With spring training officially underway, there has been plenty to discuss in the realm of baseball (like how it’s actually happening!). Some big stories that have hit since Josh posted OTC on Wednesday: pitchers and catchers reported; the Mets dropped the ball on another sexual harassment scandal, and of course... the San Diego Padres locked down Fernando Tatis Jr. for an absolutely incredible 14-year deal worth $340 million.
That big contract will lead the bulk of our links today, because it’s sort of important, and begs the question: is any player worth a 14-year contract? And also more upsettingly: how old will you be when the contract ends (I will be 51 and I am definitely not okay.)
So let’s start off with the Tatis talk and then dive into all the other news.
- Matt Martell thinks the Tatis signing signals the beginning of a long run of contention for the Padres.
- Bradford Doolittle and David Schoenfield try to wrap their minds around what this bold signing means for Tatis and the Padres.
- Mike Axisa and the CBS MLB team wonder if Tatis is MLB’s best shortstop, which the paycheck seems to imply.
- Dennis Lin, meanwhile, suggests Tatis might very well be the LeBron James of shortstops. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Zach Kram thinks the extension is just the icing on the cake of a sensational offseason for the Padres.
- Speaking of this deal making you feel old, enjoy a map that will ALSO make you feel old as you realize how many active players in baseball were born after you.
I thought it would be fun to animate a map of where @mlb players were born broken down by the year of their birth. Pretty awesome to watch the game slowly expand. pic.twitter.com/VufcdCS8M7— Daren Willman (@darenw) February 18, 2021
- RJ McDaniel remembers Tony Fernandez.
- Maria Torres hones in on some tremendous Nationals content to whet Washington fan’s appetites. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Nick Selbe reports that Buster Posey is keeping his aim sharp by, uh, throwing diapers at his son.
- Shakeia Taylor reflects on MLB’s decision to “elevate” the Negro Leagues to the major leagues and what it actually means to the history of those clubs and the men who played in them.
- David Sheinin has the story of former baseball player Micah Bowie, whose life is now on the line as the Texas power outages threaten the use of his oxygen machine.
- Amanda Lane has some deep discussions for you about baseball mythmaking in a lengthy post that is worth your time.
- Evidently Jerry Reinsdorf knew about Tony La Russa’s DUI and chose not to share that information with others in the White Sox org.
- Three years too late, the Mets fire Ryan Ellis after accounts emerge from three women who reported him for harassment, reports Jenna West.
- Brittany Ghiroli and Ken Rosenthal also look into the story about Ellis, and the unacceptable pattern emerging with the Mets and other clubs. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Not a link, but just a reminder that Mickey Callaway still, inexplicably, has his job.
- Speaking of clubs dropping the ball on due diligence...
I asked the Diamondbacks if they'd undertaken an investigation to see if Jared Porter's behavior with the Cubs in 2016 continued in Arizona. The team provided this statememt. pic.twitter.com/0e6M1GaTi2— Zach Buchanan (@ZHBuchanan) February 18, 2021
- With MiLB not being played last season, Kevin Goldstein looks at which type of players were most impacted by the missing year.
- Renee Andrews, Davy Andrews, and Roger Cormier are back with their Too Far From Home series, focusing on the Tri-City ValleyCats.
- These five stars could be poised for comeback seasons in 2021, writes Mike Axisa.
- It looks like, for at least the start of the season, the Toronto Blue Jays will play at their spring training home in Dunedin, FL, reports Nick Selbe. Fun fact (probably only to me), before every hearing Dunedin said out loud I thought it was pronounced “Dune-uh-din.” It is, in fact, pronounced “Dunn-eden.” You’re welcome.
- The Brewers are among the first major league teams to confirm fan attendance for the regular season (though many teams are already quietly beginning to sell tickets), Tom Haudricourt looks at the Brewers plan.
- Jeff Passan has 20 big questions to keep in mind this spring training.
- And Dayn Perry offers you 10 storylines to keep your eye on before the season starts.
- Hey, since we’re on the topic, Jayson Stark also has some 2021 spring training storylines he wants you to pay attention to. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- MLB dot com tries to guess starting lineups for all 30 teams.
- C. Trent Rosecrans and Melissa Lockard provide yet another helpful breakdown of how to best understand the new minor league alignment, because frankly some of us are absolutely still a bit confused. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Last week I shared some content from the MLB Minis Instagram account, and apparently I’m not the only one loving those. Joon Lee has player reaction to the delightful photo edits.
- Yu Darvish was evidently pretty firmly in favor of the universal DH.
Yu Darvish said he wishes there were a rule that allowed pitchers over the age of 34 to decide whether they want to hit for themselves or not. He said he came up with the idea before bed. Personally, he would like to watch someone else hit.— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) February 18, 2021
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.