The Dodgers didn’t get into the free agent shortstop bidding this winter because . . . well, really because they’re saving up all their money to make a bid for Shohei Ohtani. But the other reason was because they felt confident that Gavin Lux could handle the job.
Yeah, about that. . .
- Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux will miss all of 2023 after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament.
- Jack Harris looks at some options the Dodgers might look at to replace Lux.
- Juan Toribio also looks at how the Dodgers might fill the hole at shortstop.
- Jay Jaffe says the loss of Lux is a big blow to the Dodgers with no easy solutions.
- Seiya Suzuki isn’t the only one dealing with an oblique injury. Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow has a oblique injury and is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks.
- Royals left-hander Aroldis Chapman will miss a few days after he fell, chipped a tooth and split his lip.
- And Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove will miss “minimum of a couple of weeks” after breaking a toe after dropping a kettlebell on it in the weight room.
- Padres third baseman Manny Machado held a press conference after signing his new 11-year, $350 million extension.
- Bob Nightengale explains how by backloading the deal, Machado has given the Padres more flexibility to sign more players.
- Dan Szymborski writes that the projections on Machado’s future production are not kind to this deal going forward, but it’s a good sign that the Padres are in “win now” mode.
- Tom Krasovic points out that Machado is getting the support the Padres never gave Adrián González and the difference is new owner Peter Seidler.
- Buster Olney talks to shortstop Carlos Correa on the long trip that led him returning to Minnesota and how he’s changed his routine in an attempt to avoid those future leg injuries (ESPN+ sub. req.) that the Giants and Mets were convinced are coming for Correa a few years down the road.
- The White Sox Elvis Andrus says it is “completely weird” playing second base after a career at shortstop.
- Rob Biertempfel reports that Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds says he’s not close to a contract extension with the team. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Emma Baccellieri explains the Rays are relying on rookie third base coach Brady Williams this year to help them adjust to the new rules that Williams dealt with as manager of the Durham Bulls last season.
- Noah Woodward has more on how the strategy surrounding the pitch clock and the number of mound disengagements can work to a pitcher’s favor.
- Kyle Kishimoto writes that everyone will get used to the pitch clock sooner rather than later.
- In the Spring Training game where the Pirates hosted the Orioles, the Bucs were leading 7-4 after the top of the ninth. But the Orioles had one more pitcher they wanted to get some work in so they agreed to play the bottom of the ninth. But the umpires didn’t agree and left the field, so the two teams played half an inning making all the calls themselves., No, this is not one of Rob Manfred’s new rules.
- Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol and umpire C.B. Bucknor shook hands and have apparently put their feud behind them.
- The Blue Jays have hired former Astros general manager James Click as their new “vice president of baseball strategy.” Click, you may remember, was fired (OK, technically and insultingly offered a one-year deal with a pay cut) after winning the World Series last year.
- Hannah Keyser interviews Phillies Rule 5 pick Noah Song on his two loves—baseball and the military. Song, if you don’t know, was drafted and signed by the Red Sox in 2019 after a career at the Naval Academy, but he hasn’t been able to play baseball since that year because of his military commitment. He has since been transferred from active duty to the reserves, so he can try to make a major-league roster.
- Thomas Harrington has 10 clubs that could outperform expectations at a weak position. One of those is the Cubs, center field and Cody Bellinger.
- R.J Anderson has one potential breakout candidate for each team. His choice for the Cubs is Jeremiah Estrada. Good choice.
- Will Sammon and Andy McCullough lament the decline of the “two-way” center fielder who can both field and hit. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Will Leitch has the ten oldest players in MLB this year. And they’re all younger than I am.
- Now it’s time for the World Baseball Classic part of the program. Ken Rosenthal looks at how strong tournament favorite the Dominican Republic are this year. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Michael Clair has another great story on the underdog Czech Republic team.
- Brian Murphy has a history of Team USA in international competitions.
- Jesús Cano has what you need to know about baseball in the Netherlands, Curaçao and Aruba.
- Ian Browne remembers how Kenley Jansen had his “coming out party” as one of the star players for Team Netherlands in the 2009 WBC—as a catcher. Jansen is still rightly proud of throwing out Wil Taveras trying to steal third base. He also caught Ryan Braun trying to steal second.
- Former minor league pitcher Peter Bayer has been banned from playing since 2021 after he bet on baseball. (The Athletic sub. req.) Bayer has made noise as he’s tried to get reinstated, saying that he only bet small amounts a few times. MLB says they have evidence he made many more bets than he’s admitted to and they were for much larger amounts than he claimed.
- Stephanie Apstein has the true crime story of who was stealing major league jerseys and equipment from teams visiting the Rockies.
- Dan Szymborski says that the Reds have a path back to contention in 2025, but then wonders if their ownership will spend the necessary money when that time comes.
- Jay Jaffe looks at Reds first baseman Joey Votto rebounding from a poor 2022 season.
- And finally, last year The Athletic published an oral history of Votto, whom they termed the “most interesting man in baseball.” They got lots of Votto’s former teammates and coaches to talk about the most interesting things Votto did. But what they didn’t get is any comment from Votto. Well, now The Athletic has re-published the article complete with running commentary from Votto himself. (The Athletic sub. req.) As interesting as the first article was, it’s far more interesting with the responses by Votto himself.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.