MLBits: Bud Selig and Scott Boras on the Frozen Market, Kevin Towers Passes Away, Shrinking Foul Territory, More

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MLBits: Bud Selig and Scott Boras on the Frozen Market, Kevin Towers Passes Away, Shrinking Foul Territory, More

Chicago Cubs

In case you’re wondering how Brett’s doing after his foot surgery earlier today, I’ve heard that his first words upon coming out of his daze were “Has anything happened with Darvish yet?” So I think it’s safe to say he’ll be back obsessing with us soon enough.

In the meantime, you can check out the latest on Darvish (Cubs holding at four years) here and the latest from the lukewarm stove here. And for now, let’s take a trip around the league to catch the latest …

  • … And unfortunately, I have to start the bits off with some sad news:

  • Indeed, the former Padres and Diamondbacks general manager, Kevin Towers, has passed away today at the age of 56 – he had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2016. By all accounts (seriously, there are many heart-warming and even funny stories circulating about him), Towers was an excellent individual and, clearly, a talented and respected baseball mind. You can read more about him and his career at NBC Sports.
  • One of the many stories that gave me a smile:

  • And here’s some of his accomplishments:

  • At USA Today, Bob Nightengale becomes the latest to tackle the ice-cold market and rising tensions, leading with this non-encouraging quote: “In a 48-hour period over the weekend, Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star closer Kenley Jensen proposed a possible strike, Seattle Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto suggested that more teams would rather win the top draft pick than the World Series, and veteran agent Scott Boras accuses the current regime of destroying the sport’s integrity.” Yeesh. Things are rough.
  • Nightengale continues with more quotes from Boras, including the super-agent’s belief that there’s a non-competitive mentality “ruining the fabric of the sport. And until we change the system, this is going to continue.” The Cubs and Astros, it seems, are getting “credit” for so many teams entering deep rebuilds (can you blame them? it worked pretty well). Even still, former Commissioner Bud Selig doesn’t quite see everything quite the same way. “The idea that people don’t want to win is nonsense,” Selig said Sunday in a telephone interview with USA TODAY Sports. “I don’t think there’s any less of a desire to be competitive. I understand what clubs are doing.”
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
  • I can agree with what Selig is saying to an extent, because no one rebuilds just to rebuild (besides, perhaps, the Marlins (I kid)). You do it because it’s the best possible way to turn your team into a contender down the line. The real argument is that while it may be best for teams on an individual level, it’s clearly pretty bad for the league as a whole. That’s the issue the union and league offices must address if and when they sit down before the next CBA is up and try to work something out.
  • Here’s an interesting, different look at some of the best pitchers since 1980:

  • At FanGraphs, Travis Sawchick discusses the changing landscape of ballparks, noting that as teams remove obstructed views and add layers of luxury suites, “clubs have pushed fans in the upper decks — that is, the middle class of fan — further away from the sights and sounds of the playing surface.” At the same time, some more expensive seats are moving closer to the field than ever before. Fairness/desirability of those moves aside, the result has been a shockingly dramatic decrease in foul territory. This has a whole range of side-effects – including positive ones for guys with high infield fly ball rates who’ll get more second chances – so you should check out his piece at FanGraphs.
  • The Cubs are not the only ones extended the netting at their stadium (I am very much in favor of more netting):

  • The Reds have signed free agent reliever David Hernandez to a two-year deal/$5M, per the Reds. Their 40-man roster is now full. After a couple of back-to-back great seasons in 2011 and 2012, Hernandez fell off the map before reestablishing himself with the Angels and Diamondbacks in 2017. Over 55.0 IP Hernandez earned a 3.11 ERA (2.76 FIP) and was worth 1.1 WAR. The Reds, no doubt, we’ll hope he keeps up his recent stretch of success so that he can be flipped at this or the 2019 deadline in exchange for prospects. It’s a move the rebuilding Cubs did many times over the years, and a smart one at that.
  • Nori Aoki, 36, is returning to Japan on a three-year/$9.19M deal with the Yakult Swallos:

  • As Calcaterra mentions, it was probably the right move for Aoki, who’s failed to drum up interest in this market. I don’t suspect this’ll change many plans or get anything going.
  • At Baseball is Fun today, I found this speech from Chipper Jones at the 2012 All-Star game (his eighth and final All-Star appearance) to be pretty awesome – especially the line where he jokingly claims Bryce Harper nearly killed his 7-year-old with a line drive during BP:

Author: Michael Cerami

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