The big teams like the Yankees and Dodgers bite their tongues and pay their revenue sharing money out to the Pirates and Royals of the world because, well, that’s the system we have. They may not bite their tongues much longer, though, because they really, really don’t like paying a large-market team like the Nationals — which Forbes Magazine rates as the second most profitable team in baseball — that kind of scratch. Tom Boswell:
As Washington’s obvious promise has been thwarted by its gruesome
won-lost reality, resentment toward the way the Nats do business,
already prevalent in Washington, is now spreading through the game . . . “You’re probably going to see revenue-sharing reform pretty soon,” an
American League executive said. “It’s usually small-market teams like
Pittsburgh that are the issue” . . . But the Bucs have an excuse: Their metropolitan market — like Denver,
Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City and Milwaukee — is less
than half Washington’s size (No. 9 in the United States).
Given the financial disparities in the game, some form of revenue sharing is essential. But a system that rewards a team with huge welfare checks for keeping its payroll lower than its market and revenue would rationally dictate (and losing tons of ballgames in the process) is not a sustainable one.
I suspect that the “revenue-sharing reform” Boswell’s source is talking about would take the form of requiring any teams receiving checks to spend the money on players as opposed to simply pocketing it and declaring a profit like the Nats and Pirates do every year. Such a thing might be hard to implement and could lead to a huge battle between baseball’s high payroll and low payroll teams. It’s a battle worth fighting, however. Because if the high payroll teams win it, more teams will be putting more resources into their product on the field. In that case, we as fans win too.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.