Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
* * *
The World Baseball Classic in March is going to make our wait for actual competitive baseball a little bit shorter and much more entertaining. There’s already a strong sense of anticipation and excitement with every name that’s confirmed to play for the USA squad, which is hoping to finally build a team that can compete for a podium spot at the Classic. Guys like Nolan Arenado, Chris Archer, Jonathan Lucroy, and the reigning National League Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer have already committed to wearing the stars-and-stripes at the WBC. However, the AL Cy Young winner has made it known that he won’t be participating in the festivities.
Rick Porcello bounced back in a major way from a poor 2015 season and managed to pitch exceptionally well for the Red Sox in 2016 — to the point where he edged out Justin Verlander to win the Cy Young. After the year he had, it would have been great to see him join Scherzer on the USA squad, which could boast having a Cy Young duo on the roster. Unfortunately for fans of the international game, Porcello understandably decided that he’d rather focus on preparing for the regular season with the Red Sox instead of taking on some of the world’s best players in international competition.
Porcello told WEEI that he’s a club-first guy and wants to make sure that he’s “100 percent” ready to contribute to the Red Sox. That makes sense — especially when you consider that 2016 was by far his best season on the mound. His ERA and FIP of 3.15 and 3.40, respectively, were both career lows, and his strikeout rate and walk rate both took big jumps in production. It’s understandable that Porcello would want to make sure that 2017 is another year of progression instead of being proof of a fluke 2016, so we won’t see him in the WBC. Still, it would’ve been fun to see the USA squad have both Cy Young winners from 2016. Maybe in 2021?
- Speaking of the Red Sox, poor David Price has a self-deprecating reason as to why Boston didn’t get further in the playoffs.
- After Jimmy Fallon snubbed him on a high five, Joe Biagini got his sweet redemption on The Tonight Show.
- Jeff Passan took a long look at the increasingly dangerous practice of smuggling Cuban players into the United States
- The Astros have a few new faces in town, and The Crawford Boxes delivered analysis of all of their new players.
- A couple of guys gave AL MVP Mike Trout a fifth place and seventh place vote on their MVP ballots. Naturally, Baseball Twitter publicly shamed those writers.
- In further “Mike Trout-is-awesome” news, he received the Esurance MLB Award for Best Major Leaguer.
- Meanwhile, Bleed Cubbie Blue believes that NL MVP Kris Bryant has a lot in common with the legendary Joe DiMaggio.
- The Yankees are still planning to be aggressive in the free agent market, as they’re rumored to be in on Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Beltran, and Rich Hill.
- Yesterday was the deadline for teams to protect players ahead of the Rule 5 Draft, and Baseball America has a roundup of all the moves that were made.