Getting through these MLBits is a challenge with the Cubs game going on in the background. Especially with Ian Happ’s leadoff homer getting me all excited right off the bat.
That one was his second leadoff homer of the Spring, and it was nearly his third (he flew out to the warning track in the first game of the Cactus League season). I guessed we’d see a lot more of Ian Happ this year, and so far he’s making that decision look easy.
Here’s some news from around the league …
- In case you missed it earlier, the MLB Players Association has filed a formal grievance against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, and Miami Marlins this winter. The allegation is that, over the course of the last two season, those teams have received revenue-sharing money from the rest of the league, but have not spent it to improve their on-field product, as required. Well, after that went public, the Pirates issued a response: “The MLBPA’s grievance against the Pirates is patently baseless. We look forward to demonstrating as much to the Arbitrator if the MLBPA continues to pursue this meritless claim. As indicated when the MLBPA first expressed its ‘concern’ in a press release, the Pirates have always invested its revenue sharing receipts in a manner entirely consistent with the Basic Agreement.” There’s more to the statement, which you can see in full here.
- I want to have more to say on this, but, frankly, it’s pretty impossible for an outsider to comment intelligently. Obviously (OBVIOUSLY) the Marlins and Rays have had very significant fire sales this offseason (and the Pirates are not too far behind), but they are still spending some money, and without knowing exactly how much they received, how much they’ve spent, and where exactly the dollars are going … how can we say if they’re right or wrong? Instinctually, it sure seems like they should be spending more, but I bet the numbers will line up, because it’s just too blatant and public of an offense otherwise.
- Bummer: White Sox third baseman Jake Burger has a ruptured left Achilles tendon and will undergo season ending surgery on Thursday. Burger, 21, was drafted 11th overall last season and got a $3.7M signing bonus. Burger is currently ranked as the White Sox’s 10th best prospect per MLB Pipeline, but his stock was on the rise and that’s a pretty loaded system. Losing a first-rounder can be frustrating for a rebuilding team’s fanbase – especially one so close to turning the corner.
- Be gentle with him:
CC said Ryan Braun will play at 1B tomorrow vs. Giants. Said things are going well, Braun is assimilating nicely and all are aware to be careful with his back.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) February 27, 2018
- With Domingo Santana, Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, Brett Phillips, and Keon Broxton all more or less in the outfield picture, the Brewers were going to have to move Braun to the infield for some starts. If Braun plays first, I’m not sure where that leaves Eric Thames (the Brewers also have Jesus Aguilar), but I’m sure they’ll figure it out. I gotta say, while the Brewers do have some talent on that team, the roster is weirdly imbalanced.
- The free agent Spring Training camp is still going on, and it’s getting even more serious. Now, they’ve even scheduled exhibition games against a Japanese amateur team so the players can get some live game action. And while that’s definitely a good idea, I gotta say we’re getting dangerously close to the take what you can get part of the offseason, I’d think.
- Although baseball players suffer serious injuries every season, there’s no denying the luck they’ve had in avoiding the significant, wide-spread concussion problems of the NFL. Of course, that doesn’t mean it never happens. Last August 4, Brandon Belt took a curveball to the helmet, which resulted in the fourth concussion of his career and sent him into a depression-like spiral for the several months that followed. At The Athletic, Andrew Baggarly discusses the issue with Belt and his wife, and it’s a good reminder how serious and scary concussions can be.
- If sports betting is going to become legal, Major League Baseball wants in on the action and wants to set up parameters that secure the integrity of the game.
- Here’s a look at FOX’s extended reach into Major League Baseball broadcasting:
.@MLBONFOX has released its 2018 schedule. @FOXTV will have 12 regional windows. The rest on @FS1. @FOXTV will air the All-Star Game plus the National League Division Series and League Championship Series along with the World Series. pic.twitter.com/vFbStnYVZU
— Ken Fang (@fangsbites) February 26, 2018
- The Freak is getting another chance, reportedly signing with the Texas Rangers. There, Tim Lincecum will join Bartolo Colon, in what’s shaping up to be the most interesting pitching staffs of the spring (though, to be sure, neither is guaranteed to break camp on the 25-man roster). Colon and Lincecum signed before Jake Arrieta. What a world.
- Former Cub Jeimer Candelario (sent to Detroit in the Alex Avila/Justin Wilson trade last season), was involved in a collision with Kevin Gausman at home, when the latter was backing up the plate on an RBI single. Gausman suffered a laceration near his left eye and Candelario bruised his left knee. Both players were removed from the game. Candelario, in case you forgot, absolutely raked upon reaching Detroit last season: .330/.406/.468 (137 wRC+) in over 100 plate appearances. And while he might not truly be *that* good, the offensive upside is definitely there.
- Zack Cozart’s wife is a bada**. When Cozart couldn’t decide if he wanted to move off shortstop (where Andrelton Simmons plays) and second base (where Ian Kinsler plays) for the Angels, she told him to quit being a baby and then asked the following question: “Do you want to go play for the Reds, or do you want to play for the Angels? One team’s trying to win.” Dang, Mrs. Cozart. You’re no joke.
- Yoenis Cespedes (mild shoulder soreness) and Jacob deGrom (lower back stiffness) are the latest two Mets to be slowed by injuries. And while I think (if I recall correctly) both injuries are familiar to these players, at some point someone’s gotta ask what the Mets are doing wrong. This is mostly anecdotal, but I don’t think I can remember any team have as many injuries over a three/four-year period as the 2015-2018 New York Mets. It’s insane.
- Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson discusses his first day as a non-roster invitee to Yankees big league camp. Among the highlights? He hit six homers in batting practice, alongside Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Giancarlo Stanton:
.@DangeRussWilson goes yard.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) February 26, 2018
- I couldn’t agree with Brett more:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 27, 2018
- Acuna is – more or less – the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball, and is also considered one of the more fun players to watch. So, naturally, the Braves response to having a such a talented, fan-friendly, fun-having player is “Whoa, whoa … slow it down a bit. We don’t want you to be too popular and comfortable and happy with where you are.” I don’t understand it. I am also so thankful that the Cubs are nothing like that.
- And finally, for no other reason than why not, I re-visited Bartolo Colon’s first career homer … at age 42 (an MLB record):
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) February 27, 2018