There is actual, it-really-counts baseball about to be played! The opening series in Australia between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks kicks off at 4am tomorrow morning (which, if my calculations are right, is 7pm last Tuesday in Australia – wait! who won?).
- The biggest news is some pretty scary news, as Reds closer Aroldis Chapman took a line drive off of the face earlier this week. It was a grim scene, but the good news is that testing yesterday showed he has no brain damage, and mostly just has some facial injuries. It’ll take him six to eight weeks to recover, and, assuming that goes all right, he’ll be able to pitch a little while after that. There’s no real rumor-y impact here, just baseball impact, and, well, human impact. Glad to hear that he’s going to be OK.
- Ken Rosenthal reports that the Astros last year offered prospect George Springer – the studly-but-swing-and-miss-prone AAA center fielder – a seven-year, $23 million contract. That would have been a pretty significant deal, the first Evan Longoria-like extension since the Rays gave their third baseman $17.5 million after just a week in the big leagues. It’s a huge risk/reward deal, both for the team and the player, and it makes you wonder if these kind of pre-debut extensions are on the way. (You’d think, by the way, that someone like Javier Baez – and a team like the Cubs – would be a prime candidate.) Rosenthal’s main point is that it’s silly that the Astros won’t open the season with Springer in the big leagues if they were willing to make him that offer (which he declined), and he criticizes the service time games that teams play. Shrug. That’s the system, though.
- Jonah Keri writes a fantastic piece on the men in charge of the A’s and changing nature of baseball. In it – and this is a relatively minor point, considering the scope of the article – Billy Beane offered an interesting, and unlikely, suggestion: “I ultimately think what replaces the draft should be based on revenue, and that you shouldn’t be rewarded for poor performance. If you think about it, the draft is the only time that a team like Tampa, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, or us, the draft is the only time these teams have access to the really star-caliber players. Because the industry is much better now at selecting the star players. They come at the top of the draft. We win the division, but it would be nice to still be in the top 10, to draft where the Lincecums come, and the Poseys come.” You don’t need me to tell you that, until the Cubs are better able to leverage their market financially, such a system would be a disaster for the Cubs.
- An absolutely crazy read on the Mets and stud Matt Harvey, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery and isn’t exactly feeling the love from his organization. The main thrust is that Harvey wants to be able to rehab in New York this year, with his teammates, rather than staying in Florida at the Mets’ Spring Training complex. It also sounds like the Mets don’t want Harvey talking to the media about the issue, but he decided to do it anyway. Like I said … crazy read.
- Ben Lindbergh with a wrap-up from the recent SABR Conference. Far more interesting nuggets than I could even try to list here.
- Jeff Passan on the blight of pitcher injuries, and the mysteries we may never solve.
- Lip-reading and GIF’ing umpire arguments from last year? Holy yes please, BP.
- The Diamondbacks will be serving an 18″ corn dog stuffed with cheddar, bacon, and jalapeños. Hope you got yourself some Obamacare before digging in to one of these bad boys:
— CBSSports.com (@CBSSports) March 18, 2014