We are just over a week away from Spring Training games, so I am champing at the bit.
I’ll be there for Opening Weekend at Sloan Park – sitting in section 114 on Friday and in the outfield lawn/GA area on Saturday – so stop by, say hi, keep me company and let’s talk about how much we hate the Cardinals.
Until then, however, let’s talk about some of the news from around the league …
- Although there have yet to be any criminal charges brought against Aroldis Chapman, he may yet be punished by MLB because of its new domestic violence policy. One such punishment, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post, could result in a ban from participating in this season’s Spring Training. I can see how that is a real-ish punishment, but given his ability to train on his own and the fact that he’s a reliever (who would see very few innings in the Spring anyway), you might like to see disciplinary action impact regular-season games. Of course, Chapman has already said that he will appeal any disciplinary measures, anyway, so this might drag on for a while.
- Although it seems like the league is financially prepared for expansion (to 32 teams), MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is advocating caution and patience. “Expansion is important,” Manfred said to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, “but I don’t see it as an immediate issue for us.” Given the upcoming CBA negotiations (which are already full of contentious issues) and the possible movement of the Rays and Athletics, expansion might be put on the backburner, for at least a little while. The Commissioner got into a bunch of other topics worth reading about there at that link.
- If you caught it, there is a particularly unflattering picture of (and I don’t say this as a personal opinion) notoriously overweight Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval floating around from Spring Training. But Bill Baer of NBC Sports isn’t taking the bait, and asks what we can really take away from the now-infamous photo. It’s an interesting read and I enjoy his take on the matter. There are plenty of interesting, worthwhile baseball stories out there – including how good/bad Sandoval will be – but his weight, at least as it relates to a single unflattering picture, alone, is not one of them.
- Pirates closer Mark Melancon and reliever Jared Hughes tested out a new MLB-approved protective hat created by a company called Boombang. The caps are getting positive reviews in the comfort/fit department, but come a bit short on style. What do you think? Is it worth it?
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) February 21, 2016
- Barry Bonds – who is now the hitting coach for the Miami Marlins – says God knows he is a Hall of Famer. While neither Brett nor I can speak towards His position on PEDs, God is going to have to be approved by the BBWAA to get a vote first.
- Speaking of the Marlins, the team is – in an actual, serious, no-I’m-not-kidding-they-really-are-doing-this style move – banning facial hair for the 2016 season. The Marlins. Come on guys, that’s not fun.
- According to CSN’s Dan Hayes, the Chicago White Sox have agreed to terms with infielder Jimmy Rollins. Rollins, 37, receives a minor league deal and invitation to camp, a year after hitting .224/.285/.358 in Los Angeles. He was worth 3.8 fWAR in 2014 for the Phillies and it’s nice to see his career live on, but this might be the beginning of the end for the former MVP.
- That said, his services are reportedly still very desired. According to Ken Rosenthal, Rollins rejected two guaranteed deals, from other clubs – for more money as a super utility man – in favor of a chance to win a starting gig in Chicago.
- In case you missed it, I (Michael) am going to be watching 20 baseball movies before Spring Training is over and writing about them along the way. Then, at the end of the Spring, I’ll have a final ranking for you, including some interesting bits on the amount of time actually spent playing baseball in each movie, the biggest baseball lesson learned and much more! Watch along on Twitter, by following me @Michael_Cerami or by using the hashtag #BaseballSunday.
- Lastly, don’t forget to send in your questions to AskAway at BleacherNation dot com for the upcoming Q&A-style piece. Last week, we discussed Russell batting 9, the 25-man roster crunch and who will lead the Cubs in homers.