Think of how much better baseball would be if in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game with a runner on third and two outs, the manager of the visiting team could call time-out, take his whole team off the field and wait around for ninety seconds to “ice the batter.” Then they could do it two more times. (And yes, baseball needs to do something about pitchers who take a long time on the mound and batters who step out all the time. But at least MLB admits this is a problem and is working to deal with it.)
Good day. How’s it going, eh?
- I already wrote this whole thing and scheduled it for this morning when news broke late last night that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista are “nearing a deal” that would bring the slugger back to Toronto. So you can probably ignore all the talk of Bautista going to the Indians or anywhere else.
- We’ve already posted a story about Ryan Dempster pitching for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic, but Russell Martin (who will play shortstop) and Freddie Freeman (who holds dual Canadian and American citizenship) are also playing for Team Canada.
- Shi Davidi has more on the decision to add Dempster and Eric Gagne to Team Canada and explains that they need to be more than just a feel-good story for Canada to be successful in the 2017 WBC.
- R.J. Anderson thinks good or bad, Canada will be one fun team to watch.
- Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh has been added to Team Korea, while Jung Ho Kang is still out.
- The members of Team Israel had a blast touring the country. Former Cub Sam Fuld was one of the players on the tour.
- On to the Tepid Stove. The Rangers have reportedly agreed to a one-year with pitcher Tyson Ross. I know the Cubs were interested, but I think it was wise to not give him a one-year deal.
- Richard Justice looks at the remaining free agents and lists some deals that he feels have to happen.
- First baseman Chris Carter is in negotiations with the Orioles and Rangers.
- Ken Rosenthal says the Indians are keeping in touch with several free agents, including Jose Bautista. Bautista’s asking price would have to go down for the Indians to sign him.
- Al Melchior thinks the Rockies need to trade Charlie Blackmon before they consider signing Mark Trumbo.
- David Schoenfield uses the example of Brandon Moss to show how teams no longer value veteran role-players like they used to.
- One thing that has happened over the past two days is a lot of teams and players signed deals that avoided arbitration. Here’s a good summary of the most important recent deals.
- If the Dodgers can’t come to a deal with the Twins over Brian Dozier, they may look to deal for the Tigers’ Ian Kinsler.
- The Mariners have made a lot of deals this winter and Cliff Corcoran ranks the five best ones.
- Nicolas Stellini thinks the Mets need to improve their bullpen to compete in 2017.
- On the other hand, Mike Axisa thinks that the Marlins have “quietly” built one of the best bullpens in baseball. Jeez, it was a secret but now Axisa has ruined it.
- Roy Cummings explains what type a player newest Rays outfielder Mallex Smith will be.
- Scott Lauber looks at the impact that the absence of David Ortiz will have on the Red Sox lineup.
- It looks like outfielder Carl Crawford is ready to retire. He’s still owed $21.8 million and I’ve got to say, there’s no way I’d still be doing this three times a week if someone was going to pay me $21.8 million to do nothing.
- Matt Snyder believes that Joe Maddon’s plan to use Kyle Schwarber as a leadoff hitter is a good one and that similar players like Brandon Belt should bat leadoff as well.
- The Cardinal still think they can compete with the Cubs in the NL Central. I could say something, but I don’t want to get overconfident.
- Andrew Simon has a list of bounceback candidates for 2017, including Bryce Harper and Jason Heyward.
- Craig Edwards has a piece on the relationship between exit velocity and fielding-independent pitching stats.
- David Price reports that he has heard racist taunts coming from fans at Fenway Park.
- Jared Diamond reports on how making Hall of Fame ballots public is changing the way the election is conducted.
- And finally, did you send Indians pitcher Ryan Merritt a wedding gift? A lot of Indians fans did and apparently they are all getting thank-notes from Merritt and his bride.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.