February baseball news: In case you missed it

Here at Bat Flips and Nerds, we appreciate that not everyone loves bat flips and not everyone is a nerd.

For bat flip haters, we have nothing. For less-nerdy baseball fans who have not spent every waking hour analysing the minutiae of baseball news, here are a few of the main February storylines.

Red Sox legendary second baseman, Dustin Pedroia, hung up his cleats. The Laser Show called time on his career with .299 AVG, 140 homers and 51.6 WAR.

Second base in Boston has been unsettled for a couple of years, and that looks to continue. although new signing Kike Hernandez is expected to get plenty of playing time. It was a busy month in Beantown, with the signings of starting pitchers Garrett Richards and Martin Perez. They also traded outfielder Andrew Benintendi for the Royals Francisco Cordero in a deal that involved prospects, players to be named later and, bizarrely, the Mets.

The moves prompted chief baseball officer, Chaim Bloom, to claim the Red Sox have the talent to bounce back in 2021. Considering they finished 2020 below the Baltimore Orioles, I guess some sort of bounce back improvement is inevitable.

Over in Anaheim, the Los Angeles Angels also had a busy month which started with the suspension of pitching coach, and former Mets’ manager, Mickey Callaway after multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

In less controversial news, the Angels got Alex Cobb from the Baltimore Orioles and Dexter Fowler from the St Louis Cardinals.

In Moneyball fashion, the San Francisco Giants continue to rebuild their island of misfit toys by welcoming Aaron Sanchez and Scott Kazmir as the latest reclamation projects.

Strikeout-phobic infielder, Tommy La Stella, signed the longest ever contract handed out by Farhan Zaidi when he agreed to the three-year, $18.75 million deal.

Tommy La Stella7.3%.356124
Michael Brantley11.4%.370134
Alex Bregman12.5%.408159
DJ LeMahieu12.7%.386146
Jeff McNeil12.8%.384139
Ketel Marte13.0%.373137
Nolan Arenado13.1%.362116
Anthony Rendon13.3%.412154
Anthony Rizzo14.5%.387131
Mookie Betts14.6%.384138
Jose Ramirez14.7%.345124
Combined stats 2019-2020 season sorted by K%. Min 500PA, min .350wOBA

The three biggest stories in baseball all concerned west coast teams, which must have confused the fans who claim east coast bias in media coverage.

The first was the conclusion of the offseason pantomime when Trevor Bauer signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for three years, $102 million.

In San Diego, they tied up charismatic shortstop Fernando Tatis until 2035 with the longest contract in MLB history: 14 years, $340 million.

The third of the trio of Twitter-breaking stories was the resignation of Mariners president Kevin Mathers for inappropriate comments. He then claimed that the comments were his own and not reflective of the franchise. It’s tough to believe a President can be so disingenuous.

Corey Brock of The Athletic summed it up nicely: Mather touched on topics such a service-time manipulation, questioning if former pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma needed an interpreter and saying that top prospect, outfielder Julio Rodriguez‘s “English is not tremendous.” And he called one player “overpaid.”

In cheerier news, there were many reunions in February.

Marcell Ozuna rejoined the Atlanta Braves. Jonathan Schoop was back with the Detroit Tigers. Minnesota Twins re-signed Nelson Cruz. And Yadier Molina is back for his 18th season with the St Louis Cardinals.

Trigger for Astros’ fans, Mike Fiers, was welcomed back by the Oakland Athletics, who also re-signed veteran Jed Lowrie. The A’s also strengthened their bullpen by adding closer, Trevor Rosenthal.

Former Cy Young Award winner, Jake Arrieta, returned to the Chicago Cubs after three frustrating seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. And the Seattle Mariners welcomed back, Big Maple, James Paxton, eager to see if he can recapture the form that produced 2.90 FIP over his final three seasons in Seattle.

After 7,079 plate appearances with the Texas Rangers, shortstop Elvis Andrus will suit up in Oakland green after the trade which sent slugger Khris Davis in the other direction.

St Louis Cardinals decided to go to arbitration instead of paying their best pitcher, Jack Flaherty, an extra $0.9 million. They lost.

Cincinnati Reds failed in their offseason quest to sign a decent free agent shortstop, so in a strange move, they added Dee Gordon.

The more exciting move for Reds fans was the addition of one of the most fascinating players in the game, Sean Doolittle. Post-game interviews will be worth listening to, for once.

Justin Turner – he of the World Series COVID-19 controversy – returned to the hot corner of Los Angeles with his veteran presence and .400 OBP.

The biggest storyline in Mets-land was the retirement of Tim Tebow. The second-biggest story was the confusion over signing Villar when they meant to sign Pillar. They now have both. [citation needed]

Across the Big Apple, the Yankees agreed to a one-year deal to bring back dugout-destroyer Brett Gardner. At least the Astros were subtle about their sign-stealing banging.

The Minnesota Twins reinforced their rotation (Matt Shoemaker) and bullpen (Alex Colome), but were dealt a huge blow when star prospect, Royce Lewis, tore his ACL, keeping him out of action all year.

There is a new look at second and third in Milwaukee, with Kolten Wong and Travis Shaw. According to Russell Eassom’s latest piece, the Brewers were victims of bad luck last season. Check it out.

Rich Hill, who is 18 years older than the Tampa Bay Rays, joined the AL East champions in a new-look rotation with fellow newbies Chris Archer and Michael Wacha.

With .852 OPS+ over the last couple of years combined, Adam Duvall adds firepower to one of the most underrated outfields in baseball in Miami, by joining Starling Marte and Corey Dickerson.

In Rockies news, Ian Desmond opted out of his second straight season, but C.J. Cron will take his .548 slugging percentage to the thin air and first base in Colorado.

Finally, Dr Anthony Fauci gave an upbeat assessment suggesting he was “cautiously optimistic of the prospect of fans returning to the stands in 2021.” Fingers-crossed.

(Photo by Zachary Roy/Getty Images)

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