MLB spring training brings drama into March

Maxwell W. '20, Writer

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Major League Baseball (MLB) has started spring training across the U.S. The first spring training game was on Feb. 21 between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics, and preseason will end on March 26. The venues for these early games are  in the states of Florida and Arizona. However, the MLB has decided to also create play-in spring training games in Monterey, Mexico between the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks in late March.

There are two leagues for MLB spring training, one in Florida and one in Arizona. In Florida, the league is called the Grapefruit League with notable teams such as the New York Yankees, Miami Marlins and Boston Red Sox. All of these teams have a temporary home stadium in Florida. The Yankees’ stadium is in Tampa, the Marlins’ is in Jupiter and the Red Soxs’ stadium is in Fort Myers.

The other league for spring training is the Cactus League held in Arizona. Some teams in this league are the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. For any MLB team, one goal is in sight: win the World Series and become MLB champions. Spring training is the start of the road to this grand stage. Here are the headlines heading into the 2019-2020 MLB season.

Every MLB team wants to make the postseason and make a run at a title. However, it takes a special group of players and some all- stars to make this happen. Some of the early headlines heading into spring training regarded who would  sign Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. According to USA Today, the favorites to land free agent Harper were the Philadelphia Phillies and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Also, there were considerations Harper could join either the Indians or the Reds. However, this past weekend the Phillies signed Harper to a 13-year, $330 million deal.  This deal Harper made is the biggest contract ever signed by a free agent in all U.S. sports. He was introduced to the franchise on March 2,2019.

“I think the MLB season this year will be amazing for everyone and great to watch but also connecting for baseball fans. I predict either the Yankees or the Astros will make it to the World Series from tne A.L,” Dylan C. ‘20 said.

Another team making noise around the MLB is the Reds. During the offseason, the Reds made a significant deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In this trade, the Reds received outfielder Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and pitcher Alex Wood. In turn, the Dodgers, received Reds pitcher Homer Bailey and some minor league prospects. As of right now, this trade is highly benefiting the Reds, who recieve two big bats in Puig and Kemp.

Accroding to baseballreference.com, last season Puig had a .267 batting average with 23 home runs and 108 hits. Kemp had a .290 batting average with 21 home runs and 134 hits. These two players will help the Reds franchise drastically as they had one of the worst batting averages in the entire MLB last year. From the pitching standpoint, Wood is not a big prospect. His statistics with the Dodgers last season were a 3.68 ERA (Earned Run Average) with 135 strikeouts. However, his ERA was lower in the 2017 season when he had a total of 2.72. The Reds want to make Wood an all-star and a sustaiable pitcher for their team.

“I look forward to seeing new talent come up and have huge roles this MLB season. For MVP, I am predicting Mookie Betts for the American League and Kris Bryant for the National League,” history teacher and baseball coach Chris Binkley said.

The last major MLB offseason speculation was what team third baseman Manny Machao would decide on. On Feb. 21, 2019 Machado signed a 10- year $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres . Before this deal, MLB teams such as the Chicago White Soxs and the New York Yankees wanted Machado. The White Soxs offered Machado a seven-year, $175 million deal to play third base and the Yankees offered Machado a $220 million deal. Last year with the Dodgers, Machado had .297 batting average with 37 home runs and 107 RBI’s,  according to ESPN.

“Spring training will be interesting as usual. The Red Soxs have the highest chance to compete in the World Series for me,” Byrce S.’22 said.

The 2019 MLB season is coming around  in full swing. MLB Opening Day is March 20 in Japan between the Mariners and the Athletics. The Reds  play in Cincinatti against the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 28, and the Indians play at the Minnesota Twins for their Opening Day game.