You might not know the name Masahiro Tanaka right now, but that's about to change. According to MLB Network reporter Ken Rosenthal, the 25-year-old pitcher from Japan has just accepted a big-time deal with the New York Yankees.
The Yankees haven't officially announced anything yet, but word is that the team signed Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract. It also includes an opt-out clause that will allow Tanaka to become a free agent after four seasons. He had been wooed by numerous teams this offseason, including the Angels, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and White Sox.
A year ago, baseball writers elected no new members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. But today was a different story. The Baseball Writers Association of America voted in three new Hall of Famers: Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, and Tom Glavine.
"This is something that I will have to sit back in the next three or four days and figure it out because you can only dream so big, as this is as big as it gets for me," Thomas said.
Thomas earned his spot in Cooperstown by picking up 478, or 83.7 percent, of the votes cast, while Glavine received 525 votes. But Maddux was as close to a unanimous pick as baseball has seen in years — he received 555, or 97.2 percent, of the votes.
In order to be enshrined in the Hall, a player must receive at least 75 percent of the votes cast. Writers can vote for up to 10 players on their ballot. Craig Biggio just missed the cut with 74.8 percent of the vote. Maddux, Thomas, and Glavine will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 27. They'll go in with managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, and Joe Torre.
Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas are three of the greats of the modern era of baseball. Here's a closer look at their Hall of Fame careers:
Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons and Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado won the 2013 Rawlings Platinum Glove award in November. And with their victory came a win for sabermetricians, too. For the first time, the sabermetric SDI (SABR Defensive Index) was factored into who won the award (along with votes from baseball fans).
"This year's Rawlings Platinum Glove winners were both the statistical leaders in each league — based on our new SABR Defensive Index,” SABR President Vince Gennaro told me. “It's great to see their outstanding defensive seasons rewarded with this prestigious award.”
There were plenty of great defensive players in baseball this season that could have won the Platinum Glove. So what set Simmons and Machado apart? Let's go to the videotape!
If you've ever thought about running outside in the winter to shag some flies or take some batting practice, check out this incredible photo of Progressive Field in Cleveland. The home of the Indians is blanketed in snow after a storm rolled through the area last week. The Browns had a game to play, so the crew at FirstEnergy Stadium had to work nonstop to make sure everything was ready for fans and the game. But at Progressive Field, there isn't a game scheduled for months — which means we get to see the ballpark transformed into a winter wonderland. And fortunately, Cleveland Aerial Media was there to capture it in all it's beauty. (They have a few more shots of Progressive Field up on their Twitter page.)
Photo: Aerial Cleveland
Yesterday, the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers pulled off a pretty big trade: Tigers slugger Prince Fielder for Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler (and some cash, according to Yahoo! MLB columnist Jeff Passan). We'll have to wait until April to see how good the deal is for both teams, but as SI.com writer Jay Jaffe reported, it's "a move that not only fills persistent holes for both teams but also clears roster logjams by opening spots for their respective top prospects."
It's also a move that was sorta-kinda predicted in 2010. This morning, the MLB Fan Cave dug up an old ESPN Sunday Night Baseball commercial that featured Fielder and Kinsler talking about trades. Check it out:
As the MLB offseason starts up, one part of baseball is in full swing: Baseball bat production. Fall is one of the best seasons to get wood that is used to make bats. When I was in Cooperstown, NY, recently, I visited the Cooperstown Bat Factory and had a chance to see the process of how bats are made.
Last night, the Baseball Writers' Association of America announced their finalists for the top end-of-year awards in baseball: Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, Manager of the Year, and MVP. The honors will be handed out starting next week beginning November 11. So that gives us almost a week to debate who we think will win!
Check out all the players up for awards and their 2013 stats and let us know in the comments section who you think will take home some hardware.