MLBits: The Cardinals Are Trying to Lighten Up, Greinke's Velocity Problem, Tebowned, More

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MLBits: The Cardinals Are Trying to Lighten Up, Greinke’s Velocity Problem, Tebowned, More

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs were off yesterday, but they’re back at it today … but with no video.

I know I should be happy there’s real-life baseball going on at all (and the World Baseball Classic has helped stave off that addiction), but I think I’m ready for the regular season.

Now if only the players could be ready sooner …

  • Probably in no small thanks to Dexter Fowler, the St. Louis Cardinals have clearly tried to strike a more relaxed, dare-I-say-fun environment at Spring Training. They’ve added music to their on-field practices (and we know that Fowler has added some to clubhouse) and have been looking to develop a more “inclusive and revitalized vibe,” at least according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Part of those efforts this year included inviting an author and former pastor by the name of John Maxwell to visit camp. Maxwell specializes in fostering and guiding leadership skills, which is something the Cardinals wish to improve on. (Dare I say that all of this is more Cardinals efforting to be like the Cubs?)
  • This is actually a really great read if you have the time, and one last bit stood out to me from the beginning of the post. Apparently, Maxwell was invited last Spring as well, but only a select few were invited to attend his chat. This year, there was an open invitation and 40-50 Cardinals reportedly showed up. The difference and improvement of 2017, according to Matheny, is going to be having a more well-balanced clubhouse where anyone who steps up can be a leader. I really, genuinely, like that for the Cardinals (and it doesn’t hurt that I think it’ll make the clubhouse a better place for Fowler). Much more on the story here.
  • I know a lot of you have serious Tim Tebow-fatigue (and probably already did before he began his attempt to play baseball), but I’m not sure I agree with the herd on this one. I can understand the mentality that he’s drawing more headlines than he should (which is true), but I don’t really get why many of you don’t think it’s a non-story. Take a step back for a minute and consider that Tebow (that Tebow) is playing baseball in the Mets organization. Is he going to make it? OF COURSE NOT. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to watch him try.
  • To that end, Tebow’s spring debut was uninspiring, as he struck out twice, grounded into a double play, and was nabbed at first on a double play liner after reaching base on a HBP. [Brett: I watched, because whatever, and he generally looked incredibly awkward out there. You might say that he got … Tebowned.] If you’d like to read much more about Tebow, his day, and his potential future, head over to the New York Times.
  • As I’m sure you’re well-aware, 2009 AL Cy Young award winner Zack Greinke did NOT have his best season last year – his first with the Diamondbacks on a $200+ million contract. He threw just 158.2 innings, earning an ugly 4.37 ERA (which was nearly THREE full runs worse than his 2015 campaign with the Dodgers), and was worth just 2.2 fWAR. He’s probably still roughly the pitcher he always has been, but things haven’t quite turned around yet. This spring, many have noticed Greinke’s diminished velocity, however (sub-90mph after being around 93mph this time last spring) and have begun to worry about his future. For his part, however, Greinke isn’t worried. But after watching him address it in person … I can’t say I’d be too relieved as a D-backs fan. Still, it’s early, it’s Spring, and he’s a veteran. So long as he stays healthy and builds it back up by opening day, he could very well be fine.
  • An update to the ongoing Minor League Players v. MLB lawsuit: their case has been re-certified as a class action lawsuit, which is good news for the players, but we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out. Still, MLB should be increasingly feeling the heat to figure out a way to pay these players better wages. Hopefully, a change is forthcoming.
  • I’m sure you guessed this, but Gleyber Torres is the Yankees number 1 prospect according to FanGraphs.
  • Along the lines of Greinke (but nearly to the same extent), David Price didn’t quite have the year he or the Red Sox were hoping for when they signed him to a 7-year/$217 million deal before the 2016 season. Although he was worth 4.5 WAR (which is great), much of that value was derived from the fact that he threw a league-leading 230.0 innings pitched, and not because his results were that strong (3.99 ERA). As noted by The Score, Price talks about his relationship with the Boston fans and how they don’t necessarily care about him as a person, but rather think of him solely as a player. For what it’s worth, I don’t think Price is really saying anything too bad about the Red Sox fans, but is instead suggesting that as soon as he performs up to his standards, he’ll have them back in his corner. It’s hard to read his comments and not really like that guy, though.
  • Hey, go get yourself an awesome Chicago Cubs iPhone or Android wallpaper:

Brett Taylor contributed to this post.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami