MLBits: Horrible IFA Stories, Molina's an All-Star, Beating the Shift, Reds Spending, New Rays Stadium, More

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MLBits: Horrible IFA Stories, Molina’s an All-Star, Beating the Shift, Reds Spending, New Rays Stadium, More

MLB News and Rumors

I saw Ant-Man and the Wasp this weekend, and it was pretty good. Not my favorite of the recent Marvel movies – Avengers 3, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 were all aces in my (comic)book – but it was definitely funny and fit in the timeline/universe well (hich, if you saw the last Avengers, you know isn’t an easy task). There’s also some good, unique action in it and Paul Rudd still has a ton of charmingly-comedic goofiness to him. Definitely worth seeing in theaters if you’ve got the time.

And now the reason you’re actually here. Baseball stuff from around the league …

  • I hate to change gears so abruptly, but the following story is both serious and depressing, so I want to give you a head’s up. Or rather, I just want to put things in the right tone, before we talk about how some kids in the Dominican Republic – some as young as 12 and 13 years old – are essentially coerced into taking steroids to appear bigger and stronger than their peers, so that by the time big league teams come calling for commitments at 14, they’ll be plucked out of poverty and out of the clutches of “buscones,” the local handlers/scouts/trainers, who can be as corrupt and immoral as they’re able to get away with.
  • At Yahoo Sports, Jeff Passan dives into the world of international free agents in Latin America and how, sure, in some cases, these baseball programs can change and/or save kids’ lives, but in others, the stories can be much darker. And if you’re not planning on reading it – although you should – I’d caution where you point the finger of blame. MLB and their 30 teams often either have at worst, a direct/indirect hand in the sometimes dark world of international scouting, and at best, turn a blind eye. Or, if I’m being generous, are incompetent on this particular front. For just one example, it seems Enrique Soto, convicted of raping two teenage brothers at his academy in 2013, organized a showcase in the D.R. that was attended by scouts from half a dozen MLB teams.

  • The league, through it’s Partnership Program is trying to instill some rules, regulations, and general intervention, but 1) they’re certainly not doing enough, and 2) still stand to benefit from identifying talent as young as possible. Until something on that latter point changes (like an international draft, for one example (and even then … )), there are going to be issues.
  • Willson Contreras was selected as the NL starter in the 2018 MLB All-Star game, and he was to be backed up by Buster Posey and J.T. Realmuto. But, as Posey plans on resting a right hip injury during the break, Yadier Molina will take his place. Molina is having a fine season at the plate (his best since his 5.5 WAR 2013 season, actually), and is a deserving replacement.
  • Francisco Cervelli and Adam Eaton had a weird confrontation last night leading to the benches clearing on both sides. Apparently, Eaton had some issues with a couple of strike calls and let the home plate umpire know he was upset, when that happened, Cervelli walked away from the plate and Eaton asked him where he was going, believing that Cervelli was, either intentionally or not, making a bigger deal out of the situation as a point. When you watch the video, Cervelli’s exit is very odd, but who knows what his intention was – certainly, being a Pirate, he wasn’t trying to show anyone up.
  • I’ve decided I’m taking both sides on the ban the shift/protect the shift argument, depending on when it favors the Cubs.

  • But if you have more consistent thoughts on the shift (on either side of the debate), you might be interested in MLB hitters explaining why they can’t just beat it. Daniel Murphy, Kyle Seager, and Matt Carpenter all weigh in.
  • The Brewers may already be proving it on the field, but given how well the Reds have played over the last month or so, it’s fair to say they could be coming out of their rebuild prolonged stretch of losing soon, too. And to help, Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams claims the team will be spending more money (i.e. carrying a bigger budget) as soon as next season: “That’s the internal plan. What we’ve said is that we’ve always tried to put as much of (the payroll) on the field as we can. We now feel like the last couple of years, we’ve taken a lot of our resources and allocated them into the amateur draft, the international market. We hope that can shift back toward Major League payroll.” They picked the right offseason to do it.
  • Chris Archer’s got beef with his fellow players on Blake Snell missing the All-Star game:

  • And he’s got a point – not just on Snell, but all All-Stars in general – as Travis Sawchik of FanGraphs explores further.
  • This is just absolutely nuts. After an absolutely wonderful and brilliant first 1,000 innings of his career, Clayton Kershaw just doubled down on the second 1,000 innings and was even more impressive:

  • The stadium will reportedly cost $892M to build, and the team admits they’re not sure who exactly will pay for that yet (lol). It’s also a pretty awesome looking stadium, with a $240M transparent roof (sweet), and a seating capacity of just 28,216 (perhaps that’s a good idea). The location of the stadium (Ybor City), from what I understand, is also vastly improved. Most importantly, this represents a big step forward for expansion – the Commissioner said once the Rays and A’s stadium situations are resolved, expansion will be the next big project.
  • Finally, a little Baseball is Fun for your Tuesday: Scooter Gennett made an unbelievable bare-handed play last night after a ball ricocheted off Joey Votto’s glove and forced Gennett to switch directions immediately:


Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.