Before I get started, I'd like to
introduce myself. My name is
You may remember my name from reading my weekly Memphis Redbirds reports last season or from my contributions the past two years involving the Draft. If not, I don't blame you for regretting the decision not to read them.
I will be writing ‘Around the Major Leagues' reports each week this season to provide the readers of TheCardinalNation.com with news and notes, along with my personal commentary and analysis from teams all around the major leagues. Since this is a brand new thing, I expect these reports to expand and evolve over the course of the season, hopefully with the input and suggestions from all of you.
I encourage everyone to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on twitter (@MLBPJ) with questions, comments, or suggestions. Also feel free to email me any links to articles you'd like me to include in these reports. Lastly, I'd love to hear your opinions about any events or news going on in the game so that I can include them in here, as well.
Anyway, that's enough about me. On to the first week in baseball!!
-Third baseman Will Middlebrooks is a
beast, and he further proved that with a monstrous day against
-There is slight concern over the drop in velocity from C.C. Sabathia's fastball. According to the New York Post in his Opening Day start, the left-hander's fastball hovered around 88-90 miles per hour, hitting 91 nine times and 92 twice. Sabathia assured fans that he was fine, claiming that the velocity will come back as he continues to throw.
-Speaking of the Yankees,
second baseman Robinson Cano made noise when he fired agent Scott Boras earlier
this week and went with an agency headed by rap-artist Jay-Z. It's hard to imagine Cano leaving
-There is still no timetable on the return of shortstop Derek Jeter, and there are several rumblings that he may not be ready to return until May.
-It's a shame that long-time
-Left-hander John Danks of the White Sox is on track in his recovery from shoulder surgery, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. There remains no timetable on his return, however, as Danks had mixed results in a minor league game recently. The left-hander missed most of last season because of his shoulder and is in the second year of a 5-year, $65 million extension.
-Catcher Tyler Flowers is certainly on pace to make up for the loss of the 27 home runs the White Sox incurred on the departure of A.J. Pierzynski. Flowers belted a home run in each of his first two games of the season against the Royals.
-Most people probably don't know that
ace Justin Verlander has never won an Opening Day start. That all changed Monday when he shut
down the Twins lineup through five innings.
-It took the Tigers all of four days to sign former closer Jose Valverde to a minor-league deal, not long after their closer-by-committee blew its first save in its second opportunity of the season. The right-hander can opt out of his deal if he's not called up within a month.
-It took less than a week into the season for the Indians to promote starter Trevor Bauer, taking the place of injured Scott Kazmir for Saturday's game. Bauer issued seven walks in his debut and was then optioned back down to Triple-A the next day. Carlos Carrasco will take his spot in the rotation.
-Following a slew of mega-extensions,
the Rangers didn't want to be left behind.
-Andrus' contract begs the question
what happens to top prospect Jurickson Profar, who is now officially blocked
long-term by Andrus at short. Can
the Rangers convince second baseman Ian Kinsler to shift to first
base? So far, they haven't
succeeded. At the very worst,
Profar represents a significant trade chip for
-Yu want early-season excitement? Ok, that's my one and only Yu Darvish
pun. He provided plenty of
excitement in his first start of the season. All of
-The Houston Astros made history by setting a record upon their debut in the American League. Well, maybe not one they'd like to have. The Astros struck out a staggering 43 times in their first three games against the Rangers, setting a major league record for the most strikeouts in the first three games of a season. Then, according to the Houston Chronicle, the Astros made another mark by becoming the first team in 90 years to record four consecutive games with at least 13 strikeouts at any point during the season. Ouch.
-The mayor of
-The Seattle Mariners are getting what they bargained for with outfielder Michael Morse, which is power and lots of it. The left fielder has five of the nine home runs that the Mariners have recorded through the first week of the season.
-The Marlins made a bizarre,
questionable move upon the promotion of top pitching prospect Jose Fernandez
after the announcement that starters Henderson Alvarez and Nate Eovaldi would
begin the season on the disabled list.
It's not just irresponsible that
-There has been concern over the drop in velocity of Roy Halladay for the Phillies. His first start of the season did nothing to alleviate those concerns. Though he recorded an impressive nine strikeouts over 10 of his outs, Halladay didn't last through the fourth inning. The right-hander had trouble hitting 90 miles per hour, as he surrendered five runs, six hits, and coughed up two home runs. There is legitimate concern that he's done as a consistent threat.
-First baseman Freddie Freeman of the Braves was fuming after the announcement that he'd be placed on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique strain. The Associated Press quoted him as saying, "They didn't even give me a choice. It's my career. I should be able to make that decision." Oblique strains are a tricky thing, but you have to at least respect the fire in him to play through it.
-The Cubs will be without second baseman Darwin Barney for at least two weeks. NBC Sports announced that Barney was placed on the 15-day disabled list after needing five stitches to close up a cut on his knee. The second baseman is expected back soon after.
-Starter Matt Garza for the Cubs is taking to the mound and will return sometime in early-May. In the meantime, the Chicago Sun-Times writes that Travis Wood is making his case for a permanent spot in their rotation.
-Time was short for Carlos Marmol as
the closer for the Cubs. The
right-hander blew a save against
-Outfielder Ryan Ludwick of the
Reds will be out until at least July after suffering a dislocated
shoulder on a slide into third base on Opening Day.
-The Cardinals were a part of the longest game in Chase Field history this week. Hey, that's a fun stat for the fans if they win. The Cardinals didn't. The game lasted five hours, 32 minutes and left Cardinals fans (the ones who stayed up, anyway) flipping off the power to their television sets in frustration.
-Already facing the start of the season without first baseman Corey Hart, the Brewers will be without third baseman Aramis Ramirez for at least two weeks. Ramirez sprained his knee in the fourth inning of their game on Friday and was subsequently placed on the 15-day disabled list. The middle of their lineup is immediately less intimidating. Ryan Braun still lurks, but he's dealing with a neck issue that has kept him out of the lineup.
-The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examined closer John Axford's drop in velocity. Axford was sitting 91-92 miles per hour on his fastball, down from his normal 96-97 mph. The Brewers are banking on a rebound year from Axford to make up for arguably the worst bullpen in baseball last year.
-Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki sure did
his best to make up for lost time after getting his first start since May
30th of last year. The
-Todd Helton made his 16th-straight Opening Day start, the longest active streak in the majors. Whether it's his last remains to be seen, though he hasn't let anybody know he's retiring.
-With the abundance of long-term extensions being handed out to star players of the past week, speculation mounts between Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers certainly have the money to sign the left-hander, but both sides are apparently nowhere close to a deal. Kershaw is poised to be a free agent following the 2014 season, so rumors will continue to swirl.
-Tim Lincecum didn't do much to prove that his control issues are a thing of the past. When you walk seven batters in your debut, the questions will remain. The right-hander limited the Dodgers to two unearned runs and fanned four batters in his debut, despite the wildness. If Lincecum continues to walk as many batters it is impossible to expect the same results on a consistent basis.
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