mlb logoA handful of interesting bits from around baseball as the final month approaches …

  • Remember that Forbes article that concluded the Houston Astros were going to be the most profitable team in baseball this year (indeed, as profitable than the last six World Series winners combined)? Many of us were immediately suspicious, and now it has largely been refuted … by Forbes. Maury Brown points out that the former Forbes article suffered from a number of factually inaccuracies, and drew some specious conclusions. The primary issue stems from that $80 million per year TV contract, which comes from a regional sports network that is hemorrhaging money … and is owned in large part by the Astros. Indeed, Brown reports that CSN Houston has actually had to ask its owners for money to keep things going. Colin Wyers at BP similarly takes the original Forbes story to task. I don’t know what protocols were in place before the original article was vetted and published, but this kind of massive error calls into question all of Forbes’ financial reporting with respect to Major League Baseball teams. These are private entities that aren’t going to open their books for Forbes, which has to do a lot of guesswork and estimating. If they were this wrong on Houston, how much confidence do you have in their previous report that the Cubs were the most profitable team in 2012?
  • Brandon Phillips is probably not a nice guy. Whether it’s (indirectly) ripping on Darwin Barney for his Gold Glove win, or calling his $75 million extension from the Reds a “slap in the face,” Phillips freely shares what’s on his mind. While that may, itself, be a laudable trait, if you’ve got bad things on your mind, it’ll come back to bite you. So it was the other day in the Reds’ clubhouse, when Phillips took issue with beat writer C. Trent Rosecrans making mention of his low OBP. Phillips exploded at Rosecrans (while Dusty Baker looked on, refusing to intervene) in a video you can see here. Phillips repeatedly calls Rosecrans a “fat motherf****r.” It’s actually quite awful.
  • Will Leitch writes about the incident, and notes – unfortunately accurately – that Phillips will probably come out of this smelling just fine, while Rosecrans may actually be the recipient of additional fan ire, even though he was the victim. Candidly, I don’t think a player should be able to speak to the media this way – relating with the media is a part of the job, because it’s one of the conduits through which fans experience and appreciate the game – and I think Phillips should be punished.
  • It seems like it isn’t discussed as much, and it feels a little untoward to speak too loudly of it when a young pitcher goes down – as Matt Harvey just did – but Russell Carleton does the dirty work the rest of us merely think about: did the Mets put Harvey at a greater risk for injury by letting him throw too many pitches this year? You can’t really draw a conclusion from one case, but the answer sounds like a maybe. Carleton has found that there is a statistically noticeable connection between pitcher injuries and having previously thrown a number of games of more than 115 pitches. If you want to oversimplify and apply to the Cubs, that’s the line of demarcation at which you pretty much don’t want to see any Cubs pitchers on the over side – even the “durable” ones.
  • The extensive scouting history of Cuban Jose Abreu.
  • The Indians have acquired Jason Kubel from the Diamondbacks for a “fringe” prospect, and the Diamondbacks are paying the rest of Kubel’s salary. Meh. The Cardinals have acquired John Axford from the Brewers for a PTBNL. Heh.


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