For all my movie-buffs out there, I saw “Annihilation” this weekend, and it was really great – definitely worth seeing in theaters. It’s a mysterious/dramatic sci-fi movie from the writer/director of “Ex Machina” (which was also excellent), and I’ve been thinking about it since I left the theater.
Given the mysterious nature of the movie, I can’t really say much more about it, but if you’re down with futuristic, psychological thrillers/adventures, you’ll love it.
Here’s some news from around the league …
- The Philadelphia Phillies announced the signing of Jake Arrieta today with a televised press conference – including Arrieta in his new threads, of course – and you can check it out right here. As expected, Arrieta thanks the owners/coaches/front office executives for believing in him and believing that he can move the needle in a positive direction, despite the existence of a rebuild in Philadelphia.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) March 13, 2018
- From the Phillies side, the team is expecting Arrieta to keep being his competitive self to set an example for a young organization, hungry to turn the corner. And while this is all well-and-good, it also got me thinking about Rangers fans right now. As we sit here and reminisce about the good times we had with Jake now that he’s officially in a Phillies uniform, Rangers fans are probably doing the same with Yu Darvish, who pitched in that organization for almost exactly the same number of years and starts, earning almost exactly the same amount of WAR. It’s nothing revelatory, but it’s just some food for thought. [Brett: Or are they? There was the trade to the Dodgers to give them a little space, and I always got the sense that Rangers fans didn’t entirely appreciate Darvish while they had him.]
- Good news on the new Rays stadium front: the county in which the stadium is hoping to be built just had a record year in tourism ($600 million in hotels, motels, and other short-term rentals), which means, as a “high-impact tourism” county, their tourism tax can be raised from 5 cents/dollar to 6 cents/dollar. That’s good news, because the added tax revenue from non-residents can be used to build the stadium (obviously it won’t cover all of it, but it’s a good, frictionless start). In other words, this is an organic way to raise taxes on tourists – not residents – to help pay for the stadium. And when this and the A’s stadium situations get settled, the league can finally start seriously planning for expansion. So that’s fun.
- You may not have known this, but even after adding Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, the Milwaukee Brewers are still only projected to go 78-84 this season … which isn’t very good. Of course, it’s a bit of a brow-raiser for most, given that the team made some quality additions to a young, developing roster that won 86 games just last season. At FanGraphs, Jay Jaffe tries to figure out what’s going on, position by position, and it’s a really great comprehensive read. One of the most important takeaways, though, is that while the Brewers won 86 games last year, they were projected to win just 70 on Opening Day. In terms of over-achievement, then, they were tied for the most in the Majors. So, in reality, their projections do look a lot better this time around, they just need to over-perform yet again (just not as much).
- You may have heard that Zack Greinke’s velocity is down again this Spring, but remembered not to worry because veterans like him are always dealing with velocity issues, but are confident that they’ll be ready by … what’s that now, Mr. Greinke? “Every year, I get nervous that it’s not working good enough and that it’s not going to come fast enough,” Greinke said. “Same thing this year. I think it’s going to be ready, but in the back of my mind I’m always a little nervous that it’s not actually going to be there and be ready by the time the season starts.”
- Apparently, those comments were enough to nudge D-Backs manager Torey Lovullo away from naming Greinke as his Opening Day starter for now. As many of you know, Greinke dealt with some anxiety and depression issues very early on in his career, but that isn’t necessarily what this is (we can’t really know). In the end, he’s a veteran and knows his body better than most. If something feels off more so than usual, maybe something is. He managed to pitch exceptionally well last year without great velocity, so he may just need a little time to get back into that 90-ish mph range, at least.
- This is just crazy:
The Yankees were the only team to make Neil Walker an offer this offseason.
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) March 12, 2018
- As Brett recently pointed out, Walker has been an above-average offensive contributor every single season since 2010 (his first full season), and just ONE TEAM gave him a Major League offer. That’s just wild.
- Speaking of this weird offseason, Buster Olney at EPSN writes that no one wants a do-over more than Scott Boras, who “lost to the market, in a rout.” Olney runs through the deals some of Boras’ clients got, and the deals they were previously offered (either recent extension offers, other free agent deals, or unaccepted qualified offers).
- The Houston Astros were at the White House yesterday, and Jose Altuve got a lot of attention:
Holy daggers, Altuve. (via Getty) pic.twitter.com/NMUBqy28Z2
— Brett Taylor (@Brett_A_Taylor) March 12, 2018
Altuve v. Trump. pic.twitter.com/acAtMexe1q
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) March 12, 2018
- One member of the team, Carlos Correa, skipped the White House meeting, but it may not have been for political reasons. “It was not politics or anything. It was just that the day off was perfect to be able to provide some help for the people in Puerto Rico in need. It’s an honor to be invited to the White House. I want to thank the president for all the help he provided to my second hometown, which is Houston, and some of the help he’s provided to Puerto Rico, but we’re still in need in Puerto Rico.” Specifically, Correa helped to arrange relief supplies for shipment to his native, Puerto Rico, which is still dealing with the fallout from Hurricane Maria. Good man.
- The Brewers have been granted an extra option year on pitcher Junior Guerra, which will allow them to freely move him between the Major and Minor Leagues for an extra season. You can check out the specifics at NBC Sports, but in general, certain players who debut and breakout later in their careers without enough Minor League team come with an extra option season. It’s a bummer for the pitcher, who might be forced down to the Minors during a roster crunch in favor of a lesser player without options (think Tommy La Stella and/or Justin Grimm in recent years), but it’s part of the process.
- Matt Bush’s experiment as a starter in Texas is over, and he couldn’t be happier about it. “I’m very happy and I get to go back to doing what I know how to do,” Bush said Monday. “I feel like we have a really great team this year. There are plenty of good starters and this is a role they need me to go back to. They know what they are doing and I feel like it is the right decision.” Remember when the Rangers’ six-man rotation was going to be really wild and interesting? That has all pretty much evaporated, and now their rotation will just be normal, boring, and probably not good.
- Tim Tebow will NOT be breaking camp with the big league Mets:
"It's not like I'm surprised. It's not like, 'Oh my gosh.'"
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) March 13, 2018
- What in the:
Is … is this real?! pic.twitter.com/s80qCvfWrn
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) March 13, 2018
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) March 13, 2018