Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

mlb logo featureNotable things are happening around baseball as we inch closer to Opening Night in Chicago.

  • Twins starter Ervin Santana was suspended 80 games for violating MLB’s drug prevention and treatment program. He was the Twins’ biggest offseason signing, inking a deal worth $55 million over the next four seasons. Not only will he be unavailable until July, the suspension will cost him more than $6 million in salary.
  • While Ervin Santana was suspended, Josh Hamilton was not — and the Angels kind of freaked out. Tim Brown of Yahoo! weighed in with what I thought might have been the best perspective of the Angels’ reaction.

  • Thirty percent of players don’t care about Alex Rodriguez’s return from a year long suspension, according to ESPN’s annual anonymous MLB player poll. The poll always features some interesting results, including World Series favorite (Nationals, 30 percent), most overrated player (Bryce Harper, 41 percent), and the Marlins checking in as the team voted most likely to be the 2014 Royals (25 percent).
  • Sam Miller takes a look at “the stupidest rule in baseball” — the free agent compensation system and what has happened since its most recent implementation.
  • It looks like the Royals and Yordano Ventura are coming together on a five-year contract extension.
  • After being unable to come to a deal with the Astros in the fallout of the Brady Aiken draft saga, pitcher Jacob Nix is looking for better things in the 2015 draft. Nix, the Astros’ fifth-round pick who was slotted to get first-round money, is currently pitching in the postgrad program at the IMG Academy.

  • The St. Petersburg city council and the Tampa Bay Rays continue to be at odds. The most recent development is the city council denying considering re-negotiations of the lease the Rays have with the city. Rays owner Stu Sternberg expressed his disappointment, saying: “…[I]t is disappointing not to be able to move forward cooperatively with St. Petersburg.” At some point, leaving Tampa Bay has got to become a real possibility.
  • The MLBPA was rather vocal the day Kris Bryant was sent down to the minor leagues. Yet, major leaguers’ meal per diem jumps from $99 to $100.50 this year. It’s not easy being a minor leaguer, that’s for sure. The MLBPA probably needs to really start looking out for its minor league players.
  • On the flip side, over at FanGraphs, Nathaniel Grow checks in with what might be the MLBPA’s biggest problem: a decline in players share of total MLB revenues. Sure, there is the issue of service time manipulation that needs to be dealt with, among other things, but the next CBA should be a doozy – and it starts with a more appropriate split of revenues.
  • MLB is working hard on in-market streaming, and hopes to have a solution as soon as sometime this season. (I doubt it’ll end blackouts, though — instead, it’s probably going to be a verified subscriber thing.)

  • Hardball Times digs in on FIP, which is my favorite stat in which to judge pitchers by. If you’re tired of judging pitchers by won-loss record and ERA, FIP is the stat for you.
  • Brewers reliever Will Smith has you covered if you want to skip class on Opening Day. It’s a shame I didn’t have Smith around when I was taken out of class to see Tuffy Rhodes hit three homers off Doc Gooden in a game the Cubs still found a way to lose:

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