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15mJim Caple and David Schoenfield

Ten ways to boost offense

15mJim Caple and David Schoenfield

Ten ways to boost offense

Offense is on the decline. Can the trend be reversed? Here's how the hitters can strike back.

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14hDan Szymborski

Szymborski: Overrated, underrated in BBTN 100

Dan Szymborski, with the help of his ZiPS projection system, looks at the BBTN Top 100 players and identifies players who are overrated (including Miguel Cabrera and Jose Abreu) and those who are underrated (including Josh Donaldson and Phil Hughes).

Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports
1hRob Nelson

Biggest World Series risers, fallers

Rob Nelson breaks down the most significant changes in the 2015 World Series odds. The biggest risers have been the Chicago Cubs and the biggest fallers the Philadelphia Phillies.

MLB Video

Average MLB salary tops $4 million (2:25)

Play2:25
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20hKeith Law

Top 50 MLB prospects update

Keith Law updates his top MLB prospect ranks, noting what has changed and how the players have looked since his last update Jan. 29.

Baseball Tonight Video

BBTN Top 100: Players 1-10 (2:26)

Play2:26
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1dJim Caple

The 20-year anniversary of the strike ending

It's been 20 years since the baseball strike ended. LaTroy Hawkins, now the oldest player in the majors at 42, and several former players look back on what they did during the shutdown.

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1dJerry Crasnick

Should MLB bring back bullpen carts?

One way to help pick up the pace of play in baseball -- and provide a few smiles along the way -- would be to bring back the kitschy-but-beloved bullpen cart.

Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY Sports
1dScott Spratt

Spratt: MLB's best, worst defensive players

Scott Spratt of Baseball Info Solutions breaks down the best and worst defensive players in MLB. He writes why Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons is so valuable in the field.

Now

Justin Verlander won't start Friday

The Tigers RHP, who's also supposed to start next Wednesday, has a "slight strain" to his triceps. Said manager Brad Ausmus: "If we get to the point Friday where he's not pitching, then probably looking at him not starting the Wednesday game, at that point."

Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos/Getty Images

New ball leads to more homers

The new flat-seam baseball seems to be increasing home runs in NCAA Division I baseball, as they are up 39 percent. College baseball switched from a raised-seam ball with the hope of putting more offense in the game.

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Shane Victorino wins starting OF spot

Despite hitting only .188 this spring, Victorino is the likely Opening Day starter in right, Red Sox coach John Farrell said Tuesday. Victorino beats out Rusney Castillo, who missed two weeks this spring with a strained oblique.

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Olney's best fantasy sleepers

Buster Olney has his fantasy sleepers all picked out, and he thinks an outfielder on the South Side of Chicago will be taking a lot of at-bats with the bases filled with White Sox. All the sleepers (Insider)

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

MLB panel releases top players in MLB

ESPN formed a panel of MLB writers, analysts and contributors to rank the top 100. The top 5:

  1. Mike Trout, Angels
  2. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
  3. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
  4. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
  5. Felix Hernandez, Mariners
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Aaron Crow to undergo Tommy John

The Marlins reliever will seek a second opinion, but he expects to have the procedure. He went 6-1 with a 4.12 ERA last season with Kansas City. The 28-year-old will be the Marlins' third pitcher since May to have the surgery.

Anthony Rendon will start season on DL

The Nationals third baseman has been diagnosed with a sprained left MCL after initially hurting his knee making a diving stop in early March. Surgery is not expected.

AP Images/Evan Vucci

Biggest MLB risers, fallers at Westgate

According to Westgate SuperBook in Vegas, the Cubs have been the biggest risers to win the World Series from Oct. 12 to today, going from 40-1 odds to 16-1. The biggest fallers at Westgate are the Braves, now 100-1 after being 20-1 in October.

Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

Juan Lagares, Mets reach deal

The Gold Glove outfielder and the Mets agreed to an extension through 2019, worth more than $20M, with an option for the following year, sources told ESPN. The 26-year-old hit .281 with four homers and 47 RBIs last season.

Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports

Batting around the NL's top five offenses
MLB 

Doug Glanville's surprise offensive team in the NL this season? The Cincinnati Reds, believe it or not: "They're not getting a lot of love ... but this is a deadly lineup. Hamilton starting it off, you have the acquisition of Marlon Byrd, [if] Joey Votto bounces back ... this is a lineup."

Play3:04
MLB 

The reason behind MLB offensive decline
MLB 

There seems to be a consensus among players that starting pitching is just better, with many agreeing with Cleveland's Nick Swisher: "Now these dudes are coming out in the first inning blowing 100 mph ... moving it, sinking it, dropping it!"

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MLB 

Jim Bowden @JimBowden_ESPN

#Mets & Juan Lagares have agreed on a 4-year extension with a club option…deal expected to be over $20m covers all arb yrs &1FAyr w opt

Kris Bryant could still be ROY

The uber prospect will start in the minors, which could be motivating, ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers writes: "It’s only fitting that the best player in college in 2013, the Arizona Fall League MVP ... and the reigning minor league player of the year takes home the [NL] rookie of the year award."

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

Mets decide on Gee as 5th starter

Righty Dillon Gee joins the rotation, sources told ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. Gee started Opening Day last year, but with Matt Harvey's return, his spot was in jeopardy. Zack Wheeler's injury reopened a spot. Gee will join Harvey, Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom and Jonathon Niese.

Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Gomez to lead off for Brewers

Despite Gomez making it known he'd like to hit third or fourth someday, manager Ron Roenicke said Gomez will be the primary leadoff hitter. Said the OF: "I don't look at myself like a leadoff [hitter]. But right now, if that's what it takes to win games, I'm in."

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Bettors high on the Cubbies

Heading into the opening week of baseball season, more money has been bet on the Cubs to win the World Series than any other team at two of Nevada's largest sportsbooks. The Cubs are 6-1 to win the World Series at the MGM. Only the Washington Nationals (5-1) have better odds.

Aroldis Chapman upset with early exit

The Reds closer was upset by the decision to remove him from Tuesday's game with a hamstring issue. Said manager Bryan Price: "The word 'hamstring' came up, [and] just with that history we were extra cautious. By the sounds of it, it may be a non-issue completely. It may be nothing more than a miscommunication."