On Sunday, the 2014 Hall of Fame class will officially be inducted into immortality. The ceremony figures to be one of the best thanks in large part to the six well-deserving members that will be enshrined.
The hall will call Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and Tony La Russa to the stage on Sunday. The resumes that these six posses are an extensive list of accomplishments.
Due to the huge popularity of all six individuals, the crowds gathering in Cooperstown figure to be huge. One of the many great things about this particular class is that many teams can take pride in these inductions. Even though that specific caps will be donned for five of the six inductees, not pictured will be the dozen other teams that the group can be tied to throughout the years.
With all six anticipated to give great speeches, what speech will you be looking forward to the most? Share your thoughts and enjoy one of the great days on the baseball calendar on Sunday where Cooperstown will most certainly be the place to be.
For more MLB News and Updates Follow OPSN’s Nick Schaeflein @ptchr2424
On Friday night OPSN was covering the Lakeland Flying Tigers game, and a source at the game told me that a Cardinals official had said they were ready to make a big push for left-handed pitcher David Price.
The Cardinals had been linked to the Tampa Bay Rays starter for quite awhile but have yet to really make a big push for him, although things are looking like they are about to change drastically.
Many would assume outfielder Oscar Taveras would be in a deal for the former CY Young award winning lefty. Many Cardinal fans will cringe when they see this, but acquiring Price could bring them an NL Central title and instantly make them favorites to win the World Series.
You can follow Shane Miller on Twitter @ShaneMiller27
The St. Louis Cardinals are working on a deal to sign free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The team will be without Yadier Molina for 6-10 weeks following thumb surgery.
Pierzynski, 37, was released by the Red Sox a few weeks ago, so St. Louis will be able to sign him for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum. He hit .254/.286/.348 with four home runs in 72 games before being released by Boston.
During the absence of Yadier Molina, St. Louis has been using Tony Cruz and George Kottaras behind the plate, but obviously they continue to look for an upgrade.
Multiple reports suggest that Pierzynski will be with the club on Saturday in Chicago.
The Oakland Athletics have acquired former first round draft pick Deck McGuire for cash.
McGuire has had a very up and down career thus far in the minors. This year he fell off Baseball America’s top 30 prospects list for the Blue Jays.
The A’s are looking to add some depth to their system since it doesn’t seem likely that McGuire will be in the majors at this moment.
While McGuire hasn’t had a very strong minor league career, he does have one thing going for him and that’s his K/9.
In his five year career he has a K% under 20 only three times and that two of those came after rising to the next level.
In the ongoing search for pitching, the Yankees are talking to both the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies about Ian Kennedy and Jorge De La Rosa. Both teams won’t make the pitchers cheap and both are more than willing to hold on to their respective pitcher.
The Padres are asking for pitching prospects in return and they want top end quality for Kennedy. Much like the Padres the Rockies are looking for good top end rookies since La Rosa has actually had a productive career in Colorado and wouldn’t mind keeping him.
No deal for either pitcher seems imminent as of now.
Kennedy is having a very nice season thus far. He’s raised his K/9 a full point and a half from last season and lowered the BB/9 as well. His biggest improvement from last season has come in his ability to keep the ball down in the zone and induce more ground ball outs.
De La Rosa was hurt earlier in the season but has come back healthy.
His numbers aren’t that impressive comparing them to many pitchers but when you factor in he pitches in Coors Field they start to look better. The most disappointing thing about De La Rosa is the fact his K/9 has really gone down since his early days and his BB/9 hasn’t improved with age. If he goes to the Yankees he would be a major improvement but he’s not going to all of a sudden become an ace, and that’s if he stays healthy.
Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo is set to showcase in front of Major League teams tomorrow. There is one interesting point though and that is the speedster is going to work out at both centerfield and at shortstop.
The 27-year-old has quite a few teams coming to see him tomorrow including the Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, Marlins, Orioles, Braves, Twins, Cubs, Giants, Mariners and a few others. He has drawn praise for his line drive swing and plus-speed.
The right-handed hitting outfielder is said to be a starting caliber Major League outfielder now, and is represented by rapper Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports agency.
You can follow Shane Miller on Twitter @ShaneMiller27
It’s been a long time since I last did one of these types of write-ups, and I thought it was fitting to pull the notebook back out with the July 31 non-waiver deadline rapidly approaching.
1.) Joakim Soria is an upgrade for Detroit, and will pitch eighth innings for the Tigers, although he has better numbers all across the board than the incumbent and active saves leader Joe Nathan. It’s the right move for Brad Ausmus, as the eighth inning has proven to produce higher leverage situations than the ninth, making the setup man more valuable in a sense.
2.) The Tigers’ shopping for relief pitching help is rumored to be far from over, as the franchise has been reportedly interested in attaining the services of a left-handed specialist and has been directly linked to Philadelphia Phillies lefty specialist Antonio Bastardo.
However, of all the rumored left-handed specialists the Tigers have been targeting, Boston Red Sox lefty and former Tigers farmhand Andrew Miller most intrigues me. Maybe it’s a result of the former ties he has to the Tigers as a former top draft pick of the organization, but it’s also true that Miller is experiencing a career year with the best strikeout per nine innings pitched rate of his career with more than 14 per nine. Along the way, he’s amassed 63 strikeouts in 39 innings.
It’s pretty impressive for a 29-year-old who might just be entering the prime of his career.
3.) Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Marco Estrada, who was moved to the pen two weeks ago largely for allowing a major league-high 27 home runs in the first half, might be on his way out of town. A source tells me that if top pitching prospect Jimmy Nelson throws a second straight quality start on Sunday against the New York Mets, there’s an increased likelihood of Estrada being dealt before the July 31 deadline.
4.) Former major league catcher Ernie Whitt, who spent 12 years of his MLB career with the Toronto Blue Jays, was nice enough to give me his time during a brief interview last week. He labeled this year’s All-Star Game MVP Mike Trout as the next Derek Jeter, in the sense that he believes Trout will represent major league baseball in the best manner possible on-and-off the baseball diamond for the duration of his career, just as Jeter has done for nearly two full decades in Yankees pinstripes.
5.) Whitt, a roaming instructor for the Phillies farm system, also talked about how he believes that Philly franchise icon and six-time All-Star second baseman Chase Utley is likely to stay put at this year’s deadline. The lifelong Phillie doesn’t plan on leaving the “City of Brotherly Love” either, as he reportedly has no desire to void his 10-and-5 rights which allow him to block a trade to any of the 30 MLB clubs.
If either Utley or Phillies 35-year-old left-handed ace Cliff Lee is to be moved leading up to this year’s deadline, Whitt added that he doesn’t think it will simply be to dump salary. He told me that the organization’s generally non-rebuilding friendly general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. will be more prone to pulling the trigger on a deal involving one or both of his big name seasoned veterans if and only if he garners a big package of prospects in return.
Due to the fact that Amaro has been stubborn when it comes to being willing to enter a full rebuild mode (such as now with the time being right), one can expect Amaro to demand prospects who are nearly ML ready – specs who will be ready by next season or 2016 – in return for the services of both Lee and Utley.
In my opinion, it makes it very unlikely that the often criticized Amaro will make a move involving Lee and/or Utley to revamp his dismal farm system, which ranks near the bottom of the league in seemingly all credible farm system rankings.
Follow OPSN contributor Vito Chirco on Twitter @VitoJerome for more of his opinions on all the latest MLB happenings.
Recently I landed an interview with Cubs’ twelfth overall prospect, Daniel Vogelbach. Currently a member of the Cubs’ Single-A advanced affiliate team, the Daytona Cubs, Vogelbach wad drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft, along with fellow prospect, Javier Baez. Nearly hitting 20 homeruns every year, his power numbers have stayed consistent moving up and although his batting average has dipped a bit, his career slash line of .289/.377/.488/.865 speaks for itself. Take a look at the questions I asked Mr. Vogelbach via twitter, and how he would respond:
Q1: Could you tell me what the draft process meant to you, and was there any thought given of going to college instead of signing a professional contract?
Vogelbach: “Not really I didn’t want to pass up a chance to play in the pros as you never know when you could be done.. And I liked the Cubs”
Q2: Being such a historic organization, what were your first thoughts when you stepped foot in Wrigley Field, as a member of the Cubs’?
Vogelbach: “Overwhelming to say the least.”
Q3: What adjustments were necessary, going straight into the minor leagues, from high school?
Vogelbach: “There wasn’t a whole lot obviously better pitching but they eased me into the Rookie League my 1st and 2nd year and a little bit of short season ball and most of those players are around my age.”
Q4: What players do you try to emulate as a baseball player, and who were your role models growing up?
Vogelbach: “Didn’t really have a specific player but right now I’d say [Dustin] Pedroia and [Prince] Fielder.
Q5: In the Cubs’ loaded farm system, how do you see yourself progressing further up the ladder?
Vogelbach: “Just playing everyday to the best of my ability and I can’t worry about things I can’t control.”
Q6: Do you feel as if you will be looked at as more of a power hitter than an all-around hitter, hitting for not only power, but average as well?
Vogelbach: “Because of my size people will think I hit for just power but i believe I can also hit for average..”
Q7: With the Cubs’ signing Anthony Rizzo to a long term deal, have you and the organization discussed a potential position change?
Vogelbach: “Nope I’m just doing me at 1st base and I can’t worry about what I can’t control.”
Q8: On an unrelated note, what is your favorite hobby in the offseason and if you weren’t playing baseball, what would you be doing?
Vogelbach: “Id say fishing and being with family and I haven’t really thought about it..”
Q8 (Continued): With that, I’d have to ask you, what’s your biggest catch and favorite fish to eat?
Vogelbach: “29 inch bass and salmon,” he then stated, “The bass was this year I just picked up on fishing with my friend Albert.”
Q9: Last but certainly not least, what player has had the biggest impact on your career so far?
Vogelbach: “I wouldn’t say one player but all my coaches and teammates have helped me become what I am today.”
There is no doubt in my mind that the electrifying former 98th overall prospect, via MLB.com, will be able to succeed in the Major Leagues. Expecting a Double-A promotion, the 21-year old is batting .272 with 11 homeruns and 53 runs batted in.
Follow OPSN’s Brock Landes on Twitter for more MLB updates @Brock_Evan28 and continue to network with Daniel Vogelbach, @FlowBro3 on twitter.