Baseball on ice would be a fantastic Winter Olympics sport. No ice skates. Just gym shoes. I think it would be incredibly difficult to get a guy out once he put the ball in play, especially on the ground. Then again, he would probably always overrun the bases, leading to hilarious scrambles and maybe some extra outs. With no way to grip the ground (and we’ll say no mound, for safety), I don’t think pitchers would be able to air it out, either, so there’s no inherent advantage there. I’m thinking incredibly long, and high-scoring games. Thoughts?
- The Dodgers have signed Paul Maholm to a one-year, $1.5 million deal, which immediately got folks grousing: if Maholm could be had so cheaply, why wouldn’t the Cubs grab him? Or why would they spend four times as much on Jason Hammel? Well, setting aside the fact that Hammel offers more upside (which should be the focus in deals like these), don’t ignore the huge addendum to Maholm’s contract: incentives. They’re easy to ignore, because usually they’re just a cherry on top of the sundae of the contract (Hammel’s got a little bit of incentive money built into his contract, too). But Maholm’s deal is the definition of an “incentive-laden contract” – it comes with $5 million worth of incentives, which are almost certainly tied to starts. Given that huge number, I’m guessing the incentives kick in over the course of a season’s worth of starts at regular intervals. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice contract for the Dodgers, but if Maholm is actually a regular starter (as he would have been with the Cubs), he’s going to make much, much more than $1.5 million. With so many starters on the roster, though, it’s no lock that Maholm will see regular action throughout the year. My guess? He could have gotten more guaranteed money with another team, but he wanted to be on the Dodgers. I made no secret all along that I preferred Hammel, so none of this bothers me in the least.
- Speaking of that Maholm deal, here’s something of interest to the Cubs: the Dodgers opened up the 40-man spot for Maholm by sending Scott Elbert to the 60-day disabled list. After the Jason Hammel signing – not yet official – this was a subject of discussion in the comments. Namely, could the Cubs open a spot for Hammel by simply sending Kyuji Fujikawa (Tommy John surgery) to the 60-day disabled list? As best I could find, the earliest a team can put a player on the disabled list – 15-day, or 60-day – is nine days before the start of the season. But, clearly that’s either no longer the case for the 60-day DL, or it never was, because the Dodgers have done it. Depending on the formulation of this rule, maybe the Cubs won’t have to expose anyone to waivers and/or make a dump trade to accommodate Hammel after all (which, of course, raises the question: why hasn’t his deal been finalized yet? He did have the forearm issue last year, so maybe the physical is a bit more intensive than usual?).
- A handful of minor leaguers have been released from the Cubs’ system, per BA: RHP Daniel Adrian, RHP Carlos Martinez-Pumarino, RHP Eddie Orozco, LHP Matt Iannazzo, LHP Sheldon McDonald, OF Taiwan Easterling. None is particularly noteworthy, though Martinez-Pumarino was, at one time, semi-hyped, Iannazzo was a nice story (undrafted free agent), and Easterling was a hell of an athlete (wide receiver at FSU).
- Conor Glassey writes about the new rules for scouts that one college has imposed for the 2014 season, which ostensibly make it a whole lot tougher for scouts to do their job (and for players to be seen). There are rumors going around that the school in question is N.C. State, which, on the one hand, makes sense, since they’ll be heavily scouted for Carlos Rodon and Trea Turner. On the other hand, shouldn’t a school like that be even more accommodating to scouts? Isn’t the point of this process to have many of your top players selected prominently in the draft so that you can use that fact for future recruiting? (UPDATE: And now I hear that the college at issue might be Stanford. In any event, the point remains.)
- A Q&A with new Cubs color radio man Ron Coomer.
- In case you missed it last evening, the Cubs avoided arbitration with Jeff Samardzija.