01-07-2014 / By:
In a city where the "Big Three" can mean different things to different people, Detroit has its eyes on a trio of elite starting pitchers. This project, inspired by the Atlanta Bravesof the 1990s, is two-thirds complete. ... But to get that third piece of the puzzle in place, American League Cy Young award winnerMax Scherzer, the Tigers will have to bridge a sea of dollar bills awaiting the righty after the 2014 season. And make no mistake, they will do whatever they can to extend Scherzer and further what the Braves cemented as the best model for long-term success. "They had a lot of changed pieces," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said in November. "But they had (Greg) Maddux and (John) Smoltz and (Tom) Glavine and Chipper Jones."
A new year hasn't brought relief to L.A. How odd that the most expensive team in the majors also faces more unresolved issues than any other. But as we begin 2014, such is the state of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It would be premature to call the Dodgers a powder keg, seeing as how the team won 92 games and reached the National League Championship Series while confronting many of the same problems. Still, the potential for distraction is considerable. ... Don Mattingly. His lame-duck status was a major talking point last season, and guess what? As of this moment, he's a lame duck again. ... Clayton Kershaw. Another deal that should have done by now. ... Hanley Ramirez. Extension candidate No. 3. ... Yasiel Puig. His recent arrest in Florida for driving 110 mph in a 70-mph zone was his second for reckless driving.
Very few seasons imploded as the Blue Jays' did in Toronto. There were two disasters in the city of Toronto in 2013 -- Rob Ford and the Blue Jays. One was an out-of-control mayor who could have starred in "Animal House" given his behavior, and the other a baseball team. ... As of now, Toronto's biggest signing has been Roy Halladay, who re-signed with theBlue Jays and then retired. For a team that probably needs two starting pitchers, Navarro has been their biggest acquisition. So, what's going on? Anthopoulos likes to strike in secrecy. Sometimes his own talent evaluators don't know what he's doing. We know through sources that he has been in on Jimenez, Garza, and Santana. Hush-hush, too, is his stance on Tanaka. The Jays have inquired about David Price and Jeff Samardzija.
Instead of happy returns, New York's camp could include quite an awkward one. Mets insiders now expect Ike Davis will be in spring training with the team in Port St. Lucie, Fla. -- while cautioning they are willing to reengage the PittsburghPirates or Milwaukee Brewers or any other club in search of a first baseman in trade talks in the six weeks before pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 15. Sources add that Davis genuinely does want to remain with the Mets. Of course, there is a difference between Davis coming to spring training and making it all the way to Opening Day. Another team could have an injury during spring training and need to acquire a first baseman. Or, a team like the Pirates -- who recently traded for Triple-A first baseman Chris McGuiness -- could become dissatisfied with their internal options.
While acquiring the pieces was no simple task, settling things remains unanswered. Before the Red Soxcould conceive of having seven pitching prospects who may be poised to graduate to the major league rotation within the next 15 months, they had to dispatch a militia of scouts to acquire them, either through the draft or, in the case of Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, an August 2012 blockbuster with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then, they entrusted minor league coaches to oversee their development. But now, with Webster, De La Rosa, Anthony Ranaudo (2010, supplemental first round), Brandon Workman (2010, second round), Matt Barnes (2011, first round), and lefties Drake Britton (2007, 23rd round) and Henry Owens (2011, supplemental first round) having reached at least Double A, Step 3 is no less complicated.