New 8-figure Line Releases in April
Friday, September 26, 2008

The signs of spring are obvious; trees and flowers begin to bloom, animals awaken from their winter-long slumber, and exclusive MLB Sports Picks arrive on pegs at your local Toys 'R' Us store. For the fourth consecutive year, McFarlane Toys and Toys 'R' Us are teaming up to bring you the first modern MLB lineup of the year, and 2009 delivers another star-studded series. Let's take look at the six talents that comprise the MLB 2009 Toys 'R' Us Exclusive Assortment:

DUSTIN PEDROIA: The Red Sox rolled to another post-season berth in 2008, but it wasn't "the usual suspects" driving Boston. Manny Ramirez was sent to L.A. at the trading deadline, and veteran Curt Schilling missed the entire season due to a shoulder injury. Veterans Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, David Ortiz, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett all spent time on the shelf, leaving Pedroia to fuel the Red Sox attack. There was no sophomore slump for this 2007 A.L. Rookie of the Year, who positioned himself as a first-tier MVP candidate in just his second season, and helped guide the Sox to the playoffs once again.

CARLOS ZAMBRANO: It was just a few years ago that Zambrano was the Cubs' reliable #3 starter, positioned behind phenoms Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Wood has transitioned to the bullpen, while Prior's career led him elsewhere. At the same time, Zambrano has stepped up his game, establishing himself as not only the Cubs' ace, but one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. "The Big Z" helped the Cubs to the National League's best record in 2008, delivering a September no-hitter as a possible omen for the playoffs.

JORGE POSADA 3: It wasn't the 2008 season Jorge Posada had hoped for. Coming off his finest all-around season in 2007, Posada re-signed with the Yankees and looked to deliver a smashing encore performance. Posada worked hard to rehab and play through a troubling shoulder injury, but in the end he had to undergo season-ending surgery in order to arrive at 2009 Spring Training fully healed. Without Posada, the Yankees missed the postseason for the first time in 14 seasons. A healthy Posada will be key as New York battles to regain the postseason form they'd grown accustomed to.

MIGUEL CABRERA: 2008 was a transition year for Miguel Cabrera. He changed teams, moving from Florida to Detroit, and changed positions too - moving from third base to first. The Tigers' season did not go as expected, with injuries derailing the pitching staff and the offense never truly clicking. Cabrera got comfortable in his new stripes midway through the season, and the American League began to see the player that National League pitchers were so happy to bid farewell to. 2009 looms as a fresh chance for the still-young Cabrera to truly make his mark in the Motor City.

JUSTIN UPTON: They called them the "Baby 'Backs" in 2007, and the poster child for Arizona's youth movement is Justin Upton. The top overall selection in the 2005 Draft, Upton tore through Arizona's minor leagues, and earned a big league promotion and the tender age of 19. 2008 still counted as his rookie season, but injuries curtailed his production in what turned into a bit of a "preview year." And if the preview is this good, the feature film should be a blockbuster in 2009.

CHIPPER JONES 2: Atlanta was Hank Aaron's team, then it became Dale Murphy's squad, and came to be the pre-eminent N.L. East power with the "triple aces" of Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine. With Glavine and Smoltz facing free agency, Atlanta may well become Chipper's team. The long-standing Brave erupted in 2008, tearing along at a .400 clip for nearly half the season. No one hits .400 anymore, but Chipper will settle for the N.L. batting title and set his sights on leading the new Braves assault in 2009.

The MLB 2009 Toys 'R' Us Exclusive Assortment is expected to arrive on shelves next February. Stay tuned for pictures of our first production samples and more 2009 MLB figures as well.

To see our Spring 2009 Sports Picks release schedule, go here.