I don’t know where this story belongs, but I think it’s of interest so I’ll put it here.
Mallory Swanson is returning to the U.S. national team, but she’s not ready to play in a match just yet. https://t.co/m4uEwoGPbk— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) February 7, 2024
Dansby’s better half isn’t ready to play in games yet, but she’s at least out there training. Has she sung “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” yet? Because she should. I don’t know if she can sing or not, but as we all know, that doesn’t really matter. It’s better if you can’t.
- Mark Feinsand and Jon Paul Morosi address this winter’s “lingering questions,” including when the “Boras Four” will sign.
- Tim Britton, Aaron Gleeman and Grant Brisbee hand out offseason grades for each team. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Mike Lupica believes that J.D. Martinez is an underrated hitter and a great fit for the Mets.
- Ben Clemens looks at the initial Fangraphs playoff odds and has some thoughts.
- The Astros signed second baseman José Altuve to a five-year, $125 million extension. This will keep Altuve in Houston until he’s 39—so probably for his whole career.
- Michael Baumann has some thoughts on the Altuve extension and projects how he will perform over the next six seasons.
- R.J. Anderson has three reasons that the White Sox would be foolish to not trade right-hander Dylan Cease before Opening Day.
- The Brewers signed free agent catcher Gary Sánchez to a one-year, $7 million deal. Ben Clemens evaluates Sánchez and the deal.
- Davy Andrews looks at the Brewers’ decision to turn right-hander Jakob Junis into a starter.
- Rangers outfielder Adolis García signed a two-year deal worth at least $14 million with incentives up to $20.25 million. This buys out his first two years of arbitration.
- Speaking of arbitration, Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was awarded a $19.9 million salary in an arbitration ruling.
- Evan Drellich has details on negotiations to allow MLB players to participate in the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. (The Athletic sub. req.) I mean, that’s cool and all, but there is no way the Olympics will be as good an international tournament as the World Baseball Classic. And you’re asking a lot for top pitchers to throw an extra couple of games in the middle of summer. It’s bad enough to get them to participate in Spring Training.
- If you aren’t an Athletic subscriber, you can read a summary of the Olympics article here.
- Commissioner Rob Manfred issued some statements on the Olympics, but also on other issues like the Athletics relocation, the sale of the Orioles and new stadiums for the Rays and White Sox.
- I guess that means it’s time that we can argue about Las Vegas and Oakland. Fun. Manfred said that he would be “disappointed” if the there wasn’t a new stadium ready to go for the A’s by 2028. He also said that the team has only a few months to announce where they will play in 2025.
- Chelsea Janes said those comments were practically an ultimatum to the A’s to get their act together.
- Tim Kawakami writes that the A’s future in Las Vegas is looking more and more like the A’s previous efforts: “delayed, frustrating and ultimately doomed.” (The Athletic sub. req.) He opines that the A’s are no closer to getting a new stadium than they were at this time last year.
- Ken Rosenthal reports that Oakland mayor Sheng Thao says the door is still open for the A’s to stay in Oakland. (The Athletic sub. req.) They can even play in the Coliseum until a new stadium is built in Las Vegas if they intend to move — but there are conditions to that offer. Like leaving the name, colors and giving Oakland an expansion team.
- Michael A. Fletcher examines the fall of Oakland and the rise of Las Vegas as sports destinations.
- Neil deMause looks at some new research about “property tax exemptions” for stadiums are ultimately an $18 billion gift by the taxpayers to billionaire owners.
- Manfred also hopes to have an in-market streaming package for about half of MLB teams by 2025. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- A Netflix film crew will follow the Red Sox around for the 2024 season for a documentary.
- The Rays have signed manager Kevin Cash and team president Erik Neander to contract extensions that will leave them in the Bay until at least 2028.
- Who are the favorites for MVP this year?
- David Adler has 15 of the nastiest pitches in baseball.
- Michael Baumann asks if a pitcher really needs a four-seam fastball.
- The Padres announced plans to honor their late owner Peter Seidler with a ceremony and a heart-shaped patch that the team will wear all season.
- Davy Andrews wants to know if anyone has ever hit the target on the pitcher’s mound at Target Field.
- More on the “Snow-hei” OhtanI sculpture here.
- And finally, is this 2024 Phillies batting practice cap the greatest cap of all-time?
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.