Sometimes, writing these off topic intros comes easily. If nothing particularly interesting is going on, I’ll just rattle off about some movie I just saw or am planning to see. But today … I got nothing.
So I hope you enjoy circular, meta conversations about not having anything to write about. Here’s some news from around the league …
- After learning that the Cardinals’ big offseason bullpen acquisition – and expected closer – Luke Gregerson would start the season on the disabled list (hamstring), the team got more bad news. Veteran Adam Wainwright will also begin the season the disabled list, after injuring his hamstring during conditioning drills earlier in the week. Wainwright’s injury is expected to be less severe than Gregerson’s, but at 36-years-old, extra precautions need to be taken (and hamstring injuries tend to linger).
- But while the Cardinals are surely disappointed to see Wainwright go down (their rotation already looked like it could use some help before this), I’m not sure the immediate impact will *definitely* be all that bad. In fact, his replacement, Jack Flaherty, is a 22-year-old top prospect (#38 in all of baseball, #2 to the Cardinals) who briefly made his debut last season. And while Wainwright brings a lot to the table, Flaherty is actually projected to be better than him this season in terms of production.
- There’s no doubt that the Cardinals early-season depth took a hit, but if Flaherty looks as good as he can be, the Cardinals might’ve spared themselves some wasted starts, be it via a less effective Wainwright or someone else in the rotation.
- The extension season may have come late this year, but after the Phillies deal for top prospect Scott Kingery was reported yesterday, the D-Backs have one of their own to report today:
Sources: #DBacks, Ketel Marte in agreement on five-year, $24 million extension that includes two option years worth $22 million.
Possible total value: 7-years, $46 million.
— Robert Murray (@RobertMurrayFRS) March 26, 2018
- Unlike Kingery, Marte, 24, is not a prospect – he debuted back in 2015 – so his deal is actually a little more interesting/usable for the Cubs’ purposes. With that said, he’s never really had the prospect pedigree of guys like Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Addison Russell, Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber, or Albert Almora, so it’s more of a floor than anything else. But even that has educational value. And moreover, he’s still a 24-year-old shortstop, who just signed an extension … the Cubs have a couple of those. This deal will matter.
- Ken Rosenthal is back (from back surgery)! And he’s got a ton of interesting notes/thoughts at The Athletic you’ll want to check out. Among the most interesting is a conversation about Jose Altuve’s seven-year, $163.5M extension and why it was the right call for him, despite the possibility to earn more money in free agency (previously) just two years away. In short, Altuve is a great player, but his place in the game might never be more highly regarded is right now, and the signing bonuses that he gets up front help makeup for the previously low salaries in 2018 and 2019.
- Also from that piece, Rosenthal does not believe the Phillies will exercise their two-year extension on Jake Arrieta, which would turn his three-year, $75 million deal into a five year deal worth somewhere between $115-$135 million. In fact, Rosenthal seems to believe that the added years and dollars left up to the Phillies was really an “eyewash to satisfy Boras, who can point to the possibility of Arrieta exceeding Darvish’s $126 million guarantee.” Of course, as Rosenthal points out, even though Arrieta has the higher AAV, his guaranteed deal is half as long.
- After discussing why we shouldn’t be worried about Shohei Ohtani’s spring stats, the way the market played out from Scott Boras’ perspective, and a few other items, he concluded his article with this: “And finally, this text from a scout… ‘The STL closer is? Dom Leone? Greg Holland? Unreal.’ Presented without comment.” I get the sense that the scout was just prognosticating, but we’ve maintained that Holland makes sense for the Cardinals for a while now, and that was *before* they lost Gregerson.
- Miguel Montero is hanging around:
SO, Miguel Montero will be the Nationals’ backup catcher.
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) March 24, 2018
- After being dealt by the Cubs last season, Montero slashed .216/.310/.346 (74 wRC+) for the Blue Jays, while his defense continued to struggle. Overall, in 76 games with Toronto, Miggy was worth -0.4 WAR. Now, he’ll back up Matt Wieters in Washington D.C., where the Nationals were unable to consummate that deal for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto.
- In other roster news:
#Brewers have informed Yovani Gallardo he won't make team.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 24, 2018
- The Brewers rotation dilemma reminds me a lot of the Cardinals bullpen issues. The Brewers will already be playing half of the season without Jimmy Nelson, and now, they’ve cut one of the arms they did bring in to compete for the back of the rotation. Brett discussed their rotation plans in depth at the end of last week, when it was revealed that the Brewers tried and failed to land Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb. I just think this’ll be their biggest hurdle overcome this season.
- The Minor League/minimum wage/newly minted spending bill story gets a little attention at Forbes: “The provision, that is now law, has created a backlash from baseball fans and the media. Certainly, the optics are terrible. Major League Baseball pays the salaries for the minor leaguers and given the lack of free agent signings in MLB this off-season, coupled with revenues that now hover around $12 billion annually, it comes off as greedy owners hurting kids with a dream to play in the Big Leagues.” I’ve already said a lot about this, so I won’t harp on it now (for that, check out these MLBits from a few days ago). Instead, if you’re interested in some of the average salaries at different levels and the interplay between MLB and MiLB, Maury Brown’s piece at Forbes should be for you.
- Dusty Baker may not be managing anymore, but he’s not done yet:
For the first time in 16 years, Dusty Baker is returning to the #SFGiants. The Giants are expected to announce today at their luncheon that Baker will be a special advisor to Larry Baer while also reporting to executive VP Brian Sabean. A fabulous reunion.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 26, 2018
- Lewis Brinson, the former Brewers top prospect sent to the Marlins in exchange for Christian Yelich, has made the Marlins roster and will start in center field against the Cubs this Thursday. In other exciting starter news for Thursday, Starlin Castro will be manning second base, as expected.
- This is both hilarious and proof that “acting like you belong,” totally works if you really believe it:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) March 26, 2018