Left-hander Cole Hamels will be taking another week off from throwing from a mound and feeling fatigue in his arm.
Cole Hamels suffers setback. Said he is fatigued. No pain in shoulder. But obviously not good news. Wouldn’t say if he could pitch in April. — Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) March 6, 2014
The good news is that there is no pain, but taking a week off with Opening Day coming up sooner rather than later is not good news. Hamels is recovering from biceps tendinitis from back in November. After throwing during his last session on Saturday, he admitted that he was not feeling 100%.
"The only thing that’s a concern for me is the fact that we have to push him back," said Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "The fact that he’s throwing, not having any pain or anything like that, this is part of the rehab. Things happen. It doesn’t always go in a straight line. It’s really more a matter of fatigue. We don’t have any issues about his health, as far as his structure or anything like that. We just have to be patient” (Associated Press).
Cliff Lee is likely to get Opening Day honors, with Hamels likely to miss a start or two to open the season if his arm condition worsens. Hamels said that he threw 35 pitches during his Saturday session but “it felt like a thousand” (AP). The Phillies will need a lot of things to go right this season if they plan on competing in the National League East, but they are already starting off with some bad luck.
The Boston Red Sox and ace southpaw Jon Lester have reportedly been engaged in talks about a contract extension.
The Red Sox and Jon Lester ‘s agents have already engaged in at least two conversations concerning an extension for the lefty— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) March 2, 2014
The extension is likely going to be in the five-year, $100 million range – similar to the extension that Homer Bailey got from the Cincinnati Reds. On Friday, it was also reported that Lester’s representatives were in Red Sox camp which is definitely a sign that both sides are in ongoing discussions. Both sides seem to want to get this deal done. Lester has also stated his desire to remain in Beantown.
“I don’t like change,” said Lester. “I like being where I’ve been. I like the people. I like the surroundings. It feels like home” (Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com).
The Red Sox organization also recognizes Lester as an integral part to the franchise.
“We appreciate him saying he wants to be a Red Sox. We’re crazy about him,” said chairman Tom Werner. “We’d all love him to stay and hope he’s pitching for the Red Sox past this year. He’s been such a valuable player for us. It would be a great deal for the organization if we can figure out an extension” (Heyman).
Lester is currently in an option year making $13 million. When comparing him to Bailey, Lester is easily the better pitcher. Lester has posted sub-four earned run averages in six of his last seven seasons. Bailey has a career ERA+ of 96 – which is slightly below average (100 is average).
Lester will hit the open market if he is unsigned come post-2014. He can easily make a lot of money if the Red Sox allow him to get there. However, from the sound of things, both sides seem eager to get an extension done.
Despite Opening Day being just over four weeks away, the Seattle Mariners may be without starting pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker when it comes their turn to make their first regular season starts. Both players have had injury setbacks – Iwakuma with his right middle finger which will be in a splint for some time and Walker’s right shoulder inflammation. Walker will be shut down for a week.
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon looks forward to seeing others step in to see what they can do. Iwakuma and Walker may not see their first starts occur until mid-April.
"I was honestly disappointed and frustrated too at the same time, but you have to respect what the doctor says," said Iwakuma on Saturday morning. "I was ready to play catch today so it is what it is and I have to wait three more weeks” (Associated Press).
Iwakuma evolved into a solid number-two starter by posting a 2.66 earned run average and a 1.01 WHIP after 219.2 innings of work in his second season of MLB-service during 2013. Walker is 21 years old and is currently a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
After admitting to forearm soreness over the past few days, Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus has been diagnosed with flexor tendinitis. He will sit out from games over the next few days. If the injury occurred during the regular season, he would play through it according to him. This past winter was the first one where he did not play winter ball.
"We think it’s a result from the amount of throwing he’s done early in camp," said Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine. "We’re just going to try to knock it out early in camp rather than continue to play him every day and not give him a chance to recover” (Richard Durrett, ESPNDallas.com).
The Rangers knew about the soreness. But an erratic throw that went sailing over first baseman Prince Fielder’s head during Friday’s game against the Kansas City Royals was enough for Rangers management to shut down their franchise shortstop for some days. Levine said that management thought that the only way for Andrus to get better health-wise was to give Andrus. Ignoring the issue was only going to create issues down the road.
Andrus hit .271/.328/.331 with four home runs, 67 runs batted in, 91 runs scored, and 42 stolen bases in 2013. Just prior to Opening Day 2013, Andrus signed an eight-year $120 million extension. The 25-year old is currently signed through the 2023 season.
With the New York Giants extending Tom Coughlin for another season through 2015, worth another $7 million, the franchise continues to extend the courtesy of not having their head coaches be lame ducks in a walk year. Players also maintain their commitment to the coaching staff assuring that the team follows in the footsteps of their lead man. Coughlin will be 68 years old come the 2014 NFL season so he is at the point where he is taking retirement consideration on a year-by-year basis.
If the club cannot rebound in strong fashion from a 7-9 2013 regular season, then the future of Coughlin in New York will be the hottest topic. The players still respond to Coughlin, which was proven last season after finishing 7-3. I do believe that Coughlin still has a genuine love to get up everyday and coach football. The Giants organization has arguably had its most successful period during Coughlin’s head coaching tenure, making Coughlin well-respected not just by Giants’ brass but around the league.
The most likely way that Coughlin leaves the Giants is on his own terms – into retirement. But will 2014 be his last season? I think if it were to happen, the organization may know of it come the latter half of the 2014 season – depending on how successful the season goes. Coughlin has earned the right to call it career when he wants, which should make many people not rush to the notion that he is “quitting” on his team. Those who understand him know that he is not one to quit – often pressing the mentality of endurance on his team from both a physical and mental standpoint.
There really is not much else that Coughlin has to prove, as winning two Super Bowls and working with the most successful quarterback in Giants history will be the highlight of his coaching career.
With more and more teams reporting to spring training to begin their quest for a 2014 World Series championship, many fans are looking forward to Opening Day. For a starting pitcher, getting the nod to start the first game of the long regular season is considered an honor and somewhat of a privilege. For many teams it is fairly obvious as to who will get the nod while for some others, there is a bit more of a decision.
Getting the Opening Day nod does not always mean that the best pitcher gets the ball for his club. In some cases, starts is given based on a tenure with the team or the entire league. Rotations filled with young, potential stars usually get passed over so they can follow the lead of veteran. See below for my expectations.
Arizona Diamondbacks || Projected Opening Day Starter – LHP Wade Miley
Two southpaws in Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin highlight the top-end of the D-backs starting rotation. Miley has really grown into a reliable pitcher for the club after posting a 3.44 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP over the course of the last two seasons. Corbin posted a similar ERA in 3.41 after last season alone. Along with a WHIP of 1.17. Miley should get the ball come Opening Day given that he has a tid-bit of a longer tenure over a Corbin. Miley is also a homegrown product of the club, after being drafted in the first round of the 2008 amateur draft.
Atlanta Braves || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Kris Medlen
With a rotation full of young and lively arms, the Braves boast a lot of talent in their starting rotation. News broke out yesterday that the club extended Julio Teheran by six years – making the extension worth $32.4 million. Teheran is likely a future of the Braves’ rotation so there is no need to overlook another veteran just to give Teheran the honor as he will likely earn it given time. Kris Medlen will be entering his sixth season of MLB-action (all with the Braves) and had his first season of 30-plus starts just last season where he posted a 3.11 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP along the way. At the moment, Medlan is likely the club’s best and most reliable starter and is likely to be given the nod to start the season.
Baltimore Orioles || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Chris Tillman
The Orioles will be more known for their bats going into this season but if there was one arm that is likely to get the start for Opening Day it will be the one that is of Chris Tillman. Tillman won 16 games for the O’s last season while posting a 3.71 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. He may possess the most potential out of all the starters on this club after finally notching over 200 innings-worth of starts last season.
Boston Red Sox || Projected Opening Day Starter – LHP Jon Lester
With many familiar names filling out the rotation of the Red Sox, Jon Lester is likely to receive Opening Day honors. While him and Clay Buchholz are homegrown Red Sox, Lester has been the one to cement himself at the top of the club’s rotation. Buchholz has been great but has missed time due to injury. Although John Lackey and Jake Peavy are still effective, Lester is every bit of the grittiness that resembles Red Sox Nation. Lester has notched 200 or more innings-pitched in five of the last six seasons.
Chicago Cubs || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Jeff Samardzija
Jeff Samardzija is most likely the only starting pitcher who is worth getting excited about on the Cubs. After ditching a career in the NFL as a wide receiver, Samardzija took to the diamond and was drafted by the Cubbies. He began his career in the bullpen and is now at the top of the club’s rotation. Samardzija is without a doubt someone who the team would like to build around or at least include in their future plans.
Chicago White Sox || Projected Opening Day Starter – LHP Chris Sale
When it comes to early American League Cy Young talks, Chris Sale has been in the argument over the last couple of seasons. Despite winning only 11 games last season, he managed to win 17 games in the year prior. Over the last couple seasons of starting, Sale has combined to post an ERA+ of 140 with a WHIP of 1.10, along with an impressive SO/9 ratio of 9.3. There is no doubt that he will get the ball on Opening Day as he is one of the young arms on the rise in this game.
Cincinnati Reds || Projected Opening Day Starter – LHP Johnny Cueto
Reds manager Bryan Price has held off from announcing his decision regarding as to who will start for the club come Opening Day. During the last two Opening Days, Johnny Cueto has been given the honor. Mat Latos and Homer Bailey are very likely to be given consideration for the start. Latos was very reliable for the club last season while posting an ERA of 3.16 and a WHIP of 1.21, during when Cueto was seeing time on the disabled list after three stints due to a strained muscle in his right shoulder — posting only 11 starts as a whole. In 2012 Cueto went 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. With a healthy Cueto, I believe he will start his third-straight Opening Day as he still looked at as the staff’s ace.
Cleveland Indians || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Justin Masterson
After managing to give up only 156 hits in 193 innings pitched last season, Justin Masterson is the most-likely candidate to receive the Opening Day nod for the Indians. Other than Shaun Marcum, Masterson is the most-experienced Indians pitcher and is also their best starter without a doubt. He notched a 3.45 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP last season.
Colorado Rockies || Projected Opening Day Starter – LHP Jorge De La Rosa
Jorge De La Rosa is easily the Rockies’ most-experienced starting pitcher. At 32 years of age, De La Rosa will be entering his seventh season with the club. Last season he enjoyed his best season during his MLB tenure by posting a 1.38 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. He went 16-6, despite pitching south of 200 innings (167.2).
Detroit Tigers || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Justin Verlander
Despite Justin Verlander not having the type of season that he would have expected in 2013, the former American League MVP is still the rock of the Tigers’ rotation for many years to come. Verlander will be entering his 14th season in the bigs, all with the Tigers, and looks to regain control of his prime. Fellow right-hander Max Scherzer enjoyed great success last season by going 21-3 with an ERA+ of 145 and leading the AL in WHIP with a miniscule .97. Despite Scherzer’s 2013 campaign, his future with the Tigers is in question as he is scheduled to hit the open market after this season. The club is already committed financially to Verlander and Anibal Sanchez, and the move to trade away first baseman Prince Fielder was partially made to save some money.
Houston Astros || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Scott Feldman
The Astros are hoping that Brett Oberholtzer, Jarred Cosart, and Brad Peacock are staples in the club’s rotation for many seasons to come. At the top of the rotation is 31-year old Scott Feldman who had a respectable 2013 season with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. Feldman should get the ball come Opening Day given his veteran status. There is also Jerome Williams but he is expected to be just another arm rather than a featured starter.
Kansas City Royals || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP James Shields
A darkhorse team by many, the Royals have a starting rotation filled with experienced arms along with the exciting Danny Duffy. But make no mistake — “Big Game” James Shields highlights this rotation. Despite a mediocre record at 13-9, after the 2013 season, he posted an ERA+ of 131 after a career-high 228.2 innings of work. After being traded from the Tampa Bay Rays, Shields has already proven that he can succeed outside the pitching factory that is the Rays. He is a proven workhorse while averaging 235 innings-pitched over the last three seasons, and has risen to one of the top pitchers in the AL.
Los Angeles Angels || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Jered Weaver
C.J. Wilson fit in nicely into the Angels’ rotation last season after leaving the Texas Rangers but he is nothing more than a solid left-handed number-two starter. Jered Weaver is the face of that staff. He had an unfortunate injury last season where he fractured his left elbow after dodging a line-drive from Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland. After the 2011 and 2012 seasons, he finished second and third, respectively, in the AL Cy Young voting.
Los Angeles Dodgers || Projected Opening Day Starter – LHP Clayton Kershaw
The two-time NL Cy Young winner and owner of the most expensive contract for any pitcher in MLB history, Clayton Kershaw, anchors a loaded starting rotation for the Dodgers. He has led the NL in WHIP for three seasons in a row, while leading the league in ERA+ after the last two seasons (150 and 194 in 2012 and 2013, respectively). This one may be the biggest no-brainer of them all.
Miami Marlins || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Jose Fernandez
The 21-year old, Jose Fernandez, is one of the youngest and most exciting pitchers to watch in the game right now. The oldest starter in the Marlins’ projected rotation is Tom Koehler, who is 27, with everyone else being 24 or younger. Fernandez was a pleasant surprise for the Marlins while he went along the way to post an ERA+ of 176 after 172.2 innings of work.
Milwaukee Brewers || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Yovani Gallardo
The Brewers have an experienced front-three in their starting rotation with Yovani Gallardo, Matt Garza, and Kyle Lohse. Despite being younger than the latter two, Gallardo is likely to receive Opening Day honors given his tenure with the club despite posting a 4.18 ERA after last season and accumulating his lowest innings-pitched total (180.2) since being a full-time starter in 2009.
Minnesota Twins || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Ricky Nolasco
Veteran Ricky Nolasco is the Twins’ best starting option at the moment. After being traded from the Miami Marlins to the Los Angeles Dodgers, during last season, he put up an 8-3 record with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP while in southern California. He was a hot commodity during last season’s trade deadline. While Nolasco is a decent starter, on many teams he would not be the deemed “ace”. With the Twins he has a good chance of getting the ball on Opening Day due to their lack of talent.
New York Mets || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Bartolo Colon
Colon has somehow found the fountain of youth after posting a 2.65 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP , and an 18-6 record last season. The Mets would surely love to give Opening Day honors to Matt Harvey but he is not expected to pitch in 2014 due to recovering from Tommy John surgery. Jonathon Niese has been a reliable arm for the Mets but is seen as more of a middle-of-the rotation starter. Colon provides the Mets’ young rotation with some veteran savvy.
New York Yankees || Projected Opening Day Starter – LHP CC Sabathia
Despite having his worst season as a pro during last season, Sabathia still figures to be at the top of the Yankees’ rotation. The club hopes that Sabathia has the ability to have a comeback season within the short-term. As for the long-term, Masahiro Tanaka might possibly be the future “ace” of the staff. Sabathia is still respected by his peers, so the Yankees are not willing to throw in the towel on him just yet.
Oakland Athletics || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Jarrod Parker
Much like the Rays, the A’s have been somewhat of a pitching factory under general manager Billy Beane. While the rotation may be filled with some unrecognized names, the group always seems to produce. Other than Scott Kazmir, each staff member is 26 years old or younger. Jarrod Parker has pitched the most innings for the A’s after the last two seasons, and is likely to get the ball given his tenure.
Philadelphia Phillies || Projected Opening Day Starter – LHP Cliff Lee
With Cole Hamels likely to begin the season on the disabled list due to discomfort in his pitching arm and Roy Halladay entering retirement, Cliff Lee is likely to start Opening Day. Hamels is signed with the Phillies through 2018, with an option for 2019, and will be the main staple in the Phillies’ rotation for the long-term. However, Lee is the better option at the moment regardless of health by posting an ERA of 3.22 or better since 2008.
Pittsburgh Pirates || Projected Opening Day Starter – LHP Francisco Liriano
Francisco Liriano had a nice beginning to his stint in Pittsbiurgh last season by posting a 16-8 record, a 3.02 ERA, and a 1.22 WHIP. Gerrit Cole was a nice surprise for the club last season but Liriano is the more polished veteran by rediscovering the form that he once showed while with the Minnesota Twins. The Pirates decided not to bring back A.J. Burnett due to Liriano’s emergence.
San Diego Padres || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Ian Kennedy
After arriving in San Diego via trade during last season, Ian Kennedy is likely to draw the Opening Day start for the Padres. The club still believes that Kennedy still has a lot to offer to the club. He does have the chance to pitch in the pitcher-friendly PETCO Park often, so that should help his numbers somewhat. Kennedy and the Padres were able to avoid arbitration, agreeing on a one-year, $6.1-million deal which should provide him with more motivation to restore his value.
San Francisco Giants || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Matt Cain
After the decline of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain has risen to the role as the team’s ace. But even he did not have the season that he would have liked in 2013. Cain went 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA. Although Madison Bumgarner is the future cornerstone of the Giants’ rotation, Cain is the most reliable veteran for the club at this moment. Adding Tim Hudson also helps, but Cain has the chance to have a comeback season.
Seattle Mariners || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Felix Hernandez
Felix Hernandez, enough said. Who are we kidding? Hernandez is the face of the entire Mariners team and is a legitimate ace for any starting staff within the entire league. He will be only 28 years old in April, which is scary for everyone else.
St. Louis Cardinals || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Adam Wainwright
The Cardinals are loaded with a very young and talented rotation. This club is constantly in playoff contention due to its rich depth of organizational talent across all levels. Adam Wainwright is the veteran and anchors the starting staff. He is coming off a season where he posted a 19-9 record, 2.94 ERA, and a 1.07 WHIP. Wainwright deserves to lead the way for this staff into the season, and likely into the postseason.
Tampa Bay Rays || Projected Opening Day Starter – LHP David Price
David Price has been rumored to be trade bait for the Rays for a little while now. He is expected to hit the open market after this season, and with the Rays always being able to develop pitching talent there is no need to spend big on one arm. Price will likely get his last Opening Day start for the Rays. Depending on whether if the Rays will be in contention, Price could be a prime target during July’s trade talks.
Texas Rangers || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Yu Darvish
Yu Darvish has emerged as a legitimate starter in this league. Before Masahiro Tanaka, there was the Darvish sweepstakes and the Rangers are happy to be reaping the rewards. He posted a 2.83 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP after last season. For a long time, the Rangers have been a team filled with many bats and mediocre arms. Darvish will be the team’s ace for many years to come if he can keep it up.
Toronto Blue Jays || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP R.A. Dickey
Despite flopping in his first season with the Blue Jays, R.A. Dickey looks to receive Opening Day honors due to his experience. Quite frankly, this rotation lacks a lot of talent and potential. Dickey going out there for Opening Day is more of a courtesy due to his MLB tenure more than anything.
Washington Nationals || Projected Opening Day Starter – RHP Stephen Strasburg
The former 1st overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft will be getting many Opening Day starts in the indefinite future. At only 25 years old, he is extremely talented and will only get better. Strasburg is one the faces of this franchise. A no-brainer this will be.
Masahiro Tanaka took part in his introductory press conference with the New York Yankees, while in the South Bronx during last Tuesday afternoon. Behold was another big-time free agent signing who talked about winning championships after being christened with the glory-filled pinstripes.
As of February 12, 2014 – the Yankees have the third-best odds to win the upcoming World Series with 10/1, per Bovada.LV. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers have better odds with 13/2 and 17/2, respectively. The defending champion Boston Red Sox are fourth on the list with 12/1 odds.
While last season ended in missing the postseason, the Yankees have made this offseason a very interesting one for the club’s fans. After hearing all of this dribble about a $189 million payroll-cap for 2014, a goal that was floated around publicly which would have allowed the front office to offset their increasing luxury tax, the Yankees easily abandoned that plan after signing quite the crop of free agents in catcher Brian McCann, and outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran – in addition to Tanaka.
Will the Yankees make it back to playing in October?
When looking at what the team accomplished during last season with a depleted roster due to injuries and lack of minor league talent, the Yankees were in the postseason hunt all the way through game 158 – finishing 2013 with 85 wins. It is safe to say the club will be in the hunt for sure as the team has only gotten better.
The American League East has evolved into being the most competitive divisions in the game at the moment. Respect must be given to the Red Sox since they are coming off a championship season. The Tampa Bay Rays, despite with a roster filled with many “no-name” players, always seem to be right in it thanks to their pitching. The Baltimore Orioles have become one of the better offensive teams in the entire league with the likes of Chris Davis, Manny Machado. Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, J.J. Hardy, and Matt Wieters.
With shortstop and all-time-great Derek Jeter announcing his retirement, the club has extra initiative to send their captain out on top. Despite the shiny new additions to the Yankees, the division they play in is full of parity. Getting to 90 wins may not guarantee them a spot in the postseason.
Bats may help win the AL East, but pitching helps win the World Series. Jeter and Mark Teixeira are players on the decline. The Yankees also need to hope that second baseman Brian Roberts stays healthy given that he has missed 500 games over the last four seasons, as Roberts is expected to somewhat fill the void that was left by Robinson Cano. The club also may not have a deemed “ace” in CC Sabathia, at the front of the rotation, or a closer in the backend of the bullpen in Mariano Rivera anymore. There are still many questions about this team, but the good thing going for the Yankees and their fans is that there are 162 games in 2014 to answer them.
After watching the Seattle Seahawks dismantle the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, it made many fans admire the strength and speed of the Pete Carroll’s defense and the precision of his offense. Denver quarterback Peyton Manning was constantly pressured and hurried. After the first snap of the game, came Seattle’s first score via a safety. From then-on, Seattle was able to play their kind of ball which incorporates a very physical style – displaying aggressiveness on defense, and moving the football in a methodical fashion to where they were able to keep the ball longer than Denver in regards to time of possession.
Offensively, the New York Giants ranked 30th in the NFL in terms of third-down conversion percentage at 33%. A statistic like that shows that the Giants struggled to maintain any sort of time-consuming drive. The majority of the offensive coaching staff has been removed in hopes for a new breath of life in 2014. Gone are offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, running backs coach Jerald Ingram, and tight ends coach Mike Pope (which was a surprise to many given his 20-plus years of tenure with the club). For some time, Gilbride had been a scapegoat whenever the Giants offense had displayed struggle – due to his predictive and questionable play-calling.
In comes Ben McAdoo who will inherit Gilbride’s previous position. While McAdoo has never been an offensive coordinator or called plays, the Giants were impressed enough by him to hire him over former Giants QB coach Mike Sullivan, who coached Eli Manning to his best regular season and postseason performance back during 2011 and early 2012. McAdoo was chosen over Sullivan because internally there was some worry of having Gilbride 2.0. No disrespect to Gilbride, as he has had a marvelous career with the Giants after taking over offensive coordinator duties from John Hufnagel back in 2006, but after a 7-9 season – change can be afforded to be taken.
The Giants defense, as a unit, may be an unsung hero of 2013. As a unit it ranked eighth in the NFL in yards allowed. However when it came to key moments such as defending a Tony Romo-led offense back in week 12 from a score to preserve a win to keep the Giants’ slim playoff hopes alive, the unit failed. Two weeks later out in San Diego, the Giants defense gave up 37 points and 388 total yards (144 of them came on the ground) which officially put a dagger in the unrealistic playoffs hopes for 2013.
Cornerback Corey Webster’s contract has been voided and is no longer a Giant. It is unlikely that he returns given his decline in play. The Giants defense needs to get younger and faster as the group has looked old and slow. The base of this group should be defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who is currently 25 years old. However he is currently recovering from shoulder injury, and the back surgery that he underwent just prior to the 2013 preseason. It clearly held him back – inhibiting the explosiveness he displayed in 2011 with 16.5 sacks. He recently Instagram’d himself while in a interesting-looking healing chamber, proclaiming that he will be ready for 2014.
On the other side of the line is captain Justin Tuck – who was told to re-sign with the Giants by Osi Umenyiora, a former-Giant. I am positive Tuck would love to return to Big Blue, but there is always the negotiation about those dollars. The Giants needs to play this situation carefully if they intend to bring Tuck back. He is coming off an 11-sack season (with four of them coming from week 13’s game against the Washington Redskins) after recording nine of them total in 2011 through 2012. Tuck will be 31 come 2014 kickoff, but he does bring the aura of a leader to a locker room. Tuck should receive an offer from the Giants given his track-record with the team.
Former three-time World Series champion and right-hand pitcher Curt Schilling has announced that he has been diagnosed with cancer. Currently, Schilling serves as a baseball analyst for ESPN and was set to broadcast Sunday Night Baseball games for the network during this upcoming season. Following today’s news, his plans to broadcast have not been discussed yet.
"Our thoughts are with Curt and his family during this challenging time," the network said in a statement. "His ESPN teammates wish him continued strength in his cancer fight and we look forward to welcoming him back to our baseball coverage whenever he’s ready” (ESPN.com).
Via a release from ESPN, Schilling issued the following statement:
"I’ve always believed life is about embracing the gifts and rising up to meet the challenges," Schilling said. "We’ve been presented with another challenge, as I’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer."
The six-time all-star can best be remembered as pitching the 2004 Boston Red Sox to their first World Series title after an 86-year drought, back in 2004 – with a bloody ankle, sock, and all. Following retirement, Schilling began a startup business – a video game company called 38 Studios – but he eventually filed for bankruptcy after it had not been successful. Schilling lost $50 million after the collapse of his company – losing essentially all the money that he made over the course of his Major League-career (Associated Press). Just when things could not get much worse, Schilling will now look to endure through the biggest battle of his life. He was one of the most dominant pitchers in Major League Baseball during the majority of his career, and still was involved with the game given his role with ESPN after retirement. Myself, like many, wish and pray for the best for Schilling and his family.
With the New York Yankees cementing the front-three of their starting rotation in CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Masohiro Tanaka – the club could possibly use another arm in the back-end of that group. Right-hander Ivan Nova is likely to fill in the number-four spot while the fifth spot will likely be won amongst David Phelps. Michael Pineda, and maybe Vidal Nuno battling it out.
Just so you know, former-Yankees right-hander A.J. Burnett is still looking for a job.
The 37-year-old was not re-signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates after being traded to western Pennsylvania from the Bronx during the post-2011 regular season. During his tenure with the Buccos he went 26-21 with a 3.41 earned run average, a respectable 1.29 WHIP, and a 8.9 SO/9 ratio. Burnett was the ace of a Pirates’ staff that saw its first playoff berth since the early 90s – during last season.
Although Burnett combined for a 5.20 ERA after 377 innings pitched in 2010 through 2011 (his last two seasons in the Bronx), he still managed to be an innings-eater during the latter part of his career as a whole. The only problem that the Yankees front office ([cough] Brian Cashman [cough]) may have is convincing the veteran that he is a filler in a staff that is weak within its back-end. The good thing about possibly signing Burnett is that he (assuming so) is not looking for a long-term deal given his age. However, Burnett may (and most likely will) be easily insulted if the Yankees were to present this proposition to him.
Say what you want about Burnett and his tenure in New York, but he managed to average 195 innings pitched during his three seasons of starting with the Yankees. His ERA+ came out to be 92, which is below-average – but this time around he would be a middle-of-the-rotation kind-of arm. If Burnett wishes to continue to pitch in the majors, and is willing to sign any deal at this point in the offseason, he should consider a deal if Yankees general manager Brian Cashman were to consider offering him another one.
The Yankees could possibly move Tanaka back to a potential number-four starter position (and he would possibly become the most talked-about number-four starter in MLB history) to slot Burnett in as a number-three starter. Believe it not not — but Kuroda was originally signed by the Yankees (back in 2012) because he was an innings-eater after his last two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. It just-so-happened that he ended up being a dominant number-two in the American League East. Maybe an Act II for Burnett should at least be thought about at least on the part of Cashman. I mean, he was willing to give Javier Vazquez another chance… right?