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Baseball 3-27-14- News

MLB's least valuable team

07:09 AM ET 03.27 | The Yankees, they are not -- quite obviously. The Tampa Bay Rays are Major League Baseball's least valuable team, according to an annual ranking by Forbes magazine. The magazine estimated the Rays were worth $485 million, an 8 percent increase from 2013. At the other end, Forbes ranks the New York Yankees at the top of the list for the 17th straight year. The Yankees' estimated value was $2.5 billion, up 9 percent from last year. The Los Angeles Dodgers were next at $2 billion. ... Forbes called the Rays the "best low-revenue team in baseball" but plagued with "an antiquated and difficult-to-get-to stadium." Despite some of the lowest ticket prices ($21 average) in the majors, the Rays had the lowest average attendance (18,645) last season, the magazine said.
The Tampa Tribune

Bo Porter's tough love

07:08 AM ET 03.27 | Heading into the regular season without a designated closer comes fraught with the potential for controversy, and yet the Astros are pointed in that direction. Manager Bo Porter has said that Chad Qualls -- a veteran with the most closing experience on the club -- Matt AlbersJosh Fields, Anthony Bass and lefty Kevin Chapman are in the mix for the role. The Astros had the majors' worst bullpen last year, with a 4.92 ERA, and made a point to overhaul it this winter. In baseball parlance, going with multiple pitchers who could be end-game, ninth-inning guys as opposed to titling one pitcher a closer is called employing a "closer by committee." ... Asked about role definition, Porter showed a little tough love. "You know what your role is? When your phone rings and your name's called, go get people out," Porter said. "That's your role."
The Houston Chronicle

Lester surprised Scherzer walked on $144M

07:07 AM ET 03.27 | Perhaps the disintegration of talks between Max Scherzer and the Tigers will not be instructive in talks between the Red Sox and Jon Lester, after all. Various reports indicated that Scherzer turned down a six-year, $144-million offer -- an offer Boston almost certainly will not make to Lester -- before the Tigers issued something of an antagonistic news release ending negotiations. If there's an impasse between the Red Sox and the Lester camp, though, it's almost certainly south of that number. "That's hard to walk away from," Lester said when asked specifically about the Scherzer situation. If the finish line is in sight by Opening Day, the Red Sox might continue talks with Lester's representatives -- the same agents who negotiated the team-friendly extension Dustin Pedroia signed last June.
Providence Journal

Two players eat 51.6% of Seattle's payroll

07:07 AM ET 03.27 | The Mariners are spending like the big boys -- at two positions, anyway. Second baseman Robinson Cano and right-handed pitcher Felix Hernandez are among the best, if not the best, at their position. Good thing, too. Their salaries comprise 51.6 percent of the Mariners' 2014 projected payroll. Cano is making $24 million, while Hernandez will make $23,557,143. Projections for the rest of the roster, according to salaries obtained by The Associated Press, totals $44,524,800. TheMariners' projected payroll of $92,081,943 ranks 18th among the 30 clubs. The Los Angeles Dodgers rank first at $235,295,219, while the New York Yankees are second $202,812,506. The lowest club payroll is the Houston Astros at $44,544,174. The Mariners' projected payroll would be an increase of $7,882,300 over 2013.
The News Tribune

Milwaukee still home for 'Tony Plush'

07:06 AM ET 03.27 | Thanks to Cleveland, Nyjer Morgan has returned to Major League Baseball. [Morgan] has been around the world and back again, and he still has nothing but love for the MilwaukeeBrewers. Having just made the Cleveland Indians roster this week, Morgan on Wednesday reacquainted himself with the team that he helped into the 2011 National League Championship Series with one of the biggest hits in franchise history. ... Almost as big was Morgan's megawatt smile, the "Beast Mode" signal he helped make popular and his "Tony Plush" alter ego that made him one of the biggestBrewers fan favorites in recent memory. "Just a great group of guys, a great organization," Morgan said before the Brewers' Cactus League game with the Indians at Goodyear Ballpark. "For me, it's still home. It's nothing but great memories."
Journal Sentinel