Here’s a look back at the key stories from this week of coverage at MLBTR.
Tigers owner Mike Ilitch passes away. News broke Friday that Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch had died at the age of 87. Ilitch also owned Little Caesars and was a former Tigers minor league infielder. Going forward, it appears Ilitch’s son Christopher will assume his role.
Jeffrey Loria reaches “handshake agreement” to sell Marlins. As of Thursday, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria reportedly had a “handshake agreement” to sell the team for $1.6 billion. New York real estate executive Charles Kushner — the father of Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared — was rumored to be involved with the sale, but the league quickly issued a statement that they had not heard anything about Kushner’s involvement. Other reports linked Charles Kushner’s son Joshua to the sale.
Royals sign Jason Hammel. The Royals added veteran righty Jason Hammel on a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2019. Hammel received a surprisingly small guarantee of $16MM, suggesting the Cubs’ earlier decision to decline his $12MM option (a decision that had previously looked generous to Hammel) did not pay off for the pitcher. For the Royals, Hammel will help fill the void left by the tragic passing of Yordano Ventura earlier this offseason.
Sluggers find one-year deals. The market for 1B/DH power hitters has been notably slow this winter, but two of them did find homes this week, with Mike Napoli returning to the Rangers and Chris Carter heading to the Yankees, both on one-year contracts. Napoli’s deal, when it’s official, will likely pay less than $10MM (although he declined more money from the Twins to return to Texas), while Carter received a modest $3.5MM guarantee after tying for the NL lead in homers last season.
Dodgers make depth additions. The Dodgers agreed to re-sign second baseman Chase Utley to a one-year deal, and he’ll fit with them in a bench/platoon role, giving Logan Forsythe and Justin Turner rests against some righties. The Dodgers also added veteran outfielder Franklin Gutierrez on a one-year deal, and the right-handed hitter figures to play primarily against lefties.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
I like what the Dodgers have done this winter, they are in the drivers seat as the best team in the NL. I would look for them and the Cubs to fight it out again in the NL for the world series. Both teams have a lot of depth as well quality and veteran leadership. It’s no wonder that Fangraphs has their projected WAR as the best in baseball.
sorry but if the NY Mets pitching stays healthy nobody is beating them
Mets are probably only the 6th best nl team after Cubs, LA, Nats, Cards, SF
Let us know when that “stays healthy” actually happens and we’ll consider giving the Mets a thought.
The Mets still cant hit
You need to put your glasses on and look at the mets line up. They have more players on their team capable of hitting 30 plus hrs. I know it takes more than long ball but you take their 1-8 all which can hit 20 hrs along with their pitching when it stays healthy, they are good for 100 wins. Largest challenge is health to that run which is why they are not predicted to win more at this point. Time will tell
For my money I’d go
AL: CLE, BOS, HOU, TEX, SEA
(Indians and Red Sox are interchangeable but I love the Tribe’s bullpen)
NL: LAD, CHI, WAS, NYM, SF
(Dodgers have owned this offseason and while I think the Cubs will do great, I don’t think they’ll do as well as last year)
MLB: LAD, CHI, CLE, BOS, HOU
(I think a case could be made for any of these teams as the top team in baseball)
Cubs still the best ….better than last year. A big edge in fielding, great bench, Better starting pitching without Hammel, better bullpen and great hitting.
Who can match them?