mlb logoFor your Friday afternoon …

  • The New York Yankees are reportedly set to pay $29.1 million *in luxury tax alone* this year, which is a record. The Dodgers will also be paying luxury tax (just about $10 million, since they are a first time “offender,” and the rate at which you’re taxed escalates for each successive year of overage). That Yankees figure is truly staggering when you consider that it could top the final payroll figure of the Houston Astros. Just imagine the free agent talent you could get for $29 million in a single season – that’s what the Yankees are paying in tax. Hell, that’s more than what the Cubs spent in 2013 for their Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman, Scott Baker, and Nate Schierholtz signings. Must be nice.
  • Alex Rodriguez is “the face of baseball,” according to 22% of fans surveyed for the purposes of allocating such a designation. Without getting into the problems of surveys like this (to ESPN’s credit, they did try to break down “casual” fans versus “avid” fans), we’re left to wonder just what each respondent meant by “face of baseball.” Is selecting Rodriguez the product of media attention? Is the response meant to be a shot at MLB for the continued steroid issues? Is it just a Yankee thing? For his part, Jayson Stark turns the conversation into one about baseball’s failure to effectively market its young stars. It’s a good read.
  • Jeff Passan with 32 things about baseball.
  • Minnesota Twins center field prospect Byron Buxton is Baseball America’s Prospect of the Year. He’s quite awesome, so it’s deserved.
  • Wladimir Balentien is doing ridiculous things in Japan right now, including hitting a homer on a 93mph fastball (off a guy believed to be MLB-caliber) at eye-level. Like, legit eye-level. FanGraphs being FanGraphs digs into whether that’s something that’s ever really happened before. Spoiler Alert: Corey Patterson sighting!
  • Also, yesterday, Balentien tied the single season homer record in Japan with his 55th blast, a record currently held jointly by Sadaharu Oh, Alex Cabrera, and (yes!) Tuffy Rhodes. With 21 games left in the season, the new record will be his. Apparently there is a new baseball being used in Japan this year, which has dramatically increased home runs.
  • If I’m understanding the argument correctly, MLB has an issue with a federal law that allows cable providers and satellite providers to import local TV signals without consent from the original copyright holder (i.e., a cable company could import and broadcast a Fox MLB game on your “cable” version of FOX without paying MLB or FOX for those rights). In other words, MLB wants to be able to charge cable providers for including broadcasts of MLB games that are otherwise being shown over-the-air (think antennae) on a local channel like FOX. I guess they’re probably right, since cable companies/satellite providers are profiting from being able to include for users their local channels. Interesting issue. I’d need to do some thinking on this one.
  • King Jeff

    I would be more impressed with Wladimir Balentien and what he has done if NPB hadn’t changed the baseball to favor offense this year. He’s still hitting bombs at a ridiculous rate, but I wonder how it should compare to other historical offensive seasons in Japan because of the juiced ball.

  • ETS

    The face of baseball

  • macpete22
    • C. Steadman

      love Girardi…met him brielfy in Clearwater, FL on a baseball spring trip with my team…very nice guy, not stuck up…did decline a picture(he was playin catch with his son) I would be ecstatic if the Cubs got him

      • ssckelley

        I agree, I am not one to complain about Sveum but I would get giddy if Girardi was brought back to Chicago.

    • SenorGato

      Would love for Girardi to manage the Cubs.

      • TOOT

        Would love for Sandberg to manage the Cubs.

  • clark addison

    I don’t think Sveum was hired as a long term option. He was a placeholder until they were ready to hire a real manager, and has done little over the past two years to change that. Girardi was my first choice when Piniella was hired, but nobody asked me. He wasn’t available when Quade and Sveum were hired.

    Girardi has few worlds left to conquer. He’s got his ring with the Yankees. Now he can return to Chicago with a real chance to end the century + drought, and get his statue at Wrigley Field.

    Go for it, Joe.

    • Coop

      Serious question here (I really don’t watch the Yankees, so I have no idea what the answer is): Is Girardi actually a good manager? Or is he a hype product of being manager of the Yankees and thus receives much media attention?

      • Stinky Pete

        I have no idea about his managerial skill, but I think he is more a hype product of being a former Cubs player, thus meatball Cubs fans think he is obviously the greatest manager in the world.

        • ssckelley

          This is not true at all, most were saying Girardi was going to be one hell of a manager well before his playing days were over.

          • cms0101

            Completely agree. Girardi should have been given the job over Piniella. He was coming off the Marlins job, and only left there because the owner is a tool. For whatever reason, Hendry was not a big fan of Girardi’s, even refusing to interview him prior to the Marlins job. At that time he claimed he wanted an experienced manager. Then when he fired Baker, he picked the quieter, gentler Piniella over Girardi. Piniella retired about 2 years into his 4 year contract, sleeping through the remaining time he had on the bench, and Girardi has been the well respect Yankee’s manager ever since. Forget that he was a Cub. He spent a heck of a lot more time in a Yankees uniform than a Cubs uniform, so I don’t look at him through blue colored glasses. He’s a good, fiery, respectable manager. He’s been through playoff wars as a player and a coach. He’s handled adversity admirably in a much bigger media market. Sure, he’s had a bigger payroll to work with, but think of the ego’s he’s managed in NY. And then there’s always the smashing of Sammy’s radio story. He’s a leader. I don’t hate Sveum, but when I envision Baez hitting a walk-off homerun to win game seven of the 2017 World Series, it’s not Sveum jumping out of the dug-out to congratulate him. I’d love it to be Girardi though…

        • DarthHater

          “I have no idea about his managerial skill, but I think he is more a hype product of being a former Cubs player”

          Translation: I choose to form strong opinions about subjects that I admit I know nothing about.

        • Cyranojoe

          Well, he was a fairly good catcher, which tends to produce a better “game manager” than other positions. Depends on what you want in a manager, I suspect. But I’d be in favor of kicking the tires.

      • C. Steadman

        he won 2006 Manager of the Year award despite missing the playoffs due to the fact that the Marlins had the lowest payroll in the MLB…but they did have a solid core of young players inlcuding Miggy and Hanley that contributed to that

  • miggy80

    MLB can go to hell with their TV rights. I live in Des Moines, IA and get blacked out of numerous MLB games. Hell the other night the Pirates broadcast of a game in Pittsburgh was blacked out. If more MLB games are able to be viewed by fans by importing the signal than fine by me.

    • Melrosepad

      I understand Miggy. Used to live in Ames and now an hour and a half North and East of there. I’d love to get the MLBTV package but my zip code gets blocked out for Cubs, White Sox, Cardinals, Twins, Brewers, and Royals.

      • chrisfchi

        I had MLB tv for one day. Since I work somewhere without a tv, and with an A.M. radio that barley works, I figured why not. I feel if you pay for the subscription you should be able to watch any game you want anywhere, including the cubs game from the RF bleachers at Wrigley. I agree with miggy, they can shove it up their cornhole.

        • TWC

          I love my, but I’m only blacked out of watching ~6 games/year (Cubs/Giants). Unless you like watching all the other teams whenever you want, it’s completely useless if you live in a blackout area.

          • miggy80

            Isn’t there a lawsuit against MLB about their Blackout procedures? If not I sure would like to see one, sooooooooo frustrating. And then to top it off the 8/23 game in San Diego wasn’t on the local radio station because they were having a high school football preview! Man I was pissed and being as drunk as I was arguing my point with the radio request line was not doing me any favors.

      • Stinky Pete

        I believe its all of Iowa that is blacked out of those six teams. Which makes sense you know. Because I could chose to get in my car and drive 7 hours to St. Louis when I get off work here to watch the game since I cant watch it on MLB.TV….

        • DarthHater

          Yea, but you get to watch all those Field of Dreams games “live”… 😛

          • ssckelley

            True, but tomorrows night game might be more fun to watch than the Cubs. They are playing a softball game with 14 former MLB players (10 HOF). Perhaps Reggie Jackson can knock one into the cornfield.

  • RoughRiider

    On the cable issue. I think there was a FCC ruling years ago that forced Cable Providers to include the local channels.

  • MightyBear

    George Springer should’ve been minor league player of the year.

  • clark addison

    A fly on the wall recorded this conversation two years ago between Theo and Ryno.

    Theo: “Ryno, we are about to embark on a full teardown and rebuild. Whoever we hire as manager is going to lose big and will be fired before the team turns the corner. You wouldn’t want that on your resume, and we’d catch lots of heat firing a Cubs Hall of Famer. So we’ll just come up with an excuse like “We want somebody with major league coaching experience,” to explain why you won’t be hired.”

    Ryno: “Thanks for leveling with me, Theo. I’ll seek employment elsewhere, and maybe in the future, when the Cubs are good again, you’ll have an opening for me.?

    • Cyranojoe

      Too bad that didn’t happen. Sure wish it had! That said, I think Ryno’s proven to be pretty good at player development so far, so it wouldn’t have sucked too bad to have him at the helm. That said, I don’t hate Sveum at all, and Quade really wasn’t as bad as all that.

  • THEOlogical

    Buxton is from the city next to mine. Talented kid, great personality and was a very good pitcher in high school. His parents are very nice as well, he’s also humble. His dad is always wearing the UnderArmor clothing that he got for his trip to Wrigley.

  • http://bleachernation Vinniethefixer

    Who said when you have 3 excub players on your team you will not win the world series!!
    The Bucso have 3 they are DOOMED!!!

  • papabear

    The Cubs team for the most part comes from players other teams didn’t want. The Cubs have spent the year digging through other teams junk heaps to try to find a player that might work out.

    Sveum has stayed very calm during the process – even when they traded his better players away. He has done a very good job and has done nothing to deserved to be moved on.

    The other day a friend of mine and me played the game – if the Cubs and the Cardnals joined there teams who would be on the 25 man roster. Cubs would get 9 players we thought maybe- Castro would be the only position player to start if he made the team, Wood would be in the starting rotation 3rd or 4th. The rest would be bench players at best.

    This team is worst than last years team – We have a pretty good coach and seams to do the best he can with what he was dealt. Next year the cubs will start an influx of there better minor league players into the majors and i think Sveum is the guy to coach them.