MLBits: The First $100M Deal, MVP Winners, New Rules for Cleats, Manfred Extended, More

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MLBits: The First $100M Deal, MVP Winners, New Rules for Cleats, Manfred Extended, More

MLB News and Rumors

I think I’ll go see that new horror movie ‘Suspiria’ tonight – a remake of the classic 70s Italian horror film by the same name – and if it’s anything like the original, I’ll have trouble sleeping (which I guess is, like, the goal?).

Making matters far better/worse, I’m gonna go see it at The Music Box theater on Southport which is – BY FAR – my second favorite place in Chicago, behind only Wrigley Field. It’s an old-fashioned movie theater (just one main screen) that plays an equal number of new and old movies (Little Shop of Horrors is playing right after Suspiria, for example). Every time I visit, it’s like stepping into another century, which is cool in general, but also why it’s the perfect place to see a horror movie … it’s scary just walking in. I can’t wait.

Meanwhile, some of the latest from around the league …

  • As you know by now, Javy Baez finished as the clear runner-up in the 2018 NL MVP race, losing to the admittedly obvious winner, Christian Yelich. Yelich played out of his mind in the second half of the season – uh, ya, I remember, bruh – and almost single-handedly won the Brewers that division. As much as it pains me to say, he deserved to win.
  • Meanwhile, Mookie Betts was the winner in the American League, though he finished with one fewer first place vote (28 overall) than Yelich. But I think it probably should’ve been a lot closer than that. I mean, sure, he might have out-WARed Mike Trout 10.4 to 9.8, but Trout (191 wRC+) was actually the better offensive contributor (Betts – 185 wRC+). I can’t help but assume Betts’ higher batting average (.346 v. .312) played a significant role, because you can basically go back and forth in categories one guy leads over the other.

  • Remember when Ben Zobrist – of all people – got into a squabble with the league regarding whether he could wear his all black, throwback cleats during certain games? Well, that (and other, similar quarrels around MLB) spurred some actual change. On Thursday, the league, along with the union, announced a mutual agreement that provides players “increased flexibility” with respect to the colors and design of the shoes they wear on the field. And yet … they stopped short of being actually cool for once. Although there is increased flexibility, players are still limited to black, white, gray, and the colors of their team. There’s a part in there that says “or any additional colors designated by the Players Club,” but why not just allow everything? I get that this change solves Zobrist’s issue, but it still misses the point: LET THE PLAYERS WEAR WHATEVER THEY WANT.
  • I must ask: Why in the world do they care? Assuming the players are still wearing the right brands or whatever, what is the league feeling like it is giving up here? Because for the life of me, I can’t figure it out. All I know is Kris Bryant can’t wear purple cleats, but Nolan Arenado can … what a weird, unnecessary rule. I’m sure most guys will want to wear variations of their team colors anyway, but I don’t know why you’d have to legislate and enforce that. For what it’s worth, Cut4 is more optimistic about what the rule change will mean for custom cleats and shares some ideas for next season from players who’ve worn crazy custom cleats in the past.
  • Commissioner Rob Manfred got his contract extended another five years, ensuring that he’ll be running the league through the next round of CBA negotiations, which are expected to be especially tense. “Every single day has really been a great experience for me,” Manfred said at a news conference in Atlanta. “People overestimate the difficulties ….” That’s a fair place to cut off his quote, right?
  • FanGraphs is losing Carson Cistulli to the Blue Jays front office. And while I’m very happy for him and the Blue Jays, I will miss his work.
  • The Marlins have a new logo and jerseys, but I’m split on how much i like them:

  • Specifically, I think the logo and secondary logo above are actually pretty cool. The colors and arrangement remind me of, like, laser-tag or something. I don’t know, I’m just getting a black-light vibe and I’m digging it. But the jerseys … YAWN:

  • Those are boring. [Brett: They are HORRIBLE. The Marlins actually stepped out with a really bold design the last time around – so much flare, so bright – and then the new crew comes in and kills it, just like the whacky center field statue. The worst.]
  • Along the same lines, the Nationals have a new spring training hat with a different logo, but I’m also lukewarm on it:

  • It’s fine, but … meh.
  • At FanGraphs, Jeff Zimmerman explores and discusses the various, notable velocity changes from the first half to the season to the second half (as well as the first half to September) and one Cubs pitcher stands out among the most notable: Cole Hamels. In the first-half of the year. Hamels averaged 90.8 MPH on his fastball. In the second half, that was up to 92.2 MPH. Given how important Zimmerman believes velocity to be and how much better Hamels’ results were in the second half compared to the first, I’d say this is something to keep a very close eye on. The Cubs put $20M into their belief that Hamels’ second half is closer to his expected results in 2019, and a great deal of that will depend on his velo.
  • With Bryce Harper (and possibly Manny Machado) scheduled to break new contract records within the next month or so, Sports Illustrated looks back at the man, Kevin Brown, who earned the first $100M deal and the reactions around baseball when it went down. Spoiler alert: people thought the Dodgers were nuts. But to be fair, they were: Brown was 34 when he signed the 7-year deal, and it should’ve been a huge mistake. But to be fair-er, Brown started the first two years off with a bang: 7.3 WAR followed by 6.8 WAR. He missed time during this third season, but still finished with a 2.65 ERA and 3.0 WAR and was a 6.0+ WAR pitcher again in his fifth season, before being traded to the Yankees for the final two years of his contract/career (3.7 total WAR).
  • Ultimately, he earned 27.4 WAR during that seven year contract, which, if you believe a win above replacement was worth at least $3.8M at the time (possibly quite close) means he was worth every penny. Frankly, I’m a little surprised Brown isn’t in the hall of fame:
    • 19-year career
    • 6x All-Star
    • WS Champ
    • MLB wins leader (1992)
    • 2x ERA leader (1996, 2000)
    • Career 3.28 ERA
    • 76.5 WAR overall
    • Seven seasons with 6.0+ WAR
    • 23rd All-time in WAR (among pitchers)
  • *Does some googling* oh … the Mitchell Report. That’s why.
  • And finally, Astros star Alex Bregman did a nice:


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Author: Michael Cerami

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