MLB players vote Bryce Harper most overrated player, Yankees most overhyped team

Bryce Harper NationalsWashington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is one of the best young players in baseball. He has been an All-Star both of his seasons in the major leagues. He took home the Rookie of the Year Award in 2012.

Prior to breaking into the big leagues, we heard how great Bryce Harper would be and that he’s one of those “once in a generation” talents. The 21-year-old may turn out to live up to his advance billing, but for now he’s entering just his third season in the majors.

Time will tell the career path of Harper. At present, there are more than a few who feel he’s overrated. Included in that group are some of Harper’s peers.

In a feature that appears in ESPN The Magazine’s MLB Preview Issue, 143 anonymous players were interviewed on various topics. Among them, the most overrated player. Harper received the most votes with 24%. Yasiel Puig came in second (21%) and Alex Rodriguez was third (14%), because apparently there are people who still think highly of Alex Rodriguez as a baseball player.

Rodriguez’s New York Yankees grabbed the top spot for most over-hyped team, receiving 44% of the votes. The Los Angeles Dodgers (13%) and Los Angeles Angels (12%) followed.

There are few interesting responses documented in the piece, like how much more than Miguel Cabrera one player would pay Mike Trout. And, the Houston Astros received the second highest percentage of votes for most underrated team, ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, and Kansas City Royals.

Red Sox-Yankees game delayed by bees (Video)

A spring training game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees was delayed by a swarm of bees on Tuesday. If the Sox and Yankees aren’t going to get angry about their rivalry anymore (even if it is only March), the bees will.

Boston outfielder Mike Carp came running in toward the infield in the third inning and explained to the umpire that there was something buzzing around behind him near the wall. It turned out there was a whole mess of bees, and you can’t blame Carp for wanting nothing to do with it.


The game was delayed for several minutes while a groundskeeper showered the thousands of bees in insect spray. At one point, Mark Teixeira offered a sign of peace to the insect world.

One guy’s offering honey and the other is burning them alive. That makes a lot of sense. Fortunately, nobody was injured. Believe it or not, it wasn’t the first time a swarm of bees has interrupted a baseball game.

H/T Deadspin

Derek Jeter told Yankees about retirement plans hours before announcement

Derek-Jeter-YankeesWhen Derek Jeter announced on Wednesday that he is going to retire after the 2014 MLB season, very few people were shocked. The Yankee captain is 39 and has struggled with a foot injury over the past two seasons. The Yankees may have seen this coming, but that doesn’t mean Jeter told them about the plans long before telling us.

According to the NY Post, Jeter called Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner on Wednesday morning to let him know that he was planning to make the announcement on Facebook.

“Derek called Hal Steinbrenner personally this morning and told him the news,” a source reportedly told The Post. “It was a very calm, respectful phone call. Derek wanted to do it his way, as Derek often does, by announcing on Facebook. He said he wanted, out of respect for the Steinbrenner family, to give Hal a heads up. They were the only two who knew about this within the Yankees organization until Derek told his fans on Facebook just after 2pm.

“Nobody within the Yankee organization is surprised, Derek is nearly 40, he is coming off a tough injury and he’s a guy who likes to go out on top. But there is huge sadness he is retiring. Derek is an icon, he’s in the category of Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, he’s an irreplaceable person, and an irreplaceable player.”

It certainly makes sense that Jeter would keep quiet about his plans until the day of the announcement. In the era of Twitter, Facebook and countless other social media sites, news almost always leaks. This was the only way he knew he could share the announcement himself.

Masahiro Tanaka signs with Yankees for seven years, $155 million

Masahiro TanakaJapanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has never thrown a pitch in an MLB game, but he is already the fifth-highest paid starting pitcher in league history. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Tanaka has signed a seven-year, $155 million contract with the New York Yankees.

A report last week indicated that the Chicago Cubs were prepared to “blow away the field” to sign Tanaka, but that was apparently not the case. Tanaka’s contract with the Yankees also reportedly includes an opt-out after the fourth year, similar to the deal they worked out with CC Sabathia. New York will also have to pay a $20 million posting fee.

Tanaka’s contract is the fifth richest for a pitcher in MLB history, behind only Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and Sabathia.

The Yankees are in need of starting pitching and obviously decided to make Tanaka a priority. We knew they had extra money to spend after letting Robinson Cano leave, and — while risky — Tanaka makes sense. He posted a 24-0 record and a 1.27 ERA in Japan last season. While former Rakuten Golden Eagles teammate Andruw Jones said Tanaka does not have the same arsenal as Yu Darvish, he is obviously very effective at getting hitters out.

Robinson Cano: The Yankees gave me no respect

Robinson-Cano-MarinersRobinson Cano was officially introduced as a member of the Seattle Mariners on Thursday, and he did not exactly take the high road when discussing his former team. Cano told reporters that the Mariners “showed me love” and made it clear that they wanted him from day one. As for the New York Yankees, the 31-year-old said he felt disrespected.

“Honestly, I would say no,” Cano said when asked if he felt the Yankees wanted him back, via David Lennon of Newsday. “I didn’t feel respect. I didn’t get any respect from them and I didn’t see any effort.”

Cano is probably right. The second baseman was one of the best hitters in the American League for the last several seasons, but the Yankees wanted him back at a price that was reasonable for them. The last thing they need is another massive contract like the one Alex Rodriguez is currently still working under, which is why New York offered Cano seven years and $175 million — a higher average annual salary than he got from Seattle.

Cano shouldn’t take it personally. Sure, the Yankees were quick to give Jacoby Ellsbury a seven-year, $153 million deal. But again, it’s more about the length of the deal. New York is done paying players $25 million when they are 40 — at least for now. That’s why we previously wrote that the Yankees proved they learned a lesson by letting Cano walk. Given the current state of the Bronx Bombers, Cano simply hit free agency at a time that gave him virtually no chance to remain in pinstripes.

Reds GM: Yankees ‘leaked’ Brandon Phillips trade rumor for Robinson Cano leverage

brandon-phillipsThe Cincinnati Reds have downplayed the prospect of trading Brandon Phillips, though teams around the league seem to think that the second baseman is available. After the New York Yankees lost Robinson Cano in free agency, a report indicated that Brian Cashman had inquired about Phillips but that the price was too steep.

Despite the trade rumors, Reds GM Walt Jocketty has stated publicly that he has not engaged in trade talks with any other team regarding Phillips. So where did the report about New York come from? According to Jocketty, the Yankees planted it for Cano leverage.

In other words, Jocketty is claiming the Yankees wanted Cano to think they had a backup plan in place and thus were not desperate to bring him back. They certainly weren’t desperate, but it remains to be seen if they have a viable plan B or if Phillips is a possibility.

The 33-year old Phillips has four years and $50 million remaining on his contract. He still has some pop left in his bat and drove in a career-high 103 runs last season. New York certainly has money to spend after letting Cano walk. Time will tell if Jocketty is telling the truth or just avoiding a media frenzy.

H/T Eye on Baseball

Carlos Beltran to sign with Yankees

Carlos-Beltran-No-Trade-Clause-Could-Screw-MetsCarlos Beltran wanted to sign with the New York Yankees the last two times he was a free agent, but the pinstripes weren’t interested. Looks like the third time was the charm.

Beltran and the Yankees have agreed on a three-year deal worth $45 million, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports. The free agent outfielder and the Yankees agreed to the deal the same day all-star second baseman Robinson Cano agreed to a huge deal with the Seattle Mariners. In addition to Cano, the Yankees lost Curtis Granderson to the Mets on Friday.

Though the Yankees are losing Cano to Seattle and Granderson to the Mets, they have added Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brian McCann this offseason. They also signed Kelly Johnson to play second.

The Yankees have a crowded outfield now between Ellsbury, Beltran, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro and possibly Vernon Wells, but they are loaded. Luckily they also have the DH spot to spread around. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says Beltran will play right field while Soriano will usually DH.

Once they bring back Hiroki Kuroda and add a few more pieces, the Yankees are going to be much better off than they were before. This is shaping up to be an excellent offseason for them.