There’s less than three weeks until my favorite holiday in February is here. No, I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day but something better: pitchers and catchers. I started my countdown before the Royals won the World Series, even before they made the playoffs. As a Red Sox fan, my countdown unfortunately began in early October.
In just 17 days, pitchers and catchers will escape the cold and report to the sunny south to begin preparing for the 2016 season. Of course pitchers and catchers is the very unofficial start to spring training, considering other players won’t join them until March when spring training games begin.
So why get excited for P’s and C’s? I’ll give you a few reasons. As players begin to report to their southern ballparks for training, the baseball world begins to stir again. News about players progress, trades, and cuts begin working their way into the media, until preseason games are being aired and the MLB has returned in full force. Keeping in mind my excitement for the upcoming weeks, we must remember that the off-season of baseball is never dull. Here are some of the biggest stories in the MLB so far this winter.
Number one: David. Price.
Of course this is my number one. It’s no secret that Boston pitching was a nightmare at best last season. Our lowest ERA was held by Wade Miley 94.46) giving him the 66th (out of 78) highest ERA in the league. Sure he wasn’t last, but I wouldn’t call 66th respectable. The Sox needed an ace like the Rangers need a ring. So when Price signed a seven-year, $217 million deal, Sox nation took a sigh of relief-for a moment. Price’s contract allows for him to opt out in 2018. Despite the worry he may go elsewhere after 2 seasons, this is good news for Boston right now, very good news.
Speaking of spending, the Chicago Cubs went on a spending spree this off-season. The Cubs, who last season got their closest whiff of a pennant since 2003, made a particularly pricey purchase this off-season. Chicago welcomed outfielder Jason Heyward to an eight-year, $184 million deal. A lot of people complained about the cost of Heyward, a concept I rarely can understand. Heyward’s stats may not be top-notch, but they’re respectable. Another thing to remember is his age. At 26-years-old, Heyward is a great fit for the Cubbies roster and his age is just a reminder that his best is yet to come.
It’s easy to focus on the big names and expensive contracts that always come up in the off-season. Since my first two best moves fit these categories, I decided to go with a more under the radar deal for my third best off-season move. After the Mets re-signed Yoenis Cespedes, everything else GM Sandy Alderson did was forgotten.
While re-signing Yo was a good move, Alderson also made adjustments to the team’s pitching. The addition of lefties Jerry Blevins and Antonio Bastardo will give the Mets bullpen depth in terms of relief pitching.
While I’m trying really hard to make the off-season as exciting as it can be, I’m more than ready for baseball to be back. Until then, I’ll be keeping an eye on last minute deals and roster finalizations’ as spring training gets into full swing.