MLBits: Three-Batter Minimum Revolt! Commish Q&A, Cole's Contract, Ellsbury's Grievance, More

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MLBits: Three-Batter Minimum Revolt! Commish Q&A, Cole’s Contract, Ellsbury’s Grievance, More

Chicago Cubs

We’ve been so focused on all the rumors, trades, and signings lately (well, from other teams anyway) that we’ve forgotten to check back in the general goings-on around the league. Like, did you know there’s a whole bunch of new rules coming to MLB next season? One of them even completely outlaws all left-handed pitchers! No more lefties allowed. None. No Clayton Kershaw. No Chris Sale. And no Jon Lester. Needless to say, people are pretty upset about it.

I wonder what the league is gonna do …

  • Okay, all jokes aside there is a rule about forcing pitchers to face at least three batters (or reach the end of an inning) before they can be removed from the game, and it has some people very upset on behalf of LOOGYs (left-handed one-out guy), which is just so genuinely strange. Don’t get me wrong, there will be some longer lines at the dominant LOOGY unemployment office, but the lines will get equally shorter at the mediocre-against-both-sides office. And that’s where I get confused by the hand-wringing: they’re not cutting a roster spot, they’re just shifting jobs around. Caring more about LOOGYs than neutral pitchers is completely arbitrary and silly.
  • As for the rule, itself, you should see improved pace, less choppiness later in games, and probably a little more action in the field, too. It’s fine.
  • But Michael, what if a pitcher gets injured? Than he can come out. But what if he’s faking it? Do you really think that’s going to be that easily exploitable within the span of a few batters more than once? What if he’s getting shelled, a manager just has to leave him in? For three batters, not three outs. And if the end of an inning comes up after just one batter faced, then he can be removed. This is a good rule.
  • And to those that I still haven’t reached – like Joe Maddon, apparently – before you spout off the “But what about muh strategy?” argument, actually think about that for a second. Really consider the words and the outcome of this rule change. Is there really going to be less strategy? Are you sure about that?

  • Rockies Manager Bud Black has the perfect explanation: “I think the chess game still is going to be in play but … the endgame decisions are going to be drastically different. You’ll see from game No. 1. We’re all going to have to learn a different type of strategy.” The same amount of strategy, just different strategy. Don’t be afraid of change, my friends. Unless it’s Apple introducing a new charging cord, it’s usually a good thing.
  • And you want to know what else is cool about this rule? The Cubs have a brand new manager, David Ross, who isn’t stuck in any way about strategy. So on at least one managerial responsibility, he’s starting from the same footing as every other veteran manager in baseball! Cubs were thinking ahead, right!
  • At ESPN, you can read the responses from 10 different managers on the 3-batter minimum, the Astros sign-stealing situation, and the best advice each guy has been given.
  • At CNBC, Jabari Young sat down with MLB Commissioner and Leader of the First Galactic Empire Rob Manfred for a Q&A that you’ll obviously want to check out. From the Astros scandal, Minor League Baseball, the three-batter minimum (which *is* happening in 2020 according to Manfred, so there’s your final confirmation), to the freeing of local streaming rights (a particularly important topic for the Cubs at the moment), this Q&A touches on a lot.
  • On the streaming rights, in particular, this recent and seemingly under-the-radar news could be some monumentally important for Cubs fans living in the Cubs-broadcast region, who, like me, prefer a standalone streaming package (think streaming with Netflix) to authenticated cable-subscription streaming (think logging into with your Comcast account to stream something otherwise available on-demand).
  • At FanGraphs, Craig Edwards took an extremely interesting look into Gerrit Cole’s monster free agent contract and compares it to the other recent mega-deals (Trout, Harper, Stanton, Machado, Arenado, Pujols) etc. and some of the older mega-deals (Alex Rodriguez (x2), Derek Jeter, etc.). And I bet you’ll find some surprising revelations, particularly how ARod’s big deals are still the king when you look at them relative to league revenues at the time. Since this isn’t black-and-white operation (opt-outs, deferrals, time-value of money, era, revenues, etc.) it’s hard to say which contract is actually the best and biggest and whatnot, but take a look at ARod’s adjusted money and just let that sink in. It’s pretty wild.
  • Earlier this winter, the Yankees converted the remaining $21M (plus $5M buyout for 2021) on Jacoby Ellsbury’s contract into non-guaranteed money on the basis of getting “unauthorized medical treatment,” and then released the 36-year-old outfielder. In short, the Ellsbury didn’t use a team-approved doctor and the Yankees are saying well, then, we’re taking our money back. Ellsbury contends that “any treatment he received without authorization was for a non-baseball-related injury or condition,” which doesn’t require the club’s consent. The MLBPA has filed a grievance on Ellsbury’s behalf and the guy deciding Kris Bryant’s grievance is presiding over the case. (So word should come down in 2047.)
  • On the surface, it’s easy to want to side with Ellsbury on this one (and that is the way I lean when reading the details), but this strikes me as a “we don’t have all the facts” type of case. Without knowing what – exactly – he was doing with that doctor, it’s difficult to really pass judgment just yet. Plus, the Yankees are already WAY over the luxury tax, so it’s not like saving this $26M is a big needle-mover in that respect.


Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is the butler to a wealthy werewolf off the coast of Wales and a writer at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami