The baseball offseason in review

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There are quite a few holidays in the good ol’ U.S.A. Christmas, July 4th, Labor Day, Presidents Day, Easter, Hanukkah, and my personal favorite after Hanukkah: Opening Day. However, there is one more I didn’t list there. The day that pitchers and catchers report.

The month is February, and the days are short, gray and cold. But you know, that somewhere in Southern Florida or Arizona, the boys of summer are getting ready. Maybe they’re just catching up on what happened in those long months or sharing glory from the World Series, or doing basic drills. But they’re back in uniform, in the heat, and everyone is optimistic. That will change for most teams, but this is the most hopeful day. So, as baseball starts up again, we have to look back at the offseason.

The first thing was managerial positions, the most important thing in my opinion. Former players like Matt Williams & Brad Ausmus both got the most appealing jobs, for the Nationals and Tigers. Lloyd McClendon, Bryan Price and Rick Rentaria all joined the Mariners, Reds and Cubs, respectively.

Back in November, which feels like forever ago at this point, the first truly major name switched teams. Tim Hudson left the Atlanta Braves for the Giants on a two year deal.

However, the real stuff didn’t start for another few days. This was one of the most unexpected deals, with Prince Fielder being traded to the Rangers for cash and Ian Kinsler.

This shocked the baseball world in ways more than one. However, I feel like I said something about this a while back…

After this, the bigger deals started. Jhonny Peralta went to the Cardinals, and before you could say that “The Cardinals are the Yankees of the NL!” The Yankees made a splash and a half by signing Jacoby Elisbury and Carlos Beltran, creating a starting outfield with a combined age of 96 and 3 other outfielders including Ichiro Suzuki and Alfonso Soriano. Sheesh.

This is where it gets interesting for Nats fans. For barely anything unless you are a citizen of Natstown, The Nats acquired Doug Fister for prospect Robbie Ray and second baseman/utility man Steve Lombardozzi. Even more interestingly, the deal was reported by a high schooler.

Next, a confusing three-team deal sent Mark Trumbo to the D-Backs. The next day, the Nats traded for Jerry Blevins, a lefty reliever. The day right after that, Nate McClouth made the cross-beltway journey to join the Nats as a utility man. Right after, Mike Napoli resigned with the Red Sox, and beards everywhere rejoiced. However, the biggest deal of the offseason was yet to come. The Seattle Mariners somehow got their hands on Robinson Cano, for ten years and $240 million.

Trying to replace the big bat that Helton provided, Morneau decided that he would spend the next two years in Colorado. The Giants then added Michael Morse. The final big deal before the new year was Sin Soo Choo signing with the Rangers for seven years. Jamey Carroll came back to Natstown, again, except he’ll start (in all likelihood) in Syracuse. Right before MLB approved instant replay, A-Rod was suspended, and it was announced he would miss all of the 2014 season.

Coincidentally, the final “really big deal” happened when the Yankees spent the A-Rod money on Masahiro Tanaka signed with the Yankees.

The final relatively important deals were made on January 26th, when Matt Garza signed with the Brewers.

The only big names that remain are Nelson Cruz, A.J. Burnett, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez.

So, if there’s anything I missed, I apologize. It’s pretty hard to put an entire offseason into 700 words.

But everything is in place for an awesome season. What will be a bust? What will work? What was stupid? What was smart? Let me know in the comments. In the meantime, see you on Opening Day!

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Double post!!! How did it happen – the West and Central/ Nicknames!

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Double Post Part 1 – for nicknames, scroll to the next bold words.
Flashback in your time machine. Back when there was no Washington Nationals, when the Marlins, (yes, MARLINS) were world series champs, when the Red Sox and Yankees were everything. And throw it out the window.
This year, it seems like there has been a major power shift, and made everything equal – in the land of baseball. All the sudden, West and Central divisions are the place to be, and the world series picks are there – Angels, Giants, Tigers, Brewers, Rockies, and more. How did that happen? Let’s find out.
It all started in 2010. The battle of the west. Two fairy tale teams from Texas and California put 2009 to bed, when it was a World Series you drove from Philly to New York to watch the games. No, now the action is on the west side of the country. And action it was. After beating their league’s eastern superpowers (Rangers over Yankees, Giants over Phillies) they both advanced to a world series that was not seen coming. The Giants won, and it seemed like a victory for them and them only, but it was a victory for the AL & NL West & Central.
The next season, all who saw that coming were halted. Adrian Gonzalez, the NL West’s most intimidating slugger moved to Boston. And then Cliff Lee moves to Philadelphia. And even more – Manny Ramirez comes to Tampa, and Jose Reyes breaks out. It seems like that minute of fame was over for the Central and West. But then. Then, the Eastern superpowers were destroyed. The Phillies went down first – down to the Cardinals. Then the Yankees – down to the Tigers. And then the Rays, beaten by the Rangers. And not one eastern side team remained. It came down to Rangers VS Cardinals, and the Cardinals proved the Central a place to be, as well as the Rangers showing the west is the place.
This year, it became official – the power shift. Prince Fielder signing with the Tigers, Yu Darvish to the Rangers, Albert Pujols to the Angels, and the Cubs gaining Theo Epstein. Then the Cardinals and Dodgers came out hot of the gate, and all the sudden – it’s a whole new ballgame.
Part 2: Nickname Central

But, there is one thing that the East, West, and Central all share – nicknames.
Michael Morse, the beast, Dustin Pedroia, the laser show, David Ortiz, Big Papi, Prince Fielder, the prince of power, Albert Pujols, Prince Albert, Ichiro Suzuki – Hercules – the list could go on for quite some time, if you get my drift.
Even so, two of the games most talented players remain nicknameless. Stephen Strasburg and Justin Verlander. So vote on these poles, and help me decide the official unofficial nicknames of Stephen Strasburg and Justin Verlander!! Leave me a comment on what you think it should be!

It’s not a good deal.

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Detroit must be dancing. Their (most likely) DH, Prince Fielder is putting on a Tigers uni next April. But, how does that effect everyone else?
Well, here’s how it works. The NL Central is up for grabs. With Ryan Braun facing a suspension, and no more Prince, how will they take the NL Central this year? Answer: Nobody knows. The Cardinals are Pujols’ team no more, and the Astros are still the Astros – they stink. The Cubs haven’t changed anything, which means they are the only team that hasn’t fallen during the offseason in that division.

In the AL, every team is changing strategy, especially the AL Central. The Twins, Indians, and Royals will all have to think about the way to keep Prince from hitting homers every game. And nearly the rest of the AL will still have to play him at least 3 games a year. How does this affect the east and west? Not much, but every game counts.

 

Most importantly, how does this affect the Tigers? In a few ways. They’re now the shoo-in’s for the AL Central, (now even more) and have a good DH, who hopefully isn’t overconfident. But the one lingering question is how they will cope with an old and overrated player, (a late Manny Ramirez) in 6 years? Well, they could bench him, but then you’re paying 7 digit numbers a year for a benchwarmer. Prince probably wants a no-trade contract, but it is yet to be specified. If Prince gets his way (which he most likely will) the Tigers may have made a colossal mistake. But if it isn’t – (which the odds are low on), the Tigers have made the move of the year.

If this is seven years, same amount per year, it’s great. But not for 9 years. No offense to Detroit, but this guy needs to learn the front office power, and it’s team before you. If the front office doesn’t teach that, nothing happens.

 

The Updater: Prince has no place to go?

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Well, well, well. As winter comes into the main chunk, one MLB star remains unsigned: Prince Fielder. Who will he sign with? I’m not sure. Unlike other stars, he hasn’t been put in the big money situation, so will it come down to money or team? Others say money, but less money means he doesn’t have to lose Milwaukee, his fan base, and have another Lebron situation – “Not 5, not 6, not 7, not 8, not 9….” Well, you can’t not sign with someone, or else you’d retire! The Prince is not able to control time, so he’d better decide – Chicago, Milwaukee, or DC? What will it be? But then again, he’d probably feel pressured, but I hope what it comes down to is this: Where will I win the World Series?