Anthony Rizzo on MLB teams wearing Stoneman Douglas caps on Friday: 'It's awesome' – Chicago Tribune

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was pleased to learn that all 30 major-league teams will wear Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps to honor the 17 people who died in a shooting last week at his alma mater.

“I think it’s awesome,” Rizzo said Wednesday, less than one week after he spoke at a vigil in his hometown of Parkland, Fla. “It’s cool we get the support. The ties are deeper for me than the rest of the league, but it’s really neat that Major League Baseball is recognizing what happened in the country.”

Rizzo said he wasn’t contacted from anyone at MLB but is glad action was taken.

After an emotional time, Rizzo was relieved to talk about baseball and turn up the intensity after falling short of a second trip to the World Series.

“You make a bad play, you shrug it off easier than if you make a bad play now, and you’re a little ticked off because you didn’t prove anything now,” Rizzo said. “You’re nothing and at the bottom of the pack or top of the pack, just like everyone else. It depends on how you look at it, but we have a lot to prove.”

Rizzo admitted, to a point, the Cubs lacked intensity following their 2016 World Series title.

“I think we’ll admit it,” Rizzo said. “We were present every day, giving it our best. Everyone was all in. It wasn’t the same. We grinded all year. We could sit here and say it wasn’t the same. We got beat the first half. We can come out this year and the same thing can happen, so we’re prepared for either way.”

Rizzo nixed a suggestion by teammate Albert Almora Jr. that he could handle the leadoff spot after batting there for 14

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Rangers trade with eye on top Cuban prospect – MLB.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. — The Rangers traded Minor League pitcher Miguel Medrano to the Reds on Wednesday for international bonus pool money.

The transaction comes one day after Major League Baseball declared Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez a free agent, making him eligible to sign with a team. Martinez, 21, is a 5-foot-10 outfielder who is considered one of the better prospects to recently come out of Cuba because of his mix of speed and power.

SURPRISE, Ariz. — The Rangers traded Minor League pitcher Miguel Medrano to the Reds on Wednesday for international bonus pool money.

The transaction comes one day after Major League Baseball declared Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez a free agent, making him eligible to sign with a team. Martinez, 21, is a 5-foot-10 outfielder who is considered one of the better prospects to recently come out of Cuba because of his mix of speed and power.

The Rangers are considered one of the favorites to sign Martinez. They built up a large bonus pool in anticipation of pursuing Shohei Ohtani, who ended up signing with the Angels. Much of that money is still available. The Yankees and Marlins are also considered favorites to sign Martinez.

“From a philosophical standpoint, we want to gain flexibility and put ourselves in position when opportunity comes available,” Rangers farm director Jayce Tingler said.

Medrano, 20, pitched in the Dominican Summer League last year and was 5-1 with a 2.59 ERA in 12 games. He struck out 61 in 59 innings.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

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7 things we learned about the MLB's new pace-of-play rules — and walk-up music – Chicago Tribune

You learn something new every day.

Here are some things I learned from MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre when he and Commissioner Bob Manfred addressed the media Tuesday at the Glendale Civic Center.

Deadening dead time

While everyone talks about pace-of-game changes as a way to shorten games, the new six-mound-visit limit isn’t expected to accomplish that.

“I used to get calls from Commissioner (Bud) Selig, ‘Why do the Yankees and Red Sox play such long games?’” Torre said. “It was all strategy. I said ‘Commissioner, nobody left the ballpark.’ It’s the dead time. I don’t think it’s the length of game as much as it’s the time when nothing happens.”

Well, Selig wasn’t wrong, was he?

“We did play some long ballgames,” Torre said. “It was like World War III all the time.”

Slow-mo arrives

Torre said the average time from a manager’s challenge to the umpires’ decision last season was 1 minute, 20 seconds. This year every replay room will be equipped with slow-mo, which I had assumed everyone had before.

“That’ll help speed things up,” he said.

Of course. They should’ve been equipped with slow-mo from the get-go.

Details, details

Catchers can still talk to pitchers from the infield grass without going to the mound for a visit, and they can talk behind the plate after pitchers come home to cover a play.

How will managers know when an official mound visit is called so they can keep track?

Torre said the hope is to list the number of remaining visits on every video board, like timeouts in basketball. The umpires also will have a designated signal to dugouts for every official visit.

“It’s got to be pointed out,” Torre said. “I don’t want a manager surprised, ‘What do you mean I don’t have any

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MLB trade rumors: Madison Bumgarner? Cole Hamels? Predicting the next Yankees blockbuster – NJ.com

Here come the Yankees.

With a trade complete for Brandon Drury, the heavy offseason lifting for general manager Brian Cashman is over.

After falling one game short of the World Series in 2017, New York added reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, resigned CC Sabathia, welcomed back Masahiro Tanaka after opt-out drama, kept its prospect base almost fully together and added Drury to serve as infield insurance across the diamond.

So, what’s next?

In the short term, not much other than depth and wins when the regular season begins. But when July rolls around, things could be different. With the Red Sox landing J.D. Martinez, a real fight for the AL East could commence–and a difference-making starting pitcher could be needed to put this Yankees group into the driver’s seat.

Here’s a guess at the next Yankees blockbuster acquisition–with third base prospect Miguel Andujar as the major trade chip to make it happen.

Cole Hamels, Rangers: Texas looks poised to have another losing season. When July rolls around, that could mean veterans like Hamels and Adrian Beltre are the subject of trade rumors. Hamels, 34, needs to bounce back after an uncharacteristic 4.20 ERA in 2017. Unlikely to hit the innings needed for a 2019 vesting option, making this a rental with big-time playoff experience.

Madison Bumgarner, Giants: This takes some dreaming. Despite an awful 2017, the Giants went all-in to recapture glory this summer. If San Francisco contends with a healthy Bumgarner, Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen, this idea is off the board.

But what if the Giants struggle with an over-the-hill group? Could a firesale commence?

Bumgarner, 28, is basically the perfect Yankees target: Dominant, October genius, lefty, young and signed to one of the most team-friendly deals ($12M in 2018, $12M option for 2019) in the sport.

Drury to Yanks

James Paxton, Mariners:

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MLB to honor Florida shooting victims with school's hats – New York Post

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Major League Baseball players will honor victims of last week’s shooting in Florida by wearing Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hats at spring training games this week.

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday all 30 teams will wear the school hats during pregame warmups for their exhibition openers. Players, managers, coaches and umpires will have the option of wearing the caps during those first games. The hats might later be signed and auctioned to support those affected by the tragedy at the high school.

Manfred said MLB received a “really strong sentiment of the clubs it was the appropriate thing to do immediately.”

Exhibition games between big league teams begin Friday, including Astros-Nationals in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Cardinals-Marlins in nearby Jupiter. Both games will be held in the area where 17 students and faculty were killed last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

A 19-year-old former student has been charged in the shooting.

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