Richard Justice, who joined MLB.com as an executive correspondent in 2011, has covered Major League Baseball for more than three decades and offers his insight on MLB.com.
|J.D. Martinez surely had trouble envisioning a week like this one two springs ago, when the Houston Astros released him. That kind of thing can rattle a guy's confidence. But Tigers coach Dave Clark, who'd been with the Astros, urged Detroit to sign him. Al Avila, now the Tigers' general manager, did just that.
More»Beck talks about J.D. Martinez's new two-year deal|
|This quest is to find 10 players who could decide playoff berths. I know what you're thinking -- it's never about just one guy, teams have too many moving parts, etc. Even when players and managers look back and say a certain guy "carried us," they don't mean it literally.
More»10 potential difference-makers for the 2016 season|
|Baseball people spend a lot of time thinking about successful organizations. Specifically, is there a common thread running through them? Can success be traced back to spending, drafting, managing or some combination of everything?
More»Hot Stove talks underdog teams making a playoff push|
|It's not only about those six young people and their college scholarships. It's what they represent. "Our program works," said Daryl Wade, director of the Houston Astros' Urban Youth Academy (UYA). That's the larger lesson. On Wednesday, the Astros held a ceremony to honor the five boys and one girl who signed letters of intent to play college baseball and college softball.
More»Drake hosts celebrity softball game in Houston|
|Let's take a look at six clubs that are in the long-shot category but still seem nicely positioned for big turnarounds in 2016.
More» Cano trying to build off strong second half|
|Here's a look at one thing each team needs to happen if it is to fulfill its potential in 2015.
More»X-factors for all 30 MLB teams for the 2016 season|
|The St. Louis Cardinals must be absolutely thrilled that some of us have already conceded the National League Central to the Chicago Cubs. The Cardinals? They're playing for second place -- or third. You can look it up.
More»John Mozeliak calls in to High Heat|
|The calendar just flipped to February and there are still good players available on the free-agent market -- probably even some difference-makers. At least, that's what recent history tells us. In fact, this might be the best time to shop. Prices have dropped, so the smart teams have a chance to clean up.
More»Gallardo, Fowler, Desmond among available free agents|
|The Dodgers got better on Friday by re-signing second baseman Howie Kendrick, and isn't that the bottom line? Let's not overthink it.
More»Justice on Kendrick, Dodgers agreeing to a contract|
|In the end, the Astros did almost everything they could have hoped to do this offseason. So what do you think, Jeff Luhnow? "This team is built to go the distance this year," the Astros' general manager said Thursday.
More»Astros rotation deeper after Fister's one-year deal|
|Before we get to the new Top 100 Prospects list, let's pause for a word about baseball's older generation of players. Let's appreciate how many 35-year-old-plus players are still contributing at a high level.
More»Veterans 35 and older continue to impact the game|
|Rob Manfred's first year has flown by. If there has been a surprise for baseball's 10th Commissioner, perhaps that is it.
More»Manfred, Ripken hold Play Ball event in Tennessee|
|Did the New York Mets just move back ahead of the Washington Nationals and position themselves to win a second straight division championship? You're not alone if that's your instant reaction. At the very least, the National League East is positioned to deliver a 15-round heavyweight bout in 2016.
More»With Cespedes, Justice sees Mets as division favorite|
|For now, we appear to be a long way from having the designated hitter in both leagues. But you can expect to hear much more discussion over the next few months. And that's a good thing.
More»Manfred discusses the possibility of a DH rule change|
|During an offseason in which we've seen Zack Greinke, Jason Heyward, etc., strike it rich, Yoenis Cespedes has had to wait a little longer for a market to develop. In the end, that market has developed, and a nice market it appears to be.
More»MLB Now examines the Nationals' interest in Cespedes|
|Will this finally be the season that both Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton stay healthy? And if so, will this be the season the Marlins finally break through? As Miami officials put the finishing touches on their offseason work, they're again optimistic about what the club is capable of doing.
More»Hill on bringing in the fences, Gordon|
|The Atlanta Braves are in a good place. That's the one thing everyone in the organization can say for sure now. There's more work to be done, but there's an inner confidence about what has already been done and even more about what's ahead.
|Here's to you, Mike Ilitch. We offer a tip of the hat. You made a promise. You delivered. That's what Justin Upton agreeing to a six-year, $132.75 million contract represents.
More»Slugger Justin Upton joins formidable Tigers lineup|
|Go down every roster in the American League East, and you'll come up with some very good reasons that team can win. You'll also come up with a string of large questions.
More»Richard Justice on remaining needs for AL East teams|
|Chris Davis loves Baltimore. Baltimore loves Chris Davis. So doesn't this feel like a smart, sensible conclusion?
More»Upton, Cespedes remain on market after Davis deal|
|Tim Hudson is a reminder that prices are going up. Baseball teams have money to spend, and with a thin free agent market and at least 20 clubs thinking they’ve got a chance to win the World Series in 2014, it’s a great off-season to be a free agent. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann are […] More»|
|Revisionist history says the Phillies made terrible decisions in giving all these longterm commitments to Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, etc. This is just silly. What were they supposed to do with these guys? Walk away from them? Allow Ryan Howard to leave via free agency? This group of players has transformed the Phillies from a […] More»|
|Until the moment the World Series was won on Wednesday night, the Red Sox were focused only on the job at hand. One pitch at a time. One inning at a time. Et cetera. “Whatever the task is in front of us, that’s the one we address,” manager John Farrell said earlier in the week. […] More»|
|Maybe the Astros came to town at just the right time to save the Rangers. Speaking of the Astros, this is the two-week anniversary of their last victory. During this little 0-12 run, they’ve been outscored 69-19. The Reds, Indians and Rangers all swept ‘em at a time when all three teams needed victories. The […] More»|
|How crazy is this American League Wild Card race? Donât blink or youâll miss something important, and I speak as one who stayed with the Rays and Orioles for their 6-hour, 54-minute marathon that ended at 2:05 a.m. Saturday. In case you missed it, the Rays won it 5-4 in the bottom of the 18th […] More»|
|Dodgers starters are 21-5 with a 1.91 ERA since July 26. In that time, they’ve had 12 games in which the starter didn’t allow an earned run. The Dodgers are 22-6 in August and 32-8 since the All-Star Break and 49-13 since June 22. 22 wins in August is a Los Angeles record for the […] More»|
|Tom Boswell of The Washington Post has an excellent column about baseball’s recent September surprises. He’s reminding his hometown team that it’s important to play the season out because you just never know. Here are some highlights: In just the past two years, six teams have imploded to lose division titles or a playoff spot. […] More»|
|I’m sure Ryan Braun was told that the reaction to whatever apology he issued would be negative. There’s nothing columnists and talk show nitwits like more than climbing on their soapbox and trashing another man’s ethics. As a matter of fact, I enjoy it myself. Some people were going to be satisfied only if Braun […] More»|
|Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig made the following statement today regarding the discipline issued to players in relation to Major League Baseballâs Biogenesis investigation: âMajor League Baseball has worked diligently with the Players Association for more than a decade to make our Joint Drug Program the best in all of professional sports. I am […] More»|
|It was the spring of 1993 in Fort Lauderdale when Orioles manager Johnny Oates introduced Cal Ripken Jr. to a skinny, 17-year-old kid from Miami. Alex Rodriguez would be the overall No. 1 pick in the draft that summer and had asked to meet with his boyhood idol. Ripken redefined the position of shortstop, proving […] More»|