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  1. #1

    Cnotes 2021 Major League Baseball Transactions, News, Notes, Picks Etc. !!

    MLB Transactions
    Tuesday, February 16, 2021

    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    ATL
    Dansby Swanson Signed ( 2021)(loses arbitration)
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    BOS
    Jeffrey Springs Designated for Assignment
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    CIN
    Cam Bedrosian Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    LAD
    Matt Davidson Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    MIL
    Travis Shaw Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    MIN
    Ian Hamilton Outrighted to Minors
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    NYM
    Brad Brach Released
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    NYM
    Corey Oswalt Outrighted to Minors
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    OAK
    Mike Fiers Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    PHI
    Jeff Mathis Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    SF
    Nick Tropeano Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    TEX
    Jimmy Herget Designated for Assignment
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    TEX
    Josh Sborz Traded From Los Angeles (for RHP Jhan Zambrano)
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    WAS
    Ramon Flores Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    WAS
    Humberto Arteaga Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    WAS
    T.J. McFarland Signed to a Minor League Contract

    Monday, February 15, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    ATL
    Jason Kipnis Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CLE
    Blake Parker Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    COL
    C.J. Cron Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    MIL
    Derek Fisher Traded From Toronto (for future considerations)
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    NYY
    Robinson Chirinos Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    PHI
    Travis Jankowski Signed to a Minor League Contract

    Sunday, February 14, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    ATL
    Jeremy Walker Cleared Waivers and Became a Free Agent
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    LAD
    Austin Barnes Signed ( 2021)(avoids arbitration)
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    MIL
    Brad Boxberger Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    NYM
    Tommy Hunter Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    NYM
    Jared Hughes Retired
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    NYM
    Mike Montgomery Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    NYY
    Ben Heller Cleared Waivers and Became a Free Agent
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    TOR
    Shun Yamaguchi Cleared Waivers and Became a Free Agent

    Saturday, February 13, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    ATL
    Mike Soroka Signed ( 2021)(wins arbitration)
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    BAL
    Matt Harvey Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    NYY
    Jay Bruce Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    STL
    Jack Flaherty Signed ( 2021)(wins arbitration)
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    STL
    Matt Szczur Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    TB
    Ryan Yarbrough Signed ( 2021)(loses arbitration)

    Friday, February 12, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    ARI
    Taylor Guilbeau Outrighted to Minors
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    ATL
    Jeremy Walker Released
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    ATL
    Travis Demeritte Acquired Off Waivers From Detroit
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    BOS
    Martin Perez Signed as Free Agent ( 2021; Opt 2022)(one-year contract)
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    BOS
    Chris Mazza Designated for Assignment
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    CHC
    Jose Lobaton Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    DET
    Pedro Payano Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    DET
    John Schreiber Designated for Assignment
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    DET
    Nomar Mazara Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    LAA
    Dillon Peters Outrighted to Minors
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    LAD
    Sheldon Neuse Traded From Oakland (for LHP Adam Kolarek, four-player deal)
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    LAD
    Alex Vesia Traded From Miami (with RHP Kyle Hurt for RHP Dylan Floro)
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    MIA
    Dylan Floro Traded From Los Angeles (for LHP Alex Vesia and RHP Kyle Hurt)
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    MIN
    Brandon Waddell Outrighted to Minors
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    MIN
    Alex Colome Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    MIN
    Ian Hamilton Designated for Assignment
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    NYY
    Ben Heller Released
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    OAK
    Adam Kolarek Traded From Los Angeles (for INF Sheldon Neuse, four-player deal)
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    STL
    Ali Sanchez Traded From NY Mets (for cash considerations)
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    TEX
    Hyun-jong Yang Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    TEX
    Brock Holt Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    TEX
    Adolis Garcia Outrighted to Minors
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    TEX
    John Hicks Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    TOR
    Shun Yamaguchi Released
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    TOR
    Joe Panik Signed to a Minor League Contract

    Thursday, February 11, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    BOS
    Chris Herrmann Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CHW
    Mike Wright Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CHW
    Marco Hernandez Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CHW
    Jonathan Lucroy Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CHW
    Matt Reynolds Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CIN
    Shane Carle Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CLE
    Billy Hamilton Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CLE
    Ben Gamel Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    COL
    Greg Bird Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    LAA
    Jon Jay Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    LAD
    Trevor Bauer Signed as Free Agent ( 2021-2023)(three-year contract)
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    LAD
    Josh Sborz Designated for Assignment
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    MIL
    David Freitas Released
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    MIL
    David Freitas Signed to Play in Korea (Kiwoom Heroes)
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    MIN
    Kyle Garlick Acquired Off Waivers From Atlanta
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    MIN
    Brandon Waddell Designated for Assignment
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    NYM
    Jonathan Villar Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    NYM
    Brad Brach Designated for Assignment
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    PHI
    Didi Gregorius Signed as Free Agent ( 2021-2022)(two-year contract)
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    PHI
    Matt Moore Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    PIT
    Brian Goodwin Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    PIT
    Tony Wolters Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    SF
    Luis Alexander Basabe Outrighted to Minors
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    TB
    Brian Moran Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    TOR
    David Phelps Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    TOR
    Derek Fisher Designated for Assignment

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    ATL
    Nate Jones Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    BOS
    Franchy Cordero Traded From Kansas City (for OF Andrew Benintendi, 3-team deal)
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    CIN
    Braden Shipley Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CIN
    Max Schrock Acquired Off Waivers From Chi. Cubs
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    DET
    Renato Nunez Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    KC
    Andrew Benintendi Traded From Boston (for OF Franchy Cordero, three-team deal)
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    LAD
    Walker Buehler Signed ( 2021-2022)(two-year contract, avoids arbitration)
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    NYM
    Khalil Lee Traded From Kansas City (three-team, six-player deal)
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    NYM
    Corey Oswalt Designated for Assignment
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    NYM
    Albert Almora Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    NYM
    Ali Sanchez Designated for Assignment
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    NYY
    Ben Heller Designated for Assignment
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    NYY
    Darren O'Day Signed as Free Agent ( 2021; Opt 2022)(one-year contract)
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    OAK
    Jed Lowrie Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    PHI
    Matt Joyce Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    PHI
    Brandon Kintzler Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    SEA
    JT Chargois Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    STL
    Johan Quezada Traded From Philadelphia (for cash considerations)
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    TB
    Joey Krehbiel Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    TEX
    Adolis Garcia Designated for Assignment
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    TEX
    Mike Foltynewicz Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    TOR
    Shun Yamaguchi Designated for Assignment
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    TOR
    Joel Payamps Acquired Off Waivers From Boston

    Tuesday, February 9, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    CIN
    Dee Gordon Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    DET
    Greg Garcia Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    HOU
    Steve Cishek Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    LAA
    Phil Gosselin Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    MIL
    Jordan Zimmermann Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    STL
    Yadier Molina Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    TB
    Chris Archer Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)


    Monday, February 8, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    CHW
    Emilio Vargas Outrighted to Minors
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    LAA
    Aaron Slegers Traded From Tampa Bay (for future considerations)
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    LAA
    Shohei Ohtani Signed ( 2021-2022)(two-year contract, avoids arbitration)
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    LAA
    Dillon Peters Designated for Assignment
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    MIN
    Chandler Shepherd Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    MIN
    Andrew Albers Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    MIN
    Robin Leyer Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    MIN
    Keon Broxton Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    PHI
    Chase Anderson Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    SEA
    Yoshihisa Hirano Signed to Play in Japan (Orix Buffaloes)
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    SEA
    Taylor Guerrieri Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    TB
    Hunter Strickland Signed to a Minor League Contract

    Sunday, February 7, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    DET
    Erasmo Ramirez Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    LAA
    Juan Lagares Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    PIT
    Chasen Shreve Signed to a Minor League Contract

    Saturday, February 6, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    ARI
    Joakim Soria Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    ARI
    Taylor Guilbeau Designated for Assignment
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    CIN
    Sean Doolittle Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    HOU
    Carlos Correa Signed ( 2021)(avoids arbitration)
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    OAK
    Elvis Andrus Traded From Texas (for OF/DH Khris Davis, five-player deal)
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    OAK
    Aramis Garcia Traded From Texas (for OF/DH Khris Davis, five-player deal)
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    TEX
    Khris Davis Traded From Oakland (for SS Elvis Andrus, five-player deal)
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    TEX
    Jonah Heim Traded From Oakland (for SS Elvis Andrus, five-player deal)

    Friday, February 5, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    ATL
    Kyle Garlick Designated for Assignment
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    ATL
    Marcell Ozuna Signed as Free Agent ( 2021-2024; Opt 2025)(four-year contract)
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    BAL
    Anthony Santander Signed ( 2021)(loses arbitration)
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    CHC
    Max Schrock Designated for Assignment
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    CHC
    Joc Pederson Signed as Free Agent ( 2021; Opt 2022)(one-year contract)
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    CHC
    Andrew Chafin Signed as Free Agent ( 2021; Opt 2022)(one-year contract)
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    CHC
    Sergio Alcantara Acquired Off Waivers From Detroit
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    CHC
    Trevor Williams Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    DET
    Travis Demeritte Designated for Assignment
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    DET
    Jonathan Schoop Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    MIL
    Kolten Wong Signed as Free Agent ( 2021-2022)(two-year contract)
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    MIN
    Nelson Cruz Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    MIN
    Ian Hamilton Acquired Off Waivers From Philadelphia
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    NYM
    J.D. Davis Signed ( 2021)(loses arbitration)
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    TB
    Ji-Man Choi Signed ( 2021)(wins arbitration)
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    WAS
    Jordy Mercer Signed to a Minor League Contract

    Thursday, February 4, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    BAL
    Seth Mejias-Brean Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CHC
    Joe Biagini Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CHC
    Rex Brothers Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CLE
    Mike Freeman Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CLE
    Eddie Rosario Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    LAA
    Dexter Fowler Traded From St. Louis (for future considerations)
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    MIN
    Shaun Anderson Traded From San Francisco (for OF LaMonte Wade Jr.)
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    SF
    LaMonte Wade Traded From Minnesota (for RHP Shaun Anderson)
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    SF
    Tommy La Stella Signed as Free Agent ( 2021-2023)(three-year contract)
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    SF
    Luis Alexander Basabe Designated for Assignment

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    BAL
    Felix Hernandez Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    BOS
    Joel Payamps Designated for Assignment
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    BOS
    Garrett Richards Signed as Free Agent ( 2021; Opt 2022)(one-year contract)
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    CIN
    Nicky Delmonico Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CLE
    Heath Hembree Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CLE
    Bryan Shaw Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CLE
    D.J. Johnson Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    LAA
    Robel Garcia Acquired Off Waivers From NY Mets
    team logo
    SF
    Zack Littell Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    TEX
    Nick Vincent Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    WAS
    Gerardo Parra Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    WAS
    Alex Avila Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)

  2. #2
    MLB spring training: 10 storylines to watch, including Francisco Lindor's extension and fans in the stands

    Here's what we'll be watching as the 2021 season approaches

    Spring training gets underway this week in Arizona and Florida, and that means some scene-setting in order. Specifically, what particular MLB storylines are worth your considered ruminations as pitchers and catchers report to camp? To be sure, many of the subplots about to be ticked off won't culminate during spring training, but the exhibition season may provide some hints as to how things might play out on that particular front.

    Really, this is a non-exhaustive list of storylines for the 2021 season, and Cactus and Grapefruit League activity merely marks the start of those stories. Throat-clearing? Finished. Actual content of note? Beginning now …

    1. The Mets and a Francisco Lindor extension
    The Mets under new owner Steve Cohen have been quite active this offseason -- ludicrously active by the franchise's Wilpon-era standards -- and their centerpiece addition is All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, whom they acquired via trade with Cleveland. Lindor is a true difference-maker with the bat and the glove and on the bases, and he's also one of the most luminous personalities in the game today. He makes the Mets a better team on the field and a more alluring one off it.

    The rub, though, is that Lindor is entering his walk year, which means he'll be eligible for free agency not long after the 2021 World Series ends. Without question, the Mets would love to sign Lindor to a multi-year extension so that his stay in Queens spans much longer than a mere one season. For his part, Lindor has expressed a willingness to do just that. However, it's going to come at a significant cost, and the clock is already ticking.

    On that latter point, here's what Lindor at his introductory Mets press conference said about the timeline for signing an extension:

    "It gets to a point in spring training and it is time to enjoy the ride and focus on winning."

    The implication is that once Grapefruit League play gets going in earnest, the time for contract talk has passed. That, in turn, would mean that Lindor is almost certain to hit the market next winter. The Mets can't let that happen, and they need to be willing to pay Lindor something well north of $300 million in order to keep him in orange and blue (and occasionally black for some reason) for years to come. We may know the end of this particular story fairly soon.

    2. The Dodgers and their chances of repeating
    Not since the 1999-2000 has a team repeated as World Series champions. That happens to be the longest "repeat" drought in MLB history. The 2021 Dodgers, however, figure to have about as good a chance as you can have to win back-to-back titles. In the abbreviated 2020 season, they won at a .717 clip, which scales to a 116-win pace across the usual 162 games. They backed it up with a plus-136 run differential (a fairly absurd figure across just 60 games), and then in the postseason went 13-5 en route to winning the World Series for the first time since 1988.

    As for 2021, they've added to the fold Trevor Bauer, who was the top pitcher available on the free-agent market, and veteran lefty David Price will be new to the rotation after opting out of the 2020 season. The pitching depth is the envy of every other team, and they return almost every piece of an offense that led the majors in runs scored last season.

    The nature of baseball is such that you should always take the field over any one team when it comes to predicting who wins the World Series, but the mighty Dodgers are better positioned to repeat than any team in a very long time.

    3. Fans in the stands
    Because of the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, fans weren't permitted to attend MLB games last season until the very last rounds of the playoffs. This season, however, figures to occasion more of an atmosphere of normality in this regard. The plan right now is for fans to be in attendance at spring training games and regular season games, albeit in limited numbers and in accordance with local guidelines.

    Back in January, MLB distributed an internal memo on this matter that went a little something like this:

    "The Office of the Commissioner understands the need for clubs to plan for next season,'' the memo reads, "but MLB's policies ultimately will depend on the public health situation in the United States, which is difficult to predict this far in advance of the season. In particular, the current uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution rates is preventing our experts from making predictions about the spring and summer with specificity. As such, MLB's guidance on fan attendance may change in the coming weeks as circumstances change, and may also be modified later as the season progresses and conditions improve. ...

    "Changes in government orders, particularly at the federal level, may necessitate changes to MLB's policies."

    MLB likely will be following the same formula it used during the World Series -- i.e., requiring fans to wear masks and selling tickets to "pods" of fans who will maintain social distance between other pods. Again, tickets will be sold in limited numbers, and it's hard to imagine that we'll see anything more than 20-25 percent capacity at any venue in the early weeks of the season. As noted, local regulations will be determinative in many regards.

    Obviously, as more and more people get vaccinated, it seems likely that attendance restrictions will be gradually loosened (assuming emerging COVID variants don't complicate matters). If herd immunity is indeed achieved by summer, which increasingly seems like a plausible goal, then you could see normal-ish attendance figures for the stretch drive and postseason. And wouldn't that be a welcome thing.

    4. The Astros and their uncertain villain status
    Speaking of fans in attendance, the Astros -- pursuant to the sign-stealing scandal that roiled baseball before COVID came along -- have yet to receive a truly vigorous booing by paying customers. Last season, no fans attended any regular season Astros games even as they advanced as far as the ALCS, so they've yet to hear about their transgressions in the typical manner.

    The passage of time tends to blunt righteous outrage, and many of the key villains -- A.J. Hinch, Alex Cora, Jeff Luhnow, Carlos Beltran, and others -- have moved on elsewhere. That said, the sight of holdover Astros hitters like Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa playing in front of fans on the road for the first time since the scandal was laid bare will surely conjure up some of those latent hostilities.

    So are the Astros still villains? Maybe we'll know more when they visit the Yankees for a three-game set that starts May 4. You'll recall that the Astros felled the Yankees in the perhaps tainted 2017 ALCS. Then they may be in for another round of robust heckling from the hoi polloi on Aug. 3 and 4 when they travel to L.A. for a pair against the Dodgers. You'll recall that the Astros defeated the Dodgers in seven games in the 2017 World Series. While Joe Kelly has already had his say, Dodger fans have not.

    5. The Blue Jays as AL East contenders
    To hear our hive mind tell it, the Yankees are the favorites in the AL East in 2021, and let's not forget that the Rays are the reigning AL champs. The Red Sox also figure to be at least vaguely relevant. So where does that leave the Blue Jays?

    Wherever it leaves them, they're to be taken seriously. They're coming off a resurgent 2020 season in which they finished four games above .500 and made the expanded postseason. That constitutes a huge leap over 2019, when they went 67-95. When a team makes such huge strides from season to season, you worry about en masse regression back to the mean -- Bill James termed it the "plexiglass principle."

    The Blue Jays, though, have attempted to preempt such nebulous laws by fortifying the roster with notable additions like George Springer, Marcus Semien, Kirby Yates, and Steven Matz. Those all move the needle, and that's especially the case once you consider that the Yankees and Rays at best held serve and shed some talent, respectively. It's also possible that the young to young-ish bats in the Toronto lineup will continue to enjoy skills growth. Maybe Toronto isn't the favorite in the division, but no one should be surprised if they wind up threatening 90 wins and making the postseason once again.

    6. The powerhouse Padres
    As noted above, the Dodgers by any measure look like the best team in MLB heading into the 2021 season. The NL West, as it turns out, may also house the second-best team in MLB. That would be the Padres.

    Last season, the Padres busted out in a big way, as they won at a .617 clip -- the best win percentage in franchise history -- and returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. That was largely because the impressive young talent base and targeted free agent additions gelled at the same time. Now those core contributors are back, and GM A.J. Preller has complemented them with a veritable offseason haul. This winter, the Padres have signed or traded for the likes of Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, Mark Melancon, and Ha-seong Kim. All that for a roster that didn't seem to have many glaring needs.

    Yes, the Dodgers remain the favorites, but the Padres aren't far behind them in terms of roster strength. That means the NL West race could double as a fight to determine the best team in baseball in 2021.

    7. La Russa rides again
    The up-and-coming White Sox ended their postseason drought last year, and thanks largely to the fruits of the rebuild they're well positioned to contend for years to come. That's why it was a puzzling decision to part ways with manager Rick Renteria. More puzzling still was the decision -- likely made from on high -- to replace him with Tony La Russa.

    La Russa is a Hall of Fame manager, but he's also 76 years old and hasn't managed an MLB game in almost a decade. He'll become the third-oldest person ever to manage an MLB game, trailing just Connie Mack and Jack McKeon. No one doubts La Russa's smarts or his profoundly impressive dossier. What's doubted is whether he's a good fit for a roster that leans young and new school. It's a high-risk hire, particularly in light of La Russa's past legal issues.

    Spring training play should provide some insight into how La Russa will skipper his talented team in 2021, and it may give some insight into how well his charges respond to said skippering. For good or ill, the outcome of this unlikely pairing of team and manager will be compelling.

    8. Arenado's bat
    It's too much to say the NL Central will hinge on how well Nolan Arenado produces in his first season with the Cardinals, but it may be the biggest single X-factor in what still looks like a tight division (note: we said "tight," not "good").

    This is a bit of an unknown not because of Coors Field. Look, we have plenty of examples of Rockies hitters going on to thrive elsewhere, and DJ LeMahieu is just the most recent example. Yes, Arenado's home numbers will almost certainly decline now that he's no longer playing those home games at a mile above sea level, but playing home games in Coors Field also tends to mangle a hitter's road performance. Arenado in St. Louis will no longer have those concerns, which is why his performance in road games should improve. Call it a wash, basically, at least on a park-adjusted level.

    No, the concern is Arenado's declining batted ball metrics. Since 2018, Arenado's quality of contact measures such as average exit velocity, expected batting average, expected slugging percentage, and hard-hit rate have all trended in the wrong direction. It's easy enough to dismiss last season's disappointing outputs because of Arenado's early shoulder injury (in addition to, you know, playing a 60-game schedule in the midst of a pandemic). However, his issues with making good contact didn't begin last year. Those indicators can be telling when it comes to future performance, and Arenado will soon be into his thirties.

    None of this is to suggest that Arenado is in decline or that the Cardinals erred in acquiring him. He's still likely to be a quality hitter for some time, and that's to say nothing of his still excellent defense. Rather, it's fair to wonder whether Peak Arenado, at least at the plate, is gone for good. On that front, the 2021 season will be quite telling.

    9. The Angels' latest attempt to build a winner
    Once again, the annual consideration out in Orange County is whether the Angels have done enough to surround Mike Trout, still the best player in baseball, with a playoff-worthy supporting cast. Going into 2021, you can reframe it as whether the Angels have done enough to surround Trout and Anthony Rendon with a playoff-worthy supporting cast. The Angels haven't made the playoffs since 2014, and that's the only time they've advanced to the postseason during Trout's singular peak. For shame.

    Drill down a bit, and you'll find that this is largely a matter of the rotation. For the past half-decade plus the Angels have trotted out some of the worst heaps of starting pitchers in all of baseball, and no matter the brilliance of your legendary center fielder it's hard to win with a dead-weight rotation. So will 2021 be any different under first-year GM Perry Minasian? They've added Jose Quintana and Alex Cobb to the rotation, and they should at least be good for volume innings. There's also the possibly quixotic hope that Dylan Bundy truly leveled up in a sustainable way last season, and Andrew Heaney projects as a solid-average. Is that enough? It might be, but bear in mind that we're back to a 10-team playoff field for 2021. The sensible assumption is that Trout will once again be home by October, but it would be nice to be wrong about that one of these years.

    10. CBA tensions and run-up
    Insofar as off-the-field matters are concerned, the 2021 season is prelude to a potential labor war. That's because the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which is the negotiated document that governs the working relationship between players and owners, is set to expire on Dec. 1. MLB has had an unprecedented run of labor peace, but that peace has become an uneasy one.

    Owners in the next round of CBA negotiations will no doubt want to come away with an expanded postseason while in exchange giving up as little as possible. The players, meantime, want to address their declining share of league revenues through structural means. To accomplish that, the players may need to address tanking, work to lessen the penalties of the luxury tax, win assurances against service time manipulation, and reconfigure the structure of free agency. Those are all very heavy lifts.

    Layer on top of that the tensions stemming from ownership's bad-faith posturing leading up to the 2020 and 2021 seasons, and it's entirely possible that we see MLB's first labor stoppage since 1994-95. That could take the form of a December lockout by owners, or the players could strike in an effort to win concessions from the league. Either way, the guess right now is that it'll be an ugly process.

    In the meantime, let's play some baseball.

  3. #3
    MLB free agency: A's agree to sign relievers Yusmeiro Petit and Sergio Romo

    Petit has had great success in the A's bullpen the past three seasons; Romo returns to the Bay Area


    he Oakland Athletics have agreed to sign free-agent reliever Yusmeiro Petit, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Rosenthal further reports that the A's have also signed Sergio Romo.

    Petit has enjoyed good success his last three years in Oakland and the A's lost late-inning relievers Joakim Soria and Liam Hendriks to free agency, so the reunion here made a ton of sense for both sides.

    In fact, with Hendriks taking his elite-level closing chops to Chicago, the door is open for a new closer.

    In 26 outings last season, Petit had a 1.66 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 17 strikeouts against five walks in 21 2/3 innings. In his three years in Oakland, he's pitched to a 2.73 ERA (154 ERA+) and 0.94 WHIP in 197 2/3 innings.

    Romo, 37, returns to the Bay Area, as the best years of his career came in San Francisco. Last season with the Twins, Romo had a 4.05 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 23 strikeouts in 20 innings.

    As noted, the A's need a new closer and one of these two could well be the guy. Petit only has six career saves, but has found success in high-leverage spots in his years with the club. Romo is a former All-Star closer and even had five saves last season. Lefty Jake Diekman and righty Lou Trivino figure to be the primary competition for the two in the fight to close.

    Though most big names are off the board, there are still several likely-helpful relievers left on the market. We ranked Petit the No. 56 free agent heading into the offseason. Of our top 60, the following relievers are left unsigned to this point: Trevor Rosenthal (38), Shane Greene (46), Tyler Clippard (58) and Tony Watson (59). Possible starter or reliever Trevor Cahill (53) is also available.

  4. #4
    Angels' Albert Pujols undecided about playing future beyond 2021 MLB season

    Pujols turned 41 last month and is entering the last season of his 10-year contract


    Los Angeles Angels slugger and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols is entering the final season of his 10-year, $240 million contract. He turned 41 last month and his skills are greatly diminished. But, despite that, Pujols has not yet made any plans for his future beyond 2021. His baseball future remains undecided.

    Here's what Pujols told ESPN's Enrique Rojas:

    "Right now, I don't have a plan for the future," Pujols told ESPN Digital on Tuesday.

    "I have worked all winter to be ready from the first day of training. I will take this year day by day, without creating expectations. There are things that happen that you cannot control," said Pujols.

    "I will try not to think about the future, but what I can do now for this organization. My body will dictate what I should do later," he added.

    Pujols hit .224/.270/.395 during the abbreviated 2020 season and he owns a .242/.291/.406 batting line in more than 1,800 plate appearances over the last four seasons. That works out to an 87 OPS+, or 13 percent below league average. At his peak, he was one of the greatest hitters ever, though he hasn't been that player in several years now.

    Should he decide to continue playing, Pujols figures to have trouble finding a roster spot in 2022, even if the National League adopts the universal DH. It's been a half-decade since he was even a league average hitter, and he doesn't provide any defensive or baserunning value. Pujols is a clubhouse leader who mentors young players, but that's probably not enough to get signed.

    If this is Pujols' final year, it should feature some milestones. He needs 84 hits to pass Paul Molitor and take over sole possession of 10th place on the all-time list, and he needs 144 total bases to pass Willie Mays and move into sole possession of third place on the all-time list. He is currently fifth all-time in homers (662), third in RBI (2,100), and fifth in extra-base hits (1,347).

  5. #5
    Padres, Fernando Tatis Jr. agree to mammoth 14-year, $340 million contract extension, per reports

    The star shortstop has committed to a record-breaking long-term deal to stay in San Diego


    Fernando Tatis Jr. and the San Diego Padres have agreed to a record-breaking 14-year, $340 million long-term contract extension, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune and Fansided's Robert Murray reports. The star shortstop's extension will include a full no-trade clause for all 14 years of the deal, according to Scott Miller.

    Tatis Jr., who's still just 22 years of age, has thrived throughout his young career. In 143 games across two seasons with San Diego, Tatis has batted .301/.374/.582 (154 OPS+) with 39 home runs and 27 stolen bases. That's exceptional production for any player, let alone a young shortstop. This past season, Tatis won a Silver Slugger and finished third in the NL MVP balloting. Tatis' performance to date is in keeping with his former status as the consensus top prospect in all of baseball, which is in part why the Padres are comfortable making such a large investment in him.

    Our own Mike Axisa recently pegged Tatis as a strong candidate for an extension. Here's what he wrote at the time:

    "The best benchmark at this service-time level is Alex Bregman, who signed a six-year extension worth $100.6 million with the Astros in March 2019. A six-year deal would buy out Tatis' four remaining years of team control plus two free agent years, and allow him to become a free agent at age 27. That contract values Bregman's free agent years at $30.5 million apiece. If we stick with that and turn the six-year deal into a 15-year deal, we're talking $375 million in guaranteed money. It's very possible Tatis could receive a $400 million extension in the not-too-distant future."

    As it turned out, Tatis basically hit that mark, albeit for 14 years instead of 15, hence the slightly lower overall value. Tatis' $340 million extension once finalized will become the largest in Padres' franchise history, breaking the record set by Tatis' fellow member of the left side of the infield Manny Machado ($300 million). It will also become the third-largest contract in MLB history in terms of total value behind just Mike Trout's and Mookie Betts' current deals. At 14 years, Tatis' extension is the longest contract, which breaks the record of 13 years shared by Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper.

    Largest contracts in MLB history:

    1. Mike Trout, $426,500,000
    2. Mookie Betts, $365,000,000
    3. Fernando Tatis Jr., $340,000,000

    The Padres and general manager A.J. Preller now have one of the brightest young stars to hit MLB in a long time locked up for more than a decade. The deal also caps a highly successful offseason for Preller and the Padres. Prior to this reported agreement, the Padres most notably fortified the rotation with trades for had Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove.

    Coming off a 2020 season in which they made the postseason and logged the highest win percentage in team history, the Padres are positioned to contend for years to come -- with Tatis, his star power, and his MVP upside helming those efforts every step of the way.

  6. #6
    MLB free agency: A's sign reliever Trevor Rosenthal to one-year, $11 million deal, per report

    Rosenthal looked like a top-notch closer last season

    After losing one of baseball's top closers to free agency earlier this offseason in Liam Hendriks, the Oakland Athletics appear to have found his replacement. The team has agreed to terms with free-agent reliever Trevor Rosenthal, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The deal is reportedly for one year and $11 million.

    It's been quite the ride for the 30-year-old Rosenthal. He was an outstanding closer for the Cardinals in 2014-15, lost his job in 2016, got it back and was really settling into it in 2017, but then fell injured. After Tommy John surgery cost him the 2018 season. The 2019 season was a disaster as he pitched with both the Nationals and Tigers.

    Last season, however, Rosenthal re-established himself as a worthwhile closer. In stops with the Royals (14 appearances) and Padres (nine), he pitched to a 1.90 ERA and 0.85 WHIP with 38 strikeouts against eight walks in 23 2/3 innings. He saved 11 games in 12 chances.

    He was all over the Statcast leaderboards, inducing weak contact, getting swings-and-misses and lighting up the radar gun. it. It wasn't just the numbers. Rosenthal's stuff was electric and he looked the part. He was back and possibly better than ever, if we can get all cliché about it.

    Of course, there's the spotty and inconsistent history, so we'll need to see it for a full season. That's why Rosenthal got just the one season in free agency and it took this long.

    The A's recently added Sergio Romo and re-signed Yusmeiro Petit to help shore up their bullpen. Lou Trivino and lefty Jake Diekman also figure in the setup picture in front of Rosenthal, who surely was signed to be the full-time closer for manager Bob Melvin.

  7. #7
    Thursday, February 18, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    CHC
    Sergio Alcantara Designated for Assignment
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    CHC
    Brandon Workman Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    NYM
    Brian Dozier Retired
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    SD
    Fernando Tatis Signed ( 2021-2034)(14-year contract extension)

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
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    BOS
    Kevin Plawecki Placed on 10-Day IL (COVID-19 injured list)
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    BOS
    Ronaldo Hernandez Traded From Tampa Bay (for RHP Chris Mazza, four-player deal)
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    CHC
    Pedro Strop Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    CHC
    Jake Arrieta Signed as Free Agent ( 2021; Opt 2022)(one-year contract)
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    CHC
    Cody Allen Retired
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    CHC
    Kyle Ryan Placed on 10-Day IL (COVID-19 injured list (positive test))
    team logo
    MIA
    John Curtiss Traded From Tampa Bay (for 1B Evan Edwards)
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    MIA
    Harold Ramirez Designated for Assignment
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    MIA
    Adam Duvall Signed as Free Agent ( 2021; Opt 2022)(one-year contract)
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    MIA
    Jeff Brigham Placed on 60-Day IL (Undisclosed injury)
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    MIN
    Brandon Waddell Outrighted to Minors
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    PHI
    Brad Miller Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    PHI
    Seranthony Dominguez Placed on 60-Day IL (Recovery from right elbow surgery)
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    PHI
    Tony Watson Signed to a Minor League Contract
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    PIT
    Jose Soriano Placed on 60-Day IL (Recovery from right elbow surgery)
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    PIT
    Tyler Anderson Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    SF
    John Brebbia Placed on 60-Day IL (Recovery from right elbow surgery)
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    SF
    Jake McGee Signed as Free Agent ( 2021-2022; Opt 2023)(two-year contract)
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    TB
    Rich Hill Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
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    TB
    Oliver Drake Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    TB
    Colin Poche Placed on 60-Day IL (Recovery from left elbow surgery)
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    TB
    Jalen Beeks Placed on 60-Day IL (Recovery from left elbow surgery)
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    TB
    Chris Mazza Traded From Boston (for C Ronaldo Hernandez, 4-player deal)
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    TB
    Jeffrey Springs Traded From Boston (for C Ronaldo Hernandez, 4-player deal)

  8. #8
    MLB spring training: Picking each team's most exciting non-roster invitee

    From top prospects to journeyman veterans, there are plenty of notable names to watch in camp

    Spring training has arrived. Camps across Arizona and Florida opened this week, and one week from Sunday, Cactus League and Grapefruit League play will begin. I can't wait. I am so ready for the offseason to be over.

    Spring training games are fun in their own way, mostly because they allow us to see players we usually don't get to see during the regular season. Top prospects, reclamation project veterans, and many other minor leaguers will rub elbows with the big-league team during exhibition games before heading to the minors in April.

    Over the last few days the 30 MLB clubs announced their non-roster invitees (NRIs) to spring training. Those are players who will be in big-league camp despite not being on the 40-man roster. Some NRIs are top prospects, some are journeymen veterans, and most are somewhere in between. The big-league coaching staff will get a look at all of them.

    As always, some NRIs are more interesting than others. Two years ago Yordan Alvarez and Pete Alonso both went from NRI to Rookie of the Year. Trevor Rosenthal went from NRI to closing games for a postseason team in 2020. Inevitably, a few NRIs will make an impact in 2021. And, inevitably, some will have a big spring and show it was all a fluke in April. That's baseball.

    With spring training arriving and exhibition games coming next week, this is as good a time as any to examine each team's most exciting NRI. As a reminder, all players on the 40-man roster will be in big league camp automatically, a list that includes top prospects like Luis Patino and Alex Kirilloff. Now here is each team's most exciting NRI.


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    Diamondbacks
    1B Seth Beer. The Diamondbacks have three of the most exciting outfield prospects in baseball in Corbin Carroll, Kristian Robinson, and Alek Thomas, but, sadly, none will be in big-league camp as an NRI. Lame, D-Backs. Lame. As a result, Arizona's NRI list is heavy on veterans, so Beer gets the nod here almost by default. The No. 28 pick in the 2018 draft came over in the Zack Greinke trade and is a three true outcomes type with a knack for elevating the ball from the left side of the plate. Beer just might be Arizona's first baseman of the future.

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    Braves
    SS Braden Shewmake. The No. 21 pick in the 2019 draft, Shewmake is a scout's favorite because he does everything well. He's improved his defense and gets the bat on the ball consistently, and he's a very smart and instinctual player. Shewmake lacks power, the most difficult tool to project in the juiced ball and launch angle era, but he does everything else is a very fun to watch. The Braves also brought defense-first catcher Shea Langeliers, the No. 9 pick in the 2019 draft, to camp as an NRI.

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    Orioles
    C Adley Rutschman. With all due respect to Felix Hernandez and Matt Harvey, who are trying to revive their careers, and Heston Kjerstad, the No. 2 pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, Rutschman is the easy call here. The No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft is one of the best prospects in the game and the future face of the Orioles franchise. He's a switch-hitter catcher who projects to hit for average and power, walk a ton, and play excellent defense. He's also lauded for his leadership skills. A potential franchise player, through and through. This should be his last spring training as an NRI. Rutschman will be a big leaguer before long.

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    Red Sox
    OF Jarren Duran. Really fun group of NRIs for the Red Sox. They brought their top two prospects, infielders Jeter Downs and Triston Casas, to camp, ditto shortstop and 2020 first-round pick Nick Yorke. Duran gets the call here following his MVP winning performance in winter ball in Puerto Rico. The former seventh-round pick reportedly made some adjustments geared toward elevating the ball more often at the alternate site last year, and that was after hitting .322/.376/.446 in the minors from 2018-19. Duran is a fast riser and not far from the big leagues.

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    Cubs
    RHP Brendon Little. Sorry, Cubs fans, but your team has the least-exciting group of NRIs in the game this spring. That's because many of their top prospects are already on the 40-man roster and will be in big-league camp automatically (Adbert Alzolay, Miguel Amaya, Brailyn Marquez, Christopher Morel, etc.), and others like 2020 first rounder Ed Howard and 2020 second rounder Burl Carraway did not get a camp invite. Little, the No. 27 pick in the 2017 draft, has a very nice curveball and it's not out of the question that he can pitch his way into a bullpen job.

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    White Sox
    1B Andrew Vaughn. Look at the White Sox roster and it is painfully obvious they are keeping a spot warm for Vaughn. They currently have Adam Engel and Eloy Jimenez penciled into left field and DH, and while Engel is a nice player, it feels like only a matter of time until Vaughn takes over at DH and pushes Jimenez back into left field. Vaughn, the No. 3 pick in the 2019 draft, has a devastating offensive skill set and was a career .374/.495/.688 hitter in college. Expect the ChiSox to turn him loose early in 2021, after a few weeks in the minors to get up to speed after the lost season (and/or manipulate service time).

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    Reds
    RHP Hunter Greene. The Reds brought infielder Jonathan India, the No. 5 pick in 2018, and lefty Nick Lodolo, the No. 7 pick in 2019, to camp as NRIs, but all eyes will be on Greene, the No. 2 pick in 2017. He completed his Tommy John surgery rehab last year and was at the alternate site -- Greene has not pitched in an official game since July 2018 -- and now it's time to get the show on the road. Greene has touched 100 mph when healthy and he is simply one of the most exciting prospects in the game. It'll be good to see him in games again.

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    Indians
    OF George Valera. Valera turned only 20 in November and will be one of the youngest players in a big-league camp this spring. He's raw but he has power -- Valera swatted eight homers in 46 games against mostly college-aged kids in the short season New York-Penn League in 2019 -- and the sort of whippy swing and bat-to-ball ability that point to huge offensive upside. Cleveland will have several of their top prospects in camp as NRIs this spring, including catcher Bo Naylor and infielders Brayan Rocchio and Tyler Freeman, though few prospects in the sport are as exciting as Valera. Get a look at him while you can, before he's reassigned to minor-league camp.

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    Rockies
    LHP Ryan Rolison. The Rockies opted not to invite 2019 first rounder Michael Toglia nor 2020 first rounder Zac Veen to big league camp, so Rolison, the No. 22 pick in 2018, is the guy here. He is the organization's top pitching prospect as a southpaw who succeeds with command and pitchability rather than overpowering stuff. The lost 2020 season threw a wrench into Rolison's development, but he could see the big leagues in 2021.

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    Tigers
    1B Spencer Torkelson. With all due respect to Riley Greene, the No. 5 pick in the 2019 draft and one of my favorite prospects in the minors, Torkelson is an easy call. The No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft has the look of a monstrous middle-of-the-order hitter, someone who hits for average and power and posts huge on-base percentages. The Tigers are loaded with young pitching (Matt Manning, Casey Mize, and Tarik Skubal, all of whom are on the 40-man roster), and now they're starting to add some position player talent in Torkelson and Greene. Torkelson could be up at some point in 2021. It would be an upset if he's not, really.

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    Astros
    C Korey Lee. The Astros have a pitching-heavy farm system and just about all their top arms are on the 40-man roster (Bryan Abreu, Luis Garcia, Forrest Whitley, etc.). Lee, the No. 32 pick in the 2019 draft, has power but hits the ball on the ground too often, and Houston is working with him to elevate the ball more. He's a good receiver and athletic enough to dabble at shortstop and in the outfield in college. This spring will be our first real chance to see Lee in games, and see how well he's progressing at the plate.

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    Royals
    SS Bobby Witt Jr. My heart wanted to go with Wade Davis, who is on a minor-league contract and looking to revive his career outside Coors Field, but I just can't do it. Not when a prospect as good as Witt is sitting right there. Witt, the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft, is a tools freak who grades out as above-average across the board. He projects to hit for average and power, steal bases, and save runs in the field. Witt is a potential franchise cornerstone, someone whose game could look a lot like Trevor Story's at his peak. Top pitching prospects Jackson Kowar, Asa Lacy, and Daniel Lynch will all be in camp this year as well, giving Kansas City one of the most exciting groups of NRIs in the game.

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    Angels
    OF Jordyn Adams. The Angels had a thing for ultra-tools outfielders under former GM Billy Eppler, and Adams is next in line after Jo Adell. He's an electric athlete who was committed to play baseball and football at North Carolina, and he brings top of the line speed and big power potential to the table. Squint your eyes and you can see 30/30 potential with defense that approaches Gold Glove caliber. Adams is only 21 and he's yet to play above High Class-A, though he's one of those players you can't take your eyes off when he's on the field.

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    Dodgers
    RHP Josiah Gray. The Dodgers always have a fun collection of NRIs and this year's group includes three recent first rounders (righty Bobby Miller and infielders Kody Hoese and Michael Busch), though we're going with Gray here. Acquired from the Reds in the big Yasiel Puig/Alex Wood trade a few years ago, Gray broke out as a prospect in 2019 and now ranks among the most exciting young arms in the sport. He has a big fastball and a wipeout slider, and even Los Angeles' incredible rotation depth may not be enough to prevent him from making his MLB debut in 2021.

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    Marlins
    RHP Max Meyer. Very prospect-laden group of NRIs for the Marlins. They'll have three recent first-round pick outfielders in camp (JJ Bleday, Kameron Misner, Connor Scott) as well as Meyer, the No. 3 pick in the 2020 draft. He struck out 46 batters in 27 2/3 innings in college last spring and was the consensus most MLB-ready player in last year's draft class, though the Marlins opted not to call him up. Meyer has an upper-90s fastball and a wipeout Brad Lidge-esque slider. It is devastating. It's unlikely spring training will be the only time we see Meyer on the field with big leaguers in 2021.

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    Brewers
    OF Garrett Mitchell. For a team without a top-tier farm system, the Brewers sure will have a lot of fun prospects in camp this spring. Shortstop Brice Turang is a slash-and-dash speedster and lefty Ethan Small was the team's first-round pick in 2019. Mitchell gets the nod here because he's a freak athlete with tremendous speed and Gold Glove-caliber defensive tools, and he will put a mistake into orbit. Will he improve his approach enough for that power to play in games? Unclear, but the development process for the No. 20 pick in the 2020 draft begins as an NRI this spring.

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    Twins
    SS Royce Lewis. Lewis was the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft and I feel like prospect fatigue is setting in. He hasn't had that huge breakout season yet and is merely a great prospect rather than a super-duper-elite prospect, though the athleticism and tools remain tantalizing. Lewis might wind up in center field long-term rather than shortstop. He's an exciting prospect wherever he lands and I'm looking forward to seeing him in camp this spring. It may not feel like it at this point, but Lewis is still only 21.

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    Mets
    RHP Matthew Allan. The Mets are bringing all their top prospects to spring training as NRIs, including catcher Francisco Alvarez, infielders Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio, and 2020 first rounder Pete Crow-Armstrong. Allen is the club's top pitching prospect and he's the pick here thanks to his big fastball and hammer curveball. He is a certifiable pitching nerd who is into analytics and has a very advanced feel for his craft for a 19-year-old. Few things are an exciting as a high-end pitching prospect who knows what he's doing.

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    Yankees
    C Austin Wells. Alas, the Yankees did not bring uber-prospect Jasson Dominguez to camp, which is understandable seeing how he's a just-turned 18-year-old who has yet to play a professional game. They did, however, bring Wells, their 2020 first round pick, to spring training. He has some similarities to Kyle Schwarber as a power lefty bat who probably won't catch long-term, but could hit his way to the big leagues the year after being drafted. The Yankees tend to be conservative with their NRIs and the fact Wells will be in camp tells us they have big plans for him in 2021.

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    Athletics
    SS Nick Allen. Jed Lowrie! No, kidding, but Lowrie is in camp as an NRI and vying to have a third stint with the Athletics. Allen, meanwhile, is an undersized (listed at 5-foot-8 and 166 lbs.) bat control freak who checks every gritty and scrappy and gutty cliche box there is. Will he hit for enough power to keep pitchers honest? That's the big question. We almost certainly won't see Allen in the big leagues this year, but he will win over many fans during Cactus League play with his hard-nosed style.

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    Phillies
    SS Bryson Stott. I hoped the Phillies would bring Mick Abel, their 2020 first-round pick and one of the most exciting pitching prospects in the sport, to camp this year, but no luck. The 19-year-old will report to minor-league camp, which is where he belongs at this point in his career. Stott, the No. 14 pick in the 2019 draft, gets the nod here instead. He's one of those "do everything well but nothing exceptionally" players who draws rave reviews for his instincts and makeup. Just a solid, no nonsense ballplayer. Also, did you know Neftali Feliz is still pitching? He'll be in camp with the Phillies as an NRI.

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    Pirates
    RHP Quinn Priester. Not many prospects managed to improve their stock while at the alternate site in 2021, but Priester did it. His velocity jumped into the upper-90s and his curveball, which was always great, also stood out. Priester, the No. 18 pick in the 2019 draft, is a pitching nerd who used analytics to better himself and that's exciting. The Pirates are rebuilding and will have many of their best prospects in camp as NRIs, including outfielder Travis Swaggerty (No. 10 pick in 2018) and infielder Nick Gonzalez (No. 7 pick in 2020). Gonzalez hit .399/.502/.747 in his college career. True story.

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    Cardinals
    IF Nolan Gorman. Few prospects in the minors have as much power as Gorman. The problem? The No. 19 pick in the 2018 draft is a natural third baseman, and Nolan Arenado has the hot corner locked down in St. Louis long-term. No matter, Gorman recently approached the Cardinals about playing second base, and has been working out there in the early days of camp. You can hide a poor or inexperienced defender at second these days thanks to the shift and the fly ball/strikeout heavy nature of the game. Gorman at second base will be a #thingtowatch this spring. Shoutout to lefty Matthew Liberatore, the prospect the Cardinals received in the Randy Arozarena trade. He's another NRI to watch.

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    Padres
    SS CJ Abrams. Despite all their high-profile offseason trades, the Padres still have a dynamite farm system, and will bring top pitching prospect MacKenzie Gore and 2020 first rounder Robert Hassell to spring training as NRIs. Abrams, the No. 6 pick in the 2019 draft, is a WOW player with electric tools who projects to be a true impact player at the MLB level. Chances are he'll play center field long-term now that Fernando Tatis Jr. is signed through 2034. No matter where he plays, Abrams will add to San Diego's fun and exciting (and excellent) team. He's a must-watch player this spring.

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    Giants
    SS Marco Luciano. Had the 2020 minor-league season not been canceled, Luciano might've been in the conversation for the best prospect in baseball right now. He's that talented. The 19-year-old has Gary Sheffield-esque bat speed and there is an explosiveness to his game that is just not normal. Luciano is a special talent and the next great Giants superstar. He is still a few years away from the big leagues, however, so make sure you get a good look at him while you can this spring.

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    Mariners
    OF Jarred Kelenic. Tough, tough call here. Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez might be the two best outfield prospects in the game, and fortunately for Mariners fans, they won't have to pick between the two this spring. They can watch both. I'm going with Kelenic here because he's more of an all-around player who impacts the game at the plate, in the field, and on the bases. Rodriguez is more of a brute force masher, and hey, that's fun too. Whenever the Mariners return to the postseason, those two figure to lead the way.

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    Rays
    SS Wander Franco. Franco is the best prospect in baseball and maybe the best prospect the game has seen since Bryce Harper in 2012. He's a do-it-all wunderkind who is MLB ready or damn close to it despite not yet turning 20 and spending last year at the alternate site rather than playing in actual games. The Rays have the game's best farm system and there will be prospects galore in camp as NRIs (righty Shane Baz, infielders Greg Jones and Xavier Edwards, catchers Blake Hunt and Heriberto Hernandez, etc.), but Franco stands out from the pack. He is special and he will be in the big leagues soon.

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    Rangers
    3B Josh Jung. I am looking forward to seeing hard-throwing righties Cole Winn and Hans Crouse, but Jung has to be the call here. The No. 8 pick in the 2019 draft is starting to pull the ball, allowing him to tap into his natural power, giving him exciting offensive upside. Jung is a good defensive third baseman and there are rumblings the Rangers may have him work out at second base at some point. At either position, he figures to be a central figure on the next great Texas team.

    team logo
    Blue Jays
    IF Austin Martin. Martin was arguably the top prospect in the 2020 draft class and the Blue Jays were thrilled to get him with the No. 5 pick. They have him listed as an infielder on their roster, though his position is unsettled and he could wind up in center field long-term. Wherever he lands, he's going to hit. Martin has star-caliber offensive tools and it won't be long before he joins Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and George Springer in the lineup. Fellow top prospect Orelvis Martinez deserves a mention here. He just might be the long-term third baseman in Toronto.

    team logo
    Nationals
    RHP Jackson Rutledge. The Nationals have the consensus worst farm system in the sport -- that's easier to swallow when you're one year removed from a World Series title -- and Rutledge and Cade Cavalli, their last two first-round picks, stand out as the system's best. Both righties will be in camp as NRIs this spring and Rutledge gets the nod here because he is a 6-foot-8 monster with a 100-mph fastball and an analytics-friendly high-spin curveball. Washington is not shy about rushing prospects to the big leagues (see: Juan Soto jumping from Low Class-A to MLB in a matter of weeks) and you may see Rutledge in the show this year. You will see him in spring training though. That's for sure.

  9. #9
    Ranking MLB's top five rivalries heading into 2021 season: Dodgers-Padres, Yankees-Rays and more

    No, you won't find the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry at the top of these rankings

    We all know the list of the long-standing baseball rivalries. Those will never go away. There's always going to be something about the Dodgers-Giants, Cubs-Cardinals and, yes, the Yankees-Red Sox series that draws our eyeballs with a bit extra fervor (and we won't have much choice if we want to watch baseball on several Sunday nights). That does not, however, mean those are going to be the most intriguing series every single season. With that in mind, what are lining up to be the best rivalries in the 2021 version of Major League Baseball?

    The number of times the teams face each other head to head matter, of course, and so do playoff implications. Along the way, a good-spirited "hatred" of each other -- especially looping in the fan bases, so long as we can keep things civil -- goes a long way in making things more interesting.

    Here are my top five rivalries, ranked in order of intrigue, to watch for the 2021 season followed by five other areas of possibility.

    1. Dodgers-Padres
    Go West, people. This is where the good stuff resides. These two teams occupy the top two spots in my first version of power rankings. The Padres have made some serious noise the last few years, but they have not toppled the Final Boss (more on that here) in the defending champion Dodgers. We often say, rightfully so, that the Padres might be the most fun and/or exciting team to watch in baseball. Let's just not lose focus on just how fun the Dodgers are, though. Their championship and huge payroll don't negate the watchability, which is obscenely high.

    These two teams first play on April 16 in San Diego and meet in the final week of the season (Sept. 28-30). Their head-to-head matchups could very well decide the NL West (and hopefully they meet again in October).

    2. Rays-Yankees
    The Rays are the defending AL East and American League champions. The Yankees actually don't have a pennant since 2009 and that's an eternity the way that franchise and its fan base views things. That puts the Rays squarely in the way. The Little Guy is in the way of the should-be Big Guy. That's good theater.

    There's more, too.

    Last season, the Rays won eight of the 10 regular season games between these two teams. The Rays ended the Yankees' season in the ALDS, too, when Mike Brosseau took Aroldis Chapman deep in the eighth inning. In the ninth, Diego Castillo struck out Giancarlo Stanton and Luke Voit before Gio Urshela's lineout closed the door.

    On paper, the Yankees should be better while it looks like the Rays took a step back in the rotation. Games aren't played on paper, though. We actually get to watch them. These will be must-watch TV (or whatever device you watch these days).

    3. Braves-Mets
    It's a bit of an old-school rivalry that new Mets ownership seems to have jumpstarted for 2021. The Braves have won the NL East three straight seasons and were the second-best team in the NL last year. They appear primed for another deep playoff run, but the Mets would like a word on that. They already had a strong offense and an ace, but they beefed up this offseason by adding superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor along with starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman (he accepted a qualifying offer, but he had opted out in 2020). Noah Syndergaard will be back at some point from Tommy John surgery, too. There's great potential for a battle down to the wire here.

    4. Twins-White Sox
    A few projection systems have been a bit bearish on the White Sox, but Fangraphs has these two teams just one game apart, and that's about my thinking as well. I really like the White Sox to continue on last season's breakout and they are better in a few spots. The Twins aren't going anywhere, though, and are a decent bet to win their third-straight AL Central title. If they don't, the White Sox are the pick to take them down. The two teams don't face off in April or September, so there's a lot of head-to-head action in between.

    5. Dodgers-Braves
    This was a consideration to be ranked higher, but these two teams only square off six times out of the 162 in the regular season. Baseball gods willing, though, we'll get a rematch of the NLCS at some point in October. Remember, the Braves had a 2-0 series lead before the Dodgers scored 11 in the first inning in Game 3. Then the Braves blew things open in the sixth inning in Game 4 and took a 3-1 series lead, only to see the Dodgers win three straight with their backs against the wall. Game 7 was a beauty with Cody Bellinger's go-ahead bomb in the seventh proving to be the series winner. Both teams remain loaded and exciting.

    If those don't end up being the top five rivalries in the 2021 season, something from below likely will have emerged.

    The NL Central?
    The Pirates are an embarrassment, so disregard them. Otherwise, who knows how this is going to go? I feel like the Reds are a decent bet for fourth place, but it's possible they can top the Brewers and/or the Cubs. We've got the ol' Cardinals-Cubs rivalry. The Brewers have plenty of rivalry-level hatred built up against both of those teams, too. This is the worst division in baseball, but the chances of it being competitive are decent. Something good will arise.

    The AL West?
    Astros-A's seems a good bet here and it's possible there's still bad blood between Houston and sign-stealing whistleblower Mike Fiers. The Astros aren't quite the juggernaut they were a few years ago and the A's could be down as well. There's room for something else to brew here (an Angels breakout?).

    The Blue Jays vs. the top of AL East
    We've already discussed the Yankees and Rays competing and we've been knocked over the head plenty about the one rivalry we don't need to mention again. What about the Jays, though? They started to come into their own last season and look to be better this time around. Might we end the season talking about the great battles between the Yankees and Jays? Or Rays and Jays? Both? It's all possible.

    The rest of the NL East?
    We already talked about the Mets and Braves, but we can't discount the rest of what could be the most competitive division in baseball. The Nationals won the World Series in the last full season and have retooled things a bit. They still have three aces, too. The Phillies were very inconsistent last season but they have talent and there's no way their bullpen could possibly be worse. And what do the Marlins do for the encore to their upstart playoff run? There's potential for all kinds of East-on-East crime.

    Dodgers-Astros
    Is everyone over this? I know I am. The Dodgers should be, since they just won the 2020 World Series. Then again, two rings are better than one and 2017 definitely happened. Benches cleared last season when the two teams met. They play six times in 2021, too -- likely with some fans in the stands.

  10. #10
    SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    BOS at MIN 01:05 PM
    MIN -135

    TOR at NYY 01:05 PM
    NYY -130

    PHI at DET 01:05 PM
    PHI -118

    PIT at BAL 01:05 PM
    BAL -130

    MIA at HOU 01:05 PM
    MIA +116

    ATL at TB 01:05 PM
    ATL +101

    CIN at CLE 03:05 PM
    CLE -130

    LAA at SF 03:05 PM
    SF -124

    LAD at OAK 03:05 PM
    OAK -103

    MIL at CHW 03:05 PM
    CHW -135

    TEX at KC 03:05 PM
    KC -130

    ARI at COL 03:10 PM
    ARI +101

    SD at SEA 03:10 PM
    SD -130

    PRESEASON GAMES ALL OPINIONS !!



    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

    02/28/2021 4-9-0 30.77% -3270 Detail
    Last edited by Cnotes53; 02-28-2021 at 09:58 PM.

  11. #11
    Last edited by Cnotes53; 03-01-2021 at 01:38 AM.

  12. #12
    MONDAY, MARCH 1

    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    KC at CLE 03:05 PM CLE -165 +500

    SF at TEX 03:05 PM TEX -120 +500

    COL at LAD 03:05 PM COL +190 +500

    CIN at OAK 03:05 PM CIN +135 +500

    CHW at LAA 03:10 PM LAA -140 +500

    CHC at SD 03:10 PM SD -105 +500

    MIL at ARI 03:10 PM MIL -115 +500


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

    03/01/2021 1-4-2 28.57% -1850 Detail
    02/28/2021 4-9-0 30.77% -3270 Detail
    Last edited by Cnotes53; 03-02-2021 at 12:29 AM.

  13. #13
    TUESDAY, MARCH 2
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    MIN at ATL 01:05 PM
    ATL -125

    DET at PIT 01:05 PM
    DET +100

    NYY at BAL 01:05 PM
    NYY -165

    TB at BOS 01:05 PM
    TB -115

    STL at MIA 01:05 PM
    STL -150

    PHI at TOR 01:07 PM
    PHI +145

    HOU at NYM 01:10 PM
    NYM -155

    TEX at CHW 03:05 PM
    CHW -150

    KC at CHC 03:05 PM
    KC +100

    CLE at SEA 03:10 PM
    CLE +115

    SD at ARI 03:10 PM
    SD -145

    OAK at MIL 03:10 PM
    OAK +115

    LAA at CIN 08:05 PM
    LAA +100

    LAD at SF 09:05 PM
    LAD -125




    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

    03/02/2021 7-4-3 60.71% +1575 Detail
    03/01/2021 1-4-2 28.57% -1850 Detail
    02/28/2021 4-9-0 30.77% -3270 Detail
    Last edited by Cnotes53; 03-02-2021 at 11:49 PM.

  14. #14
    WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS

    BOS at MIN 01:05 PM
    MIN -130

    PHI at DET 01:05 PM
    DET +100

    PIT at TB 01:05 PM
    TB -165

    MIA at WAS 01:05 PM
    MIA +125

    BAL at ATL 01:05 PM
    ATL -150

    NYM at STL 01:05 PM
    STL -110

    ARI at CLE 03:05 PM
    CLE -135

    CHW at KC 03:05 PM
    CHW -110

    SEA at CHC 03:05 PM
    CHC -125

    MIL at SD 03:10 PM
    SD -145

    TEX at LAA 03:10 PM
    LAA -130

    OAK at COL 03:10 PM
    OAK -110

    TOR at NYY 06:35 PM
    NYY -125

    CIN at LAD 08:05 PM
    LAD -150


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD
    03/03/2021 5-7-2 42.86% -1775 Detail
    03/02/2021 7-4-3 60.71% +1575 Detail
    03/01/2021 1-4-2 28.57% -1850 Detail
    02/28/2021 4-9-0 30.77% -3270 Detail
    Last edited by Cnotes53; 03-03-2021 at 11:52 PM.

  15. #15
    THURSDAY, MARCH 4
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    TB at MIN 01:05 PM
    MIN -120
    +500

    TOR at DET 01:05 PM
    DET +110
    +500

    NYY at PHI 01:05 PM
    NYY -130
    +500

    ATL at PIT 01:05 PM
    ATL -130
    +500

    BOS at BAL 01:05 PM
    BOS -110
    +500

    WAS at NYM 01:10 PM
    NYM -130
    +500

    CHW at SF 03:05 PM
    SF -115
    +500

    SD at TEX 03:05 PM
    SD -130
    +500

    CLE at MIL 03:10 PM
    CLE +105
    +500

    LAA at ARI 03:10 PM
    ARI -115
    +500

    COL at SEA 03:10 PM
    SEA -125
    +500

    STL at HOU 06:05 PM
    STL +105
    +500

    CHC at LAD 08:05 PM
    CHC +145
    +500

    KC at CIN 08:05 PM
    KC +105
    +500



    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD
    03/04/2021 7-6-1 53.57% +225 Detail
    03/03/2021 5-7-2 42.86% -1775 Detail
    03/02/2021 7-4-3 60.71% +1575 Detail
    03/01/2021 1-4-2 28.57% -1850 Detail
    02/28/2021 4-9-0 30.77% -3270 Detail
    Last edited by Cnotes53; 03-05-2021 at 01:53 AM.

  16. #16
    Friday’s 6-pack
    Six most experienced college basketball teams (W-L record)

    6) UMBC (14-5)
    5) Texas Southern (12-8)
    4) Georgia Tech (14-8)
    3) North Carolina Central (5-8)
    2) Nicholls State (17-6)
    1) Cal-Bakersfield (15-10)

    Americans who have died from COVID-19: 519,867
    PLEASE wear a mask (over your nose/mouth) when you go out.


    Quote of the Day
    “He’s like Luka Doncic, but a center. He passes like a point guard, can shoot off the leg like Dirk [Nowitzki]. He’s a point guard.”
    Western Conference assistant coach, talking about Nikola Jokic

    Friday’s quiz
    Terry Francona has managed three major league teams; the Indians, Red Sox and who else?

    Thursday’s quiz
    In the history of the Oakland A’s, Mark McGwire has hit the most home runs (363)

    Wednesday’s quiz
    Paul Westhead was coach of the Lakers when they won the NBA title in 1980, Magic Johnson’s rookie year.

    ************************

    Friday’s Den: Random stuff with the weekend here…….

    13) Creighton suspended basketball coach Greg McDermott for Sunday’s regular season finale, after he used racially insensitive language in a postgame talk at Xavier last weekend.

    According to a story on the Interweb, McDermott said this: ”Guys, we got to stick together. We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can’t have anybody leave the plantation.” Ummmm……not an outstanding choice of words.

    When a head coach gets suspended for Senior Day, it is conceivable that McDermott won’t be back in Omaha next season. Imagine him recruiting on the heels of this?

    12) Multimedia sports brand Overtime will be starting a professional basketball league that will offer high school basketball players an alternative to college in preparation for the NBA.

    Overtime Elite will begin in September 2021 and will feature 30 of the nation’s top prospects from ages 16-18. The athletes will be given a guaranteed minimum salary of $100,000, in addition to bonuses and equity in the league.

    Players will also have access to healthcare and disability benefits. If an Overtime Elite athlete chooses not to pursue an NBA career, the league will pay them up to $100,000 to go towards college tuition, that’s assuming they graduated high school.

    Carmelo Anthony is on Overtime Elite’s board of directors.

    11) 39-year old Ben Roethlisberger will be the Steelers’ QB again next fall, after agreeing to a deal with the team— it is assumed he took a large pay cut to remain a Steeler.

    10) Baylor 81, Oklahoma State 70— Bears held OSU star Cade Cunningham to four points in first half, then survived Cunningham’s 20-point explosion in the second half. Cowboys lost despite shooting 63.6% inside the arc.

    Baylor is 20-1 after beating West Virginia/Oklahoma State within 48 hours, which kind of sounds like an NCAA Tournament weekend.

    9) Kansas 67, Texas-El Paso 62:
    — This was supposed to be a glorified workout for the Jayhawks, but they trailed 34-20 at the half, 48-33 with 13:46 left to play.
    — UTEP is 12-11, 8-8 in Conference USA; they’re ranked #135.

    8) Texas 69, Oklahoma 65— Sooners were on an 8-1 roll in this strangest of seasons, then they lost their last four games, likely putting them in a play-in game at the Big X tourney next week.

    7) Vanderbilt 78, Cincinnati 64— This score doesn’t bode well for the AAC; Cincy had won six of its last eight games, then gets whacked at home by an SEC doormat. Memphis/SMU are near or on the NCAA bubble; they had to cringe when they saw this score.

    6) Stetson 73, Bellarmine 70— Upset in the A-Sun: Bellarmine went 10-3 in the Atlantic Sun this year, their first season in Division I, but they got upset here by the gritty Hatters, who had lost to Bellarmine twice during the season.

    5) New Orleans Saints cut Thomas Morstead, their punter for the last 12 years.

    4) OF Jackie Bradley Jr signed a 2-year, $24M contract with Milwaukee.

    3) Arizona OF Kole Calhoun hurt his knee, is out for six weeks.

    2) Since 2015, Astros’ C Martin Maldonado has thrown out 37.7% of runners trying to steal a base, the best %age of any catcher with 200+ attempts against him in that timespan.

    1) Wizards 119, Clippers 117— Good coaching job by Scott Brooks; Wizards are 8-3 in their last 11 games, after starting the season 6-17. They’re within two games of the #8-seed in the East.

  17. #17
    FRIDAY, MARCH 5
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS

    MIN at ATL 01:05 PM
    ATL -130
    +500

    PIT at PHI 01:05 PM
    PHI -145
    +500

    HOU at MIA 01:05 PM
    MIA -115
    +500

    DET at NYY 01:05 PM
    DET +167
    +500

    TB at BOS 01:05 PM
    BOS -110
    +500

    BAL at TOR 01:07 PM
    BAL +135
    +500

    CLE at CHC 03:05 PM
    CLE +100
    +500

    LAD at KC 03:05 PM
    KC +110
    +500

    SEA at CHW 03:05 PM
    CHW -145
    +500

    LAA at OAK 03:05 PM
    LAA +110
    +500

    MIL at COL 03:10 PM
    MIL +100
    +500

    STL at WAS 06:05 PM
    STL +110
    +500

    ARI at CIN 08:05 PM
    CIN -130
    +500

    SF at SD 08:40 PM
    SF +130
    +500





    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD


    03/05/2021 7-5-2 57.14% +900 Detail
    03/04/2021 7-6-1 53.57% +225 Detail
    03/03/2021 5-7-2 42.86% -1775 Detail
    03/02/2021 7-4-3 60.71% +1575 Detail
    03/01/2021 1-4-2 28.57% -1850 Detail
    02/28/2021 4-9-0 30.77% -3270 Detail

    Last edited by Cnotes53; 03-05-2021 at 11:52 PM.

  18. #18
    Saturday’s 6-pack
    Six least experienced college basketball teams (W-L record)

    342) Kennesaw State (5-19)
    343) Presbyterian (7-15)
    344) Duke (11-10)
    345) Stetson (11-14)
    346) Auburn (12-14)
    347) Alabama A&M (6-8)

    Americans who have died from COVID-19: 520,518
    PLEASE wear a mask (over your nose/mouth) when you go out.


    Quote of the Day
    “It’s about the money. And when they say it’s not about the money, then it is definitely about the money.”
    Former Giants’ GM George Young

    Saturday’s quiz
    In the movie Little Big League, which Hall of Fame outfielder makes a game-saving catch to end the Minnesota Twins’ season?

    Friday’s quiz
    Terry Francona has managed three major league teams; the Indians, Red Sox and the Phillies.

    Thursday’s quiz
    In the history of the Oakland A’s, Mark McGwire has hit the most home runs (363)

    *********************

    Saturday’s Den: NBA trends at the halfway point…….

    Atlanta:
    — Won both their games since changing coaches.
    — 1-4-1 ATS in last six road games.
    — 3-5 ATS in last eight home games.
    — Over is 6-3 in their last nine road games.

    Boston:
    — Won their last four games (2-2 ATS), all at home.
    — 0-6 SU/ATS in last six road games.
    — 3-4 ATS if they played the night before.
    — Five of last six home games went over.

    Brooklyn:
    — Won/covered 10 of last 11 games.
    — Won/covered last seven home games.
    — 5-8 ATS as a home favorite.
    — Over is 13-3 in their last sixteen road games.

    Charlotte:
    — 7-5 SU in their last dozen games.
    — 9-5 ATS in their last 14 road games.
    — 5-3 ATS if they played the night before.
    — Over is 12-1 in their last 13 road games.

    Chicago:
    — Won six of their last nine games.
    — 10-2 ATS as a road underdog.
    — 5-2 ATS if they played the night before.
    — Over is 8-4 in their last dozen road games.

    Cleveland:
    — Won four of their last five games (5-0 ATS)
    — 4-11 ATS as a road underdog.
    — 8-6 ATS in their last 14 home games.
    — Over is 5-2 in their last seven road games.

    Dallas:
    — Won nine of their last 11 games.
    — 4-10 ATS as a home favorite.
    — 2-4 ATS if they played the night before.
    — Under is 5-1 in their last six games.

    Denver:
    — Won/covered their last four games.
    — 4-8 ATS as a home favorite.
    — 9-6 ATS in their last fifteen road games.
    — Under is 3-1 in their last four home games.

    Detroit:
    — Lost seven of their last nine games.
    — 9-5 ATS as a home underdog.
    — 5-2 ATS if they played the night before.
    — Last three road games went over the total.

    Golden State:
    — Lost last three games, by 26-2-22 points.
    — 7-3 ATS as a home favorite.
    — 4-8 ATS as a road underdog.
    — Last six road games stayed under the total.

    Houston:
    — Lost their last thirteen games (1-12 ATS)
    — 1-7 ATS as a home underdog.
    — 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games.
    — Under is 11-2-1 in their home games.

    Indiana:
    — Lost five of last six games (0-6 ATS)
    — 6-12 ATS at home.
    — 4-2-1 ATS if they played night before.
    — Over is 5-0-1 in their last six road games.

    LA Clippers:
    — Lost four of last five games, all on the road.
    — 7-5 ATS in last dozen home games.
    — 6-0 ATS if they played the night before.
    — Under is 5-2 in their last seven games.

    LA Lakers:
    — Lost six of their last eight games.
    — 3-7 ATS in last ten home games.
    — 1-3 ATS if they played the night before.
    — Under is 6-3 in their last nine games.

    Memphis:
    — 8-5 SU in their last thirteen games.
    — 5-3 ATS in their last eight home games.
    — 7-4 ATS as a road underdog.
    — Last eight games stayed under the total.

  19. #19
    SATURDAY, MARCH 6
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    MIN at BOS 01:05 PM
    MIN -105
    +500

    NYY at PIT 01:05 PM
    NYY -150
    +500

    WAS at MIA 01:05 PM
    MIA -110
    +500

    ATL at TB 01:05 PM
    ATL +110
    +500

    PHI at TOR 01:07 PM
    PHI +115
    +500

    CHW at CLE 03:05 PM
    CHW -105
    +500

    KC at SF 03:05 PM
    SF -130
    +500

    SD at LAD 03:05 PM
    SD +110
    +500

    CHC at MIL 03:10 PM
    MIL -130
    +500

    TEX at ARI 03:10 PM
    ARI -130
    +500

    COL at LAA 03:10 PM
    COL +105
    +500

    OAK at SEA 03:10 PM
    OAK -110
    +500

    NYM at HOU 06:05 PM
    NYM +100
    +500

    DET at BAL 06:05 PM
    BAL -125
    +500




    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

    03/06/2021 4-7-1 37.50% -2300 Detail
    03/05/2021 7-5-2 57.14% +900 Detail
    03/04/2021 7-6-1 53.57% +225 Detail
    03/03/2021 5-7-2 42.86% -1775 Detail
    03/02/2021 7-4-3 60.71% +1575 Detail
    03/01/2021 1-4-2 28.57% -1850 Detail
    02/28/2021 4-9-0 30.77% -3270 Detail
    Last edited by Cnotes53; 03-07-2021 at 12:34 AM.

  20. #20
    SUNDAY, MARCH 7
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    TB at MIN 01:05 PM
    MIN -120

    TOR at DET 01:05 PM
    TOR -125

    PHI at NYY 01:05 PM
    NYY -160

    BAL at PIT 01:05 PM
    BAL -110

    HOU at STL 01:05 PM
    HOU +105

    BOS at ATL 01:05 PM
    BOS +120

    MIA at NYM 01:10 PM
    NYM -160

    CLE at OAK 03:05 PM
    CLE +105

    SF at CIN 03:05 PM
    SF +105

    LAD at TEX 03:05 PM
    LAD -145

    COL at CHW 03:05 PM
    CHW -150

    CHC at ARI 03:10 PM
    CHC +105

    SEA at LAA 03:10 PM
    SEA +110



    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

    03/07/2021 3-9-1 26.92% -3625 Detail
    03/06/2021 4-7-1 37.50% -2300 Detail
    03/05/2021 7-5-2 57.14% +900 Detail
    03/04/2021 7-6-1 53.57% +225 Detail
    03/03/2021 5-7-2 42.86% -1775 Detail
    03/02/2021 7-4-3 60.71% +1575 Detail
    03/01/2021 1-4-2 28.57% -1850 Detail
    02/28/2021 4-9-0 30.77% -3270 Detail
    Last edited by Cnotes53; 03-07-2021 at 09:47 PM.

  21. #21
    MONDAY, MARCH 8
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    NYM at WAS 01:05 PM
    NYM +100............5 - 9.......LOSER

    MIA at STL 01:05 PM
    MIA +115............7 - 7..........PUSH

    SEA at CLE 03:05 PM
    SEA +115................0 - 10......LOSER

    ARI at SF 03:05 PM
    SF -130.................2 - 2.......PUSH

    CHW at LAD 03:05 PM
    LAD -155..................0 - 8....WINNER

    TEX at CHC 03:05 PM
    CHC -130..............0 - 9..........WINNER

    OAK at KC 03:05 PM
    OAK +100............... 3 - 10......LOSER

    CIN at COL 03:10 PM
    CIN +100.................6 - 4.....WINNER

    LAA at MIL 03:10 PM
    MIL -130................9 - 10.....WINNER



    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

    03/08/20214-3-2 55.56% +500 Detail
    03/07/2021 3-9-1 26.92% -3625 Detail
    03/06/2021 4-7-1 37.50% -2300 Detail
    03/05/2021 7-5-2 57.14% +900 Detail
    03/04/2021 7-6-1 53.57% +225 Detail
    03/03/2021 5-7-2 42.86% -1775 Detail
    03/02/2021 7-4-3 60.71% +1575 Detail
    03/01/2021 1-4-2 28.57% -1850 Detail
    02/28/2021 4-9-0 30.77% -3270 Detail
    Last edited by Cnotes53; 03-08-2021 at 10:04 PM.

  22. #22
    [SIZE=2]TUESDAY, MARCH 9
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    BAL at MIN 01:05 PM
    MIN -140
    +500

    PIT at ATL 01:05 PM
    ATL -155
    +500


    NYY at DET 01:05 PM
    DET +140
    +500

    BOS at TB 01:05 PM
    BOS +120
    +500


    PHI at TOR 01:07 PM
    PHI +110
    +500

    STL at NYM 01:10 PM
    STL +115
    +500


    CLE at TEX 03:05 PM
    CLE -110
    +500

    SD at CHW 03:05 PM
    SD +100
    +500


    OAK at CHC 03:05 PM
    CHC -120
    +500

    SF at MIL 03:10 PM
    SF +105
    +500


    COL at ARI 03:10 PM
    COL +105
    +500

    KC at SEA 03:10 PM
    KC +105
    +500


    WAS at HOU 06:05 PM
    HOU -125
    +500

    LAD at CIN 08:05 PM
    CIN +110
    +500




    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

    03/09/2021 6-7-1 46.43% -550 Detail
    03/08/2021 4-3-2 55.56% +500 Detail
    03/07/2021 3-9-1 26.92% -3625 Detail
    03/06/2021 4-7-1 37.50% -2300 Detail
    03/05/2021 7-5-2 57.14% +900 Detail
    03/04/2021 7-6-1 53.57% +225 Detail
    03/03/2021 5-7-2 42.86% -1775 Detail
    03/02/2021 7-4-3 60.71% +1575 Detail
    03/01/2021 1-4-2 28.57% -1850 Detail
    02/28/2021 4-9-0 30.77% -3270 Detail[
    Last edited by Cnotes53; 03-09-2021 at 11:35 PM.

  23. #23
    Armadillo: Wednesday's six-pack

    Odds to win the Big 14 tournament this week:
    +150- Michigan
    +350- Illinois, Iowa, Ohio State
    +1000- Purdue
    +1500- Wisconsin
    +2500- Rutgers
    +3500- Michigan State
    +5000- Maryland, Minnesota
    +6600- Indiana
    +20000- Northwestern
    +30000- Nebraska

    Americans who have died from COVID-19: 525,117
    PLEASE wear a mask (over your nose/mouth) when you go out.


    **********

    Armadillo: Wednesday's Den: Mid-week musings…….

    13) Gonzaga 88, BYU 78:
    — BYU led this game 53-41 at halftime.
    — Gonzaga outscored BYU 18-5 on foul line.
    — Gonzaga made 12-26 on arc, BYU 11-28.

    One of the first questions I’ll be asking myself Sunday night, after the NCAA brackets come out, is whether Gonzaga has been tested enough this season. They haven’t won a game by single digits since December 2 vs West Virginia. The WCC isn’t as good as it usually is, and the Zags have breezed thru this season, while other leagues are way more competitive.

    Baylor-Michigan-Illinois have had lot of tough games; it has to make you a better team.

    12) Dallas Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott signed a 4-year, $160M deal, $123M guaranteed. By way of comparison, and without any editorial comment, here are some facts:

    Prescott: 42-27 regular season record, 1-2 in playoffs
    Jared Goff: 42-27 regular season record, 2-3 in playoffs, which doesn’t include his win in relief at Seattle in this year’s playoffs.

    11) Interesting discussion on Mets’ TV the other day about whether a team can improve a lot on defense, without changing the players who are in the field.

    Was reminiscent of Troy Aikman saying on NFL broadcasts how quarterbacks cannot learn to become more accurate passers. Aikman believes that once you get to the NFL level, you are what you are, though Buffalo Bill fans would bring up Josh Allen and dispute that.

    Bottom line is, Keith Hernandez/Ron Darling didn’t paint an optimistic picture of the Mets’ defense for this season.

    10) Last Friday, Troy State upset Texas-Arlington 91-86 in the Sun Belt tournament, which on the surface is no big deal, but there is an interesting back story.

    From 2007-18, Scott Cross was Tex-Arlington’s coach; the last three years he was there, UTA went 72-33 overall, 37-15 in Sun Belt games. Damn good record, but they fired Cross because he didn’t win make the NCAA tournament— he made it once, in 2008, Cross’ second year there.

    Since they told Cross to take a hike, Tex-Arlington is 44-47 overall, 31-26 in Sun Belt games. Not exactly an upgrade.

    I’m guessing when Troy State beat UTA last week, their coach took special satisfaction in the win, seeing how that coach was Scott Cross.

    9) I watched Hoosiers for the 50th or so time the other day; watching the credits at the end, they thanked the governor of Indiana, who at the time was a guy named Robert Orr.

    Bobby Orr was the governor of Indiana? I thought he was a Canadian!!! (Its a joke)

    8) Miami Marlins used 61 players in 60 games last year, 37 of them pitchers; their spring training must be a mess this year, trying to whittle down those 61 guys down to a roster of 26 players. Don Mattingly did a great job in a weird season last year; choosing the right guys for a 162-game season is a much different dilemma.

    7) Angels’ broadcaster Jose Mota played one of the Detroit Tigers in the 1999 baseball movie, For Love of the Game, with Kevin Costner. Mota’s character makes a great play to preserve Billy Chapel’s perfect game; he and Mark Gubicza were talking about it on the Angels’ broadcast the other night. Mota said it was an easier play to make, since he read the script and knew where the ball was going to be hit.

    Looking at the Angels’ website, they haven’t filled Victor Rojas’ play-by-play slot yet; they should choose Mota. He and Gubicza have a good chemistry.

    6) Last season, 12 major league umpires opted out of working, because of COVID; at least three of them are back this year. The Athletic did an interesting article, talking to Phil Cuzzi, Gerry Davis and Brian Gorman about coming back to work and sitting out last year.

    Davis has umpired 4.957 major league games; only three umps have gotten to 5,000 games, so that’ll be a big deal when Davis gets to 5,000.

    Umpire Brian Gorman’s late wife was a Los Angeles Times staff photographer and picture editor who was a two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

    5) Today is Wednesday of Championship Week, and there are already 300+ names in the college basketball transfer portal. People who sell game programs are going to clean up next year. Guys who write Blue Ribbon Yearbook are going to get headaches. Lot of kids jumping from team-to-team.

    4) Colorado Rockies’ 1B CJ Cron is playing for his fifth team in the last five years; he started his career playing four years for the Angels, then went to Tampa Bay in 2018, Minnesota the next year, Detroit last year, and now Colorado.

    He hit 55 homers in 2018-19; curious to see how many at-bats he gets this season.

    3) NHL will be back on ESPN starting next season; curious to see if the league gets its own daily half-hour show, like the NBA has now. ESPN had forgotten about hockey since they last showed games in 2004. Good news for Steve Levy and Berry Melrose.

    2) Turned on the TV when I woke up the other day, and all they’re talking about it is the royal family in England. I don’t give a rat’s ass about the royal family. Seriously, don’t want to hear one word about them, and I was an avid fan of Suits on USA Network, so I’m familiar with Meghan Markle’s work. She married a prince, good for her. Don’t want to hear about it.

    Only Royals I care about are Whit Merrifield and Carlos Santana, Kansas City Royals.

    1) I was fiddling around on the Interweb at 4am the other night when it dawned on me that in most years, this is my favorite two weeks of the whole year, conference tournaments this week, the NCAA’s next week. Watching basketball and eating pizza, good times.

    The last year has seemed 10 years long; things are slowly getting better— several of my friends have gotten their vaccines and that’s a good thing. Watching basketball all week will also be a good thing— we didn’t get to do that last year. Getting back to normal will be the best thing.

  24. #24
    WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    MIN at TB 01:05 PM
    MIN +115
    +500

    TOR at BAL 01:05 PM
    TOR -130
    +500


    DET at PHI 01:05 PM
    DET +120
    +500

    STL at WAS 01:05 PM
    STL +110
    +500


    ATL at BOS 01:05 PM
    ATL -110
    +500

    LAA at CLE 03:05 PM
    LAA +115
    +500


    CHC at SF 03:05 PM
    SF -120
    +500

    CIN at KC 03:05 PM
    CIN +100
    +500


    MIL at OAK 03:05 PM
    MIL +110
    +500

    TEX at SEA 03:10 PM
    SEA -130
    +500


    SD at COL 03:10 PM
    SD -130
    +500

    HOU at MIA 06:05 PM
    MIA -110
    +500


    PIT at NYY 06:35 PM
    PIT +175
    +500

    ARI at LAD 08:05 PM
    LAD -210
    +500



    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

    03/10/2021 4-9-1 32.14% -2850 Detail
    03/09/2021 6-7-1 46.43% -550 Detail
    03/08/2021 4-3-2 55.56% +500 Detail
    03/07/2021 3-9-1 26.92% -3625 Detail
    03/06/2021 4-7-1 37.50% -2300 Detail
    03/05/2021 7-5-2 57.14% +900 Detail
    03/04/2021 7-6-1 53.57% +225 Detail
    03/03/2021 5-7-2 42.86% -1775 Detail
    03/02/2021 7-4-3 60.71% +1575 Detail
    03/01/2021 1-4-2 28.57% -1850 Detail
    Last edited by Cnotes53; 03-11-2021 at 12:51 AM.

  25. #25
    Thursday’s 6-pack
    Odds to win the PLAYERS Championship this week:

    12-1— Dustin Johnson
    13-1— Bryson Dechambeau, Rory McIlroy
    15-1— Jon Rahm
    16-1— Justin Thomas
    20-1— Morikawa, Schauffele, Simpson
    24-1— Patrick Cantlay, Viktor Hovland

    Americans who have died from COVID-19: 527,950
    PLEASE wear a mask (over your nose/mouth) when you go out.


    Quote of the Day
    “……..fear and desperation are running neck and neck as the prevailing sentiment within the Bears’ front office right now, as its criminal mismanagement of the quarterback position has come to a crest with few easy ways out.”
    Jason LaCanfora, CBS Sports

    Thursday’s quiz
    Who was manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks when they won their only World Series title?

    Wednesday’s quiz
    Before becoming head coach at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski was the head coach at West Point.

    Tuesday’s quiz
    Dak Prescott played his college football at Mississippi State

    **********************

    Thursday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but…….

    13) Butler-Xavier, tied 59-all with 0:24 left at the Big East tournament. FS1 shows how Xavier is on the NCAA bubble and needs to win this game.

    FS1 announcer: “This would be a bad loss for Xavier. Not to speak disparagingly of Butler, but this would be a bad loss.”

    Hahaha. Can’t have it both ways, chief. If you say losing to Team A is a bad loss, then you’re speaking disparangly of Team A. No way around it.

    Butler 70, Xavier 69 OT— Bad loss for Xavier, which lost six of its last eight games.

    12) ACC tournament:
    — Syracuse 89, NC State 68— Syracuse was 3-0 against the Wolfpack this season.
    — Miami 67, Clemson 64— Hurricanes played seven guys yesterday. Seven.
    — North Carolina 101, Notre Dame 59— UNC-Virginia Tech is a good game today.

    11) Big X tournament:
    — Kansas State 71, TCU 50— Wildcats won four of last five games, after an 0-13 skid.
    — Oklahoma 79, Iowa State 73— Cyclones didn’t win a conference game this year.

    10) Big 14 tournament:
    — Minnesota 51, Northwestern 46— Gophers snap a 7-game skid here; they say Richard Pitino’s job is in jeopardy, and San Diego State’s Brian Dutcher would be their target to take Pitino’s place. Dutcher’s dad coached Minnesota in the early 80’s.

    Here’s my proposal, and I’ve said this before: Louisville has an assistant coach named Luke Murray, who is Bill Murray’s son. If you’ve ever seen the movie Caddyshack, you remember the tense relationship Bill Murray’s character had with gophers on the golf course.

    Having Bill Murray’s son being head coach of the Minnesota Gophers would open up a huge pool of possibilities for great TV commercials. Just an idea.

    9) MAAC tournament:
    — Iona 55, Siena 52— Rick Pitino gets his Gaels into the MAAC semi-finals, upsetting the top-seeded Saints.
    — Fairfield 79, Monmouth 60— Pretty big upset, but Stags have won four of last five games.

    8) Mountain West tournament had some sanity; all three favorites won Wednesday and two of them covered the spread. 2-seed Utah State gets to play UNLV on the Rebels’ home court Thursday.

    7) Upsets of the Day:
    — Rice (+9.5) 72, Marshall 68
    — California (+8) 76, Stanford 58
    — Miami (+8) 67, Clemson 64
    — Fairfield (+8) 79, Monmouth 60
    — Butler (+6) 70, Xavier 69 OT
    — Northern Arizona (+6) 77, Portland State 66

    6) Pac-12 tournament:
    — Utah 98, Washington 95— Utes led by 19 with 5:08 left, hung on for dear life. Utah made 14-26 on the arc, shot 66.7% inside arc and only won by 3 points. Yikes.
    — Cal 76, Stanford 58— Wheels fell off down the stretch for Stanford; they lost their last five games, finishing 14-13 after an 8-3 start.

    5) LaMarcus Aldridge will be leaving the San Antonio Spurs; Gregg Popovich had nice things to say about Aldridge the person, but the team had been faring better when Aldridge was off the floor, so they’re going to trade him, and he’ll be away from the team until that happens.

    Aldridge is a free agent this summer; he is averaging only 13.7 ppg, the fewest he’s scored since his rookie season, and only 4.5 rebounds/game, a career-low.

    4) NFL salary cap is going down 8% next season, first time in a decade the cap hasn’t gone up.

    Free agency starts March 17; NFL will be fighting for headlines with the NCAA Tournament.

    3) Kansas Jayhawks fired their football coach the other day; they fired their athletic director yesterday. When you hire a new coach and the team goes 3-18 over two years, the wealthy boosters get queasy about coughing up more money. Rich people aren’t patient.

    2) Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw will be using a new baseball glove this season for the first time since 2009. Dodgers won the World Series, Kershaw retired his glove. Guess that means he isn’t superstitious.

    1) To me, today (Thursday) is the best college basketball day of the year; 15 hours full of games from all over the country. A good to day to relax, eat pizza and watch a lot of ball. Enjoy.

  26. #26
    THURSDAY, MARCH 11
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    BOS at MIN 01:05 PM
    BOS -115
    O 8.0

    NYY at PHI 01:05 PM
    NYY +105


    BAL at PIT 01:05 PM
    BAL +130
    O 9.0

    WAS at MIA 01:05 PM
    MIA +135

    TB at ATL 01:05 PM
    TB +135

    DET at TOR 01:07 PM
    TOR -175


    OAK at TEX 03:05 PM
    OAK -120

    CLE at SD 03:10 PM
    CLE +140


    SF at LAA 03:10 PM
    SF +140

    CHC at COL 03:10 PM
    COL +115


    KC at MIL 03:10 PM
    KC +110
    O 8.0

    NYM at HOU 06:05 PM
    NYM -140

    SEA at LAD 08:05 PM
    LAD -200


    CHW at CIN 08:05 PM
    CHW -105

  27. #27
    FRIDAY, MARCH 12
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    PHI at BAL 01:05 PM
    PHI -120
    +500

    ATL at MIN 01:05 PM
    MIN -125
    +500


    TB at BOS 01:05 PM
    BOS +100
    +500

    NYY at DET 01:05 PM
    DET +140
    +500


    TOR at PIT 01:05 PM
    TOR -125
    +500

    MIA at NYM 01:10 PM
    NYM -170
    +500


    CHW at TEX 03:05 PM
    CHW -110
    +500

    MIL at CHC 03:05 PM
    MIL +105
    +500


    LAD at CLE 03:05 PM
    LAD -130
    +500

    SD at OAK 03:05 PM
    SD -110
    +500

    COL at SF 03:05 PM
    SF -130
    +500

    ARI at LAA 03:10 PM
    LAA -130
    +500


    HOU at STL 06:05 PM
    STL -125
    +500

    CIN at SEA 08:40 PM
    SEA -115
    +500




    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

    03/12/2021 8-6-0 57.14% +325 Detail
    03/11/2021 8-7-2 52.94% +500 Detail
    03/10/2021 4-9-1 32.14% -2850 Detail
    03/09/2021 6-7-1 46.43% -550 Detail
    03/08/2021 4-3-2 55.56% +500 Detail
    03/07/2021 3-9-1 26.92% -3625 Detail
    03/06/2021 4-7-1 37.50% -2300 Detail
    03/05/2021 7-5-2 57.14% +900 Detail
    03/04/2021 7-6-1 53.57% +225 Detail
    03/03/2021 5-7-2 42.86% -1775 Detail
    Last edited by Cnotes53; 03-13-2021 at 12:12 AM.

  28. #28
    Saturday’s 6-pack
    Top six scoring teams in Division I:

    92.1— Gonzaga
    86.4— Colgate
    85.0— Iowa
    84.8— Baylor
    84.5— Southern Utah
    83.9— Bryant

    Americans who have died from COVID-19: 532,151
    PLEASE wear a mask (over your nose/mouth) when you go out.


    Quote of the Day
    “Nobody ever changed the world by doing what everyone else was doing.”
    Mark Cuban

    Saturday’s quiz
    When was the last time a team that was lower than a #2-seed won the national title in college basketball?

    Friday’s quiz
    Of the 31 conference tournaments this month, four were/are being played in Las Vegas.

    Thursday’s quiz
    Bob Brenly was manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks when they won their only World Series title.

    --------------------------------

    Saturday’s Den: Wrapping up a busy basketball day

    13) Pac-12 tourney:
    Oregon State 75, Oregon 64
    — Beavers were picked last in pre-season polls, finished a surprising 5th in regular season, now they’re playing for the league title Saturday.
    — Oregon State is 20-44 on the arc the last two days.

    Colorado 72, USC 70
    — Buffs had a 17-0 run in first half, needed a tip dunk with 0:02.3 left for the win.
    — Colorado has now beaten USC seven times in a row.

    12) Big 14 tourney:
    Michigan 79, Maryland 66
    — 11:30am opener saw Michigan coach Howard get tossed after he got into a kerfuffle with Maryland coach Turgeon. Michigan is 20-3; Howard should be happier.

    Ohio State 87, Purdue 78 OT
    — Buckeyes led by 18 at half, needed OT for the win.
    — Purdue was only 15-27 on the foul line.

    11) ACC tourney:
    — Georgia Tech advanced to finals because Virginia couldn’t play due to COVID issues.

    Florida State 69, North Carolina 66:
    — Florida State has unusually good depth; they’ll be a popular pick to make the Final Four.
    — North Carolina shot 34% inside arc, had 21 offensive rebounds.

    10) Big X tourney:
    Oklahoma State 83, Baylor 74:
    — Cowboys outscored Baylor 31-14 over final 7:49.
    — OSU star Cunningham tweaked his ankle last week and missed a game, but played 77:00 out of 80:00 the last two days.
    — Baylor heads into the NCAA Tournament at 22-2.

    Texas advanced to the finals, because Kansas couldn’t play due to COVID issues.

    9) Big East tourney:
    Georgetown 66, Seton Hall 58
    — #8-seed Hoyas are in Big East finals for first since since 2010.
    — Seton Hall lost five of last six games, finishes 14-13. No bueno.

    Creighton 59, UConn 56
    — Bluejays won the MVC tournament last two years they were in that league, but they’ve never won the Big East tournament- they’re favored to do that tonight.
    — Creighton outscored UConn 11-3 over final 5:26 of this game.
    — Bluejays are #40 experience team; they’re an experienced group.

    8) Big Sky tourney:
    Montana State 80, Southern Utah 77 OT
    — Top-seeded Thunderbirds get upset here.

    Eastern Washington 78, Montana 50
    — Eagles won 12 of their last 13 games

    7) Upsets of the Day:
    — Oregon State (+8) 75, Oregon 64
    — Montana State (+6.5) 80, Southern Utah 77 OT
    — Fairfield (+6.5) 52, Saint Peter’s 47
    — Cincinnati (+5.5) 74, SMU 71
    — Georgetown (+3.5) 66, Seton Hall 58

    6) SEC tourney:
    — All four favorites won Friday; I’m hoping Ole Miss gets in the NCAA Tournament- they looked like a tournament team in their 76-73 loss to LSU. Non-conference losses to Dayton/Wichita aren’t going to help their cause any.

    Arkansas 70, Missouri 64:
    — Razorbacks have won nine games in a row.
    — Officials totally dominated this game- the TV guys stopped counting when they got to 17 offensive fouls in this game. Guys were flopping all over the place.
    — Underrated thing about Eric Musselman; he’s coached two NBA teams and he also coached in the CBA— the guy is an X’s-and-O’s savant.

    5) MAAC tourney:
    Iona 70, Niagara 64
    — Rick Pitino re-surfaces on national TV Saturday; his Gaels are playing for their fifth MAAC tournament title in last six tries.
    — Iona didn’t play a game in January; they had a 7-week COVID pause, and didn’t play for 17 days before this tournament. Gaels have a new coach (albeit a Hall of Fame coach) and #274 continuity team, but they’re favored to win their league title tonight.

    4) MAC tourney:
    Ohio 87, Toledo 80
    — Toledo hasn’t made the NCAA’s since I was in college (1982); they were the top seed here, but got upset here, despite shooting 69.4% inside arc.

    Buffalo 81, Akron 74 OT
    — Buffalo survived miserable 8-19 shooting on foul line; they were down 5 with 6:32 left.
    — Bulls have won seven games in a row; they’re trying for 5th NCAA bid in last six tournaments.

    3) Conference USA tourney
    Western Kentucky 64, UAB 60
    — Hilltoppers made 10-20 on arc; they also have an NBA-type big man in Bassey, who had 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocked shots.

    North Texas 54, Louisiana Tech 48:
    — Mean Green won last three nights, giving up 53 ppg. They’re experience team #16 and they play a very slow tempo. North Texas last made the NCAA’s in 2010.

  29. #29
    SATURDAY, MARCH 13
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    DET at PHI 01:05 PM
    PHI -145
    +500

    PIT at NYY 01:05 PM
    NYY -200
    +500


    MIN at TB 01:05 PM
    TB -135
    +500

    ATL at BOS 01:05 PM
    ATL -110
    +500


    BAL at TOR 01:07 PM
    BAL +140
    +500

    CLE at SF 03:05 PM
    CLE +105
    +500


    LAA at CHW 03:05 PM
    CHW -145
    +500

    CHC at KC 03:05 PM
    CHC +105
    +500


    TEX at MIL 03:10 PM
    MIL -135
    +500

    ARI at SD 03:10 PM
    SD -170
    +500


    SEA at COL 03:10 PM
    COL -120
    +500

    STL at MIA 06:05 PM
    MIA -110
    +500


    NYM at WAS 06:05 PM
    NYM +100
    +500

    OAK at CIN 08:05 PM
    OAK +105
    +500





    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

    03/13/2021 5-8-1 39.29% -2100 Detail
    03/12/2021 8-6-0 57.14% +325 Detail
    03/11/2021 8-7-2 52.94% +500 Detail
    03/10/2021 4-9-1 32.14% -2850 Detail
    03/09/2021 6-7-1 46.43% -550 Detail
    03/08/2021 4-3-2 55.56% +500 Detail
    03/07/2021 3-9-1 26.92% -3625 Detail
    03/06/2021 4-7-1 37.50% -2300 Detail
    03/05/2021 7-5-2 57.14% +900 Detail
    03/04/2021 7-6-1 53.57% +225 Detail
    03/03/2021 5-7-2 42.86% -1775 Detail
    03/02/2021 7-4-3 60.71% +1575 Detail
    03/01/2021 1-4-2 28.57% -1850 Detail
    02/28/2021 4-9-0 30.77% -3270 Detail
    Last edited by Cnotes53; 03-14-2021 at 12:20 AM.

  30. #30
    Sunday’s 6-pack
    — Georgetown 73, Marquette 48— #8-seed Hoyas win the Big East.
    — Texas 91, Oklahoma State 86— Longhorns had lost last six Big X title games.
    — Grand Canyon 74, New Mexico State 56— Bryce Drew’s Antelopes win WAC.
    — Iona 60, Fairfield 51— Rick Pitino gets his Gaels into the NCAAs.
    — North Texas 61, Western Kentucky 57 OT— Mean Green’s first title since 2010.
    — Oregon State 70, Colorado 68— Beavers win Pac-12 tourney for first time.

    Americans who have died from COVID-19: 533,868
    PLEASE wear a mask (over your nose/mouth) when you go out.


    Quote of the Day
    “Try not to do too many things at once. Know what you want, the number one thing today and tomorrow. Persevere and get it done.”
    George Allen

    Sunday’s quiz
    We know Hawai’i is the 50th state; which state was the first state?

    Saturday’s quiz
    2014 was the last time a team that was lower than a #2-seed won the national title in college basketball, when #7-seed UConn won the title.

    Friday’s quiz
    Of the 31 conference tournaments this month, four were/are being played in Las Vegas.

    ************************

    Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday

    13) Last three days have been very excellent; sat around my house in hooded sweatshirts and sweats, watched ball for 14-16 hours a day, ate pizza, took a lot of notes. Life almost seemed normal again.

    In most years, this is my favorite week of the year; last year it was a disaster, when everything shut down because of the pandemic. This week, college basketball was everywhere, the way it is supposed to be in March. Filled in the voids with spring training baseball. Good stuff.

    Sunday night the brackets come out, something we all missed last year.

    Meanwhile, there was other stuff going on besides college basketball:

    12) Every summer, HBO does Hard Knocks, a behind-the-scenes look at NFL training camp, usually one team each summer. They do five one-hour shows during the summer; it is fun to learn some things that normally behind-the-scenes. It helps promote the league.

    Baseball needs to do this!!! Give HBO access to a team every spring; Lord knows there is enough free time for managers/coaches/players to talk on camera. Let HBO spen six weeks with the Angels so America can learn about Trout, and Ohtani. Next year do the Padres.

    Promote the game!!! Young people need to learn how great baseball is; there is so much stuff going on these days, so much competition for the entertainment dollar. Expose baseball to as many people as possible; that would seem like a good business move.

    Speaking of which, why do they black out TV broadcasts of games on MLB Network? Let as many people watch games as want to do it— it is STUPID to black games out.

    11) Major league baseball now controls the minor leagues; starting this season, they’re going to use the minors as a laboratory for new rules. Different levels will have different experiments:
    — All four infielders will have to have both feet on the infield dirt.
    — Teams will have to have two infielders on each side of th einfield.
    — 0:15 pitch clock, which seems to be a bit much.
    — Throws to first base vs baserunners will be limited.
    — Robotic ball/strike umpires (I really dislike this one, maybe even hate it)

    10) The motivation for all this is that MLB wants more baseballs put in play; less strikeouts and walks, more game action. If there are only two fielders on the right side of the infield, guys can go to the other way more— hard grounders that are pulled are more likely to be hits. Fewer batters will try to hit home runs all the time.

    Batting average in the major leagues the last three years:
    2018: .248
    2019: .252
    2020: .245— In 2000, it was .270. Shifts have badly hurt offense; offense makes the game more fun to watch.

    9) Worlds colliding: a guy named Frank McCourt used to own the Dodgers- it didn’t go well. He had to sell the team, after he spent too much money in his personal life, and his toxic divorce proceedings pushed the Dodgers into bankruptcy. No bueno.

    McCourt now owns a soccer team in France, a team previously owned by a guy who was the CEO of Adidas. When the guy passed away in 2009, his wife inherited the team— she is worth $5.9B, according to Forbes magazine, the richest Russian-born woman in the world. She later sold the soccer team to McCourt.

    Anyway, it turns out that the Adidas guy was 2nd-cousins with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who played Elaine on the Seinfeld TV show. Like I said, worlds colliding.

    8) Chicago Cubs hired Jon Sciambi as their new TV play-by-play guy, a huge upgrade over the last guy, who moved to White Sox radio. Sciambi is awesome and will team with former big league pitcher Jim Deshaies. The reason I care about this a decent amount is that I have both Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant on my fantasy team, so I’m going to be watching the Cubs a lot this season.

    7) Was watching the Milwaukee Brewers play in the middle of the night this week, the replay of an exhibition game, and got this sick feeling that I get every March when I watch the Brewers.

    They’re analytically-driven, which means their front office guys all went to fancy colleges, and they do unusual things with the team, then use their college degrees to defend them when they don’t work. Translation: I will never have another Milwaukee pitcher on my fantasy team.

    6) Random sports trivia; Arkansas hoop coach Eric Musselman is the son of the late coach Bill Musselman, who coached the Minnesota Gophers, also in the NBA and in the CBA, with the Albany Patroons, who played three miles from my house. Musselman’s Gophers won the 1972 Big Ten championship, back before there was a conference tournament.

    When Bill Musselman was at Minnesota, one of the subs on his team was this guy who was pretty good in another sport, a 6-6 outfielder you may have heard of. Guy named Dave Winfield, a baseball Hall of Famer.

    5) Tip of the cap to Nick Markakis, who retired this week after a 15-year career where he hit .288 for the Orioles/Braves, with a career on-base % of .357. Pretty freakin’ good.

    Markakis played in 147+ games in 12 of his 15 seasons; he wound up with 2,388 hits. He was on my fantasy team for several years, was a big help— one of the best “abilities” is dependability.

    4) NCAA Tournament schedule is a little different this year:
    — Play-in games will all be on Thursday.
    — First round games are Friday/Saturday
    — Second round games are Sunday/Monday
    — Second weekend of the tournament will be Saturday-Tuesday.

    3) Georgia Tech 80, Florida State 75
    — This was only second time EVER (Georgia Tech-Virginia in 1990) that the ACC title game didn’t have a team from North Carolina in it.
    — Georgia Tech wins ACC title for first time since 1993.

    2) 12-15 years ago, when I used to go to Florida every summer to watch the AAU national tournament at Disney World, I’d venture to different high schools in the Kissimmee area to watch games. When I went back to work the next week, I’d tell people how I spent my vacation, and more than one person gave me an odd look. Go figure.

    One day I’m at Poinciana HS watching games, sitting on a cafeteria table, behind one of the baskets and this young coach sits on the other end of the table. I struck up a conversation with him and picked his brain for a couple hours, learned a lot. Probably asked too many questions, but learned a lot.

    Maybe 4-5 years ago, I’m at Bishop Gorman HS in Las Vegas watching games, and once again I’m sitting next to the same guy, and we had another good conversation. Now I’m a nobody, he had no reason to be nice to me, or answer my numerous questions, but he did.

    Josh Pastner is a hell of a nice guy; was so happy to see him win this game and win the ACC title. He was a sub as a player on great Arizona teams under Lute Olson and now has been a head coach for 12 years, seven at Memphis, five at Georgia Tech. Congrats coach!!!

    1) Since AFL-NFL merger, most starts for a QB-coach combo without making playoffs:
    85— Jim Zorn/Jack Patera, (expansion Seahawks)
    59— David Carr/Dom Capers (expansion Texans)
    52— Ryan Tannehill/Joe Philbin (Dolphins)
    48— Derek Carr/Jon Gruden (Raiders)

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