I had at least 20 Tweets in my timeline telling me it was baseball season the minute that the clock struck zero at that game of American Football that they played last night. So it must be true.
We’re beginning the transition to whatever new role I’m going to have going forward at BCB and SBNation (if any) and we need to start rationing the number of stories I write. So I won’t write another MLB Bullets until Friday. Al will do an abbreviated version of Bullets on Wednesday so you can have somewhere to sit and complain about Rob Manfred. We wouldn’t want to deprive you of that.
Super Bowl weekend is always one of the slowest days of the year for baseball news anyway.
- Jayson Stark and Eno Sarris went through the statistics for the 2017 Astros to try to determine how much the Houston hitters were helped by their sign-stealing scheme. (The Athletic sub. req.) While the authors warn that we can never know the answer to that question for sure, the evidence all seems to point to “a whole lot.”
- Royals infielder Whit Merrifield called the sign-stealing “worse than steroids.” The data certainly indicates that it helped performance more than steroids. Whether it was morally worse or not is something that I leave to you.
- David Schoenfield declares that we’re on “Mookie Watch” and outlines the current state of a possible Mookie Betts trade to the Dodgers, or less likely at the moment, the Padres.
- The Red Sox will reportedly decide whether or not to deal Betts in the next few days.
- Peter Gammons is reporting that the baseball insiders that he’s spoken to consider a trade of Betts to the Dodgers as “inevitable.”
- Although they’re not one of the teams rumored to be in on Betts, Mike Axisa argues the Cardinals should be actively pursuing a trade for the Red Sox outfielder.
- The Indians seem less likely to deal shortstop Francisco Lindor at the moment and Lindor spoke about his future with the Tribe. Lindor says he’d like to stay in Cleveland, but . . .
- Ken Rosenthal posits that there are four teams that could win the National League East and all four of those teams should be trying to swing a big trade to separate from the other three. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Anthony Castrovince has four MLB teams likely to see a significant improvement in 2020, according to Fangraphs projected WAR.
- Nick Stellini writes that MLB is ignoring the real problems the sport has with the new rules changes for 2020. The biggest one, Stellini writes, is that the owners of today are much more interested in the business of baseball than the game of baseball.
- Rockies owner Dick Monfort told fans that he expected the team to win 94 games in 2020. That would be a 23-game improvement with a team that is one year older and has made no significant moves over the winter. Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? I’ll let you answer that.
- Two former White Sox employees have been charged in connection to a scheme to illegally re-sell White Sox tickets.
- Sad news as longtime scout and Nationals advisor Phil Rizzo has died at age 90. Rizzo was the father of current Nats general manager Mike Rizzo. Phil Rizzo was a 2008 inductee into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame.
- And former MLB shortstop Tony Fernandez is fighting for his life and is hospitalized in critical condition. Fernandez has suffered from a kidney disease over the past few years.
- Outfielder (and Chicago-area native) Curtis Granderson has retired after 16 seasons.
- The Twins have signed right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin to a minor-league deal.
- Jake Mailhot writes that the Mariners have improved their bullpen by signing free agent reliever Yoshihisa Hirano.
- T.R. Sullivan tells the story of brothers Scott and Tyler Heineman as they both reached the majors for the first time in 2019.
- Andrew Simon has one “surprising” Hall of Fame player for each team. (That is, a Hall of Famer who makes you say “He played for that team?” like Mike Piazza and the Marlins.)
- Eric Stephen explains just how crappy minor league pay is by noting that it has barely changed over the past 60 years. Dick Allen showed an old pay stub from 1960 and it’s not much less than they make today. And after you adjust for 60 years of inflation . . .
- And finally, professional gambler and Jeopardy champion James Holzhauer talks about what you need to know about gambling on baseball and how it’s changed over the past 15 years.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.