Earlier Thursday, the Washington Nationals and Tampa Bay Rays completed a trade sending Jose Lobaton to the Nationals. Also apart of the deal was outfielder Drew Vettleson, who was drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. The Washington native was drafted out of Central Kitsap High School in Silverdale, Washington.
Drew Vettleson spoke to Cover Those Bases on the behalf of his trade (via Twitter).
"Being traded is a crazy feeling! ... I am just very excited for the opportunity the Nationals have given me and knowing that they want me to be apart of their organization. I have great feelings for what's to come and can't wait to get started!" Vettleson said.
Vettleson is excited to start the season this year.
"I'm looking forward to brining something to the field each night that allows the team I'm to win. [It] Could be a big hit, great defensive play, good base running move, or just being a good teammate."
When asked about his chances to make the Majors, Vettleson just wants to play baseball.
"I'm just going to head there with an open mind and where they put [me], [I'll] try and play my best baseball. The dream and goal is the Major Leagues and I'm going to put all the effort I can to reach there."
Vettleson has a good goal set for himself in 2014.
"My goal is to bring something to the table everyday! Believing in the process and staying focused."
I'd like to thank Drew Vettleson for the interview and wish him the best with the Washington Nationals in 2014.
I am not going to sit here and write any old generic news article. Derek Jeter deserves more than that. He has been a fantastic baseball player. He has been a leader, on and off the field. He will be retiring in 2014.
Jeter has made a fantastic impact on Major League Baseball. He is a patient leader, he is a fan favorite, and really everyone likes him around baseball, whether you are a Yankees fan, Cardinals fan, Phillies fan, and even, dare I say it, a Red Sox fan. Jeter announced his retirement from the Major Leagues with a statement on his Facebook page.
Jeter was frustrated with his 2013 campaign. The 13-time All Star only played in 17 games with the Yankees in 2013, much because of his broken ankle suffered in the 2012 season. He couldn't have said it much better than this.
"Last year was a tough one for me. As I suffered through a bunch of injuries, I realized that some of the things that always come easy to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle. The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it was time to move forward."
I really have liked watching Derek Jeter play. He's played through my entire life, and honestly, I cannot imagine the shortstop position without him. But his retirement does make a lot of sense. He's on the decline and he has been injured. It's not much simpler than that.
I do hope, however, that Jeter remains in baseball following this season. He'd make a great coach, good executive, and just good all-around baseball guy. When you ask any non-baseball fan to name three current Major League players, I can nearly guarantee you they name Jeter. He's been absolutely awesome over his career playing for a large-market team in the Yankees.
When the Yankees originally drafted Jeter with the 6th overall pick of the 1992 draft, they knew that Jeter would be good. No first-round pick ISN'T projected to be good at the time of the draft. But the Yankees received more than good. They received a Hall of Fame effort, Hall of Fame leadership, and a Hall of Fame career.
I like statistics, but Derek Jeter doesn't need stats to show how good of a player he has been. Jeter has the awards and honors for that. He's a thirteen-time All Star, a two-time All Star MVP, has five Gold Glove awards, has five Silver Sluggers, and is the active leader in at bats, plate appearances, and hits. He's third career ALL TIME in defensive games at shortstop.
Either way, Jeter has been fantastic statistically as well. He has a career triple-slash line of .312/.381/.446 with 256 home runs, 1,261 RBI, and 3,316 hits over his 19 years in the Major Leagues, all with the Yankees.
I am looking forward to Jeter's last season in 2014, and hope that he enjoys his retirement following the season. Congratulations, Derek Jeter, and may 2014 bring you good luck.
Spring Training is finally here. The Diamondbacks' and Dodgers' pitchers and catchers have finally reported. Baseball season has started. As we draw closer to the beginning of Spring Training, here is a list of things to keep an eye out for when the games begin and teams start scrimmaging.
The top prospects:
Nine of the top ten prospects (MLB.com) will be non-roster invitees to their Major League teams’ camps. Some of those prospects include:
Byron Buxton, Outfielder, Minnesota Twins
Buxton, ranked nearly number one on every top prospect list, will be very fun to watch as he competes for a Major League spot on the Twins. In 2013, he showed his five tools off, hitting .334/.424/.520 in 125 games at the Twins’ Single-A and High Single-A affiliates. Buxton was picked second overall in the 2012 First Year Player Draft. I am looking forward to seeing if the 20-year-old can make some noise in the Twins organization in Spring Training, and am waiting to see if he can make the team out of camp.
Archie Bradley, Pitcher, Arizona Diamondbacks
I really believe that Bradley has a good amount of Minor League experience and is ready to make the Diamondbacks out of camp. We thought that Bradley could make the rotation out of camp, but the D-Backs signed Bronson Arroyo, pretty much ending Bradley’s chances at the rotation. In 2013, Bradley was phenomenal, going 14-5 with a 1.84 ERA in 26 games at the Diamondbacks’ High Single-A and Double-A affiliates. Since being selected seventh overall in the 2011 Draft, Bradley has gone 26-11 with a 2.76 ERA in 55 games. I am really looking forward to seeing what Bradley has against Major Leaguers.
Kris Bryant, Infielder, Chicago Cubs
I highly doubt Bryant makes the Cubs team out of Spring Training. The 22-year-old has just played in 36 games since being drafted second overall in the 2013 Draft. However, those 36 games have been fantastic. He hit .336/.390/.668 with 9 home runs and 32 RBI. He added 14 doubles and 2 triples. Bryant crushed everything he got. He sped through the Cubs’ Rookie, Low Single-A, and High Single A affiliates. How could you not invite this guy to camp? However, we probably won’t see Bryant in the Major Leagues until September 2014 or even Opening Day 2015.
Some players we have not seen in the Major Leagues in awhile signed again this offseason, most of them getting minor-league deals with an invite to Spring Training. Here are a few players to watch for in Spring Training.
Grady Sizemore, Outfielder, Boston Red Sox
Sizemore signed with the Boston Red Sox this January to a Major League contract worth $750 thousand. The outfielder was a fantastic hitter with the Cleveland Indians, posting a 126 OPS+ from 2005 to 2009, while averaging 149 games each season. He got voted to three All Star games during that stretch. From 2010 to 2011, Sizemore just couldn’t stay healthy, posting a 84 OPS+, while averaging 52 games per season. In 2014, Sizemore will come out of retirement with the Boston Red Sox. Check out his early performances in Spring Training.
Mark Mulder, Pitcher, Los Angeles Angels
Thirty-six year old Mark Mulder will be making a comeback as well, as he signed a minor-league contract with the Los Angeles Angels with an invitation to Spring Training. Since Mulder won’t get an immediate shot at the Major Leagues, Spring Training will be very important for him to prove what he’s got. From 2001 to 2005, Mulder posted a 120 ERA+, while averaging 18 wins and 211 innings pitched per season. However, from 2006 to 2008, Mulder posted a 58 ERA+ and a 7.73 ERA, while only averaging eight games per season.
Ryan Madson, Pitcher, Free Agent
Pitcher Ryan Madson will be coming back in 2014. He threw for 19 teams on Friday, hitting 93 MPH on the radar gun, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Madson has received interest from the Phillies, Royals, and Red Sox, according to Ken Rosenthal. Madson hasn’t pitched since 2011, after injuries in back to back seasons with the Reds and Angels. In 2011, Madson went 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA and 32 saves with the Phillies. I am anxious to see what Madson has got in 2014.
New faces, new places:
After a long offseason, many players have changed teams and gone elsewhere. Here are a few players that I am looking forward to seeing them play in their new uniforms.
Robinson Cano, Infielder, Seattle Mariners
Robinson Cano signed a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Seattle Mariners for the 2014 season, taking the top free agent off the board. The five-time All Star second baseman is the center piece in Seattle, and I am looking forward to see how the Mariners utilize him in 2014. He has a career 125 OPS+ in eight-years, one-hundred fifty three days in the Major Leagues.
Prince Fielder, First Base, Texas Rangers and Ian Kinsler, Infielder, Detroit Tigers
Both Fielder and Kinsler were acquired off a blockbuster trade between the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers this past winter. Kinsler, a three-time All Star second baseman (110 career OPS+), will head to Detroit, while five-time All Star first baseman (141 OPS+) Prince Fielder will head to the Texas Rangers. As a result, the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera will be moved to first base, and prospect Nick Castellanos will likely head to third. Check out all the new places for these players in Spring Training.
Masahiro Tanaka, Pitcher, New York Yankees
The public’s first view of Tanaka will be this Spring Training, as he faces Major League hitters for the first time ever. The 25-year-old went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 28 games (27 starts) in Japan in 2013. Yankees fans, and baseball fans in general, are excited to see how well Tanaka will be able to translate to the Major Leagues. We will see if he is up for the challenge in 2014.
There is a lot to look forward to this Spring Training, and even though these are "exhibition games," one can check out all these players' performances and more! Although these games do not count for anything, they count towards how well your team will perform in the upcoming season. Let's get ready for baseball season, shall we?
Yesterday, I appeared on the Ultimate Sports Talk show for an interview and am very excited about it! If you'd like to listen into the interview, click on this link and check out my interview (interview starts around 7 minute mark)!
Padres fans, do not be ashamed. Your team, the San Diego Padres, have a good chance at returning to the National League postseason for the first time since 2006. You may ask how, or just not believe me at all. However, in reality, your team is ready to take the next step in the National League and return to the playoffs.
The Padres finished third in the NL West in 2013, with a 76-86 record. There was a lot to like from your season. Six of the Padres' starting eight finished with an OPS+ above 100 (only catcher Nick Hundley and outfielder Alexi Amarista fell short). Three of those six players fell short of playing in 100 games, which may have been a reason of the disappointment. They got fantastic play from rookie second baseman Jedd Gyorko who hit a team-high 23 home runs while driving in 63. With some improved health, the Padres offense could really improve into 2014. There is a lot to like.
The Padres pitching was not the greatest in 2013. Their starters posted the eight-highest ERA in Major League Baseball, even with the Petco Park effect (For those of you who do not know, Petco Park is a pitchers' dream because the ocean air pushes the ball out of the air.). In September, after the Padres acquired Ian Kennedy and finally released Edinson Volquez, there was a lot to like from their pitching staff. They posted the sixth-lowest ERA in the Majors in September, while leading the MLB in lowest Batting Average Against for the month. The 28-year-old Kennedy led the National League in wins in 2011 for the Diamondbacks, and should benefit from San Diego's park. I expect him to vastly improve from his horrid 2013 campaign (career-low 75 ERA+). I also expect the Padres pitching to be improved as well.
This offseason the Padres continued to build their team, signing former 4th round pick and two-time All Star Josh Johnson. The 30-year-old pitcher went 2-8 with an ugly 6.20 ERA (66 ERA+) in 16 games with the Blue Jays in 2013. He had many arm issues that kept him sidelined and had a knee injury that bothered him all season. A healthy season is exactly what Josh Johnson needs to regain his All Star form. Another signing the Padres made was of Joaquin Benoit, the former Tiger. The 36-year-old Dominican native went 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA and 24 saves in 66 games for Detroit last season. He should help bolster the back end of the bullpen. The Padres also acquired Alex Torres from the Rays, a dominant young left-hander. He should also help balance the bullpen.
I have high hopes for the Padres in 2014. A very good team plus a very good offseason should really make the team much better in 2014. I like what GM Jed Hoyer did, as he attempts to turn this team into a winner. And if it does not happen this season, it will happen soon. The Padres have pieces that they can develop, and since they made good acquisitions, they will be a very solid team in 2014. Padres fans, it's only a matter of time.