The Marlins are on double secret probation over their payroll

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We know that Scott Boras has complained about teams like the Marlins pocketing revenue sharing money instead of using it on players. We know that John Henry has complained too.  Now, with the release of separate statements from the league, the Marlins and the Players’ Association, that the Marlins are on double secret probation. Her’s the union’s statement, which is the most explanatory of the three:

“In response to our concerns that revenue sharing proceeds have not
been used as required, the Marlins have assured the Union and the
Commissioner’s Office that they plan to use such proceeds to increase
player payroll annually as they move toward the opening of their new
ballpark. Today’s agreement, which covers the period 2010 through 2012,
calls for ongoing communication among the Marlins, the Commissioner’s
Office and the Union as the Marlins proceed with that plan. It also
permits, after consultation among all parties, adjustments in the
Marlins’ plan to respond to unforeseen developments, and calls for
arbitral intervention if disagreements arise. We greatly appreciate the
willingness of the Commissioner’s Office and the Marlins to engage with
us and ensure that all terms of the Basic Agreement are met.”

The Marlins, for their part, say they’ve always acted in good faith, but that they’re “happy to work cooperatively with the Union and the Commissioner’s Office on this matter.”  The league says it’s all secret and that they can’t talk about it.  Apparently they haven’t read the union’s statement.  Alas.

For what it’s worth, the Marlins (and some other teams) like to blame the system and revenue imbalances for all of their problems, but they collect more
money via shared revenue than they spend on salaries.  I’m happy to see that there’s some pressure being brought to bear on them by the league to stop being do damn obvious about it.

Tyler Moore: the ballplayer everyone is talking about

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For those who don’t know, Alexa is Amazon’s digital assistant product. It’s Amazon’s version of Siri or Google Home, but you can use it for a lot more stuff if you have a device such as the Amazon Echo. With simple voice commands it can turn on your lights, turn up your air conditioner, play your music, order stuff you’re running out of, answer questions you have and a bunch of other things. It may also snitch on you to the CIA, but that’s a topic left for another day.

Anyway, Amazon is pretty proud of its product and today sent me a press release touting how fans use Alexa to “get player stats, team records, starting lineups and more!” Amazon also gave me a list telling me how baseball fans have used Alexa in the past year:

“As we enter the MLB playoffs this year, we wanted to share a snapshot of the most asked about MLB players and teams among fans throughout this season, according to Alexa.”

Cool! I love lists. Let’s see who Alexa users are searching for!

Top 10 Asked About Players this MLB Season:

1. Tyler Moore
2. Albert Pujols
3. Aaron Judge
4. Mike Trout
5. Bryce Harper
6. David Ortiz
7. Alex Rodriguez
8. Anthony Rizzo
9. Clayton Kershaw
10. Chris Young

I don’t have any problem with 2-9 on this list, but I gotta tell ya friends, I’m not sure that America’s most searched-for ballplayer is a guy who Baseball-Reference.com lists first as a “pinch hitter” who is sporting a line of .206/.247/.377 for a team ranking 28th out of 30 in attendance this year. I’m also skeptical of Chris Young at number ten, and that’s even if you put the search totals for BOTH Chris Youngs together and count them as one.

It’s possible that there is far greater national curiosity for Moore and Young than I realized.  It’s also possible that Moore and Young’s parents are just heavy duty Alexa users.

I suspect though, quite strongly, that Alexa — or the P.R. staff touting its abilities — is having trouble distinguishing between Tyler Moore and Mary Tyler Moore, who passed away back in January and was likely the subject of many more people’s curiosity than the Nationals’ 2008 16th round draft pick. Though, I’m sure, if given the chance, Tyler could turn the world on with his smile too.

All of which might be a bit distressing for Amazon, given that it’s their business to make sure customers get what they’re looking for. It’s good for us as human beings, however, because it suggests that, perhaps, we are much farther away from the Rise of the Machines than we sometimes suspect.

Brad Ausmus seems to know he’s a dead man walking

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The Tigers have been terrible and the embarked on a rebuild this summer, shipping off Justin Verlander and multiple other players. Miguel Cabrera is hurt and may never be his old MVP-level self. It is, without a doubt, that the Tigers and their fans are about to begin a new chapter in the franchise’s history.

Such new chapters usually involve new managers. Fourth-year manager Brad Ausmus is still at the helm and the Tigers have made no public statement about his future. Ausmus, however, is a lame duck, with his contract ending a week from Sunday. He is also no fool. He seems to know very well that he’s not going to be around next year. From Katie Strang of The Athletic:

Ausmus, of course, has been on the hot seat several times. When Detroit exercised his option for this year, their refusal to extend it sent a pretty clear signal.

If this is the end of the road in Detroit for Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager, it will end with him having missed the playoffs in three of his four seasons at the helm of a star-studded team that was expected to Win Now, as they say. Yes, there were a lot of issues with the Tigers — their bullpen has always been a problem and the brass made a lot of questionable choices in signings and trades over the past few years — but there is no escaping the fact that Ausmus’ Tigers under achieved.