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.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.