It’s pretty crazy to think that, one year ago today, the world ended. (Ed. – Ah, crap. Joke ruined because I got the date wrong. Thanks a lot, Mayans.)
- Remember when Ted Lilly trucked Yadier Molina and we all applauded his manliness? Well, say goodbye to that era. Yesterday, MLB announced that its Rules Committee had voted to ban home plate collisions, and the players are expected to agree to that rule change in time for the 2014 season. Obviously injury concerns were the impetus here, and I have no real beef with the change. There is no formal language yet, but the gist is going to be that home will be treated like any other base: the catcher can’t completely obstruct the runner’s path to the base, and the runner can’t plow the catcher. We’ll see a lot more sliding, I’d think, and we’re probably going to see some on-field debates about whether the catcher was blocking the plate or not. And maybe the manager will challenge that! And have the call overturned! It’s a brave new world for baseball, folks.
- When the Chicago Cubs opted out of their TV deal with WGN last month, the opt-out reportedly included a 30-day window in which WGN could agree to meet a certain increased price for its portion of the Cubs’ broadcast rights, and thus retain them. By my count, those 30 days have elapsed, and we never heard anything about WGN retaining the rights. So, I’m assuming that the Cubs have opened up the negotiations with other possible partners. Recall: only the 70ish games held by WGN are up for bidding, and the rest of the Cubs’ games are available after 2019. That means whomever is bidding on the rights to these games will probably get their portion only for the 2015 to 2019 seasons, because the Cubs are going to want the whole set of games to be available for bidding at that time.
- Full quotes from Theo Epstein and Scott Boras here on their varying interpretations of The Plan. Boras also got into one of his pet gripes, the restricted signing bonuses for amateur players, implying that Kris Bryant should have received more money than Jose Abreu. (One piece he remains absolutely correct on is the broken qualifying offer system, which perversely rewards players for having been lucky enough to be traded during the season prior to their free agency.)
- The most exciting moment at the Winter Meetings? Nope, it wasn’t the Charlie Morton extension – it was two agents coming to blows over a client. There are no details or names, but I’m going to assume Scott Boras was not involved.
- Quietly, teams had an extra $300,000 to work with in their international signing pools over the past two years, thanks to an exemption for six signings up to $50,000 apiece. That exemption is going away. This change figures to hurt teams with smaller pools more than others, which means the “good” teams. Eventually, that might include the Cubs.
- Jay continues to kill it at the BN Bears page, including a thoughtful analysis of the Cutler/McCown issue, and the problem of small sample sizes in football.
- The Rule 5 Draft comes up later this morning, so be ready for the excitement! … of losing multiple players, probably.