Sports

2017-18 MLB Offseason Rundown: A look at all of baseball’s free agent signings and trades since the World Series

With the conclusion of the Winter Meetings Dec. 15, here’s a rundown of all the notable free agent signings in the MLB offseason so far. I’m going to try to update this list once a week as the offseason goes on, and will be adding in notable trades at as well.

At the moment, most of the players who have signed have been relief pitchers, which doesn’t make for the most fun transaction log but could really alter a team’s outlook and can point to future moves to come.

Carlos Santana -3 years, $60 million to the Phillies

Santana has been one of the most reliable batters in the business since his first full season in 2011. He might not be as exciting a player to watch or as young as Eric Hosmer, but I’m a sucker for guys who can draw walks and would prefer Santana right now if choosing a first baseman or DH for the next few seasons.

He’s an asset that any team would be lucky to have, except the fit here with the Phillies doesn’t seem exactly logical for the club. Rhys Hoskins, the team’s most exciting player last season, already mans first base, and without a DH in the NL, it looks like he’ll have to learn the outfield or be dealt, neither of which should make fans too happy.

Zack Cozart – 3 years, $38 million to the Angels
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FRESH OUT THE DELI PODCAST: EPISODE 6, WWE Raw and SmackDown Mock Draft

With the WWE brand split taking place this Tuesday, Nick Cicale (@nickcicale) and Troy Provost-Heron (@Troy_Provost) have a mock draft and decided which superstars go to Raw and SmackDown.

Thanks for listening! Please subscribe on iTunes and follow us on twitter @OutTheDeli.

Ambrose’s Ascent Proves The Shield Still Owns The Yard

By Troy Provost-Heron  (@Troy_Provost)

It’s still one of the most memorable betrayals I’ve seen in the WWE Universe.

Back in 2014, I was fully re-immersed in the WWE after forgetting it had even existed for several years. In the year or so since I had returned to watching the shows, my admiration for The Shield — the faction consisting of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins — had grown steadily. Their entrance music was awesome, the way they walked to the ring through the stands was unique and their dominance in the ring was entertaining. Most importantly, though, every week you watched each of them get better and better. (more…)

2016 MLB PREVIEW: NL West

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

Los Angeles Dodgers

91-71

Heading into this season, I can say a lot of the same things I said this time last year about the Dodgers, but they carry different sentiments now. I think the upside for the team is similar, but it’s a lot less certain to happen. (more…)

2016 MLB Preview: NL East

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

New York Mets

89-73 Projected Record

A dominant Mets rotation–made up of five young starters with the ability to strike out 200 guys a year and consistently post ERAs under 3.00 across the board–was something that had been forecast for the last three or four seasons, but with devastating injuries to Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler in consecutive seasons, it was beginning to feel like a prophesy that would go unanswered. However, after a preview last season helped the Mets grab the NL pennant, we’re finally here. The Mets rotations heading into the season looks like this: Jacob deGrom (27), Harvey (26), Noah Syndergaard (23), Steven Matz (24), and Grandfather Time (42-year-old Bartolo Colon), until Wheeler (25) comes back in June or July.  (more…)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS: WEEK 12

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

There are only two weeks left in the college football season, but they’re the most important of the year and could cause the most movement in the ranks.

Rivalry week will bring up key games between ranked teams: Florida vs. FSU, Notre Dame vs. Stanford, Baylor vs. TCU, Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State, Ohio State vs. Michigan, UCLA vs. USC, Texas A&M vs LSU, and Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State. Also, one-loss Navy and Houston will square off to see which team was the best of the mid majors this season, and the winner will most likely find themselves in the top 25 at season’s end.

The most notable losses this week were Ohio State and Oklahoma State, but former undefeated teams that lost to games against their conference’s toughest competition. Oklahoma State still has an outside chance if they take care of business against Oklahoma, and some of the team’s ahead of them fall. Ohio State needs a lot of help from things out of their control and would have to win against two really difficult opponents to jump up into the top 4. It could happen, but it’s highly unlikely.

One team to keep an eye on is North Carolina. They haven’t lost since the first week of the year, and if they can somehow upset Clemson in two weeks, they would have a really strong resume. Probably not top-4 worthy, but it’s cool to see a new face near the top.

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Becoming a Superfan: Introducing, the Bacon Boys

by Nick Alberico (@MeadowsLeague)

Meet Dwayne Bacon, the 6’7” athletic dynamo from Lakeland that became FSU’s first 5-star recruit since Micheal Snaer inexplicably committed to the school back in 2009. A McDonald’s All-American and the 2015 All-American Dunk Competition champion, Bacon led Oak Hill Academy to an unblemished 45-0 record his senior year with a mix of physical dominance, shooting prowess, and swagger. Bacon is the biggest thing to happen to FSU hoops since $1 Hot Dog Day was introduced a few years ago, and is clearly a man–and a name–to be celebrated.

Despite never having the opportunity to see him play in person, Mr. Bacon has the distinct honor of being my favorite player on the team. The freshmen brings a certain confidence and poise this year’s squad needs if it wants to go back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since FSU won the ACC Tournament in 2012.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS: WEEK 11

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

There are only three weeks of games left before the College Football Playoff, but there is still plenty of time for things to change near the top of the polls with rivalry week and conference championship games on their way.

One rank I would like defend is Ohio State at 12. I know they’re defending champions and they’re undefeated, but the best two teams they’ve played this season are Minnesota and Penn State, neither of which are all that impressive, and they haven’t completely blown out the weak teams they’ve been up against either. This shows that these ranks are doing their job: to grade a teams based on what they’ve done so far this season, and not to factor in their preseason perception. Also, just because Ohio State is ranked 12 doesn’t mean they’re far out of the playoffs. Their last three games will be against Michigan, Michigan State, and Iowa in the Big 10 Championship game, and if they win all three, there’s no way they get left out.

Another similar situation has been happening in the Big 12. The top teams in the Big 12 were all lower than their record would probably indicate for the majority of this season because they all scheduled their hardest games the last three weeks of the season. Therefore, even with one loss already, Oklahoma, TCU and Baylor have a chance to really jump up the rankings if any of them go through these last three games unscathed. That would, however, require them to beat undefeated Oklahoma State, who’s the best chance for the conference to cement themselves in the playoff picture.

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2015-2016 MLB Free Agency Review

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

Cubs re-sign OF Dexter Fowler
1 year $8 million

The Cubs brought in Jason Heyward to replace Dexter Fowler earlier in the offseason, and the only question was wether or not the elite defender would be able to make the transition to center field. Well, with Fowler still on the market into the last week of February, the Cubs decided $8 million was worth the piece of mind. Fowler, who led off 150 games for the Cubs last season, should be able to man center as admirable as he did in 2015.

Fowler’s always struck out a little more than what’s considered healthy, but his walk-rate helps mitigate the damage. Also, the important thing is he should power and an ability to stay on the field last season, both of which had been lacking before he go to Chicago.

I don’t expect Fowler to play 150+ games again this year, but he’s a much safer every day player than Jorge Soler, who now looks like a fourth outfielder and the left side of a platoon with Kyle Schwarber And at only $8 million, if Soler explodes and forces his way into a regular role, Fowler would be excellent outfield depth at a reasonable cost.

Orioles sign RHP Yovani Gallardo
2 years $22 million

One of my least favorite signings in the offseason. Gallardo doesn’t really add much more than depth to the team’s rotation, and they gave up a first round pick for a two year contract. Entering his tenth season in the league, he’s started 30 games in his last seven, but has never posted an ERA under 3.42. His K/9 has dropped each of the last three seasons, from 9 in 2019 down to only 5.9 in 2015; his FIP has slowly crawled up to over 4 in that same timeframe. With a walk rate historically above 3 BB/9, the declining Gallardo offers little upside other than durability, and doesn’t particularly make me think Baltimore will be any better off now than they were before the addition. (more…)