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Larry Walker Jersey

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Between the big trade for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, the qualifying offer pickup on Marcus Stroman, and the free agent signings of James McCann, Trevor May, Jonathan Villar, Aaron Loup and Albert Almora, Steve Cohen added $76 million to the Mets payroll this winter. He would probably like to think that’s enough to guarantee at least some — and hopefully a lot more — extended baseball at Citi Field come October.

And maybe it will — you have to believe the Mets are a much better team — but the reality for Cohen in his rookie season as an owner is that the National League East, in which he has cast his lot, is unquestionably the most competitive division in baseball. Moreover, the three-peat defending champion Braves, who spent $91 million themselves in the free agent market on Charlie Morton, Drew Smyly and Marcell Ozuna, look even more formidable than last year. What if the Mets, who finished nine, 11 and 13 games Custom Washington Nationals Jerseys  respectively behind the front-running Braves the past three seasons, aren’t able to further narrow that gap — a distinct possibility given the Braves’ deep starting rotation and continuing abundance of extremely talented homegrown players (Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, Cristian Pache, et al.)?



It’s a wonder, too, if the Nationals, with Juan Soto and Trea Turner, two of the best players in the game, and a likewise deeper-than-the-Mets starting rotation with Stephen Strasburg’s hand fully recovered, aren’t actually better positioned to challenge the Braves for division supremacy? Indeed, if it comes down to starting pitching — as it usually does — which rotation do you like best?

Braves: Ian Anderson, Max Fried, Morton, Mike Soroka (his torn Achilles said to be fully healed) and Smyly?

Nationals: Max Scherzer, Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Jon Lester and Erick Fedde?

[More Mets] Jacob deGrom goes into second Grapefruit League game guns blazin’, shows he still has untapped velocity »


Mets: Jacob deGrom, Carrasco, Stroman, David Peterson and (hopefully later) Noah Syndergaard?

Can Jacob deGrom and the Mets pull through to see some October baseball this year?
Can Jacob deGrom and the Mets pull through to see some October baseball this year? (John Bazemore/AP)
Here is one scout’s appraisal of the NL East: “There is so much great pitching in this division, far more than any other division in baseball. Even the Marlins, the bottom rung team, have three really good young starters in (Sixto) Sanchez, (Sandy) Alcantara and (Pablo Lopez). I just don’t think they’re going to be as good as they were last year over a full (162-game) season.

“So you start with the Braves, who I love. In Anderson, Fried and Morton, you’ve got three bona fide top-of-the-rotation starters, any one of whom you’d give the ball to in Game 1 of the World Series. Other than the Dodgers, no other team in baseball can say that. The Nationals come closest with Scherzer, a presumably sound Washington Nationals Jerseys China Strasburg and Corbin, a solid 3. But after that, the rotation’s a little uncertain. Jon Lester could be a nice pickup, a veteran presence, but at some point in the season I’m pretty sure you’re going to see their two top prospects, both high end starters (6-8 right hander) Jackson Rutledge and (6-4 righty) Cade Cavalli, who both were light’s out in their reserve camp last summer. They’re the future of the organization.

“As for the Mets, Carrasco was a nice addition but in my mind they still don’t have a legitimate No. 2 behind deGrom. I’m not a big Stroman guy. He has his moments but just not consistently dominant or durable enough for me. And I don’t think they should be counting so much on Syndergaard. It usually takes at least one season of pitching after Tommy John surgery for pitchers to get back to being the same as they were.”

It’s also the starting pitching (or the lack of enough) that figures to separate the Phillies from the other three NL East powers. Despite limited resources, Phillies CEO John Middleton and his new GM Dave Dombrowski managed to do what they had to do to keep the team competitive by re-signing J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius, while making upgrades on the worst bullpen in baseball with the additions of Jose Alvarado and Archie Bradley. But after Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and fast improving Zach Eflin, the Phillies rotation pretty much falls off the cliff, and Dombrowski had neither the money for any of the top free agent starters, or the prospect assets to trade for one.

The cancellation of the July Hall of Fame inductions into a TV-only event with no fans, returning Hall of Famers or media, while unfortunately the right call given the uncertain COVID conditions, is going to be felt far beyond this summer. Bad enough, the Hall and Cooperstown lost the potential record crowds a Derek Jeter induction would have wrought, but with Curt Schilling having likely talked himself out of being elected, and “Big Papi” David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez the two biggest names coming on the 2022 ballot, there’s a real possibility the Baseball Writers Association won’t elect anyone again next year. A major motivating factor for the Hall of Fame cancelling the live ceremony was the fact that 10 Hall of Famers passed away this year and the board did not want to risk the health of the Hall of Famers by asking them to return this year. I’m told plans are in the works to have as many of them as possible salute the new inductees, Jeter, Larry Walker and Ted Simmons by Zoom. … The “new and improved” 120-club minor league system has been completed and if nothing else will be far more geographically balanced — with Triple-A split into two leagues, one of them comprised of 20 teams of three divisions in the northeast, Cheap Washington Nationals Jerseys China midwest and southeast respectively, and the other a 10-team league of western cities. I’m told the Triple-A seasons will begin the same time as the major leagues’, but because of the COVID limitations on the number of players in spring training, the lower leagues probably won’t start up play until May. No telling yet how many lawsuits will be filed by the 40 teams that lost their affiliations and had their equity reduced from millions to zero. … The Red Sox’s trade of Andrew Benintendi to the Royals is one of the more curious deals of recent times if only because of all the questions it’s raised about a guy who, only three years ago, was being viewed as a budding superstar and was one of the most popular players in Boston. But after hitting .271 with 20 HR, 20 stolen bases and 90 RBI and finishing second in the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year voting, Benintendi hit .290 in 2018 and then went into a dramatic decline. The whispers around the Red Sox were that he bulked up too much and lost a lot of his athleticism and speed. But he’s still only 26 and the jury will remain out for Boston GM Chaim Bloom on this deal until we see how the (still unnamed) prospects he received in the deal turn out. Certainly the primary return player from K.C., outfielder Franchy Cordero, a typical (by today’s standards) swing-and-miss (110 career strikeouts as opposed to 95 combined hits and walks) hitter does not seem nearly adequate for a player of Benintendi’s still untapped potential.

Andre Dawson Jersey

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Andre Dawson is seeing the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic from a vantage point many sports fans would not expect of a Baseball Hall of Famer and former National League MVP.

The longtime star for the Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs has spent the past dozen years as a mortician.

While running his own funeral parlor, Dawson has recently had to shorten services at his facility’s chapel and limit them to no more than 10 people.

“It’s very sad,” he said Thursday to the Associated Press. “It’s very sad. Because people mourn and grieve differently and they’re not getting through that process as they would under normal circumstances. You see a lot of hurt and pain.”

Andre Dawson shows emotion while wearing Montreal Expos apparel as he is honored by the Washington Nationals in 2010. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Andre Dawson shows emotion while wearing Montreal Expos apparel as he is honored by the Washington Nationals in 2010. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Dawson, 65, has owned and operated Paradise Memorial Funeral Home in his hometown of Miami since 2008. A few years after he retired from baseball in 1996, he joined a group of investors his brother organized to buy a different funeral home, then took an even bigger step into the business.


Dawson did not expect to actually run Paradise Memorial, but “that role sort of fell into my lap,” he told AARP last year. With the same dedication to his craft that enabled a 21-year major league career, Dawson “threw myself into it, body and soul,” despite the unlikely nature of his new line of work.

“Growing up, I could have never envisioned this,” he told the Associated Press. “I was actually afraid of the dead when I was a kid. When it came to funeral homes and seeing someone in a casket, it would remind me of being young and going to see a real scary horror movie and not being able to sleep at night. That’s where I was. But you grow and change with the times.”

Since March, the coronavirus has brought change to nearly every facet of American life. Social distancing — which has brought baseball and other sports to a standstill — has helped slow the spread of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, but its toll has nevertheless been devastating, with over a million cases and at least 62,560 deaths in the United States as of Friday.


There have been more than 12,000 confirmed cases in Miami-Dade County, which has had the highest death count, 352, of any county in Florida (per the Miami Herald). Dawson’s funeral home has handled six deaths from covid-19, and he has talked to his two dozen employees about the possibility of that number greatly increasing.

“It’s stressful because of the times and the uncertainty,” Dawson told the AP. “But this is what we signed up for. As challenging as it can be, we just pray and hope we’re prepared for it.”

Despite his fame and stature from his baseball career, Dawson has immersed himself in the day-to-day operations of his funeral home, for which his wife of 42 years serves as office manager. He goes to homes to pick up the deceased, drives hearses, carries caskets and, as shown in a 2018 USA Today profile, even mops the floor.

These days, Dawson is doing his work while wearing a mask. That has a limiting effect on how many people recognize the tall man helping with their funeral arrangements, but he said his focus is on the needs of those around him.

“You never know where God is going to lead you,” Dawson told USA Today, “but wherever it leads you, you have to be prepared. When this first fell into my lap, I prayed on it. I thought, ‘How am I really going to pull this off without having the background or knowing anything really about the industry?’ But I wanted to make this as good a facility as I possibly could, and I’m proud of it. It’s important to me because this is a product the community needs.”

Andre Dawson, 65, has owned and operated Paradise Memorial Funeral Home since 2008. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
Andre Dawson, 65, has owned and operated Paradise Memorial Funeral Home since 2008. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
If Dawson did not know the value of hard work before he embarked on his major league career, he certainly learned it while rebounding from more than a dozen knee surgeries that eventually sapped the athleticism of the player known as “The Hawk.” During his early seasons with the Expos, who played on a notoriously unforgiving surface at Olympic Stadium, he was the epitome of a five-tool player and is just one of five players in major league history with at least 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases, alongside Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltrán.

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WASHINGTON – In August of 2017, after making his Major League debut for Milwaukee in May, right-handed pitcher Paolo Espino was traded by the Brewers to Texas.

Once he arrived with the Rangers, the native of Panama met Brad Holman – then the bullpen coach for Texas.

Now the two are united in the Nationals’ system and Espino is slated to return to the majors for the first time in three years as the scheduled starter in Game 2 of the doubleheader here today against the Philadelphia Phillies. Meanwhile, Holman was wrapping things up at the alternate site in Virginia with a bullpen session for prized prospect Jackson Rutledge on Tuesday morning.

It will be his first outing for Espino in the majors since Sept. 30, 2017, when he pitched the ninth inning out of the bullpen for the Rangers in an 8-4 win over Oakland.

Espino, 33, had been at the alternate site in Fredericksburg and part of the 60-player pool before his contract was purchased and he joined Washington’s 40-man roster.

“He has been pitching well, he has been stretched out,” manager Dave Martinez said Tuesday.

“For me, it is another one of those good feel-good stories. We liked what he was doing down there (at the alternate site) so we are going to give him an opportunity to start today.”

“He is a strike-thrower. He reminds me a little of Sánchez, Aníbal. He works both sides of the plate,” Martinez added. “I expect him to go out and just compete.”

Espino has pitched in 12 games – all in 2017 with the Brewers and Rangers – and has made two starts in his career.

The right-hander pitched under Holman last year at Triple-A Fresno, as he went 8-4, 5.65 in 17 starts in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

Espino was drafted in the 10th round by the Cleveland Indians out of the IMG Academy in Florida in 2006.

“There is not a better person on the face of the Earth, he never complains,” Holman, now the Nationals’ player development pitching coordinator told Federal Baseball. “He has an elite curveball.”

“His best pitch is his curveball; it has an elite spin rate,” assistant general manager Mark Scialabba told Federal Baseball on Monday.

The last start in the majors for Espino came on June 8, 2017, for the Brewers.

He went four innings against the Giants and allowed five hits and three runs and did not figure in the decision as Milwaukee lost at home, 9-5.

The starting first baseman for the Brewers was Eric Thames, now in his first season with the Nationals.

The leadoff hitter for the Giants in that game was Denard Span, a former Washington center fielder. Joe Panik hit a homer off Espino in the third inning.

Hunter Strickland and Mark Melancon came out of the bullpen that day in 2017 for the Giants.

Strickland spent part of last season with the Nationals while Melancon was with Washington for part of the 2016 season.

Espino started the first two games of his Major League career, then pitched out of the bullpen in the next 10. His team is 3-9 in games in which he has pitched going into the contest Tuesday night against the Phillies.