MLBits: A New Future for Opt-Outs? Pitch Clock Injuries? Cardinals Are Just Fine? More

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MLBits: A New Future for Opt-Outs? Pitch Clock Injuries? Cardinals Are Just Fine? More

Chicago Cubs

Later tonight, the fiancée and I are going ring shopping for our actual wedding rings. And while very much I’m looking forward to picking them out and getting all excited/whatnot, I’m very much not looking forward to the bill. This wedding stuff, man, it’s crazy expensive.

Here’s some news from around the league.

  • Earlier this season, Brett pointed out the newest evolution in free agent contracts, specifically as it pertains to the combination of front-loading, early opt-outs, and lower total guarantees for talented, but aging players. We knew there would be yet another evolution after that, but the process of moving towards these sort of deals is happening much faster than I think we would’ve all expected. Specifically, Jake Arrieta’s deal with the Phillies not only features that structure, but also a right for the Phillies to erase the opt-out with an extension. That’s new.
  • For more, check out Jeff Sullivan’s piece at FanGraphs, discussing the evolving nature of the opt-out clause, in light of Jake Arrieta’s recent deal with the Phillies, which goes into greater detail on how the Phillies can void that opt-out clause for Arrieta, if they are willing to pay him $20 million in 2021 and 2022 (and each of those salaries can increase to $25M, if Arrieta makes enough starts over the next two years, or $30M, if Arrieta finishes high enough in the Cy Young voting, a piece). Sullivan puts it succinctly: “Arrieta signed for three years and $75 million. This might end up being two years and $55 million. Or it might end up being five years and $115 million, or $125 million, or $135 million. There are a lot of ways for this contract to go.” Crazy. Check out his piece for a further deconstruction, and to start pondering the future of crazy, creative contracts.
  • And just for fun(?), here’s Arrieta’s first bullpen with the Phillies:

  • This is going to be a real talking point for all the anti-clockers out there:

  • And to be honest, even if I am pro-clock, 15 seconds – the new rule in the minor leagues – seems awfully short. I would be fine with the proposed 18-20 second pitch clock whether runners are on or not. I think the added simplicity/consistency of one clock would ease the friction a bit – to say nothing of the potential impact on injuries the shorter clock might have.
  • Earlier today, the Cubs released Justin Grimm and saved just under a couple million in the process, but I wouldn’t expect them to go out and get Greg Holland, even on a cheap one-year deal. But to the extent you’re still interested in the rumors, notes that the Rangers and Braves are two teams to keep an eye out for on Holland. Although he might not seem like an obvious signing for the probably-not-competitive-yet Braves, I do think there could be a fit. They’d have to give up their third highest pick in the upcoming draft to sign him, but on a good enough deal, they could spin him for something much better (and closer to the big leagues) than that this deadline.
  • At, Cardinals President John Mozeliak discusses Cardinals fans concerns about their ability to compete and, despite his confidence, it’s hard not to smile about their clear concern over the Chicago Cubs and all the moves they made this winter. Remember, the Cardinals got off to a great start with Marcell Ozuna, Luke Gregerson, and Miles Mikolas … and then never really added that final piece in the rotation and/or bullpen. Guys like Alex Cobb and Greg Holland are still out there – and would transform their offseason – but they seem happy with the roster they have. Shrug.
  • Sticking with the NL Central, Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt has been dealing with a shoulder injury (in his throwing arm) that might keep him from being ready for Opening Day. “I don’t think Opening Day is likely,” said Manager Craig Counsell. Vogt wasn’t much of a contributor for the A’s last season, but after being claimed off waivers by the Brewers mid-season, he hit closer to league average and improved his defense (at least, according to the advanced defensive metrics, which are notoriously untrustworthy in small samples). In his place, Jeff Bandy has a clearer path to the Opening Day roster, but the drop off there will probably be significant.
  • Yankees star Aaron Judge made some off the cuff remarks to Manny Machado, a free agent after the season, about how he would look good in pinstripes – i.e., he should sign with the Yankees next season. And apparently, that was a no-no:

  • I understand why teams (including personnel from front offices to dugouts) are not allowed to speak about/to guys on other teams, but also, when it comes from one of the players it just doesn’t bother me as much. I guess rules are rules. No more talking, Mr. Judge. It’s against the law.
  • Maybe someone should tell Kris Bryant to take it easy with the Bryce Harper Instagram posts, eh?
  • In a similar rules are rules, but that doesn’t mean they don’t suck vein, White Sox Manager (and former Cubs Manager) Rick Renteria benched Avisail Garcia yesterday, after not running out a ground ball in the top of the first inning … in March … Spring Training …. Again, I get it: you should always run it out, even if it’s just to set an example for the other players, but still. Maybe just talk to him and let him know it’s not cool. Who wants that kind of dugout?
  • Back at FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan has another take on the weird offseason, with a particular focus on the era of experimentation, projections, and big data. Although there have always been projections, everything is getting more sophisticated and that’s leading to weird valuation cycles for players that extends beyond just age. Tyler Chatwood, in my mind, is a good example of this. The Cubs saw potential in him (and presumably a lot of other teams did, too) so they paid him pretty handsomely – and that’s despite the fact that the traditional projections don’t really forecast improvements.
  • This is an absolutely AWESOME story:

  • What would you do with it? Keep using it? Or put it away? I’d put that baby away so fast.
  • trolls their own fans by asking “Are you younger than MLB’s 10 oldest players?” Go find out and report back. Speaking of which, can you guess who the oldest player is off-hand? I know that may seem easy – I certainly thought I knew the answer right away (and I did (I am very smart)) – but there were at least three guys I was thinking of right away.
  • Japan is very weird … and my kind of country:

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Author: Michael Cerami

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