Diamondbacks get lucky: Reynolds misses arbitration cutoff

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As we noted back in July, it was sure to go right down to the wire. As it turned out, Mark Reynolds’ two years and 138 days of service time wasn’t quite enough to make him a “super-two” arbitration eligible player. This year’s cutoff was two years, 141 days.
Under the rules of MLB, players with between three and six years of service time, as well as the top one-sixth of players with between two and three years, qualify for arbitration after every season. Those top one-sixth are known as “super-two” players, and that one rule is why we’ve seen teams so cautious about promoting prospects in April and early May during recent years.
Reynolds was called up from the majors on May 16, 2007, never to be sent down. Had the Diamondbacks chosen to promote him on May 13 instead, he’d likely be in line to earn at least $5 million next year. As is, Arizona could pay him as little as $500,000 or maybe up to $800,000 or so if the team is feeling generous.
Tim Lincecum, on the other hand, was called up on May 6, 2007, never to be sent down. Those extra seven days spent on the roster of a team that ended up finishing in last place will cost the Giants dearly. Lincecum figures to ask for something in the neighborhood of the $10 million Ryan Howard requested and received as a super-two player after 2007. Not only are the Giants going to spend $9 million more than they needed to on Lincecum next year, but that huge increase will continue to be reflected in future arbitration years and keep costing them down the road.
So, yeah, the Giants made a huge mistake. The Diamondbacks, though, weren’t nearly as sure what they had in Reynolds when a Chad Tracy injury led to his callup. They caught a big break in that they won’t have to pay for Reynolds’ ample production for another year. The $5 million that they might have spent on him can now go towards improving the rotation or the bullpen or for an upgrade at second base.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.