By: Patrick McMahon
For those of us living in New England, this winter seems like it will never end. Brutally cold temperatures at times have us wishing warmer weather could come sooner. Well, Spring is right around the corner! As we are here bundled up in our North Face Jackets and boots, grounds crew and maintenance workers are putting in hours of work across Florida and Arizona preparing top notch baseball facilities for the 2014 Spring Training season. In a little less than 2 weeks, pitchers and catchers will report to their Spring Training locations to begin their workouts shortly before the rest of their team joins them to start their quest to become the next World Champions of this season.
This offseason has not let down fans of baseball, this is for sure. Major roster changes have been made over the course of the offseason, including the Detroit Tigers trading Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler in one the biggest moves of the offseason. The Tigers have made it to the ALCS the last 3 consecutive years, including a World Series appearance in 2012, but coming up short in the end. A big move like this could possibly be what is needed for the club, but they are not the only team that needed to make a big move. The New York Yankees have made some noise this offseason, both good and bad. With Alex Rodriguez being banned for the entire 2014 season, and losing Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, the Yankees needed to make something happen. Well they did; they acquired 3 of the biggest names in present day baseball; Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran. Ellsbury has been with the Red Sox his entire career, and now playing for the Yankees, this should make the rivalry between the two teams a little more fun. The Yankees also signed Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract. This will be Tanaka’s first year in the MLB, after previously playing his career for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japan Pacific League. Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 183 strikeouts in 28 games last season. Many teams were in the running for this Japanese prodigy, but the Yankees won the bid, and hope to see him perform like he has in Japan.
Another aspect of Spring Training to look forward this season is that of Russell Wilson, who just led the Seattle Seahawks to their first Super Bowl win ever. Wilson will be joining the Texas Rangers during spring training this year to mentor the younger guys and bring his winning attitude to camp. Wilson, drafted by the Orioles in 2007, and then again by the Rockies in 2010, chose to attend college instead of the MLB
There are still many big names out there in the free agent market, and with the season soon to be underway, I expect a few more big moves to be made throughout the MLB. With multiple players joining new teams and putting on new jerseys for their first time, the 2014 season is going to be a fun one to watch. Get ready folks, baseball is almost back!