig that ended in bizarre fashion when general manager Doug Melvin dismissed him with just 12 games left in the season in a postseason push.

The Royals’ present hitting coach, Dale Sveum, was on Yost’s staff back then and replaced him as the Brewers’ manager.

“I think what he went through is what a lot of managers go through, myself included,” Sveum said. “You try to do everything yourself. You get so wound up in the wins and losses. The truth is, good players make good managers.

“But he is way more laid back now than he was back then. Winning does that.” Yost on Zobrist’s impact WS2015 Gm1: Yost explains Zobrist’s overall impact10/26/15: Royals manager Ned Yost talks about the impact that Ben Zobrist Jerseys has had on the team since coming over in a trade from Oakland

First-base coach Rusty Kuntz also has noticed a change in Yost the last two seasons.

“He is much more willing to let his coaches coach,” Kuntz said. “Not all managers are like that. He lets us coach. All he asks from us is to be informed why we do the things we do. And if it goes wrong, you’ll never see him throw a coach under the bus. You see him in the press conferences talking about how he messed up. We know he has our back.”

Yost admits it took a while to understand the value of a coaching staff. His leadership is far more democratic than it used to be. He even implemented the 3-on-1 rule last year.

“If we have a decision to make,” Yost said of the rule, “and three of my coaches have a different opinion than mine, then I’ll go with their opinion. I think if you hire good coaches, you have to let them do their jobs. I didn’t used to think that way. I do now.”

Much of Yost’s education on how to manage came from his mentor, Atlanta’s Bobby Cox. Yost served as a coach under Cox from 1991-2002.

“I was always taught that if you want to be the best at something,” Yost said, “surround yourself with the smartest guys in that profession. I had that with Bobby and that staff.”

But Yost has strayed from Cox’s managerial approach when he feels a different approach is necessary. Unlike Cox, Yost gives his players the freedom to express themselves, during the game and after the game.

“Bobby wasn’t big on the celebration stuff,” Yost said. “But I’ve come to learn that I’m managing a different generation. These guys look at things differently. They express themselves differently. It’s not wrong, it’s just different. It doesn’t mean they disrespect the game. They are just a different generation.

“So if they want to have a little excitement in the dugout, then great. If they want postgame celebration parties — and they don’t last long — then great. As a manager, you have to adjust.”

Yost also has tried to adapt to changing times in baseball, a sport that pays far more attention to analytics than Yost’s playing generation ever did.

Even Yost paid heed in September when he removed shortstop Alcides Escobar Jerseys from the leadoff spot because of a horrific slump. Yost made Alex Gordon and Ben Zobrist Jerseys his Nos. 1-2 hitters in the lineup. Sabermetric-inclined Royals fans rejoiced.

“I wanted that lineup to work because I had two on-base guys at the top,” Yost said. “I really did want it to work.”

But it didn’t, and the Royals’ September swoon got worse — they lost nine of 15 with Yost’s “saber lineup.”

With five games to go in the regular season, Yost switched back to Escobar — he of the low on-base percentage — at the top spot. The Royals won all five games, and then won the American League Division Series and the AL Championship Series.

“It’s a mystery and I can’t explain it,” Yost said. “I wish one of the smart numbers guys would tell me why, but we were like 48 games over .500 with Esky leading off. It doesn’t make sense.

“I wanted the other lineup to work. But I want to win more.”

Foxworthy is amused how Yost in the past had been perceived as “a dunce,” as the Wall Street Journal called him last postseason.

“The Esky thing is the perfect example,” Foxworthy said. “It doesn’t matter why it works, it just works. A good manager recognizes that.

“Look, it’s not a fluke when you get to the World Series twice. You can look at all the ‘Moneyball’ stuff you want, but that’s two straight trips to the Series. They’re doing something right.”

Actually, Yost’s ability to adapt is one of his most underrated qualities.

How else can one explain how a native of just outside the Bay Area in California can wind up owning a farm in Georgia, enjoy a seat on a tractor, and spend most of his offseason hunting?

“He sure picked up on the southern lifestyle,” Ned IV baseball jersey sizes said. “It’s suited for him.”

No one thought Yost would ever rise to the ranks of Major League Baseball player, either, when he was a struggling catcher at Dublin High School in California.

“I went my whole sophomore year without getting a hit, like 0-for-36,” Yost recalled.

But Yost remembers the turning point — he got a job that following summer at Kentucky Fried Chicken as a pot scrubber.

“Man, I came back the next year and I was much stronger and I had this cannon for an arm,” Yost said. “I hit like .420 that year and maybe .350 the next.”

But no scholarship offers came forth, so Yost walked on at Chabot Junior College in Hayward, Calif.

Yost’s defense there impressed scouts and he was drafted by both the Expos and the Mets. He signed with the Mets. Later, he was a Rule 5 pickup by the Brewers and played a total of six years with the Brewers, Rangers and Expos.

After retiring, Yost wandered a bit before deciding on a career in coaching, performing coaching stints in the Minors before hooking on with Cox and the Braves. The Brewers hired him as their manager in 2003.

“Even then, the one thing he really proved was he had patience for younger players,” Sveum said. “We saw it there and we saw it here.”

Royals general manager Dayton Moore saw it, too, and not long after Yost was let go in Milwaukee, Yost was hired by Moore as a special assistant to the general manager. Yost regularly visited and kept tabs on some of the organization’s budding prospects, such as Mike Moustakas Jerseys and Eric Hosmer Jerseys.

When Moore dismissed manager Trey Hillman in 2010, Yost was the natural replacement.

“To this day, people ask me what my No. 1 acquisition has been,” Moore said, “and I always say it was Ned Yost.”

Yost has rewarded Moore’s faith in him by steering the Royals to their second straight World Series.

And as soon as it is over, Yost will head back to his farm in Georgia, and he will hunt on his land with Foxworthy, who has a neighboring farm and whom Yost met while in a Bible study class in the early 1990s.

“I know how much he loves baseball and he loves Kansas City and the fans and his team,” Foxworthy said. “But I know he can’t wait to get back to his farm and just be himself again.

“I tell people that when we leave our farms, it’s like we belong to other people — him with baseball and me with comedy. But when we get back to our farms, it’s just Ned and Jeff, driving our tractors.”

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments

Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson wins AL MVP Award

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TORONTO — The “Bringer of Rain” brought home a lot more than that on Thursday night when he became to the second player in Blue Jays history to win the Baseball Writers’ Association of America American League Most Valuable Player Award.


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Toronto’s All-Star third baseman received 23 first-place votes and seven second-place votes from the 30 BBWAA voters. Angels outfielder Mike Trout Jerseys finished second with seven first-place votes, 22 second-place votes and one third-place vote.

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Donaldson joins George Bell (1987) as the only Toronto players to win BBWAA AL MVP honors. The latest was a well-deserved accolade, as Donaldson was among the league leaders in every major offensive category and finished the year hitting .297 with 41 homers and 123 RBIs.

“It’s crazy. It’s amazing,” Donaldson said during the BBWAA Awards show on MLB Network. “I have to thank a lot of people, my teammates first and foremost, our coaching staff. My friends and family who are here supporting me the entire time.

“Honestly, our team is so great. I was very blessed to be in the situation I was put in. I’m very thankful and I felt like I was able to take advantage of the opportunities that were put in front of me. I’m at a loss for words, but it’s awesome.” Duquette on AL MVP Donaldson Duquette on Donaldson being named American League MVPJim Duquette discusses why the Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson was the 2015 American League Most Valuable Player


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Nelson Cruz, SEA 1 1 1 4 94 Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain Jerseys finished third in voting, but as expected, this race came down to Donaldson and Trout. The pair had been battling for the honor since late July, and down the stretch it became a race that was almost too close to call. A case easily could have been made for each.

Donaldson had more runs (122 vs. Trout’s 104), RBIs (123 vs. 90), and he ranked first in the league with 84 extra-base hits. Trout had the edge in OPS (.991 vs. .939), WAR (9.0 vs. 8.7) and on-base percentage (.402 vs. 371). The two tied with 41 home runs, and the stats were so even that voters likely had to search for other areas to create separation.

One of the deciding factors for Donaldson likely came with the direct impact he had on helping the Blue Jays win the AL East for the first time since 1993, while Trout’s Angels missed the postseason. Donaldson had the edge in win probability (5.8 vs 5.3) and run expectancy (55.7 vs 52.5), which essentially means he did more to change his team’s chances of scoring and winning games.

MVP MVP….. #bringofrain congrats to my teammate and friend JD @BringerOfRain20 nobody has worked hard and more deserving of this— Kevin Pillar (@KPILLAR4) November 19, 2015

Donaldson becomes the 10th player in MLB history to win an MVP Award after being traded prior to the season. He was acquired last November by former Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos in a blockbuster deal with Oakland for infielder Brett Lawrie and a series of top prospects.

It didn’t take long for Donaldson to become a fan favorite in the city, and by the middle of the season he was frequently inundated with chants of “M-V-P, M-V-P” as he stepped to the batter’s box. He later went on to win the Hank Aaron Award, a Silver Slugger and he was named the Players’ Choice Most Outstanding Player for the 2015 season.

Donaldson also becomes the sixth third baseman in MLB history to win the MVP. The impressive group includes: Miguel Cabrera Jerseys (twice), Alex Rodriguez (twice), George Brett, Brooks Robinson and Al Rosen. It’s the first time Donaldson won an MVP, but he finished fourth in 2013 and eighth in ’14, both times with baseball jerseys for sale the A’s.

“I felt like after the [All-Star] break, I came back and felt like I was coming along pretty strong here a couple of weeks into it,” Donaldson said. “Honestly, our team was on a roll so I was able to kind of deflect my own self and thinking I was just going out there and helping my team win.

“Honestly, that’s how I feel. You end up winning awards by not focusing on individual stats. You go out there and play to win the game, and we had guys on any given night really perform. I was very fortunate and blessed to be in the situation I was in, and I felt like I was able to take advantage of it.”

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments

Cardinals qualify Jason Heyward, John Lackey

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ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals made two qualifying offers before Friday’s 4 p.m. CT deadline, extending the one-year deals worth $15.8 million to free agents Jason Heyward Jerseys and John Lackey Jerseys. Both players have until Nov. 13 to decide whether to accept or reject the offers, which have a value determined by averaging the top 125 player salaries from the previous season.


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In making these offers, the Cardinals guarantee themselves compensation Draft picks should either player sign elsewhere this offseason. The risk, of course, is that a player can accept the qualifying offer, which then becomes binding. No player has yet done so since the system was established three years ago, and it seems unlikely Heyward or Lackey would become the first.

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Heyward, 26, is seeking a lucrative multiyear deal as a first-time free agent. Lackey, 37, is hopeful of parlaying a career season into a multiyear contract that could potentially take him toward the end of his career. If Lackey were to decide to take the one-year offer, the Cards are comfortable with him returning under those financial parameters.

Lackey was the Cardinals’ most consistent starter from start to finish in 2015, and he was a bargain for the club, which owed Lackey the Major League minimum this year due to a clause in a contract he initially signed with the Red Sox. Even after building in some performance incentives, the Cards paid well below market value for Lackey’s contributions. Lackey’s 7 1/3 shutout innings CHC@STL Gm1: Lackey holds Cubs to two hits over 7 1/310/9/15: John Lackey Jerseys pitches 7 1/3 shutout innings, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out five to earn the win in NLDS Game 1

Lackey led the rotation with 218 innings, posted the lowest ERA (2.77) of his 13-year career and ranked fourth in the National League with 26 quality starts. He threw at least six innings and allowed no more than three earned runs in all 17 of his home starts. St. Louis also benefited from Lackey’s leadership, particularly after ace Adam Wainwright Jerseys went down with an Achilles injury in April.

Lackey’s value on the open market could be hurt by being attached to the qualifying offer, as teams that sign such players must forfeit a Draft pick.

Heyward’s inclusion as a qualifying-offer recipient should not affect his market value since he enters the mlb jersey offseason as one of the most attractive free-agent outfielders available. His age boosts his appeal to clubs, and Heyward has established himself as an elite defender and an above-average baserunner with a dynamic offensive profile.

The Cardinals would like to bring Heyward back, and they have already had preliminary discussions with his agent regarding a potential return.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It’s Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments

Teams interested in trading for Rays pitchers

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The Rays have already dealt one starter this offseason, but mlb jerseys cheap the club is still drawing interest from other teams looking to acquire young impact pitching.


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Tampa Bay has three starters teams are checking in on, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal: right-hander Jake Odorizzi and lefties Drew Smyly and Matt Moore Jerseys. Relievers Jake McGee Jerseys and Brad Boxberger Jerseys are also drawing interest, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

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The Rays traded right-hander Nathan Karns Jerseys to the Mariners in November.

Rosenthal notes the team also could move Alex Cobb Jerseys, who will miss much of 2016 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. But that seems a sell-low scenario the Rays likely wouldn’t consider.

The 26-year-old Smyly and 25-year-old Odorizzi are under club control until 2019 and ’20, respectively, while Moore’s five-year contract extension with three escalating club options ends after the ’19 season.

Boxberger, who posted 41 saves in 2015, is under club control through 2019, while McGee (2.07 ERA last two seasons) can become a free agent in ’18.

Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments

Astros introduce new reliever Ken Giles

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The newest member of the Astros was officially introduced on Monday, as recently acquired reliever Ken Giles Jerseys said he looked forward to joining a contender in any capacity.


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Giles, 25, has been superb in both of his first two Major League seasons with the Phillies. Over 113 games (115 2/3 innings), he is 9-4 with a 1.56 ERA and 16 saves. He finished the 2015 season ranked third among National League relievers in ERA and tied for fourth in strikeouts.
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The Astros are hoping that Giles will have that same type of success in Houston.

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“Any role, it doesn’t matter, any role right now — I just want to be that good teammate coming in and make sure I earn their respect and show them what I’m capable of doing,” Giles said. “I don’t need to put any more pressure than I do right now.”

Giles, along with Minor League shortstop Jonathan Arauz, mlb uniforms was acquired by the Astros for five players, including Mark Appel, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 Draft.

“We did give up a significant package to acquire Ken,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “Ken is at the beginning of his Major League career. What he did last year in Philadelphia to establish himself as one of the elite late-innings relievers in the game is really something we were looking to have him bring in here and contribute to this ballclub.”

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments

Ryan Zimmerman says Nats’ clubhouse is fine

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Ryan Zimmerman Jerseys said he’s already looking forward to what the Nationals can do in 2016 — lofty expectations or not — especially behind newly-minted National League MVP Bryce Harper Jerseys.


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Zimmerman spoke to MLB Network about a variety of topics, including what it’s like to face the high expectations his club has faced over the last handful of years and what it takes to live up to them.

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“The first four-five years I was here, we were expected to lose 100 games every year,” Zimmerman said. “It’s way more fun when you’re expected to win close to 100 games. That’s the beautiful thing about baseball — the game is not played on paper, and those expectations are made assuming that everyone stays healthy, that people perform to an average season, and that obviously never happens in baseball. That’s why [baseball[ is the best — you play so many games over such a long period of time that you do actually see what team is the best team.” Harper wins 2015 NL MVP Harper wins the 2015 BBWAA NL MVP AwardNationals outfielder Bryce Harper Jerseys is named the unanimous winner of the 2015 BBWAA NL Most Valuable Player Award

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In their quest to become the best next season, the Nationals have an indispensable weapon in Harper, who easily won the NL MVP Award over Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt Jerseys and Cincinnati’s Joey Votto Jerseys.

“To watch him obviously mature as a baseball player, but mentally, and to see him off the field mature as well — I don’t want to say more impressive because what he’s done on the baseball field has been pretty impressive — but for him to be able to go day to day and do what he did this year and stay healthy and learn the little things it takes to become a superstar player, it’s been fun to watch,” Zimmerman said.

The spotlight on Harper has not been without controversy, particularly late in the season as the Nationals’ disappointing slide was magnified. Much was made of the dugout scuffle between Harper and closer Jonathan Papelbon Jerseys, but Zimmerman downplayed the argument.

“I don’t want to say it’s common, but that stuff happens on teams who have good chemistry, it happens a few times a year on teams that have bad chemistry, it happens 10-15 times a year,” Zimmerman said. “It just doesn’t happen in the dugout to the MVP player in front of 100 cameras. Those guys have talked about it, they’ve worked it out.

“The best throwback baseball jerseys way to explain that is like having brothers in the same room for seven months. Something’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of who it happens with and where it happens and you hope to kind of be able to hide it. Obviously you can’t hide that one. I know Pap and Harp have talked and at the end of the day, all of us want to win.” Nats introduce Baker as manager Nationals introduce Dusty Baker as their new managerNationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo introduces Dusty Baker as the team’s new manager

Certainly the team will have a slightly different feel with some familiar faces departing for free agency and Dusty Baker taking over as manager. Zimmerman said he hasn’t spoken to Baker, but has heard all good things about the longtime baseball man.

“Everyone I’ve talked to doesn’t have one bad word to say about the guy,” Zimmerman said. “He’s kind of become that guy who manages personalities. Obviously he’s a great baseball manager and he’s done anything and everything you can think of, but I think his big thing is to get that clubhouse together and make it fun, and I can tell you all of us are really looking forward to it.”

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments