Studio balks at Moneyball, but movie not dead yet

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Columbia Pictures was scheduled to begin production on the Moneyball movie today with three months of preparation and a $50 million budget, but Variety reports that the studio stepped away from the Brad Pitt-Steven Soderbergh project at the last minute.

Moneyball has been placed into
“limited turnaround,” which apparently means that other studios are now
free to acquire the film’s rights. Variety
speculates that Warner Brothers and Paramount could be interested, so
we may still see Pitt portraying Billy Beane on the big screen.

For whatever it’s worth, I’ve always been skeptical about the Michael Lewis bestseller having the potential to be a big-budget movie and Variety
notes that Columbia Pictures boss Amy Pascal “read a rewrite that
Soderbergh did to Steven Zaillian’s script and found it very different
from the earlier scripts she championed,” so it’s possible that
attempts to punch up the relatively action-less plot led to the studio
balking.

Or maybe everyone just finally realized the possible insanity behind Soderbergh’s idea to use an animated Bill James as “this sort of oracle character that appears throughout and declaims various issues.”

Diamondbacks sign Kris Medlen and Antonio Bastardo to minor-league deals

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Arizona Diamondbacks have signed pitchers Kris Medlen and Antonio Bastardo to minor-league deals. Medlen will make $1.1 million if he breaks camp with the Snakes. Bastardo will earn at $1.5 million if he makes the team.

Medlen hasn’t pitched in the bigs since 2016 and hasn’t pitched effectively in the bigs since 2013 due to multiple Tommy John surgeries and, more recently, shoulder ailments. Last year he put up a 4.95 ERA in 20 games in the Braves’ minor league system. If he’s healthy he could be a depth guy for the Dbacks in the event one of their big league starters go down.

Bastardo pitched in nine games, ineffectively, for the Pirates before being released last season. He didn’t catch on anywhere else after that so, hey, I guess he’s fresh?