Craig Calcaterra

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The Tigers are close to acquiring a relief pitcher

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This is not a repeat from, well, any point in the past several seasons:

Maybe, eventually, they’ll get one?

In other news, Jose Valverde is available. C’mon, Dombrowski. Make a trade if you have to, but you can get Valverde for free! We need this to happen.

Baseball is dying, you guys

Tombstone
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The Wall Street Journal highlights the new pace-of-play rules. Which aren’t characterized as a mere improvement. They are a gambit to ensure baseball’s very survival:

As the 2015 Major League Baseball season dawns, the lords of baseball are asking for our forgiveness. They want a second chance, and to get it they are making changes that could shake the game to its foundations . . . If all goes as planned, 2015 will become the year baseball finally realized it needed to change fundamentally to survive as a major sport.

Because, clearly, when fundamental survival is at stake you make crazy bold moves like, say, asking hitters to keep a foot in the batter’s box. I mean, that’s life and death crap right there.

It’s a fascinating article, really, in that it mischaracterizes all kinds of things like that. For example, hiring Bud Selig’s longtime right hand man Rob Manfred to be the next commissioner was not about maintaining continuity after years of smooth sailing and success, it was a desperate move made by desperate, ultimatum-leveling owners to save us from David Ortiz’s batting glove adjustments:

What drove these wealthy titans over the edge were moments like these: David Ortiz at the plate, endlessly rubbing his hands and adjusting his batting gloves; or David Price, the game’s most deliberate hurler, taking his usual 27 seconds between each pitch. Torpid images like this led to a breaking point, at the owners’ meetings in Baltimore in August, when the bosses named Rob Manfred as new commissioner and gave him a clear message: Get this game moving, or else.

Did I mention that the owners are desperate?

The goal is to assure fans that the caretakers of the game are serious about making changes and willing to try almost anything to achieve it . . . Purists can take heart—more drastic measures like a seven-inning game aren’t under consideration, at least not yet.

BUT SOON!!

Anyway, go for the stuff about the pace of play rules, stay for the by now tiresome and misleading stats about TV ratings and kids playing other sports. But do it fast, because baseball is dying, you guys.

2015 Previews: The National League Central in a nutshell

Mike Matheny
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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2015 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League Central:

The Cardinals always win this division. They do it again, right? The Pirates, however, have the best player in the division, and that’s not nothing. The Reds seem to be sinking and, at the deadline, will probably be selling off parts. The Brewers started strong but then faltered last year. Are they even good enough to falter in 2015? The Cubs have gotten more ink and more chatter than anyone. Does that even matter, though, given how far they have to climb?

2015 Previews: The National League East in a nutshell

Matt Williams
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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2015 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East:

The Nationals are everyone’s favorites, right? The Mets and Marlins are looking frisky, but just how frisky? The Braves and Phillies may be in the closest battle of anyone in baseball, although it’s a battle to avoid the world record on the league. Yep, the NL East has the best and the worst going for it this year!

 

Braves pitcher Arodys Vizcaino suspended for 80 games for PEDs

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
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And the hammer comes down:

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Atlanta Braves Minor League right-handed pitcher Arodys Vizcaino has received an 80-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance, in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Man, who even uses Stanozolol anymore? That pic of Vizcaino to the right, there? It’d from several years ago during his first stint with the Braves. If he’s going to use a throwback drug, I’m gonna use a throwback pic.