One thing I’ve often heard, but typically ignored, has become increasingly apparent over the years: it’s super easy to pack on the pounds. So, naturally, I’m back on the old workout train yet again (a massive three days in – thank you, thank you, I know … impressive), but we’ll see how long I actually last this time. Indeed, I’m telling you all here, in this intro, because I’m hoping the action of actually writing it down will help keep me to it. Wish me luck. [Brett: Good luck man, and good on the accountability. It only gets worse … cheers!]
Here’s some news from around the league.
- MLB has developed a new system for Cuban amateur players that more closely mirrors the existing systems for Japan and Korea. Specifically, that would mean instead of the often dangerous journey of defecting from the island and establishing a residency elsewhere, players can be posted and signed as free agents and teams will pay a posting fee for that right (15-25% depending on the type of player). There are still some details to be worked out (including whether or not the United States will allow it), but this could be a huge step in the right direction for player safety. Hopefully, at some point, the dirty business of smuggling teenage ballplayers in and out of Cuba just so their handlers can take their money when they make it to the big leagues are close to over.
- Yasiel Puig, who famously survived a harrowing journey and borderline kidnapping, is celebrating:
Regarding the MLB/MLBPA agreement with the Cuban Baseball Federation, several MLB players have made comments. From Puig: pic.twitter.com/Rqa5Rc01ro
— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) December 19, 2018
- The Los Angeles Angels signed Matt Harvey, who reestablished himself a bit after a mid-season trade to the Reds, to a one-year, $11M deal with up to another $3M in incentives. Good for him. The only question now is why the heck didn’t the Reds trade him at the deadline or in August?
- Thanks to the Braves’ long-awaited breakout, the Nationals’ refusal to let go of contending, the Mets bold moves on the trade and free agent market, and the Phillies willingness to spend “stupid” amounts of money, the NL East figures to be extremely competitive in 2019. Any one of those four teams could reasonably be considered contenders, but if I had to put them in order right now I’d probably go: Braves, Nationals, Mets, Phillies. Obviously, so much can change and beyond the Braves, we’re really splitting hairs. But according to new Mets GM Brodie Wagenen, the Mets’ internal projections forecast them as the favorites. Do I think they can win the division? Yes. 100%. Do I think, statistically and objectively, they should be projected to win the NL East right now? Eh. I don’t think so.
- Over at The Athletic, Eno Sarris has an excellent story about how player development is still in its infancy and that the discrepancy between teams is so stark, that it’s basically the next “moneyball” phenomenon. Conceptually, I can understand how that’s possible, but when I think too hard about it, it’s difficult to understand. Can one team really be that much better at developing players? Or are they getting lucky and/or simply have better scouts? We’ll never be able to take the same player and send him through two systems simultaneously, but boy would that be one heck of an experiment.
- Ex-Marlins president David Samson has straight up lost it. Warning: explicit (but sorta light-hearted, I guess?) language in the video that follows:
— Dan Le Batard & Stugotz Show Reddit (@LeBatard_Reddit) December 18, 2018
Ex-Marlins team president David Sampson goes full pro wrestling heel during Miami appearance.
“I want you to keep booing me, because guess what? $1.2 billion, f— you!”
— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) December 19, 2018
- After taking some heat for his comments, which reference the sales price for the Marlins from last year (and not the boondoggle stadium deal in Miami), Samson came out and gave us the old “It was a joke!” Which, yeah, sure … it was a joke – but it was a terrible one that happens to reflect the truth, while also outing you as a total jerk. You know, that kind of joke. There is not necessarily anything wrong with being rich, but throwing it in people’s faces or showing a complete lack of self-reflection and awareness is not going to earn you many friends.
- At Forbes, Maury Brown throws out some 2019 crystal ball predictions, and, while even he admits predictions are inherently silly things, there are some good topics worthy of discussion. For example, do you think the league will ban shifts? He does. But he doesn’t believe there’ll be a pitch clock. How about a team going up for sale? Will attendance be down again? It’s a solid piece, if for nothing else, to keep you apprised of the major storylines around the league.
- At FanGraphs, Sheryl Ring discusses the financial downside (for players) to the “Opener” concept popularized last season by the Rays, and likely coming to several teams this year. For what it’s worth, I’m still not even on board with the entire concept. I’m open to anything, but I really struggle to find the obvious advantage for a typically-constructed team.
- Did you ever wonder what Mike Trout’s *worst* season looked like? Perhaps unsurprisingly, Trout’s worst season might’ve actually been one of his MVP campaigns. How absolutely nuts is that?
- And finally, from Baseball is Fun:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) December 18, 2018