Having already written these MLBits and come back to the top to write this introduction, I’m reminded about the Cubs’ relative good fortune with injuries over the past two seasons.
While they’ve certainly had their fair share of guys hit the disabled list, the majority of injuries have avoided the upper-tier players.
I’m not sure how long we can expect that good fortune to continue, but at least the Cubs have some really significant depth in most directions.
Just something to keep in while you read some news from around MLB …
- Marlins reliever Carter Caps underwent an MRI on Monday after experiencing discomfort in his throwing arm, during his last scheduled bullpen session, and hasn’t thrown since. Capps, 25, has already missed time in both of the last two seasons due to elbow-related issues, so this isn’t unfamiliar territory for the righty.
- The results of the MRI have yet to be announced (if they will), because they’ve been shipped out for a second opinion. It is quite common to be especially cautious with pitchers this early in the Spring, but this sounds more like legitimate injury. Which, of course, would be a bummer for Capps and the Marlins, because when he’s playing, he’s excellent (1.16 ERA, 1.10 FIP, 1.3 WAR in 31 innings in 2015). [Brett: Even if his delivery should be declared illegal by MLB, which it hasn’t been.]
- Yesterday, Salvador Perez signed an interesting extension with the Kansas City Royals, because it came on top of an already existing one, which was famously maligned, but had Perez under extraordinarily cheap team control for a very long time. Starting this season, the new deal covers six years with a total guarantee of $52.5 million. The new deal locks in what were otherwise three team option years, while adding two more years to the end, as well. You’re going to see this deal discussed quite a bit, because it seems like part of the reason the Royals did it was to alleviate concerns about just how underpaid Perez was going to be for a long time. Of course, that’s part of the reason teams sign extremely early extensions (Perez was signed before he even had a full year of service time) in the first place – they risk the guaranteed money in exchange for the upside of an under-market deal.
- At Philly.com, Matt Gelb writes an excellent story on Phillies reliever Mario Hollands’ journey back to baseball after Tommy John Surgery. I have to admit, I underestimated the mental and physical stress of rehabilitation. It’s a worthwhile read.
- At Cut4, Jordan Shusterman (Cespedes Family BBQ) writes about a fun hypothetical: what if all offseason transactions were kept completely secret until players reported to Spring Training? Imagine the excitement the Cubs (and we all) experienced with Dexter Fowler’s unexpected return, and then add Jason Heyward, John Lackey, Ben Zobrist etc…. it would certainly be fun, but boy would it be nerve-wracking. He writes about it from the perspective of the Cubs, D-backs, Red Sox, Braves and Mets. Can you imagine how the Cardinals fans would feel? Can you imagine how it would feel wondering where Starlin Castro was?
- After years of hosting a home run haven, the Colorado Rockies will be raising the outfield walls of Coors Field, to make it “potentially more playable and more fair – for pitchers,” says Nick Groke of the Denver Post. The wall between right-center and right field will increase by 8 feet, 9 inches for the upcoming season, while the left field wall (down the line) will rise by 5-13 feet (to be determined). Using a formula that accounts for launch angle and exit velocity off the bat, the changes were meant to reduce “easy homers,” specifically. By one measure, the total home run mark at Coors Field is expected to fall by 5-6% in 2016.
- Although Yadier Molina’s status for Opening Day remains in question, he finally crouched behind the plate, over the weekend, and caught an Adam Wainwright bullpen session. If you recall, it’s been about a month since Molina had the cast on his left hand removed after undergoing a second thumb surgery back in December. Although he can catch, Molina has yet to swing a bat – which is why Opening Day is still in question. Still, after a down couple of years at the plate, most of his value is expected to come from behind the dish, anyway, in 2016.
- Giants outfielder Hunter Pence was diagnosed with inflammation in his right Achilles, following an MRI on Monday. However, that is actually good news, because it means there was no structural damage in the area. Pence, who only played in 52 games for the Giants last year (in part because a stray Corey Black pitch broke his arm early in Spring Training), should only miss about a week due to the injury.
- It turns out that James Shields can really crush the ball and chuck a bat.
- His new manager kept calling the NL MVP Royce Harper, but Harper got his revenge on Rusty Baker.
- And lastly, this is very cool:
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.