I would’ve hoped that the scary news out of some of the hardest hit states in the South and West from last month would’ve engendered such a strong response everywhere that, after factoring in a few weeks lag time, we’d see marked improvement in cases. That hasn’t even remotely happened. Positivity rates seem to have stabilized nationally just under 9%, which is decent news, but that’s also still far too high – and obviously in some states, the rate is much higher. Now I’m back to hoping that the shock of the last week will spur greater action, and maybe in three weeks we’ll see progress. This sucks.
• So far so good on Jose Quintana’s return from the sliced thumb and nerve surgery, as he was able to play catch from 60 feet and experiment with his grip on the thumb. But it’s very clear that he’s going to miss time, even if things proceed very well from here, which means it’s all the more important for the Cubs’ current five starters to stay health, and for guys like Tyler Chatwood and Alec Mills to be pleasant surprises right out of the gate.
• On Quintana, David Ross said this (670 The Score): “He felt fine [yesterday] throwing at 60 feet. There is still a pretty big scar on [his thumb]. He said the feeling was good. He could press the ball in that area. I don’t want to comment too much on medical stuff. This was a serious injury, so I will let our medical staff treat him and get him back. Sounds like the surgery went well. Today was a nice positive, but one thing I know from my time in baseball – a lot of twists and turns, so it’s wait and see for me.” Ross said he would update again when and if there were more good news.
• Speculating on a timeline is so difficult because this isn’t the kind of “pitching injury” we normally deal with. Nerves, in particular, heal at very uneven rates among people, and we don’t even know how the nerve-related injury is impacting his ability to throw his pitches. In a world where Quintana can get back on a mound and start throwing bullpen sessions by, say, next weekend, then you might be able to say he could be ready for a season debut in mid-to-late August. Of course, even if that happens, projecting his effectiveness is impossible.
• Meanwhile, don’t watch this:
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 17, 2020
• Alex Rodriguez, a former player who made a half-billion dollars in a sport without a salary cap, now wants to be an owner (Mets), so he’s out there saying this (ESPN): “The only way [MLB will grow to compete with the NFL and NBA] is if they get to the table and say the No. 1 goal, let’s get from $10 to $15 billion and then we’ll split the economics evenly. But that’s the type of conversation instead of fighting and fighting against each other because there’s too much competition out there right now.” To be sure, Rodriguez did not say “let’s have a salary cap,” but revenue-sharing more or less necessitates some kind of cap. We all know the point he was making, and it’s one that several owners have started to make in recent years: if we’re going to keep growing, we should set up a system like the other leagues to share the revenue, and if that means there is a salary cap so be it. Players, obviously, do not like this idea.
• Rodriguez attempted to walk things back a bit this morning:
— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) July 17, 2020
• I’m not going to sit here and endorse a salary cap, but I will make two broad points on this topic: (1) there are versions of a revenue-sharing system that do a good job of getting more of the money better spread out among players, rather than more concentrated among the highest-earners (debate whether that’s good or bad); (2) the specific changes to the luxury tax that the players permitted into the last CBA wound up serving as a soft cap (not entirely unlike the NBA) anyway, and the players didn’t get anything good in exchange for allowing that soft cap. I’m not prepared to rule out the idea that there’s a revenue-sharing model for MLB that would actually be better – with other player-friendly changes (salary floor, earlier free agency, higher minimum salary, anti-tanking, etc.) – than the current system. I just don’t think Alex Rodriguez is the guy to be out there trying to wink his way to talking about a salary cap.
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• I’m sure some of it is the camera view, but it looks like Jake Arrieta’s delivery is now a whole lot less rotational and more upright:
• Arrieta, 34, was always going to have a difficult time maintaining his complex delivery deep into his 30s. It was very physically demanding to repeat throughout a start (requiring more overall core strength and better health than most), lest the command really get lost. Arrieta still looks crossfire there, but must less so. Maybe it’s a nod to trying to let him repeat his mechanics more consistently through a season, even if it means he’s sacrificing some of his deception/attack angle. Arrieta is going to be a free agent after this season, so he’s got a lot of reason to show he can still do it after his numbers have all trended in the wrong direction the last few years.
• … something something Arrieta figures out how to succeed with a new approach something something re-signs with the Cubs for a couple years this offseason something something …