Nats, Astros share new park, same expectations

Feb 24, 2017 | No Comments

They have everything. But do they have enough? The question pervades the state-of-the-art scene where the Astros and Nationals — two win-now teams with new facilities but one obvious source of roster uncertainty apiece — get ready for 2017.

Carlos Villanueva Signs With KBO’s Hanwha Eagles

Feb 24, 2017 | No Comments

The Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization announced on Friday that they’ve signed veteran Major League right-hander Carlos Villanueva to a one-year contract (h/t: Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net and Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency). The ISE Baseball client will earn $1.5MM in his first venture into pro ball overseas. He’ll join former big leaguers Alexi Ogando and Wilin Rosario on the Eagles’ roster for the 2017 campaign. Villanueva, who turned 33 this offseason, spent the 2016 campaign with the Padres and struggled to a 5.96 ERA in in 74 innings of relief. The veteran swingman did display some more encouraging peripherals, including a 7.4 K/9 rate, 1.7 BB/9 and an 11 percent swinging-strike rate, but interest in the soft-tossing righty (88.1 mph average fastball in ’16) never picked up much steam this winter. In fact, today’s signing marks the first time that Villanueva’s name has been tagged here at MLBTR since inking his one-year deal with San Diego in Jan. 2016. Prior to his ugly 2016 season, Villanueva enjoyed a terrific year with the Cardinals, during which he logged 61 innings with a 2.95 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 42.4 percent ground-ball rate. That year served as an exclamation point on a nice five-year run that saw Villanueva toss 499 2/3 innings of 4.03 ERA ball while pitching for the Blue Jays, Cubs and Cards. Next year’s crop of free-agent pitchers is superior to the group that hit the open market this year, but a rebound campaign in the hitters’ paradise that is the KBO could either create renewed Major League interest in Villanueva or earn him a more substantial payday overseas in 2018 and beyond

Want an elite staff? Invest in NL ace trio

Feb 24, 2017 | No Comments

From baseball’s brightest stars to the next great fantasy steal lurking on the depth chart, everything you need to know is one click away.

Star WARs: Who’s making history?

Feb 24, 2017 | No Comments

Let’s examine 25 players who can further cement their legacies if they can add to their career WAR totals this season.

MLB.TV weekend slate features 16 games

Feb 24, 2017 | No Comments

MLB.TV, the world’s longest-running and most successful live streaming sports product, returns for its 15th-anniversary year, starting with Phillies at Yankees at 1:05 p.m. ET today, followed by seven live games on Saturday and another eight on Sunday.

Braves sign former NFL player to Minors deal

Feb 24, 2017 | No Comments

The Braves have signed former NFL defensive back Sanders Commings to a Minor League deal, a team source told MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.

Baseball faithful not big fans of change

Feb 24, 2017 | No Comments

Rob Manfred and baseball face a delicate challenge: changing the game without making it feel like change, keeping the continuity that captivates lifelong baseball fans while capturing new fans who are seeing the game for the first time. It isn’t easy.

Russell’s power breakout has already begun

Feb 23, 2017 | No Comments

Can Addison Russell take that next step forward to become a true superstar? The glove is already there, but we haven’t seen that one big hitting season yet. Small changes he made as 2016 may point to ’17 being his true coming-out party.

Ilitch’s legacy celebrated at Detroit ceremony

Feb 23, 2017 | No Comments

Detroit celebrated the life of Mike Ilitch on Wednesday by bringing together a congregation of the town’s most respected sports figures at the historic Fox Theatre, an apt venue given the late Tigers and Red Wings owner’s impact on the city and its restoration efforts.