Good morning. I wonder if owners will now refuse to allow their players to participate in meaningless exhibition games in Spring Training?
- Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins tore the ACL in his left knee in yesterday’s Spring Training game. He will undergo surgery and will most likely miss the entire season.
- Jayson Stark and Matt Gelb note that Hoskins’ injury is a dark cloud on what had been a very optimistic Spring Training. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Dayn Perry looks at how the Phillies might go about replacing Hoskins.
- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve underwent surgery on the thumb that was hit by a Daniel Bard pitch in the World Baseball Classic. The Astros announced that Altuve will miss at least two months.
- Altuve is still upbeat, with the 32-year-old saying that he wants to keep playing until he’s 40 and that he wants to spend his entire career with the Astros.
- Braves closer Raisel Iglesias will start the year on the injured list with shoulder inflammation.
- Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright will miss “several weeks” after a groin strain suffered during the WBC. Although since he strained it in the Team USA weight room, I’m not sure you can blame the WBC for this one.
- Veteran infielder Jed Lowrie announced his retirement.
- Ryan Lavarnway announced his retirement as well, now that he’s finished playing for Israel in the WBC. Lavarnway writes in The Athletic about what he’s learned in baseball, which can be summed up as “Why not me?” and “Why not more?” (The Athletic sub. req.) He also speaks briefly about what he learned from David Ross when they were teammates in Boston.
- The Phillies released pitcher Mark Appel. He’s been keeping a journal/substack that you should really check out as he talks about the experience. It’s not fun, but it’s the reality for most players.
- Rangers Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Eric Nadel is stepping away from the booth temporarily to focus on his mental health.
- Jon Greenberg has a profile on White Sox broadcaster Jason Benetti (The Athletic sub. req.) and how he’s breaking out of his mold. Also a profile of the “Mold-A-Rama” machines, which I remember from my childhood.
- ESPN ranks the top 100 players in MLB. Only one Cub on the list: Dansby Swanson.
- Dayn Perry and CBS Sports also rank the top 100 players in MLB. Three Cubs on this list: Swanson, Ian Happ and Marcus Stroman.
- MLB Pipeline ranks all 30 farm systems. Orioles are number one. Cubs end up 12th.
- Rob Terranova has eight prospects that impressed during Spring Training.
- Anthony Castrovince has the one player from each team most likely to win one of the big three BBWAA awards.
- Evan Drellich examines the debate between the players and MLB about whether the pitch clock should be in use during the playoffs. (The Athletic sub. req.) It will be in use, in case you were wondering.
- With the infield shift banned, teams are getting more creative with defensive positioning. So Jayson Stark looks at the possibility of the “two-man outfield,” (The Athletic sub. req.) where one outfielder plays where a shifted infielder would have last season.
- Forbes announced their annual estimates of team values and the Yankees once again ranked first at $7.1 billion. The Cubs are fourth at $4.1 billion.
- This article probably isn’t for you, because you’ve been here all winter keeping up with everything baseball during the offseason. But in case you were in an accident in early November and just woke up from your coma, Chris Cwik has 30 things you need to know before the season starts. Or maybe you know all this and just want to reminisce.
- Ben Clemens notes that all the projections are cool on Nationals slugger Joey Meneses. Clemens tries to show how the projections could be wrong.
- Now we’re on to the aftermath of the World Baseball Classic. Jon Tayler notes that the WBC proves that baseball belongs to the whole world.
- Brittany Ghiroli says the 2023 WBC was a big success. What must MLB do to make it even better in 2026? (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Alden Gonzalez on how the WBC won over players and the entire world.
- Thomas Harrington and Theo DeRosa have the top ten moments of the 2023 WBC.
- The title game between Japan and the US drew a WBC record 5 million viewers in the US. We’re still waiting for the numbers from Japan, but it seems certain that it will be the most-watched baseball game ever.
- Bob Nightengale talks to Team USA and how they are already looking ahead to the 2026 tournament.
- Stephen J. Nesbitt looks at what a USA “Dream Team” might look like in the 2026 WBC. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said that he was glad to play second base in the tournament (he called it “cool”), but now he’s back to focusing on playing shortstop.
- Eric Gomez looks at how Mexico shocked everyone and made the semifinals of the WBC.
- Dodgers and Mexico pitcher Julio Urías said he was “energized” by playing in the WBC.
- David Adler has a look at just how nasty the stuff of Japan pitcher Roki Sasaki was in the WBC. A statcast breakdown.
- OK, back off the WBC for the finale. A high school softball player got fooled by a runner going “Look over there” to avoid the tag.
- And finally, there’s been a lot of debate about the new rules, but there’s one thing that no one can agree on. Stephanie Apstein looks at the debate about whether it’s a “pitch clock” or “pitch timer.” Officially, it’s a “pitch timer,” but even commissioner Rob Manfred calls it a “pitch clock.”
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Go Zags. Go Hawkeyes.