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Adrian Beltre Announces His Retirement

After 21 seasons, Adrian Beltre has retired from baseball.

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One of the MLB’s most recent ageless wonders, Adrian Beltre, announce his retirement on Tuesday. The longtime Texas Rangers third baseman played 21 seasons and had over 3,000 hits in his career. More specifically, he retires with 3,166 career hits, good enough for 16th all-time. Beltre is expected to be a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee.

In the statement released by Beltre, he thanked his family, the fans, his agents, and all former teams. It seemed like a healthy and clear choice for Beltre, who said it was “time to call it a career. He added, “After careful consideration and many sleepless nights, I have made the decision to retire from what I’ve been doing for my whole life, which is playing baseball, the game I love.”

In addition to his 3,166 hits, Beltre also hit 477 home runs, drove in 1,707 runs, and had a career batting average of .286. Those numbers helped him make four All-Star games, and he also was awarded six Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers. Unfortunately, he never won a World Series, but his Rangers did lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2011 World Series. He went 9-30 in that series.

Beltre first showed up in the majors for the Los Angeles Dodgers at the age of only 19. He stayed with the Dodgers for seven seasons and was a fan favorite. In 2005 he signed with the Seattle Mariners, where he continued to put up strong numbers and be well-liked by the fans. He spent five seasons in Seattle, spend 2010 with the Boston Red Sox, and finally landed with the Rangers in 2011, where he would go on to play his last season in 2018 and, once again, become a fan favorite.

And in addition to his great numbers and long, durable career, Beltre will be remembered for being a great guy that was loved by fans and players alike. Most famously, he hated it when anyone touched his head. Which, naturally, lead to his Rangers teammates regularly trying to touch his head and take his helmet off just to mess with him. Even though he truly did hate it, there was still somehow a love and affection that came with the button-pushing. It was just one of the many parts of his charm.

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Cubs Reportedly Willing To Trade 3B Bryant

Chicago Cubs head of baseball operations Theo Epstein said recently that they would be open to trading star third baseman Kris Bryant. 

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Could it be? Do my eyes deceive me? Or did Chicago Cubs head of baseball operations Theo Epstein just say they would be willing to trade the face of their franchise, Kris Bryant? The answer… is basically, yeah. 

Epstein, during the GM meetings that took place earlier this week, said that he would always be willing to listen to offers for players like Bryant and their other young star Anthony Rizzo. “We’ve never operated with untouchables. It sends the wrong message. Given what we’re trying to accomplish, it would be virtually impossible to envision the deal that would make sense to move them. I just don’t believe in untouchables. Why limit yourself?”

It’s hard to argue with that logic. Also, Epstein is the man that brought the Boston Red Sox their first World Series title ever and brought the Cubs their first one in 108 years. Pretty hard to argue with those facts, too. But even with all that said, would he really trade away Bryant?

Kris Bryant burst onto the scene in 2015 and immediately began proving he was worthy of all the hype behind him. He won the Rookie of the Year award that year and went on to win MVP the following year. He’ll also be remembered forever for making the final out of the 2016 World Series with a massive grin on his face. But his numbers did dramatically drop in 2018. He finished the season with a .272 batting average, 13 home runs, and 52 RBIs in only 102 games.

Outside of any potential trades that may come up, Bryant’s current deal has him on the Cubs through 2021. The Cubs have tried to sign him to an extension in the past – the most recent effort coming in last winter – but the two sides never reached an agreement. So now, especially given his disappointing year, perhaps they’ll be in much less of a hurry to get him signed to any longterm extension.

And then there’s the biggest elephant in the room: the Cubs, in general, as a team, weren’t that good in 2018. At least not nearly as good as they were in the previous two seasons. So who can really blame Epstein for constantly being open to roster changes? You almost have to be willing to make an extremely difficult decision that your fans could hate you for at any moment if you want to remain a contender. And if you ask me, that’s exactly what Epstein is doing when he says he would never count out trading away a player like Bryant.

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Harper Turned Down Nats 10-Year, $300M Deal

Bryce Harper turned down a massive offer from the Nationals and his future remains uncertain. 

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Bryce Harper is the biggest MLB free agent on the market this off-season. And as much as he’s been the face of the Washington Nationals throughout his career, and as happy as he may seem there, apparently he was in no hurry to commit to them longterm recent. According to multiple sources, the Nationals offered Harper a 10-year deal worth $300 million, which would have been one of the biggest deals in the history of the sport. There’s only one problem… Harper rejected it.

Now, this may come as a massive surprise to many. Who would turn down such an incredible deal?! But many others are easily arguing that Harper was just being smart. Why not test the waters? There are surely other teams that would love to have him. Maybe they can offer him more money. And the Nationals offer is still on the table. If Harper doesn’t like any other team’s offer, he can always take the amazing deal and stay right where he is.

It makes perfect sense, really. Harper is, simply put, one of the best players in all of baseball. Many would put him in the top 5. So far, in his career, he’s already hit 184 home runs, knocked in 521 RBIs, posted an incredible .900 OBS, and has made 6 All-Star teams. All before turning 26 (which he just did last month).

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo talked about their efforts to resign Harper at the MLB general managers meeting that took place on Tuesday. “We’ve had conversations and we utilized our exclusivity to negotiate with him late in the season through when he became eligible to sign with a team. We didn’t get anything done, but he’s a guy that is near and dear to us and we are not closing any doors.”

I’m sure that comes as a great relief to Nationals fans. He is a beloved player there. But it has to sting a little bit that Harper is so willing to explore other options. I can only imagine how the fans would react if he bailed. And how they would treat him every time he came back to DC.

“It’s going to be a challenge to put the best product on the field, and that could include Harper and it could be doing things without Harper,” Rizzo added. “There is a reality that we would love to sign him, but we may not. We have to have a strategy and plan put together to win baseball games, not only for 2019 but beyond. I think we have a good strategy in place, a good plan in place, and we have started to begin that process and we will see where it takes us.”

Best of luck to you, Mike. I for one can’t wait to see where Harper ends up.

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Dodgers Already Desperate as World Series Comes To L.A.

The World Series comes to Los Angeles, with the seemingly unstoppable Boston Red Sox already up 2-0 on the Dodgers. 

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Well, this certainly isn’t how the Los Angeles Dodgers envisioned their second straight World Series would start. After two games in Boston, they’re already 2-0 to the red-hot Red Sox. And while it’s no 3-0 hole, down 2-0 is never where you want to be. But if anyone does know how to climb out of such a hole, it’s Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

As many of us remember, Roberts was at the forefront of the historic comeback in 2004 when the Red Sox came back from down 3-0 to beat the New York Yankees and reach the World Series where they would win it for the first time in franchise history. They were the only team, and are still the only team, to ever come back after being down 3-0. So what’s the big deal about being down 2-0?!

And if trends continue, they could really break out in game 3. They’ll send 21-year-old Walker Buehler to the mound to face the Red Sox, and he’s been nothing short of spectacular in the playoffs. In their one-game Wild Card against the Colorado Rockies, Buehler held the heavy-hitting Rockies scoreless through 6 2/3 innings. Then, in their deciding game 7 in the NLCS against the Milwaukee Brewers, Buehler was again spectacular as he only gave up one run over 4 2/3 innings and helped the Dodgers reach the World Series for the second year in a row.

“Any time you’re in situations like that – the more that you can get there and live it yourself, I think, does nothing but help you,” Buehler said of the stage he continues to find himself on. “It’s a little bit different than a game 7. But at the same time, there’s a little bit of a backs-against-the-wall type of scenario.”

And it doesn’t help that the 2018 Boston Red Sox are turning in one of the greatest seasons in baseball history. They won 108 games in the regular season, easily beat the 100-win New York Yankees, and then made quick work of the defending champion Houston Astros. They are very much firing on all cylinders and have been all season.

To further put it into perspective, the Dodgers now need to beat the Red Sox in four of the next five games. The Red Sox only lost four of five games once during the regular season. “It’s going to be hard,” Dodgers young star outfielder Cody Bellinger said of the challenge. “But this was going to hard regardless.”

Meanwhile, Roberts knows it will take patience, perseverance, and everyone being on the same page. “You can’t win four games in one night. So just focus on a one-game-at-a-time mentality. I know it’s easier said than done, but that’s as simple as you can put it, and that’s the best way to go about it. And I know that’s echoed in our clubhouse.”

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