I watched a lot of college basketball this weekend for the first time in. . .well, I can’t remember that far back. At least I can’t remember the last time I watched a lot of college basketball games that didn’t involve Iowa or Gonzaga, although Iowa and Gonzaga were two of the teams playing that I did watch.
I assume my bracket is “busted,” so to speak. I filled mine out in ten minutes, filed it and forgot it.
- The Royals have agreed to a four-year, $82 million contract extension with catcher Salvador Perez that will keep the team legend in baby blue through the 2025 season. The contract is the richest in Royals history.
- The Royals also sent top prospect Bobby Witt Jr. down to the minors on Sunday. Witt was tearing up the Cactus League, hitting .289/.325/.526 with three home runs in just 38 at-bats. There was talk of him making the Opening Day roster. But considering the 20-year-old shortstop has never played above rookie ball, going to the minors is probably for the best.
- Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor is looking for over $300 million to sign an extension with the team. The Mets are reportedly willing to go as high as $300 million and are hoping that Lindor will accept that amount.
- Buster Olney looks at the curious phenomenon of how Mets ace Jacob deGrom is actually throwing harder as he gets older. (ESPN+ sub. req.) Olney tries to get an explanation as to why deGrom’s velocity has increased now that he’s in his thirties, a time when pretty much every other pitcher loses velocity.
- Jay Jaffe believes that deGrom is currently on the path to Cooperstown and he assesses deGrom’s chances of staying healthy and effective long enough to earn that plaque.
- Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani is also tearing up Spring Training both at the plate and on the mound. Yesterday, he singled to lead off the game and then hit 101.9 mph on his fastball in the bottom of the inning. Ohtani is 14 for 22 this spring with four home runs. Manager Joe Maddon is considering going without the DH on days that Ohtani is pitching.
- Alden Gonzalez talks to several players and coaches and finds that most of them believe that ramping up to a full 162-game season after the abbreviated 2020 season is going to be a big problem (ESPN+ sub. req.) for a lot of pitchers and pitching staffs. Some are arguing it’s time to go to a six-man rotation, at least for 2021.
- Andy McCullough spoke with Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw about how his career has changed now that he’s finally silenced the critics by winning the World Series. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Zach Kram has five teams who need pitchers to comeback after missing all or most of 2020.
- Mike Axisa picks the best player in 2021 for every age between 18 and 42.
- Reds first baseman Joey Votto returned to the team after contracting COVID-19 earlier this month.
- Only one player has tested positive for COVID this past week, out of 14,845 tests.
- Joe Posnanski has a look at the current state of the Oakland Athletics. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- The Pirates signed knuckleballer Steven Wright to a minor-league deal. Wright hasn’t pitched since 2019 after being suspended for 80-games for testing positive for human growth hormone.
- Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie has joined the board of directors for the Mets.
- Wondering how the larger bases in Triple-A are going to work in 2021? J.J. Cooper explains it to you. Each league will only have the larger bases half the season and the two leagues will experiment with different models.
- Vanderbilt right-hander Jack Leiter, who is in the mix to be the top pick in the 2021 draft, threw a no-hitter against South Carolina over the weekend. He walked the leadoff hitter in the first inning and then retired the next 27 batters in order, striking out 16.
- In softball, Texas Tech beat Tarelton State 23-0 in five innings. Two players hit each hit two grand slams and the pitcher threw a no-hitter.
- And finally, Matt Pentz takes a tour through one man’s fantastic collection of Seattle baseball memorabilia, some dating back to the late 19th-Century.
Let’s all have a good day today.