MLBits: MLB’s Broadcast Plans, Clevinger at Sox Camp, Montas Surgery, deGrom Slowed, More

With Spring Training officially underway for most clubs, there’s a lot of news around the league to digest …

  • I’ll have more on this when the full slate of comments and discussion are available from Commissioner Manfred, but this is the first time he’s gotten REALLY specific about the plans for taking over game rights if Diamond Holdings/Bally goes bankrupt next month (as expected) and doesn’t pay rights fees to the 14 MLB teams covered by their RSNs:
  • Consider that confirmation that, if Diamond goes bankrupt and its creditors don’t really want to be in the RSN business, MLB is going to use the opportunity to take back those local broadcast rights and, in effect, consolidate its control over rights (almost like they’d be a giant RSN with multiple regions). In the short-term, that would probably still mean local carriage and blackouts and all that; but the goal, as stated repeatedly by Manfred, is to make all games available nationally without blackouts. And if MLB suddenly controlled the rights for 14 of its teams? Yeah, that’s a pretty big chunk of the way toward making it happen.
  • That said …
  • In other words, MLB really does want to deliver all games to all fans nationwide without blackouts … but only if it generates as much revenue as the regional, protective, blackout-laden model. (But long-term, they HAVE TO go with the blackout-free model. Otherwise, the fan base will continue to wilt.)
  • Although he is under investigation by MLB for allegations of domestic abuse, new White Sox signing Mike Clevinger reported to camp today. White Sox GM Rick Hahn addressed the issue, but didn’t say much:
  • For his part, Clevinger met with the media and said that he feels bad for his family and his teammates, that he’s excited to be on the White Sox, and that he wants everyone to wait for the process to play out before making judgments:
  • Often in these situations, the league places the player on administrative leave – quickly – while investigating. In this case, the allegations were apparently from last year, and MLB still hasn’t acted with respect to Clevinger – they have simply continued the investigation. I honestly don’t know what that means, but I feel like it’s atypical.
  • The Yankees figured they were getting an impact starter for the stretch run and the postseason in 2022 AND a front-half starter in 2023 when they acquired Frankie Montas from the A’s last year. Instead, Montas struggled badly after the trade, had shoulder issues, and is now having surgery:
  • What a disastrous trade that turned out to be for the Yankees (and that’s in addition to the Jordan Montgomery-Harrison Bader trade that looks bad, and a certain Scott Effross-Hayden Wesneski trade with the Cubs that also looks not so good for them).
  • You wouldn’t think a thing about this if there weren’t the history there … but as it is, this will freak folks out:
  • For Jacob deGrom to finally hit free agency, sign a huge deal, and then IMMEDIATELY have a physical issue that is limiting his throwing … it’s just too on the nose. I don’t have an interest in seeing him go through another year or two or three of random injuries, because when he’s fully healthy and pitching I think he’s the best pitcher in the game and fun to watch. But I also have to be honest and admit that for as much as I wanted deGrom on the Cubs, and for as much as I said things like “Yeah, he’ll miss time, and there’s risk, and you just have to accept it yada yada,” I would be despondent today if I were a Rangers fan. Just totally, irrationally, and inappropriately unreachable. He might be fine! And throw tomorrow! But it’s just the accumulation of things and the immediacy of this one.
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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