[Arizona Sports] Weeks after Shohei Ohtani signed, still plenty of DHs could be under the Christmas tree - Arizona agreed to terms with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to fill left field with a right-hander, but there remains a question mark at designated hitter. Designated hitters Justin Turner and J.D. Martinez have been linked to Arizona for much of the offseason as right-handed options, although the D-backs now have the flexibility to find a DH on either side of the plate. With so many names available, and in the holiday spirit, let’s visit some pros and cons for 12 alternative DH free agents beyond Martinez and Turner.
[SI] Slade Cecconi Had a Successful MLB Debut Season in 2023 - Mike Hazen named Tommy Henry and Ryne Nelson as the top two competitors for the final rotation spot entering spring, but those opportunities will come at some point during the season. The key is for Cecconi to improve his fastball command and his changeup in order to reach his ceiling as a middle of the rotation starter. The hope is Cecconi can amass somewhere in the 165-170 inning range, the new standard for an "innings eater".
[Wave3] Brandon Pfaadt returns home to train in Louisville - Pfaadt is taking time to reflect on his wild ride over the last year. “There are always highs and lows in sports and life,” Pfaadt said. “I’ve always been taught to be even keeled and stay level-headed. There were highs, I debuted, and there were lows, when I got sent back down to AAA and made my way back up, and there were obviously highs in the postseason.” Pfaadt has his eyes set on going deep into the season as a regular starter in the Diamondbacks’ rotation in 2024. “160 games later, and you’re still fighting for a playoff spot,” Pfaadt said. “I think the importance of staying healthy and being able to keep grinding for your team comes from in here in the off-season.”
[Arizona Sports] Where is the Diamondbacks’ bullpen entering new year? - Hazen told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Dec. 14. “What I would say is the reason we extended what we did to get Paul — and I think that played itself out, not just in the acquisition of him himself, but what he meant to our bullpen — I think that helps these guys prepare knowing the way they’re going to slot in when they go into the season. Over 162 games, especially the way we play games — which is close, tight, defensive — puts a lot of stress on a bullpen. We play in a lot of close games. … I want to make sure we continue to build out enough that we don’t have to run out Thomson, Ginkel, Sewald every night and then come June, July we need to rebuild the bullpen again.”
[CBS Sports] Three budding Japanese baseball stars who could be next to fetch huge MLB contracts - It's clear that MLB teams are more willing to trust in, and more willing to spend on, foreign talents than at any other time in league history. That open-mindedness will, in turn, attract even more stars from overseas. Just who might that entail? Below, CBS Sports has highlighted three young NPB players worth monitoring over the coming years, including a few historic performers.
[NY Post] Authorities raid two homes in search for disgraced MLB star Wander Franco after disturbing allegations - Authorities in the Dominican Republic searched two homes for Rays star Wander Franco amid allegations he had inappropriate relations with a minor, according to a local news report. The Santo Domingo Prosecutor’s Office for Children and Adolescents searched Franco’s home as well as his mother’s on Tuesday, the Spanish language outlet Listin Diario reported.
[MLB] Top 10 bloopers from 2023 - We're inundated with "best of" lists at the end of the year. Whether it's the best movies, records, books or even awards like All-MLB, we're snowed under with celebrations of greatness. But what about the best moments of, uhh, not greatness? Today, let's celebrate the most magnificent bloopers from 2023, when our favorite heroic athletes ever so briefly became mortal.
Rebel Moon: A Child of Fire – Part One (2023)
Dir: Zack Snyder
Star: Sofia Boutella, Ed Skrein, Charlie Hunnam, Michiel Huisman
Despite critical derision, this is actually perfectly serviceable pulp SF. Sure, it’s derivative as hell. But the critics getting all huffy about the similarities to Star Wars seem to have forgotten George Lucas only made his film, after failing to acquire the rights to Flash Gordon. This is Snyder’s equivalent to The Fifth Element, in that it’s a long-gestating SF idea, originally conceived well before he became a director. “The Dirty Dozen in space” was the high concept, although there is no denying the SW similarities, especially in the early going. I mean, young orphan on a backwater farming planet gets sucked in to galaxy-hopping adventures, joining a rebellion against an evil empire? Yeah, a little more originality would be welcome.