-— Mark Dourmashkin ’14
Goodbye polar vortex, hello Spring training. Finally, we can start to think about putting this snowy and unpredictable Winter behind us and instead begin thinking about baseball. Some newly-acquired international players, such as Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox or Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees, will be experiencing their first Spring training. Derek Jeter, on the other hand, will be experiencing his last.
The 2014 season will begin in Sydney, Australia on Saturday, March 22, where the Arizona Diamondbacks will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. With a little less than a month left before opening day, here are some headlines to prepare you for the upcoming season:
Most of the offseason moves came in the American League this Winter.
New York Yankees second baseman, Robinson Cano, decided he needed a change of scenery and a couple more dollars so he moved to the West Coast. The Seattle Mariners bought the all-star for $240 million, and Cano will now be looked at as the savior of that franchise.
The Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers made a “fantasy” type trade when the Rangers exchanged second baseman Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder. Kinsler will no longer be playing in Texas’ hitter-friendly Arlington Park but instead will bat comfortably in front of the best hitter in baseball, Miguel Cabrera. Look for Fielder to mash at least 40 home runs in Texas. The Rangers seem to be the real winners in this trade.
What’s an offseason if there is no noise coming out of the Yankees organization? A-Rod is suspended for the season, Jeter is retiring, and CC Sabathia is 30 pounds lighter. If you look at the 2014 Yankees starting lineup, Brett Gardner is the only player who consistently played the entire season (145 games). Mark Teixeira and Jeter only played in a handful of games and Soriano was traded to the team midway through the season. Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Kelly Johnson are all new additions looking to replace Cano and Curtis Ganderson.
There was a lot less action coming from the National League this
Atlanta got more headlines during the ice storm, when the city was compared to the TV show The Walking Dead, than it received in baseball news. Although only two teams had more wins than the Braves did last year, they did nothing to illustrate they will be able to take down the defending National League champion St. Louis Cardinals.
The Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks both made big trades this offseason with the hopes of making the playoffs. The Diamondbacks traded their two young prospects, Adam Eaton and Tyler Skaggs, for proven slugger Mark Trumbo. The Nationals made a move for a solid top-of-the-rotation pitcher, Doug Fister.
Besides all the trades and free agent signs that took place this offseason, we saw the good, the bad, and the ugly with regards to players taking performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).
The good: we won’t see Alex Rodriguez on the field in 2014 — although there is a good chance he will make more headlines than the Oakland Athletics entire team.
The bad: Ryan Braun, who admitted to using PEDs, only got suspended for 65 games and will be back on the diamond opening day. There is something wrong with that picture.
The ugly: Shortstop Johnny Peralta signed a four-year contract worth $53 million with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals are basically awarding a player for taking PEDs. This is not the message MLB organizations want to be sending to the players.
The 2014 season will see a legend retire, a 23-year-old potentially steal his 150th base, and a Super Bowl-winning quarterback compete at the Texas Rangers Spring training camp. Saying goodbye to Jeter will be tough, watching Billy Hamilton of Cincinnati run the base paths will be mind blowing, and seeing Russell Wilson strike out Prince Fielder would be priceless. Spring needs to arrive quickly and so does baseball.
Senior Mark Dourmashkin is a staff writer. His email is email@example.com.