With baseball’s winter meetings to take place next week, we find ourselves in the calm before the storm. Not much earth-shattering news from our adopted teams, but enough to need a nutshell wrap up! So here we go.
Last week, the baseball world was dealt a painful blow in losing rising star, Greg Halman. This week, friends and family gathered to pay their respects and share their positive memories of the Dutchman. The details of his murder are still under debate, but the impact he had on those around him are quite clear.
Back on the diamond, however, the Mariners are busily gearing up for the winter meetings. Japanese shortstop Munenori Kawasaki talks are heating up, but with a few conditions. His position — in the field and on a major league roster — are not the biggest concerns. But, signing with Seattle (and countryman Ichiro Suzuki) is. He said Thursday that he would decline offers from any other American teams.
The D-backs are sitting pretty heading to Dallas next week, especially after resigning Aaron Hill, Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald. Still, they have a few puzzle pieces they’re after, including some pitching and a few reliable backups in the infield. That said, they’re not scrambling. In fact, GM Kevin Towers wouldn’t be too terribly disappointed if their opening day lineup looked a lot like the lineup they have right now.
“If we did nothing, we feel like we’ve got the young pitching depth and we’ve got bullpen depth,” Towers said. “Position player-wise, we are almost set. It’s not that we feel we have to get anything done.”
Also in the news, Manager of the Year Kirk Gibson can add another award to his quickly-filling shelf. This time, it’s the C.I. Taylor Award, courtesy of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Gibson’s dramatic reinvention of the Arizona team, thanks to Taylor-like discipline and expectations makes him a worthy recipient.
The A’s now have a finished coaching staff for the 2012 season, thanks to the hiring of Chili Davis as the hitting coach. This is manager Bob Melvin’s third attempt at getting Davis on his team, but the first time he has succeeded. Davis’ resume includes work with the Australian National Team, the Dodgers, and Boston’s Triple-A Pawtucket affiliate. He’ll be trying to improve on Oakland’s .244 team average from 2011.
We’ve heard about the A’s looking forward to a brand new ballpark coming to San Jose, but now there is talk of moving their Spring Training location from Phoenix to Mesa. The club’s contract with the Phoenix park expires in 2014. The Mesa facility currently hosts the Cubs each spring, but only through 2012. The A’s reportedly have exclusive negotiating rights with the Mesa location once the Cubs contract is expired.
Oh, and catcher Kurt Suzuki is chowing down on roughly 4,000 calories a day in hopes of packing on about 15 pounds for the coming season. Check out what his off season regiment entails:
Suzuki starts his day by 8 a.m., taking in a breakfast panini — check that, two of them — along with a serving of fruit. At 10 a.m., he begins his workouts, which can last from 1 1/2 to three hours, and consumes an energy bar in the middle and a 600-calorie protein shake at the end.
Not long after is lunch, which one day consisted of a pair of turkey burgers, a salad and more fruit. Something similar in stock to a barbecue chicken flatbread follows — not as dinner, but simply as an afternoon snack. The dinner menu, rather, might look like this: steak, mashed potatoes, vegetables and yet another salad.
And don’t forget the evening snack before bed. Think cheese or slices of deli meat and a handful of nuts and fruit. » Continue reading “Weekly Wrap Up: Kawasaki, Ramirez, and Bell”