Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette asks why baseball even bothered having winter meetings:
One wonders what the purpose of these winter meetings really is at this point. As Neal Huntington and other executives acknowledged, the timing of the non-tender deadline Saturday works very much against teams making moves. Who wants to trade for somebody who might be a free agent in a couple days?
Moreover, the number of teams genuinely motivated to make some big media splash at this event is exactly equal to the number of teams with a $200 million-plus payroll. So, the Yankees ended up with someone else’s great player when that someone else no longer could pay him. This is news? And, really, how much publicity does baseball get in mid-December no matter what happens in a hotel somewhere?
I’m gonna be honest here for just a second, because we’re all friends and it’s Friday: Kovacevic raises an interesting point, but the winter meetings were absolutely crucial this year because Craig’s family was getting pretty sick of him being home all the time after one whole week as a full-time blogger.
Covering everything from Indianapolis, doing impromptu photo shoots with Manny Acta, and even breaking the news of Rich Harden signing were all secondary to simply getting him out of the house. His wife has actually requested that MLB hold another winter meetings next month, perhaps in Dubuque.
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.
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.