Phillies hope Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will open 2014 in the starting rotation

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After agreeing to a three-year, $12 million deal with the Phillies in late August, Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez spoke to the media for the first time Thursday at the team’s spring training complex in Clearwater.

While Gonzalez was originally expected to sign a six-year, $48 million contract with the Phillies, the deal was reworked amid concerns about the health of his throwing elbow. The 27-year-old offered a “no comment” to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com on why the deal fell through, but he had bone chips removed from his elbow in January of 2012. The Phillies are taking things slow with his throwing program, but minor-league pitching coordinator Carlos Arroyo said that Gonzalez is healthy.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. told reporters that scouts view Gonzalez as a potential No. 2 or 3 starter down the road. As of now, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are the only sure things for the starting rotation going into 2014, but Amaro hopes that Gonzalez will join them.

Here’s a look at some video of the Phillies’ newest pitcher, courtesy of CSNPhilly.com:

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