The latest from around MLB...
- Yesterday, among a few other extensions that were announced, the Cincinnati Reds extended soon-to-be 31-year-old second baseman Brandon Phillips for six(!) years and $72.5 million(!). On the heels of the 10 years and $225 million that Joey Votto received from the Reds - considered a middle or smaller market club - as well as some of the astonishingly large free agent contracts this Winter, it's becoming clearer and clearer by the day that we are entering a "new normal" in terms of player salaries in MLB. The CBA limits money that teams can allocate to the amateur side of the game, and television contracts are growing. It was to be expected, then, that big league salaries would start to grow again, particularly after a period of relative stagnation. It's time to start rethinking what a "typical" number two starter is worth, or a "typical" All-Star caliber second baseman.
- Those other extensions yesterday included Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler getting five years and $75 million, and Indians catcher Carlos Santana (pre-arbitration) getting five years and $21 million. The latter strikes me as a great deal for the Indians, but FanGraphs doesn't think so. The new climate is going to affect arbitration salaries, too, so I'm not sure I agree with FanGraphs' approach of comparing Santana's deal to the (older) arbitration salaries of guys like Brian McCann and Joe Mauer.
- Ozzie Guillen has been suspended by the Miami Marlins for five games (he'll return against the Cubs) for his comments about Fidel Castro. He also offered a public mea culpa yesterday, but it'll take a few days (and news cycles) for it to become clear whether his apology has mollified those who were calling for his ouster yesterday.
- The last couple days have been hazardous for a number of players, as A's pitcher Joey Devine came down with a case of "I need a second Tommy John surgery," Mets third baseman David Wright broke his pinkie (but he might try to play through it), Nationals outfielder Michael Morse had a setback in his back, and Padres pitcher Dustin Moseley has "extensive damage" in his shoulder.
- FanGraphs has an uncharitable take on some of Fredi Gonzalez's recent managerial decisions helming the Braves. The most egregious decision? Using Chad Durbin in a high leverage, late-inning situation when all of Eric O'Flaherty, Kris Medlen, Jonny Venters, and Craig Kimbrel were all rested and ready to go.
- Joe Torre admits that his relationship with now-star Matt Kemp wasn't always perfect when Torre was managing the Dodgers. "[Kemp] was challenging because just like a lot of young players, they are going to make adjustments on their own, but he was so talented - and again, this is just my opinion - that I think he just felt his ability was going to speak for itself," Torre said. "He sort of eliminated the highs and lows once he got established in a more businesslike way. I know he and Donnie have a good relationship, which is hugely important.