The Baseball Trade Show is insane

Leave a comment

I just took a break from reading everyone’s tweets and admiring Mel Antonen’s haircut to walk over to the Convention Center to check out the Trade Show.  It’s really something to behold.

Geared more towards the minor leagues than the majors, the Trade Show is where some 300 exhibitors hawk wares ranging from caps, blankets, foam fingers, shot glasses, sports insurance, stadium architecture, concessions, bats, stadium seats, uniforms and any number of other odd things.

There are mascot costumes. There are fireworks — like the big kind that shoot up into the sky.  There’s an accounting firm that specializes in valuing minor league franchises. There’s a particularly spartan and serious booth set up by the Major League Baseball Department of Investigations, which is basically the group to whom you rat out teammates when you see horse hormones in their locker or when you just found out your manager threw the ballgame because he’s into that bookie Lazar for ten large. I got one of their cards — complete with the hotline number.  Next summer, let me know if you guys need anyone from your favorite team to be mysteriously suspended. I think I can make it happen.

Best booth by far: a company that hires out between-inning entertainment like “Breakin’ B-Boy McCoy,” the break dancing bat boy. Hey! He’s going to be in Columbus on June 11th next year! I’m so there!

Most importantly, however, there’s a booth set up by Jack Daniels. Yes, it is by the front door. Yes, I assume that it’s located there so that people are able to get their drink on before deciding whether or not they should buy stuff like this.

Crap. I bought two. What am I gonna do with the second one?

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.