MLBits: Seager Hurt, Salt Lake City Expansion, TV Rights, Javy Benched, More

Social Navigation

MLBits: Seager Hurt, Salt Lake City Expansion, TV Rights, Javy Benched, More

Chicago Cubs

Some important bits from around Major League Baseball for your Friday afternoon …

Corey Seager Has a Moderate Hamstring Strain

I feel like there haven’t been a lot of MAJOR injuries in the early going, which is good news for baseball. Certainly there were plenty of bad injury bits in Spring Training – there always are – but not necessarily a ton of those playoff-race-impacting major injuries here in April. Feels that way, anyway.

Well, there’s a big one that just hit the Rangers, who are obviously pushing hard to compete this year. No, it’s not Jacob deGrom (you can assume that injury is coming at some point), it’s Corey Seager. The stud shortstop has a grade two hamstring strain and he’s going to be a while. The rule of thumb is that even mild hamstring strains keep a position player out a month, so a grade worse than that would usually keep a guy out more in the 6 to 8 week range. That’s a lot of game to be missing one of your most important players.

The Rangers plan to replace Seager at shortstop not with Marcus Semien, who is now firmly a second baseman. Instead they’ll go with Josh Smith, a solid young utility player. But he’s not Seager. Any time these kinds of injuries pop up, I think about how the Cubs would handle it if they lost one of their few impact guys for a long period of time. I suppose they just got through an 11-game stretch without Seiya Suzuki, handling it about as well as anyone could’ve expected.

MLB Expansion in Salt Lake City?

Most talks about where MLB could land next – either by way of relocation or expansion – focuses on a handful of cities that come up quite a bit (Portland, Montreal, Nashville, Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Mexico City).

This is not one I’d heard before:

The group pushing for inclusion in expansion talks notes that the Salt Lake City market is bigger than San Diego, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Milwaukee. In that sense, it would be “viable.”

When MLB actually gets to the expansion phase remains very much up in the air. There are serious regional broadcast issues to be sorted out, as well as long-time stadium problems in Oakland and Tampa, each of which could implicate where MLB wants to expand. There’s also the fact that the Nationals and Angels apparently couldn’t find buyers at massive price tags, calling into question the value of the expected $2 billion expansion fee that a new owner would have to bring.

Regional Broadcast Rights and the Diamond Sports Bankruptcy

Speaking of broadcast rights, the Diamond Sports bankruptcy is proceeding, and Diamond is trying to restructure its rights deals rather than give them up:

Meanwhile, MLB’s long-term goal is still to have a nationwide product that has all the games with no blackouts:

The big challenge, like I’ve said before, is going to be figuring out the economics of a national product where big-market clubs with huge fan bases would be giving up a whole lot of local revenue if they were to allow their rights to be packaged into an all-30-team product. With no offense intended toward, say, the Brewers, but there are a crapload more Cubs fans who would buy a national, no-blackout product because of the Cubs than there are Brewers fans who would do the same because of the Brewers.

I tend to think that can be figured out through some kind of revenue-sharing model, but it certainly won’t come quickly. And there could be a lot of intervening years where MLB gets the local streaming rights back for certain smaller-market clubs, but not for big-market clubs with huge fan bases. So there might still be an a la carte approach where, for example, in-market Brewers fans get their games directly from MLB (an product without blackouts), but in-market Cubs fans get their games from Marquee (either the cable channel or a direct-to-consumer streaming product, which has not yet been released).

Javy Báez Gets Benched

Last evening, Javy Báez didn’t run a ball out of the box that he thought was a homer (it wasn’t) and then ran on a fly ball because he thought there were two outs (there weren’t). It got him doubled off of second base and then pulled from the game by his manager. The very rough start to the season for Báez got worse.

Báez’s manager A.J. Hinch wasn’t trying to embarrass Báez, but he did want to make sure everyone got a message (

“It’s not even really all about Javy,” Hinch said. “If you look at the last couple series, we’ve made a number of mental mistakes, and the one thing we can control is our preparedness and our readiness. Javy happened to be the runner that made the big mistake where I made the move, but it’s a message to our whole team that we’ve got to clean that up.”

For his part, Báez accepted the consequence, though he did offer up some explanations/excuses (

“I was just so focused to hit the ball, and I hit it good,” Báez said. “I took my time out of the box. I got to second, but I really took my time out of the box because I was just so focused on hitting the ball ….

“My mind is everywhere right now,” Báez said. “I’m just trying to focus on my hitting and my timing and all this stuff. The only reason I lost the count of the outs, it was because I was hitting sixth [in the batting order]. I thought I was the third batter in that inning. That’s the only reason.

“Obviously, we’ve got to show respect to the game. He took the decision, and I respect it. He’s the manager, and we’ve got to respect what he does.”

Odds and Ends

  • The Rays are just ridiculous right now:
  • The ’84 Maroons were legit. People forget that.
  • One study on the effects of climate change concluded that the hotter, thinner air has led to a slight increase in home runs hit each year in MLB. The increase is about 50 home runs, or about a 1% bump over what we would’ve expected back in 2010.
  • A little more confirmation from Evan Gattis, formerly of the Astros, on things we all already knew to be true about the 2017 World Series:
  • OK:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.