2014 MLB Draft Order By Charlie Wilmoth at MLB Trade Rumors 1. Astros – 2. Marlins – 3. White Sox – 4. Cubs – 5. Twins – 6. Mariners – 7. Phillies – 8. Rockies – 9. Blue Jays – 10. Mets – 11. Blue Jays (for failing to sign 2013 No. 10 pick Phil Bickford) – 12. Brewers – 13. Padres – 14. Giants – 15. Angels – 16. Diamondbacks 17. Orioles – 18. Yankees – 19. Royals – 20. Nationals – 21. Reds – 22. Rangers or Rays – 23. Rangers or Rays – 24. Indians – 25. Dodgers – 26. Tigers – 27. Pirates – 28. Athletics – 29. Braves – 30. Red Sox – 31. Cardinals. Click here for details.
“As Robinson Cano approaches free agency next month, many expect a fierce bidding war to erupt between the Yankees and Dodgers. Everybody other than the Dodgers, that is. According to a high-ranking National League executive with knowledge of the situation, the Dodgers have no intention to bid on Cano this winter, leaving the second baseman without one of the sport’s richest teams in the sweepstakes for his services. “They’re not interested in Cano,” the executive said.” —Mark Feinsand at NY Daily News
Mariner’s potential off-season targets
Jack Gallagher at Sports on Earth has written what is the best in-depth piece on Japanese phenom, Masahiro Tanaka, that I’ve seen. If you have an interest read the whole article (here). The Mariners should do whatever it takes to land this guy. Gallagher says, “Masahiro Tanaka of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles is enjoying the greatest season by a pitcher in the history of the Japanese game. Tanaka is 22-0 this year with a 1.23 ERA and a WHIP of 0.94 as the catalyst for the Sendai-based team, which wrapped up the Pacific League pennant on Thursday night with a victory over the Seibu Lions. Legendary manager Senichi Hoshino actually had Tanaka come out of the bullpen in the ninth inning to close out the clincher. (Shades of Randy Johnson!)
“The 24-year-old Tanaka set a new NPB record for consecutive winning decisions in one season on Sept. 13, with his 21st victory. Tanaka has not lost a game since Aug. 19, 2012, a stretch of 26 straight decisions, also a top NPB mark. The 6-2, 205-pound right-hander has three no-decisions this season, but other than that has been nearly untouchable. He has allowed just 27 earned runs in 199 innings, while striking out 173 batters and walking just 30.
“Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese citizen to play in the majors when he pitched for the San Francisco Giants in 1964-65, and now an analyst for national broadcaster NHK, is high on Tanaka’s prospects. ‘This season he has not been throwing as hard as in the past and his strikeouts are down. This is a tactical move by him. He is pacing himself so he can go deeper into games. He has such great control and is so good at hitting the corners, that he is only overpowering hitters when he gets into a pinch and really needs a strikeout … Darvish has a tendency to struggle with his control in the early innings of games, but Tanaka does not. He is very consistent.’ A major league scout whose team has been one of several watching Tanaka closely said, ‘He has a great splitter, which would make a difference in the majors.’ The scout says Tanaka’s determination is what resonates with many. ‘He can strike out batters when he needs to,’ he stated. ‘He really knows how to bear down. His slider is his secondary pitch. We project him as a No. 2 starter for most MLB clubs.’ The NPB team GM agrees that Tanaka’s split-finger pitch is what makes him special: “He can throw five pitches — splitter, fastball, slider, changeup, curve — with good command. But the splitter just disappears. That’s why batters can’t hit it.””
Hunter Pence was eager to sign a long-term commitment with the Giants. Tim Lincecum is going to be a bit harder to pin down. Lincecum left every impression that he would wait to explore free agency and weigh the Giants’ offer against the open market, saying Pence’s five-year, $90 million contract wouldn’t have much impact on him either way. “I feel like most decisions people make at this point are personal decisions,” Lincecum said. “I’ve still got time to think about this. It’s not a pressing thing for me, and I’ll make a decision when the time comes.” —Andrew Baggarly at CSN Bay Area
“I think Scott Feldman will re-sign [with the Orioles] unless a team seriously overpays for him. There’s a mutual attraction between the two sides. And I think we’ve seen the last of Jason Hammel with the Orioles. Nate McLouth? He’s gone if the market really is two years, $10 million, as MLBTradeRumors.com projected last week.” —Roch Kubatko at MASN
So they said
“Baseball is a game of constant, overwhelming failure. If you fall short of accomplishing your goal 65 percent of the time, you’re really good at your job. The sheer number of groundouts, pop-ups and swinging strikes a ballplayer must endure and accept per season is drowning. So to come to the plate in an incredibly high-leverage moment—whether it’s a professionally crucial moment like Giambi’s or a personally significant one like Helton’s—and put a ball into the outfield seats, is just so far outside of what should even be considered remotely likely. But you never really think about that until it happens.” —Arden Zwelling at sportsnet.ca
“There is a lot that money can’t buy,” Cano said. “When Mo [Mariano Rivera] was a free agent, if he went somewhere else, then what happened [Thursday] could not have happened for him. But you have to understand that this is a business. The Yankees are going to do what is best for them, and I am going to do what is best for me and my family.” —Robinson Cano by Joel Sherman at NY Post
The 17,081 in attendance and his teammates standing on the top step of the dugout all gave Ibanez a standing ovation.
“It was really a special moment, one that I will always remember,” Ibanez said. “I’m always going to appreciate the fans here in Seattle for that and for all the years I was here. And I’m always going to appreciate Eric Wedge for letting that moment happen. He thought of it on his own. I didn’t really know what was happening.” —Ryan Divish at The News Tribune
“The last good man still standing has left the building.” —Geoff Baker at the Seattle Times
“As Pence discovered, playing 162 games, hitting 27 homers, and being worth somewhere north of four wins above replacement will make a lot of people stop laughing at you, and start laughing with you.” —Mike Bates at Sports on Earth
“While a team that signs Shin-Soo Choo or Robinson Cano would have to surrender a draft pick (and the bonus pool space that comes with it), well, obviously there’s no draft pick compensation going back to Cienfuegos when a team signs [Jose] Abreu.” —Ben Badler at Baseball America
By the numbers
In his last game, Andy Pettitte pitched a complete game. He had evened his record to 11-11 and become the only pitcher with at least 15 seasons never to have a losing one, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He improved his career record to 256-153, including 219-127 with the Yankees, and he earned his 275th win, including playoff games. —David Waldstein at the NY Times
Seattle became just the seventh team in American League history with more than 500 strikeouts from its relievers in 2013, setting a club record in the process. But the Mariners also had the second-worst bullpen ERA in the Majors at the same time. —Greg Johns at MLB.com
“Chris Tillman deserved better than a 16-win season, but I’ll take it. He moves to the front of the rotation. I doubt that anyone will be brought into the organization who can wrestle the ball out of his hand on opening day. He’s the guy.” —Roch Kubatko at MASN
According to a Sports Illustrated story, Cuban athletes reportedly make around the $20 a month salary that most other state employees earn – a tiny fraction of the millions many U.S. big-leaguers make. “It’s the dream of many athletes to test themselves in other leagues – the big leagues, if at some point my country would allow it,” said Yasmani Tomas, who is one of the island’s top talents, batting .345 last season with Havana’s powerhouse Industriales.
Under the new policy, athletes will be eligible to play abroad as long as they fulfill their commitments at home, the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported. For baseball players, that means being available for international competitions as well as Cuba’s November-to-April league. Even if Cubans have trouble playing in the U.S., they might still be able to take the field in Mexico, Japan, Venezuela or other countries during their offseason, something that has happened before in a few instances.
Granma also announced raises for island athletes, including bonuses for individual and team achievement. For example, league leaders in hitting and other categories will get an extra $41. The team that wins the title will split $2,700. That’s small change by big-league standards, but sizeable in Cuba. “The pay raise is going to be a big help. It was time,” Tomas said. “I think if we’d done it even earlier, some athletes would not have left.”
The Japan Amateur Baseball Association announced today that they issued a lifetime ban on Takumi Numata for signing a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers without following required procedure. —From japanese baseball
The CPBL (Chinese Professional Baseball League) hitters better than Manny Ramirez, by Clint Hulsey at I R Fast. “Despite playing games for 23 years, the Chinese Professional Baseball League probably received the most notoriety in the United States for the exploits of Manny Ramirez with the EDA Rhinos. Ramirez had a .422 OBP and .555 SLG in his 49 games, making him not only the most notable hitter in the league, but arguably the best as well. For this post, I found three hitters that had similar 2013 seasons (though they played the full season instead of the first half) to get a look at a few of the best hitters in the league. Like the majority of posts on this blog, it is from an American perspective, so the goal is to see whether or not any of them are MLB prospects. All three players are 27 years old, so they could be considered in the prime of their careers.” Read the full article (here).