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By Eric Buschenhagen
Pitchers and catchers report in a week, dozens of free agents are still on the market, and amidst that standoff come the news that the league and union are exploring some potentially drastic rule changes.
Among the ideas being thrown around:
-Only having one trade deadline (right now 7/31 is the regular trade deadline and 8/31 is for waiver trades) and moving that trade deadline up to before the All Star Break
-26 man rosters, no more than 12 pitchers allowed
-20 second pitch clock
-Pitchers required to face a minimum of three batters
-Lowering the mound
-Changing draft order to discourage tanking
-Allowing two-sport amateurs to immediately sign big league contracts (aka the Kyler Murray Rule)
Could be some pretty interesting times. I really don't want the universal DH but I've long accepted that it's inevitable so whatever. I also like the idea of expanding the rosters by an extra player so teams can have a six man bench and it'll give jobs to specialists who otherwise wouldn't be able to make the league. The three batter minimum for pitchers though is ridiculous, it'd basically end the career of lefty specialists all at the expense of making games faster.
It's out! I'm downloading it now. Probably won't play it until the morning. Woo hoo!
I'll be carrying over my guy from MLB 14, that I carried over to MLB 15, but I am interested in the whole new scouting thing, so I'll probably create a closer or someone new to play with. Fingers crossed they fixed the online, so I don't have to share-play with my chums like last year.
Here's a fun way to start the season. I'm cherry-picking random headlines for each team:
Baltimore knows how it's done: Efren up, Hoes down.
Red SAWX are hosting a snowboarding event next month in Fenway. Somewhere, Dennis Boyd twitches.
The Yanks are paying Ivan Nova $4.1 million because cripes everyone seems overpriced around here.
Dickerson to the Rays, giving them exactly one and one half Desmond Jennings types.
Tulo better work out as a good leadoff guy...'cause Drew Storen ain' stealing bases this year.
Noted underachieving team makes unexpectedly shrewd move, so long as nobody gets all aggro off the bench.
Albert Belle will be an inductee into the Indians Hall of Fame, provided he's not in Fenway alongside Boyd.
J.D. Martinez could cause Detroit to have its first arbitration hearing in 15 years.
The Royals have two former Braves pitchers that I really liked and I still hate them.
I'd post something about the Twins here, but really, they have done next to nothing that interests me.
Astros' GM believes they're built "to go the distance", not realizing that every team will play 162 games regardless.
Alliteration Alert Activated: Angels Acquire Al Albuquerque
With no beard rival to speak of, Josh Reddick once again slinks to the A's right field spot.
Someone is honestly trying to suggest Nelson Cruz may not be the best DH option in Seattle. D. A. F. U. Q. Question mark.
Texas' Dillon Tate manages to look in his 20s before the pitch, in his 30s during the stretch, and then like D-Von during the delivery.
Atlanta's Freddie Freeman is selling his Georgia home, which is surprising because he's a known player still technically in Atlanta. Also, I've realized that whiskey is not the best drink for a baseball season. I've switched to everclear flavored with bleach.
No link for Miami, just gonna say I'm confident Barry Bonds will be starting by the end of the year.
The Mets signed arguably my favorite player in the majors.
Andy Galdi goes from Google to Philly. Inspired, Atlanta poaches Garrett Gruener from ask.com.
BRONSON ARROYO IS STILL FINDING WORK!
Blockbuster deal sends Julio Tehran to the Cubbies and Jorge Solar to Atlanta.
BRONSON ARROYO HAD MULTIPLE TEAMS INTERESTED!?
Miller Park renovations included improved kids' area, more executive suites and cleaner suicide booths.
Pittsburgh starting Jaso at first, firmly believe Starling Marte is just the man to play 162 in games left field.
Just read all these stories about the Cardinals and then tell me they're not MLB's Patriots.
The Diamondbacks are doing their best Dodger impression, complete with signing Howie Kendrick.
Colorado getting ready to give CarGo the Big Papi Treatment.
No sarcasm here: Dodgers do classy thing.
The Padres took Christian Bethancourt because mediocre catchers are like, their thing, man.
MySpace founder offers to pay for Anthony Kiedis' Giants salary.
By Eric Buschenhagen
Opening Day has arrived! Time to get the new thread started. May as well toss some predictions in here:
2. Braves (Wild Card 1)
2. Giants (Wild Card 2)
2. Yankees (Wild Card 2)
3. Blue Jays
4. Red Sox
3. White Sox
2. Rangers (Wild Card 1)
Given the amount of media hysteria over the state of the Yankees currently, them making the post-season at all probably qualifies as the biggest "shock" of my predictions. But I do like their pitching and once Granderson and Teixeira are back I think there will be plenty of runs to go around. In all actuality forecasting the AL East this year is basically a crapshoot, much moreso than the other divisions. I can see all 5 teams finishing over .500 and it just being super competitive throughout.
-Braves over Giants
-Yankees over Rangers
-Nationals over Braves in 4
-Dodgers over Reds in 5
-Tigers over Yankees in 4
-Angels over Rays in 4
-Nationals over Dodgers in 7 (MVP: Ryan Zimmerman)
-Angels over Tigers in 6 (MVP: Albert Pujols)
-Nationals over Angels in 6 (MVP: Stephen Strasburg)
NL MVP: Bryce Harper
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
NL Rookie of the Year: Julio Teheran
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Tim Lincecum
NL Manager of the Year: Davey Johnson
AL MVP: Mike Trout
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
AL Rookie of the Year: Jurickson Profar
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Lance Berkman
AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon
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