At the Cubs’ Social Media Night late last season, I won a giant cardboard cutout, emoji fat-head of Ian Happ. Needless to say, I’m happy he’s still with the team and figures to be through the 2019 season. Tiny victories.
Here’s some news from around the league.
- The Brewers have promoted GM David Stearns to “President of Baseball Operations and General Manager” David Stearns, awarding him with a contract extension in the process (the details of which have not been announced). And it seems, at least by his title, that they will not be bringing on a new GM to work underneath him right away, a la Jed Hoyer. Of course, this set-up preserves that flexibility in the future.
- Major League Baseball is lobbying to ensure that teams do not have to pay Minor League players minimum wage in Arizona, where a number of teams have Spring Training. This is the kind of fight MLB has already launched at the national level, and it was ugly then, too. This is a very bad look for MLB and will only further weaken the already tenuous relationship between players and the league.
I've still never seen a satisfactory "why" minor leaguers are not compensated for Spring Training work. It does drive revenue, it is required for realistic progression through the org, and it is necessary for sustaining multi-billion franchises throughout the sport. https://t.co/gTQ17y1RnN
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 24, 2019
- Speaking of that relationship, look at what the MLBPA just put on its Instagram:
- I’m not trying to glorify other sports, but it feels like MLB takes short-term considerations over long-term payoffs 9 times out of 10.
- Tim Brown has thoughts on the issues between the league and the players, and what can be done before this reaches labor-fight stage.
- At Forbes, Jared Wyllys has a post I like called “Why the Reds Should Be Everyone’s Favorite Baseball Team Right Now,” and you should really give it a read. In short, their activity on the trade and free agent markets and efforts to “go for it” this year should be lauded, because it’s the way teams should act. However, I always run into the same problem: despite all this activity and excitement, the Reds may have sacrificed peak effectiveness 2020 and beyond to go for it in a year when the division is arguably at its toughest. Even if it’s good for the sport, is that really wise? It’s a tough balance.
- Mariano Rivera recently became the first unanimous selection into MLB’s Hall-of-Fame. So naturally, stories from the glory days are beginning to trickle out. Craig Calcaterra took two of the best ones – highlighting Rivera’s skills as a player and a human being – and you’re sure to find them interesting. Rivera has always seemed like a swell dude, so I’m happy for him.
- I’ve never been much of a baseball card dude, but I really get the appeal. And whether you were a collector or not, FanGraphs’ look at some of the very first cards will probably pique your interest:
Hardball Times: Game Faces: A Look Back on the Earliest Baseball Cards https://t.co/1pryBcwnJB
— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) January 24, 2019
- The Cubs aren’t alone!
For the first time in 30 years, a preseason Top 100 list features no Red Sox OR Yankees players. https://t.co/KjxE5ehyxu
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) January 24, 2019
- Also how absolutely wild is it that the Yankees, Cubs, and Red Sox do not have a single top-100 prospect according to Baseball America? On the one hand, it makes sense. They’re all competitive big market teams and don’t have as many opportunities to add young players. They also each have a cache of excellent young players on their big league rosters. But on the other hand, each of these teams is (or was very recently) just as well-known for their prospects as anything they were doing on the big league level. It’s crazy how quickly that can shift – just a couple seasons!