MLB Weekly Report: Magic Johnson Buys Dodgers for $2 Billion
The sale of a storied franchise and injuries to key players led the news of the past week in spring training. Here’s this week’s Major League Baseball report:
Magic Johnson-led Group Buys Dodgers
NBA Hall of Fame member and former Los Angeles Laker Magic Johnson is part of a group buying the Los Angeles Dodgers for a reported $2 billion. The team was auctioned as part of former owner Frank McCourt’s bankruptcy settlement. McCourt purchased the team in 2004 for $420 million. The new ownership of an iconic franchise in a large market should have an impact on free agency from this point forward. With manager Don Mattingly and young stars like Matt Kemp and Andre Eithier, the Dodgers could be headed back to National League prominence.
Veterans Headed To The Disabled List
Several contending teams absorbed news that they must open their seasons without key players. Longtime Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones’ knee injury will keep him out for Opening Day of what will be his final MLB season. Phillies second baseman Chase Utley announced that his chronic knee problems will cause him to be on the disabled list for Opening Day, as well. Cardinals’ ace Chris Carpenter will miss the team’s opener with nerve irritation in his pitching shoulder.
Upcoming Game to Watch: Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh
Few question the Rays’ talent, but Tampa (8-15) has not been able to win many games this spring. By Friday’s game with the Pirates in Bradenton, manager Joe Maddon would like to be able to get his team to start looking like it’s ready for the games to count.
Play of the Week: Freddy Galvis, Philadelphia Phillies
With all-star second baseman Chase Utley headed for the disabled list, the Phillies have reason to worry about second base. Enter minor league sensation Freddy Galvis, who looks like he’s up to the challenge on defense in this video clip:
Best Reason To See A Game in TEXAS This Week: The Champion Dog
American League champions in both 2011 and 2012, the Texas Rangers have mastered the art of the repeat. Let’s hope the same doesn’t hold true for their concession chefs, who will prepare the two-foot-long, one-pound Champion Dog at Rangers Ballpark in 2012. The $26 hot dog is topped with onions, cheese, jalapenos and chili and served with a side of French fries. Antacids not included.
Fantasy League Pick-up: Zack Greinke, Milwaukee Brewers
We don’t know of any spring training fantasy leagues, but we’re sure that fantasy junkies would consider starting one if this preseason goes much longer. Pitchers are always an injury risk, but one hurler who has been dominant this spring is Zack Greinke of the Milwaukee Brewers. In 12.1 innings, Greinke has 20 strikeouts a 0.81 WHIP and batters are hitting just .196 against him. The Brewers may not be as formidable on offense in 2012, but their ace looks even better than 2011.
Fantasy League Drop: Ryan Madson, Cincinnati Reds
After nearly re-signing with the Phillies, Ryan Madson signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal to be the Reds closer. Last week, Madson was diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right elbow before he was able to pitch a single inning for Cincinnati. He is expected to miss all of the 2012 season and perhaps longer. Either Sean Marshall or Aroldis Chapman could be used to replace him at the back end of the Reds’ bullpen.
Manager Under Pressure: Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals
With Albert Pujols gone to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and starter Chris Carpenter headed for the disabled list, new manager Mike Matheny has worries that his predecessor, Tony La Russa, did not have when he led St. Louis to the 2011 World Series title. Matheny must get his team to manufacture runs and use his deep bullpen in expert fashion or fans of the defending champs may be in for a long season.
Best. Fan. Ever: Woman Attending Phillies-Orioles Game
It’s been said a zillion times that any time you watch an entire baseball game, you may see something you’ve never seen before. For instance: the way this woman’s quick reflexes allow her to snare a flying baseball bat. Watch the video to be amazed.
Numbers Game: Edwin Jackson, Washington Nationals
Given his stabilizing presence on the world champion-Cardinals last fall, former all-star pitcher Edwin Jackson signed with Washington late in the free agent period. Jackson’s 12-9 record and 3.58 ERA in 2011 should have been more attractive to teams, but few showed interest. Perhaps they knew something. This spring, Jackson has been terrible. He is 1-3 with a 6.88 ERA in five starts, including allowing 10 runs and 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings in a loss to the Orioles on Saturday. If Jackson doesn’t find his rhythm, the Nationals may need a backup plan to bolster their rotation.