The latest from around baseball as Spring Training finally, officially gets underway …
- The biggest news in baseball right now, at least as it pertains to an important story in the Cubs’ world, is the new television deal for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cubs are obviously in the process of securing their own long-term deal (which would likely not kick in until after 2019), and the deals other teams are able to get in this period of changing consumer habits will be instructive – or at least probably more instructive than, for example, the monster deal the Dodgers got a couple years ago (and have not actually been able to get onto their fans’ TV screens). The Diamondbacks’ new deal is reportedly worth more than $1 billion, and at least $90 million annually over 15 to 20 years – the details aren’t out yet. But, even at $100 million per year, it’s a huge bump from the $30ish million the Diamondbacks were at previously, and will allow them to get payroll significantly over the $100 million mark regularly, if ownership is inclined.
- (Presently, the Cubs’ mix of TV deals is believed to net the team about $60 to $70 million annually, though that should be ticking up a bit in the coming years. In that context, the D-Backs’ new deal may not sound like much, but keep in mind that it will reportedly at least triple what they were taking home before (and also, sometimes these deals are super complicated, and much of the value to the team is not actually included in the annual payout – there are potentially revenue-sharing options and equity stakes involved, too) On the balance, I think this looks like good news for the Cubs, especially when you consider that the D-Backs are getting this long-term deal despite the increasing instability in the traditional RSN model.)
- You’ve got to feel for Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar. The former top prospect (like, Kris Bryant/Byron Buxton/Addison Russell-level top prospect) might miss yet another season after it was revealed that he needs shoulder surgery. Profar, who turns 22 tomorrow, missed the 2014 season with shoulder problems, and hasn’t been able to live up to the hype of his prospect days. I’m not saying that’s a reminder about anything in particular, but, well, it’s kind of a reminder about some things.
- At least the Rangers have 21-year-old Rougned Odor ready to go at second base. And, if Rougned Odor doesn’t work out, the Rangers could always fall back on Rougned Odor:
The Rangers have signed Rougned Odor's younger brother. He is also an infielder, and he is also named Rougned Odor. pic.twitter.com/GRX7JvRRz2
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) February 19, 2015
- If you’re looking for a good long read, here are a couple: from Colin Anderle on whether tracking pitch counts is a useful idea, and from J.R. Moehringer on Alex Rodriguez’s year off from baseball. That latter one is a real study in human empathy (not sympathy, mind you, but just empathy).
- Sahadev Sharma’s latest at BP is a deep look at the White Sox, with a particular focus on how and why PECOTA is so down (still) on Jeff Samardzija.
- The Tampa Bay Rays are the early leader in awesomely absurd giveaways this season:
- And Danny Espinosa is the early leader in absurdly awesome new Spring arrival facial hair:
Danny Espinosa was one of the first position players in camp. His Fu Manchu has also reported. And it is glorious. pic.twitter.com/8K9EwJDQd6
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) February 19, 2015