If I can get serious for a moment, I just want to say that I appreciate all of you, our readers. I know that we are all here because we love the greatest sport ever invented and the greatest team in that sport. I also know that things are not looking good for that sport right now. That is going to put a lot of us on edge. Add in the events of the world right now and I know that I’m not always in the best of moods. I assume the same is true of you. You wouldn’t be human if these things didn’t bother you. (My wife has a Ukrainian co-worker—as in born there and with family still there—and she’s apparently barely keeping it together.)
But again, I appreciate those of you who read our words every day. Even when you don’t agree with us, I appreciate that you took the time to share your thoughts with us. Let’s all try to be excellent to each other. We may not always succeed, but let’s apologize when we fall short and move on.
So with that said, I’ve got a lot more bad news to share with you! Let’s see if we can find some good in there somewhere.
- We’ve been covering the CBA talks around here on a daily basis, but in case you’ve missed it, Jesse Rogers has an update on what happened on Thursday. The two sides will meet again today. MLB says that there will not be a 162-game season if an agreement is not reached by Monday.
- Jay Jaffe also sums up where the two sides are in greater details and says that there isn’t much progress being made right now.
- Rogers also spoke with agents and baseball executives not involved in negotiations to get a sense of what a final compromise agreement might look like.
- Ken Rosenthal formulates what he thinks would be a fair deal to end the lockout. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- R.J. Anderson explains why the “Competitive Balance Tax” has become so contentious and why what the owners are proposing is so radical.
- But when the lockout finally does end, Zach Crizer has some transactional dominoes that will fall and what the repercussions of that might be.
- There is a “growing belief” among baseball insiders that free agent Freddie Freeman will not re-sign with the Braves.
- Reportedly, the Mets were one of the teams that “checked in” on Freeman before the lockout.
- R.J. Anderson has five first basemen that the Braves could consider if they don’t re-sign Freeman. Yes, Anthony Rizzo is on the list.
- Mike Axisa has some players who are candidates for contract extensions when the lockout ends. Yes, Willson Contreras is on the list.
- Dan Szymborski tries to find teams and contracts for the top remaining free agent pitchers.
- The Yankees announced that they will retire Paul O’Neill’s number 21 this summer. I guess that assumes that there is a “this summer.”
- Tyler Kepner notes that O’Neill’s number had been unofficially retired for over a decade. He also looks at other players whose numbers have not been retired but whose teams still aren’t assigning them to anyone. Or “unofficially” retired.
- Ben Clemens looks at the adjustment that Athletics (and former Cubs) infielder Tony Kemp made last year that led to the best season of his career.
- Joey Gallo thinks MLB has to do something to limit defensive shifts. In related news, Javier Báez thinks MLB has to do something about breaking balls in the dirt. (That’s a joke. I have to say that or someone will think I’m serious.)
- Jayson Stark examines what might happen if MLB actually outlawed defensive shifts. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Fabian Ardaya, Cody Stavenhagen and Will Sammon examine how the job of baseball manager has changed over the past decade and how it might change in the future. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- The team at MLB Pipeline list the best defensive prospect for each organization.
- Top Rangers prospect, infielder Josh Jung, will undergo labrum surgery on his left, no-throwing shoulder. Jung will probably miss all of the 2022 season.
- Justin Choi takes note of how Shohei Ohtani can throw for extra velocity when he has two strikes on a batter.
- Ken Rosenthal traces the journey of free agent Matt Carpenter as he travels the country to get help in remaking his swing and salvaging his career. (The Athletic sub. req.) Joey Votto was one of the people he sought help from.
- Some sad news as former Mariners and White Sox infielder and longtime Mariners broadcaster Julio Cruz has passed away at the age of 67.
- Former MVP Josh Hamilton pled guilty to a misdemeanor in an incident of violence against his teenage daughter.
- Chad Jennings and Jen McCaffrey look at how the Red Sox and the Cubs are maintaining Fenway Park and Wrigley Field to last for generations to come. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Here’s the part where I finish OTC with some human interest stories about baseball from long ago from MLB dot com. Michael Clair looks back at the 1942 exhibition game at Folson Prison between MLB All-Stars and prisoners was cut short because two convicts tried to escape.
- If you want to collect really rare baseball cards, Matt Monagan profiles a man who collects contemporaneous cards of Negro League players. While no baseball cards were ever printed with Negro League players on them in the US, many Latin American countries did issue cards for Negro Leaguers who played winter ball.
- And finally, David Adler looks at how Tom Seaver was almost a Brave. In fact, he was a Braves player before commissioner “Spike” Eckert nullified the contract Seaver signed with Atlanta. If Seaver were on the Braves, I’d bet the Cubs win the NL East in 1969. On the other hand, they would have had a real uphill battle against Atlanta in the first NLCS.
End the lockout.