Spring is in the air and baseball is nigh.
- The big news is MLB announcing all the rules changes and that they would be enforced on day 1 of Spring Training. Al Yellon has already written up all you need to know but if you still have more questions, Jesse Rogers not only explains them, but goes into the arguments for and against the rules changes. He also goes into what to expect as the games start getting played.
- Jayson Stark talks to players, managers and front office people and they all say that Spring Training will be a “s—- show.” (The Athletic sub. req.) And maybe after Spring Training too. The hope is that something better will emerge after the s—- show is over. (And yeah, that’s how Stark wrote it.)
- Tom Verducci thinks the ban on shifting will make baseball more exciting.
- Red Sox manager Alex Cora is in favor of most of the new rules, but he doesn’t like the larger bases, calling them “pizza boxes.”
- Adding to the chaos surrounding the new rules, MLB intends to emphasize enforcement of the balk rule. Anyone else remember 1988—the year of the balk? It’s mentioned in that article.
- Matt Snyder approves of making the “runner on second in extra innings” permanent.
- MLB dot com has the top storyline for every team going into Spring Training.
- Mike Axisa has the most pressing question for each team at the start of the spring.
- Reigning American League Most Valuable Player Aaron Judge is taking reps at first base. Judge is still a pretty good defensive outfielder at this point, so this is probably just preparing for an emergency. But one day before that new contract runs out . . .
- New White Sox pitcher Mike Clevinger will be allowed to take part in Spring Training activities while MLB investigates him for a potential violation of the domestic violence policy.
- David Schoenfield has an offseason grade for each MLB team. (ESPN+ sub. req.) The Cubs got a “B+.”
- Will Leitch has ten questions about the American League East. Two for each club.
- Free agent pitcher Michael Wacha finally has a new team as Wacha has agreed to a deal with the Padres.
Wacha agreement with Padres has complex structure that could earn him more than $24M over four years, sources tell @TheAthletic. Deal includes player and team options that protect both Wacha’s upside and downside while lowering his AAV for luxury-tax purposes. Pending physical.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 15, 2023
- Will Leitch ranks all the new managers in MLB this season by how tough a task they have facing them.
- The Dodgers signed outfielder David Peralta to a one-year, $6.5 million deal. Jake Mailhot evaluates what the Dodgers can expect out of Peralta.
- Relievers Andrew Chafin signed with the Diamondbacks and Alex Reyes with the Dodgers. Leo Morgenstern evaluates both pitchers.
- Eric Longenhagen grades the deal that sent Guardians outfielder Will Benson to the Reds for minor league outfielder Justin Boyd.
- Dan Szymborski evaluates the deal between the Athletics and the Marlins that sent left-hander A.J. Puk to Miami and outfielder JJ Bleday to Oakland. I can only guess that the A’s had an extra “J” and were short an “A” in the uniform and rather than spending for an extra “A,” they just made the deal.
- Sad news as former Nationals owner Ted Lerner has died at age 97. Condolences go out to his family and the Nationals, who are currently run by his son.
- Joel Sherman lists the 50 most interesting people in baseball.
- Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes has pulled out of the World Baseball Classic. He will be replaced on Team USA by Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland. Nothing against Freeland who is a fine starter, but that’s a big blow to Team USA’s hopes. Cortes is dealing with a hamstring pull or he would have played.
- In honor of the WBC, Manny Randhawa looks at the history of baseball in Australia.
- After a big offseason of uncertainty, Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez has signed a new deal with SNY.
- This thread on a new study on elbow injuries seems important.
Our 2nd @AJSM study assessing fx of showcase exposures on UCL injury in elite pitchers. We sought to determine if ⬆ HS showcase volume & timing of UCL injury affected career trajectory in pitchers selected in 1st 5 rounds of MLB draft, 2011-17. A . 1/ https://t.co/iYM837ytrb— Peter Kriz, MD (@DrPKrizBrownU) February 13, 2023
- The story of how NFL Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath almost ended up as a Cub.
- And finally, David Gardner reports the story of how former MLBer John Jaso gave up playing baseball to live a live sailing the Caribbean.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.