Anyone else wish there was Olympic baseball going on?
- After moving in the fences at Citi Field before this season, the New York Mets are apparently thrilled with the result, which saw their park move up from the third lowest home run rate last year to the seventh lowest this year. "It's changed the mental attitude of our hitters, made it a far less of an issue," says Mets general manager Sandy Alderson. "It certainly hasn't been a topic of conversation since early in the season, which means it's probably gone pretty well." Thanks in large part to that success, the Padres and Marlins are also thinking about moving in their deep fences. I can understand that the change would be enjoyed by the fans (in the aggregate, fans tend to prefer more offense - yes, there are exceptions). But, when considering both sides of the ball, why would a team be pleased by it, or suggest that it made their team better? Unless you've constructed your team to play to a certain park, the size shouldn't matter - either it helps your pitchers and hurts your hitters (and does the same for your opponent), or it hurts your pitchers and helps your hitters. In other words, I don't see why a change from one year to the next would make much of a difference in the overall production of a team, unless they had already been built for the wrong ballpark. Consider Petco, where the Padres have shied away from left-handed power-hitting players, because they tend to struggle there. If the fences come in next year, it's not like the Padres will suddenly generate left-handed power at a rate better than their opponents - indeed, the opposite is more likely to be true, because the Padres intentionally don't have a lot of left-handed power.
- Toronto Blue Jays' outfielder Jose Bautista is still experiencing pain in his wrist, an injury originally termed mere inflammation when the slugger went down after a mid-July swing. He'll go in for a second MRI to see if there's anything more serious going on.
- The Padres' sale to a group led by former Dodgers' owner Peter O'Malley (and which includes pro golfer Phil Mickelson) is now finalized and in place. All that's left is MLB approval, which is expected not to be an issue. The sale price is believed to be about $800 million, which would put just under the Cubs' sale price from a few years ago.
- The Dodgers, the most recently sold team - at a crisp $2.15 billion - are getting praise for their newly-found free-spending ways. Although the new ownership group took over mid-season, the Dodgers have still managed to increase their payroll from around $90 million to more than $110 million. They've signed big extensions, taken on big contracts, made a big international signing ... I can only imagine what their offseason is going to look like. Good luck to the team bidding against them.
- FanGraphs looks at whether Yu Darvish's command issues - because of his great stuff, he strikes a lot of guys out, but he also walks a ton of guys - are correctable, or whether he's going to deal with them for the rest of his career. Based on precedent, the latter is far more likely, which isn't great news for the Rangers or their $100 million investment.
- Roy Oswalt and Ron Washington have talked out the pitcher's bullpen issue (in short, he isn't thrilled to have been moved to the pen, and recently declined to continue a relief outing after two innings). Oswalt simply didn't want to throw more than 200 pitches in a week (which is reasonable), but it seems like that's the kind of thing that could have been discussed before it became an issue.
- The Blue Jays' efforts to wait out and rehab a Drew Hutchison elbow injury have failed - after not pitching since mid-June, Hutchison is finally undergoing Tommy John surgery.
- A humorous take on Mike Trout's dominance of the American League at such a young age.