Russ Springer calls it a career at age 42

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From Bob Tompkins of the Alexandria Daily Town Talk (via MLB Trade Rumors) comes word that veteran reliever Russ Springer has decided to hang up his cleats for good.

The 42-year-old native of Alexandria, Louisiana broke into the majors back in 1992 as a reliever for the Yankees.  He played for 10 different teams throughout his 18-season MLB career and will finish with a 4.52 career ERA and 1.37 WHIP.

Springer was at his best while with the Cardinals, posting a 2.18 ERA over 76 relief appearances in 2007 and a 2.32 across 70 relief appearances in 2008.  He made only two appearances last season for the Reds before season-ending hip surgery forced him to the 60-day disabled list in August.

“For the first time in my career, it feels right,” Spring told the Daily Town Talk.  “This year, I’ve had no pull towards going to the gym. I’m totally content to be with the family. There comes a time when you can ask only so much of your body physically, and you’ve got to stop beating it up.”

It sure sounds like he is at peace with the decision.  Which is good, because the free agent market for him was not pretty and he would have probably had to settle for a minor league contract and spring training invite.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves