Why Indianapolis?

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ESPN’s Keith Law has a great piece up today on why the Winter Meetings are being held in a city that doesn’t even have a Major League team.  The short answer: the tail wags the dog. Minor League Baseball sets up all of this stuff to accommodate its trade show and job fair and Major League Baseball just tags along.  This leads to trouble when you get to cities with limited hotel room and meeting space and cold weather.

The fact that baseball struggles with this is curious. I mean, yeah, this requires a lot of room and stuff, but it can’t compare to, say, political conventions in terms of media coverage, can it? There can’t possibly be a need for as many hotel rooms either.  Any number of cities that aren’t Las Vegas should be able to handle this. A convention center + lots of hotel rooms is really all you need, right?

I’ll be honest and say that there have only been two issues in Indianapolis so far: (a) the wi-fi  sucks in the media room; and (b) it’s cold.  The former definitely needs addressing — thank God I hadn’t yet canceled the Verizon air card I used while clandestinely blogging at work, because it’s been a godsend. The latter: only the California guys are still complaining about the cold. The rest of us have manned up.

But regardless of whether Indianapolis is truly unworkable, I think Keith’s prescription is a good one: decouple the Major League meetings from the Minor League meetings and rotate them among a few cities that have a track record of being able to handle the meetings with aplomb.  Indianapolis seems to be working so far, but why gamble every year?

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.