Other than Derek Jeter announcing his retirement after the 2014 season, today has been a busy day in the baseball world. So here is a recap:
A.J. Burnett has signed a 1-year deal with the Phillies for 16 million. This move strengthens a Phillies rotation that already has two very good starters in Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. In 2013, Burnett contributed heavily to the Pirates playoff run, going 10-11 but recording a solid 3.30 ERA.
The Dodgers have signed 23 year old Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena. He has spent 6 seasons in Cuba, and is known more for his defense than offense. The Dodgers already have a great shortstop in Hanley Ramirez, so Arruebarruena is likely to begin the season in the minors, also to impove his hitting. Los Angeles has made many signings of Cuban players recently, such as Alex Guerrero, who is the Dodgers starting second basemen, and of course, Yasiel Puig, who had a monster rookie year in 2013.
Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattles sidekick to Felix Hernandez, is likely to the miss the start of the 2013 season. He has a strained tendon in his right middle finger, and can’t throw for 4-6 weeks. In 2013, Iwakuma went 14-6, had 185 strikeouts in 219.2 innings pitched and an amazing 2.66 ERA, making his first all-star game.
Another pitcher who won’t be ready on opening day, Cole Hamels has discomfort in his left shoulder, as a result of tendinitis in his left biceps. Hamels had another workhorse season in 2013, pitching 220 innings and had a good ERA of 3.60, but went only 8-14 as a result of low run support.
Derek Jeter, the face of the Yankees, the last of the core four, has announced that he will retire after the 2014 season. This is not a surprise to most, as Jeter will turn 40 in June and played only 17 games last season due to his nagging ankle injury sustained in the 2012 playoffs that just wouldn’t go away. But Jeter is healthy now, and the Yankees need him to stay that way to contribute on the field, and in the clubhouse. Jeter’s last full season was in 2012, and it was a good one in which he had 216 hits and 15 home runs.