Kuroda pitched well yesterday, but not well enough to overcome the fact that the Yankees aren’t hitting anything. Maybe Brett Oberholtzer is the cure. Or, the Yankees struggle.

It’s Kuroda for the Yanks and Cosart for the Astros. The Yankees’ nominal “1-2″ starters might be collectively worse than their nominal “3-5″. But it’s the Astros (improved, but hardly a force). Comment away.

Postseason hero John Lackey (I’m still giggling) takes on sometimes-great, often-not Ubaldo Jimenez. It’s April, time to get that first win after that .000 record in March.

CC Sabathia gets the rock today as the Bombers begin their 2014 campaign on the road against second-place Houston, who by not playing already look better than they looked last season. BP has them projected to allow 807(!) runs, most in the majors, but the Astros do read to be a better team, even if it is because it’s nearly impossible to be worse and because of a deep farm system including future superstar Carlos Correa.

Lineups when I have them, enjoy the game and comment away!
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Title defense? Maybe. But I’m more inclined to think of this whole season as house money at this point (and the Rays look like the prime candidates for AL East triumph to me). The glorious 2013 season is in the rearview and our joy is down to embers. Perhaps we can stoke the fire when Lester takes on Tillman this afternoon at Camden Yards. Drop in and say hi if you’re watching.

$16M guaranteed for 2015, with a vesting option for 2016 based on plate appearances in 2015 as follows (taken from WEEI):

425 plate appearances – $11 million
475 plate appearances – $12 million
525 plate appearances – $13 million
550 plate appearances – $14 million
575 plate appearances – $15 million
600 plate appearances – $16 million

If Ortiz does not reach even the 425 PA threshold, there is a team option for 2016 at $10 million.

There is a team option for 2017. It’s scaled the same way the vesting option is for 2016, but the team has final say on whether they take on his contract in 2017 or not. That is to say: Ortiz will be paid by the Red Sox in 2016 no matter what as long as he reaches 425 plate appearances in 2015, but might not be in 2017 even if he reaches 425 plate appearances in 2016 since it’s a team option rather than a vesting option.

In any case, Ortiz is essentially guaranteed to end his career in a Red Sox uniform (he will turn 42 after the 2017 season ends). Consider this fan happy that the deal is done, is non-exorbitant, and we won’t have to hear much about this issue for another year and change.

Grady Sizemore is making it tough on JBJ, and giving the Red Sox something to think about.

And the Yankees are pounding the Red Sox in spring training today.

No game day for Yankee CF with game leg.

Not news, really, just some a good cause and some nostalgia.

I’m gonna go with 90-72 for the Red Sox this year. They had a gigantic share of injury good luck last year (only Buchholz and Ross were sidelined for more than a few weeks, as far as I recall, though Victorino was day-to-day a lot, Ortiz missed most of April, and Ellsbury missed most of September), look to break in rookies or almost-rookies at 3B, SS, and CF, and are a year older at most positions. Hopefully they can sneak into the wild card and get hot, but I’m trying to temper my enthusiasm and enjoy the games day by day instead of looking for macro 2013-style success.

Plus the expectations set above were approximately the peak of my 2013 expectations, so why change what’s working?

Or at least turns to a beautiful day in the neighborhood, or at least if you are watching grapefruit league in person and not up north giving the hairy eyeball to your shovel when you meet again for the last time.

Time to wake up.
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Against FSU, winning 5-3 in the 6th. Tomorrow, they play the Pirates!

Red Sox will play split squad games against Northeastern and Boston College Thursday and play the Twins on the last day of February.

Baseball: it’s back! Kind of.

The Yankees have signed Brett Gardner to a four year extension, $52M, club option for a fifth year. This is most excellent.

Ryan Dempster will not pitch for any MLB team in 2014, because:

“I don’t feel like I am capable of performing to the ability and standard that I am accustomed to,” Dempster told FOXSports.com. “I feel it’s in the best interest of both the club but most importantly myself to step away from playing baseball at this time. The time is right.

“I’m not saying retirement but I definitely won’t be playing this season.”

He is likely to go to the restricted list and will forego his entire 2014 salary, giving the Red Sox a little more wiggle room to, say, sign Stephen Drew (if the Yankees haven’t already done that).

Thanks for the innings, Dempster. Best to you in your future, and glad you could pitch in the postseason and grab a ring.

In 2015, ARod will be the elder of players to wear pinstripes.

Derek Jeter will retire after the 2014 season.

Let the accolades, expositions, and never-ending farewells begin. I’ll start with:

A kid from Kalamazoo
knew what he wanted to do

and did it.