PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 07:  Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants hits a solo home run in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game at PNC Park May 7, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Ten players ready to make the leap in 2015

Trying to find a player due for a breakout season is fun, especially if: a) it’s a player from your favorite team and you tell other fans you’ve found a player to watch, or b) you play fantasy baseball and like rubbing it in to your friends that you know way more than they do. […]

The dark horse Mets

Dark horse World Series contenders in 2015

Everyone thinks they know who the favorites for the World Series are this year. But as we saw with the Royals last year, sometimes teams come out of nowhere to make an unlikely postseason run. We’re not talking about trendy sleeper picks like the Mariners, Indians and both Chicago teams. We’re talking about real dark horse […]

Nationals stars

2015 season preview: Washington Nationals

Despite not making the playoffs in 2013, the Nationals were heavily favored in 2014. Sure enough, they coasted through the NL East, withstanding an early challenge from the Braves, and finished with the best record in the NL. Then, the Giants eliminated them from the NLDS in four games. Once again this winter, Washington was […]

Mets starter Matt Harvey

2015 season preview: New York Mets

The Mets moved decisively early in the offseason, adding a much-needed bat to the outfield in Michael Cuddyer. Unfortunately, general manager Sandy Alderson did little else, as it quickly became once again clear that team ownership wasn’t going to significantly increase payroll. Dreams of trading for a franchise shortstop kept fans warm throughout the winter, […]

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman

2015 season preview: Atlanta Braves

2014 started so well for the Atlanta Braves. They stormed out of the gate with a 17-8 start, and quickly took over first place in the NL East. But unlike in 2013, the Washington Nationals didn’t struggle early, and kept pace. The Braves never had a lead of more than 3.5 games. Less than a week […]

Alex Rodriguez has something to prove

Five players with something to prove in 2015

Sometimes having a chip on your shoulder is the best thing for a ballplayer. Having something to prove, or the desire to prove someone wrong, can sometimes be enough to push a guy into having a career year. There are plenty of players who fit that criteria this year, whether it’s guys proving they’re worth […]

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred

Shorten the MLB season? Rob Manfred is listening, even if he shouldn’t

Since taking over as MLB commissioner at the end of January, Rob Manfred has essentially taken on the role of Dr. Frasier Crane for baseball owners, executives and fans. Frasier always began a phone call with a listener on his radio show by saying, “I’m listening.” And that’s what the new commish has been doing […]

Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton

2015 season preview: Miami Marlins

The Miami Marlins were a very busy team over the course of the winter. They overhauled much of the infield, with three of the five starting positions represented by new faces. They added Mat Latos and Dan Haren to their rotation. They’re getting Giancarlo Stanton back, and Jose Fernandez should rejoin the team sometime this […]

Phillies battery

2015 season preview: Philadelphia Phillies

Six years after their last World Series appearance and seven years after they won it, the Phillies are now languishing in the basement of not just the NL East, but all of baseball. Bad contracts, a lack of minor league talent translating to the Majors and a cascade of injuries have combined to make the […]

Orioles offense

2015 season preview: Baltimore Orioles

Nobody takes the Baltimore Orioles too seriously entering the season. The Baltimore Orioles surprise everyone and make the playoffs. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. After a relatively inactive offseason in which they saw several major free agents walk away, the Orioles was again are positioned to sneak up on the rest of the league, but do they really have another […]

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Fredi Gonzalez #33 of the Atlanta Braves converses with first base umpire Ed Hickox #15 after Christian Bethancourt #25 was called out to end the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at Turner Field on September 17, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

New pace of play rules will be enforced this year

On Friday, Major League Baseball unveiled three rules dedicated to speeding up the pace of the game during the 2015 season. The three new rules aren’t game changers, and should help eliminate some of the dead time that plagues the game. That’s a lot to digest, so here are the Cliffs Notes. -Batters must keep […]

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 08:  Carlos Beltran #36 of the New York Yankees celebrates after hitting a grand slam in the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium on August 8, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

2015 season preview: New York Yankees

The Yankees have finished in third and second place, respectively, during the past two seasons. As you know, that doesn’t cut it in the Bronx. Yet general manager Brian Cashman apparently had little to spend this winter, after throwing big money at four top free agents last year. Will the Yankees suffer for not getting […]

Athletics bargain Frank Thomas

The best MLB free agent bargains of the past 10 years

With players reporting to spring training this week (and TOC beginning its season previews), the offseason is all but officially over. And with that, free agent signings have essentially come to an end — especially among the top talent available. Yet this is also the time of year that MLB clubs can find some good […]

Marcus Stroman and Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays

2015 season preview: Toronto Blue Jays

Our next stop on our journey through the AL East takes us north of the border, where the 22-year playoff drought of Canada’s lone Major League team has supposedly been close to being erased in recent years, only to see the team fall short due to injuries, bad luck and seemingly everything in between. Now, […]

Evan Longoria and James Loney of the Rays

2015 season preview: Tampa Bay Rays

We talk about “lost seasons” all the time in sports, but 2014 truly was a lost, franchise-altering season for the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa Bay got off to a horrid start in 2014, and were 31-48 on June 24th. Then, they caught fire, going on a 22-6 run to close within one game of .500…and […]