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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Baseball

Kevin Kaczmarski learns not to park in Jacob deGrom’s spot

Jacob deGrom

It’s probably safe to assume Mets prospect Kevin Kaczmarski won’t park his vehicle in the spot that belongs to Jacob deGrom anymore.

When Kaczmarski arrived to New York’s spring training facility on Monday, he pulled into a parking space marked with the No. 48. The problem is, that isn’t Kaczmarski’s uniform number. No. 48 belongs to the above pictured former National League Rookie of the Year and All-Star. As teammate Josh Smoker shared via Twitter, this is what happened to Kaczmarski’s car.

Because it’s pretty much the only thing you can do in a situation like that, Kaczmarski had fun with it.

That’s certainly something Kaczmarski will remember from his 2017 spring training.

H/T Cut4

Blue Jays, John Gibbons reportedly finalizing contract extension

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is being rewarded after leading the team to back-to-back ALCS berths.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports on Tuesday that Gibbons and the Blue Jays are finalizing a multi-year contract extension and expect to have a deal done by Opening Day on April 3.

The 54-year-old Gibbons was hired in 2013 (his second managerial stint with the team) and has gone 339-309 (.523) in the four seasons since. Gibbons has guided the Jays to consecutive postseason appearances in the last two years and took home American League Manager of the Year honors in 2015 after helping the team win the AL East for the first time in over two decades.

With the Blue Jays owning the tenth-highest payroll in the MLB for the 2017 season (per Spotrac), expectations in Toronto will be high once again. But clearly, the team still feels that Gibbons, who has never been one to back down from a challenge, is the right guy for the job.

Image via MLB on YouTube

Rangers open to discussing Yu Darvish contract extension in season

Yu Darvish

The Texas Rangers seem to be approaching the Yu Darvish contract situation with caution, but they are open to discussing an extension during the season.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels told 1310 The Ticket’s Norm Hitzges on Monday that the team has “interest in him staying here,” regarding Darvish. Daniels also said the team is open to having contract talks with Darvish at any point.

“Where we left [it] is that either side can privately open it or raise it at any point,” Daniels said on 1310 The Ticket. “No set deadlines or anything like that. The lines of communication are open, and the relationship is very good. That’s a great starting point.”

The Rangers are banking on their belief that Darvish likes Texas and would want to stay with the team.

Texas is proceeding with caution because Darvish is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery. The Japanese starter has been an unquestionable ace when healthy, but he’s only made 100 career starts since coming over in 2012. If Darvish puts up a strong 2017 or does anything like he did in 2013, the Rangers will probably end up regretting not trying to seal the deal sooner.

Javy Baez steals third on incredible slide move (Video)

Javy Baez slide

Javy Baez continues to do all the little things to make himself one of the most fun baseball players to watch.

Playing for Puerto Rico in the WBC on Monday night, Baez pulled off a stolen base by using an incredible swim move after diving into third:

Here it is in GIF form:

Puerto Rico was unable to drive him in after that, which is partly why the game went to extra innings where they won 4-3. Between this and his awesome tag earlier in the tournament, Baez has made some great plays.

Jurickson Profar picked off while celebrating single (Video)

Jurickson Profar picked off

Jurickson Profar just learned the hard way that he needs to be standing on a base before celebrating a big hit.

Profar is playing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic and singled with a man on second and one out in the top of the first inning of his country’s semifinal game against Puerto Rico on Monday night.

The throw from right field went all the way to catch Yadier Molina at home, which held the Netherlands’ runner at third. After rounding first, Profar carelessly meandered back to the bag, all while pumping up his teammates. He had taken his eyes off the ball and play, and Molina noticed that. Molina threw behind Profar, who was tagged out for the second out of the inning.

The next batter up, Wladimir Balentien, homered to make it 2-0. Not only did Profar’s mistake likely cost them a run, but the Netherlands made another out on the bases while he was at-bat. They only made one out with their bats that inning.

5 MLB teams that can dethrone the Cubs as World Series champions

It’s easy to see why the Chicago Cubs would be favored to win the World Series for a second consecutive season. They have a great lineup, a strong pitching staff, and depth almost everywhere. However, the safer bet would be to take the field over the Cubs in 2017. That, however, doesn’t do much to narrow down who is capable of dethroning the Cubs and claiming the mantle of World Series champions for themselves.

Here is a list of five teams who have the talent to upend the Cubs — and anyone else who may get in their path — en route to the 2017 World Series title.

5) Houston Astros

The Astros are a bit of a dark horse pick, but frankly, they have some things in common with the 2016 Cubs. The obvious one is the young, dynamic core of top prospects accumulated after years of losing.

George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa are three quality players, and Alex Bregman will have every opportunity to join them as soon as this season. As the Cubs did in 2015, the Astros have augmented those players through free agency and trades with veterans like Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. The result is a lineup that should be very good.

Houston’s bullpen effort may also pay dividends, though they were up and down there last season. Ken Giles and Luke Gregerson are good enough to be successful if they can be consistent.

The only shortcoming could be Houston’s rotation, but even there, they have room to grow. Dallas Keuchel was a Cy Young winner two short years ago, though depth may be an issue. If they pitch, they have a shot. A big part of that would be Keuchel returning to form.

4. Washington Nationals

(more…)

Pete Mackanin fines all Phillies a dollar for spring training mistakes

Philadelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin has a very young team, so he’s coming up with unique ways to instill discipline and accountability in his clubhouse.

His solution? Every time a player doesn’t hustle or makes a preventable mistake, the entire team is fined a dollar. The aim is that teammates will get on players who cost them money and hold them accountable for their mistakes.

Third baseman Maikel Franco was the latest to cost his teammates cash, as he lost a fly ball in the sun during Saturday’s spring training game despite the fact that he had a pair of unused sunglasses on the brim of his cap.

“I don’t get it,” Mackanin said, via Matt Breen of Philly.com. “He lost the ball in the sun. We’re going to have to fine him a dollar.”

It’s certainly creative, though I have no idea how well it would work. It’s just a shame Mackanin wasn’t around for this play.

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