I am just four short days away from heading to Arizona and watching the Chicago Cubs play real live baseball games.
OK, “real” games or not, I am excited as hell.
Hopefully, I’ll even get to see/meet some of you there. I’ll be at the games on Friday (section 114) and Saturday (in the lawn/general admission area).
Until then, let’s check in on some news from around the league …
- The New York Yankees are reportedly asking our old friend Starlin Castro to begin learning third base, in anticipation of backing up Chase Headley for the 2016 season. Of course, Castro had only just moved off of shortstop to learn second base late last season, so there is quite a bit on his plate at the moment. “It’s a lot to learn,” Castro told Wallace Mathews of ESPN, “I’m still learning to play second.” Castro has been working with Alex Rodriguez – who made a similar change during his career – and both he and manager Joe Girardi believe Castro is capable of the switch. Best of luck to Castro. I hope he’s excellent for the Yankees.
- Speaking of former Cubs, Edwin Jackson has a chance at winning a spot at the back end of the Miami Marlins rotation, despite appearing primarily out of the bullpen in 2015. He will be fighting for the one remaining spot with young left handers Adam Conley and Justin Nicolino. Michael Hill, the Marlins President of Baseball Operations, believes in Jackson’s stuff, which “hasn’t diminished at all,” and was, to be fair, always very well-regarded. He’ll be working with Juan Nieves and pitching guru Jim Benedict to make his return to the rotation this Spring. The Cubs still owe Jackson $10.5 million in 2016, while the Marlins will pay him the Major League minimum.
- Cleveland Indians outfielder Abraham Almonte has received an 80 game suspension, after testing positive for Boldenone, a performance enhancing substance in violation of MLB’s drug policy. The suspension will begin at the the start of the 2016 season. It’s not worth it, friends.
- Despite rumors to the contrary, the next CBA will not limit media access to players before or after the game. Immediately following the inaccurate reports of Dexter Fowler’s deal with the Orioles, some pundits around baseball expected MLBPA Chief Tony Clark to push for greater media restrictions in the upcoming CBA (even as the connection between the two things was unclear). Apparently, the BBWAA has been assured that that will not be the case.
- Remember when Rafael Soriano was briefly on the Cubs? Well, it’s now being reported that the 36-year-old reliever will be trying to catch on with the Blue Jays this Spring.
- As you may know, Brett also runs – and I also contribute to – another site called Baseball is Fun. The purpose of that site is to share and discuss goofy/funny/interesting stories from around baseball, that aren’t otherwise “newsworthy” or “serious.” The story I plan on sharing for this bullet, however, would not make the cut. BUT, if there were an evil twin sister site – perhaps known as “Baseball is NOT Fun” – this would be an idea candidate: The Orioles will no longer allow Adam Jones to shove pies in the face of the players of the game. Bah humbug. [Brett: Dude! I had the exact same “Baseball is NOT Fun” thought for this! We are kindred spirits.]
- And lastly, the next CBA negotiations could be quite contentious. And, at the middle of the fight, you’ll find the very common, but very difficult to solve owner v. workforce compensation argument. With profits soaring lately, the league is making as much money as ever. Hopefully, both sides can find a way to enjoy the profits equally/fairly, so we never lose any baseball over it.