News from around the league…
- MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has been “floating the idea” of reducing the MLB season from 162 games back to 154 games. This article at ESPN does a good job of laying out both sides of the idea and unpacking the impact it will have on players, teams and the record books. I understand that some of the counting benchmarks (200 hits, 25 home runs, etc…) will be harder to reach within a shortened season, but it’s not as though there haven’t been schedule and rule changes before. Some active players even think that reducing the schedule will increase player performance, reduce PED abuse (for recovery) and be better for baseball as whole. Of course, money will always be a factor in this sort of decision and fewer games could mean less money unless teams made up for it in ticket prices or volume sold per game. What do you think about a shorter season?
- The Cincinnati Reds can take a semi-breather as the MRI exam on Johnny Cueto revealed no tear in his right (pitching) elbow. The Reds aren’t expected to contend into the season, but Cueto – who is a free agent at the end of the year – is possibly their biggest trade chip, if they ultimately choose to trade him, that is. Although the news is good for the Reds, so far, there is no announced return date yet. Cueto is 3-4 with a 3.03 ERA (3.34 FIP) through nine games in 2015.
- After asking current and former players about lineup protection last week, Fangraphs’ David Laurila spoke with nine pitchers, two pitching coaches and a pitcher-turned broadcaster on whether or not the “Pitching Win” stat should be killed. There’s a pretty consistent answer throughout the responses that goes something like, “Pitcher Wins aren’t important, but we definitely shouldn’t get rid of them, because history.” I think the issue may be born out of the fact that people use stats for different purposes. I use statistics to gauge how good a player will perform in the future, based on things he was able to control in the past. In this vein, pitcher wins are useless. However, I’m aware that others use statistics to tell a story of how good someone was, based on results alone – regardless of if those results were within their control or not, because #TWTW.
- At The Hardball Times, Jeff Zimmerman wonders whether or not we need to reevaluate the positional adjustment assigned to different positions in the calculation of player WAR. There are some notable changes in the spectrum, according to Zimmerman, who notes that the outfield corners may be harder than we originally thought and that center field should be right there defensively with second and third bases.
- Just last week, we discussed the Marlins’ odd managerial hire, GM Dan Jennings, and just how unorthodox of a move it was. Regardless of whether Jennings has the knowledge or not, I figured he would struggle with the credibility side of the role throughout the season. While writing that article, though, I envisioned credibility struggles among his (and other) players, not from other managers around the league. (It does appear, though, that he has struggled with the players, as well:
The #Marlins under Jennings could turn into a soap opera. Numerous sources say frustration among players mounting.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 26, 2015
- Aaron Barrett and Aaron Harang battled in a spirited, but unusual contest to see who could remain on the field longest, after the singing of the national anthem. Supported by additional equipment and water from their respective teams, the duo remained on the field (out of play) even after Max Scherzer threw his first pitch. The Washington Post has more on the event, as well as who won the challenge.
- The Kansas City Royals are dominating the early All-Star Game balloting, which is what happens when your team has recently attended the World Series:
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) May 26, 2015
- Phillies General Manager, Ruben Amaro, Jr. choose some interesting words, while discussing the more impatient fans in Philadelphia that want to see him rush young prospects and expedite plans. Even if the message behind Amaro’s words were right, his delivery was poor. I continue to respect the professionalism and commitment of the Cubs’ front office.