The team will likely still hold a competition between Jake Marisnick and Marcell Ozuna for the center field job. A plethora of pitchers should be in competition for the last spot in the rotation, including Andrew Heaney.
Valdespin has had a troubled history in his short baseball career. Last year Jordany was suspended 50 games for his involvement with the Biogenesis scandal. Prior to that, Valdespin has been benched for various activities such as not running out ground balls, admiring home runs, and throwing clubhouse tantrums.
The Braves have to been seen as the early favorites in the division, despite having another short post-season run. Until they are defeated, they are still the NL East Champs. The Nationals seem to be improved on paper, but that was the case before they turned in a poor 2013 season. The Phillies should take a step back and I’d expect the Mets and Marlins to improve in 2014.
The Houston Astros’ efforts to land a spring training complex in Palm Beach Gardens appeared to have shifted Thursday after city officials urged the county to look for better sites elsewhere, amid intense opposition from homeowners near the proposed site off Central Boulevard. But city, county and team officials said Central remains on the table as a possible location.
While the New York Yankees set another salary record, the Houston Astros had the lowest average in the major leagues in 14 years and the attention of the players' union. The overall big league average rose 5.4 percent this season to a record $3.39 million, according to the annual report released Wednesday by the Major League Baseball Players Association. The increase was the steepest since 2006.
McGehee took a year hiatus from his major league career to play for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan last season, where he hit .292 (150-for-513) with 28 homers, 30 doubles and 93 RBI in 144 games. He also batted .289 in 11 postseason games in helping the Golden Eagles win the Japan Series championship. McGehee's best season as a major leaguer came with the Brewers in 2010. In 157 games, he hit .285-23-104.
Remember the stink when Logan Morrison received permission from Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria to wear No. 5, even though the number had been retired -- as part of the team's Inaugural Game festivities in 1993, no less -- in honor of the team's first president, Carl Barger? Barger died before the Marlins played their first game. But the team retired No. 5 because it was the number worn by his favorite player, Joe DiMaggio. Then along came Morrison, who two years ago asked to wear No. 5 in honor of his late father, whose favorite player, George Brett, also wore that number. Never mind that retired numbers are supposed to be sacred. Loria gave it his blessing. Problem was, nobody from the Marlins notified the Barger family beforehand to ask their permission.
The Marlins have signed outfielder Jordany Valdespin to a Minor League contract, but it does not include an invitation to Spring Training. The 24-year-old is expected to open the season at Triple-A New Orleans, and play his way into a possible spot on the big league club. Also, on Friday, the Marlins outrighted catcher Kyle Skipworth to New Orleans. Skipworth was designated for assignment on Wednesday to make room on Miami's 40-man roster for third baseman Casey McGehee, who signed a one-year contract worth $1.1 million.
Capping a two-week shopping spree, the Marlins were able to address all their major needs without parting with any of their surplus starting pitching. In that regard, it's been a successful month for Miami. The front office was open to trading starting pitching if something made sense. But as things developed, that was easier said than done. When it came time to actually discuss potential trades, nothing tempted the Marlins to move any of their young arms.
Around The League
Ilene Renteria and daughter Alexandria will make cookies and there will be the traditional holiday tamales at dinner, but one thing will be missing this Christmas in Cubs manager Rick Renteria's home in Temecula, Calif.
There's been a lot of trade talk about Billy Butler going around. So what do you imagine would happen if Butler sat down with a bunch of reporters? Yep, they wanted to talk trade.
The Orioles' deal with free-agent right-hander Grant Balfour is off, and their search for a closer continues. Baltimore will look elsewhere for Jim Johnson's replacement after the club's medical staff "wasn't satisfied" with the 35-year-old Balfour's physical exam this week, Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said on a conference call with reporters Friday.
After missing the playoffs and seeing their offensive numbers slip in 2013, the Rangers made another significant splash on Saturday, agreeing to a seven-year, $130 million contract with free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
At Fish Stripes
The Miami Marlins have made yet another signing, this time with the aim to improve their work versus left-handed pitching. How does the addition of Casey McGehee change the lineup?
After acquiring Carter Capps from Seattle, the Marlins are reportedly in the market for a veteran reliever. Miami's bullpen features several young arms, and the team seeks a leader after the departures of Ryan Webb and Chad Qualls.
Carter Capps, 23, will look to work on weaknesses in his delivery in order to find success in the Marlins bullpen.
Twenty years ago, the Marlins acquired infielder Kurt Abbott for a speedy young minor league outfielder named Kerwin Moore.