Jake Arrieta left the Cubs on a high note: winning the only game the Cubs won in the National League Championship Series. I won’t soon forget that game. However, I’ll never forget his two starts in the 2016 World Series and that he won both of them. One of them was Game 6.
- The Phillies players and coaches reacted positively to Arrieta’s announcement.
- They’re thrilled over at The Good Phight too. Take good care of Jake, guys.
- Arrieta has only made two starts in his career at Citizens Bank Park, but they were both terrific.
- The verdict is universal: Signing Arrieta makes the Phillies Wild Card contenders. Carson Cistulli shows the effect that Arrieta will have on the Phillies rotation.
- David Schoenfield also believes that the Phillies are ready to contend, with some caveats.
- Michael Baumann looks at Philadelphia’s bright future and how even if Arrieta doesn’t make the Phillies a Wild Card team this year, they should be ready to compete in 2019 and beyond.
- Jon Tayler likes to move for the Phillies, but notes the irony of the Phillies benefitting from a “tanking culture” that they helped to create.
- Buster Olney looks over the free agent deals of the winter and notes that teams that waited got big bargains. He also notes superagent Scott Boras had a bad offseason. Although it’s actually “season” for Boras, isn’t it?
- On that front, the Twins signed Lance Lynn on a one-year, $12 million deal, or over $5 million less than the qualifying offer he rejected.
- In connection to that move, the Twins released pitcher Anibal Sanchez.
- Scott Boras denied that one of his clients, third baseman Mike Moustakas, was ever offered a three-year contract by the Angels. Or any contract by the Angels. Or any contract from any team whatsoever before he re-signed with the Royals for less money than he made last season.
- Moustakas admits that it is awkward returning to the Royals, the only team he’s ever played for. Bob Nightengale wonders if the players who ended up signing disappointing contracts will be able to put the winter behind them.
- Grant Brisbee holds a roundtable discussion about Moustakas between the voices in his head and uses it to point out how messed up the current state of the business of baseball is. (I have debates in my head all the time. Unlike Grant, I tend not to write them all down verbatim.)
- The Athletics signed catcher Jonathan Lucroy to a one-year, $6.5 million deal.
- Matt Snyder terms this deal “grand larceny” for the A’s, and argues that Oakland should now add a pitcher. (He wrote this before Arrieta signed, but Alex Cobb is still available.)
- Mike Axisa thinks that instead of a tear-down, the Marlins could have taken advantage of the weak free agent market this winter to put together a pretty good team instead. But, but, but . . . Derek Jeter said that the Marlins wouldn’t have been a contender even if they had added Arrieta and Yu Darvish!
- You may not know this because they play on the West Coast and in a stadium everyone wants to forget, but Jerry Crasnick argues that the 2018 Athletics are a pretty interesting team right now. Maybe not a playoff contender, but moving in that direction with some great stories to go along with that.
- Ichiro Suzuki played in his first game this spring with the Mariners and he termed the reception he got from Mariners fans as “touching.”
- Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio was suspended 80 games for testing positive for a PED.
- Shohei Ohtani is already fitting in with his Angels teammates and the team is already pranking Ohtani.
- However, Jeff Passan reports that scouts who have seen Ohtani hit universally say that they are “very pessimistic” that he will ever be able to hit major league pitching. That’s not quite true. Many said that if Ohtani got 500 at-bats in the minors, he could probably fix the problems with his swing, but, of course, that’s not going to happen.
- Keith Law also saw Ohtani pitch and left underwhelmed. (ESPN Insider Only) Again though, for those who can’t read the article, that’s a qualified underwhelmed. He states that if a 23-year old pitcher from Double-A showed that kind of stuff in Spring Training, he’d say that a future ace is there. But Ohtani isn’t going to Double-A.
- Jason Catania writes about how there is a new “golden age” of young shortstops that is upon us.
- This is why hiring people with no previous coaching or managerial experience is risky. Yankees manager Aaron Boone called for a pitcher from the bullpen to come in for Dellin Betances, but he hadn’t bothered to warm any pitcher up first. So Betances had to face another batter. It was a Spring Training game so it was no big deal, but he’ll be crucified by the New York media if he does that again in a regular season game.
- At least new Phillies manager Gabe Kapler managed one season in the minors. (It was the year after he retired the first time. Then he went back to playing.) But I’m bringing up Kapler because David Schoenfield evaluates Kapler’s plan to “shift” outfielders so that the poor fielding Rhys Hoskins is less likely to have a ball hit to him. So essentially, Kapler plans to go with the system where Hoskins plays left against a left-handed pull hitter and vice-versa.
- I found this piece interesting where Nick Pollack breaks down Jeff Samardzija’s problems with the home run ball. Pollack notes that Samardzija would have had a terrific season last year if he hadn’t allowed so many home runs and wonders if there is a way to fix that.
- Jorge L. Ortiz looks at White Sox players Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, along with the White Sox long tradition of having Cuban players. The White Sox actually have a specific plan for helping Cuban players adapt to America, and Jose Contreras works in their front office to help implement it.
- MLB has signed a deal with Facebook to air 25 games exclusively on Facebook Watch. Yeah, that’s going to cause complaints when people who subscribe to MLB.tv can’t watch a game that’s exclusive to Facebook.
- Astros pitcher Lance McCullers worried that he was going to be “gif’ed” when he gave up a home run to Yoenis Cespedes. I’m so old that I remember when we used to call it “posterized.”
- Nationals manager Dave Martinez has the team working on their walk-off celebrations. You’d think he’d have them working on not getting injured in them, but I guess this is a “fun” exercise.
- And finally, the uniform for Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor never made it to the away game in Peoria. So he had to wear an emergency replacement jersey and was number 69 for the day. Nice!
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.