The All-Star Game is now all-DH, all the time


2010 All-Star Game.JPGEver since Ron Blomberg and his ilk ruined our national pastime lo those 37 years ago, the rule has been that the designated hitter is to be used when an American League team hosts the All-Star Game, and that the pitchers will bat when in a Senior Circuit park.

That is no more, as baseball announced a few moments ago that, henceforth, the DH will be used in all All-Star games.  In the AL, the fans will choose the DH. The manager for the NL team will choose who will DH for him. And despite what you think I was going to say about it, I like this move.

The All-Star Game is not real baseball as we all know and love it. It’s an exhibition. Multiple substitutions are made and regular strategy is thrown out the window, so why not give the people what they want (and no matter what I say about the DH, I’ll freely admit that the masses want it). And to be honest, it may actually improve the All-Star Game. As of now, new pitchers are used almost every inning, so they’re always fresh and always firing it in there. In light of this fact, the teams could use all the extra offense they can muster.

Other changes:

  • Any pitcher selected to an All-Star Team who starts a regular season
    game on the Sunday immediately preceding the All-Star Game will not be
    eligible to pitch in the All-Star Game and will be replaced on the
    roster. Upshot: teams will make sure that their best pitchers all pitch on that Sunday, I presume.
  • Rosters will be expanded from 33 players to 34 players, with the additional player being a position player. Let’s call this the “Chris Sabo Rule,” shall we?
  • There already exists a rule that says a catcher who has already played in the game and left can come back in to the game if the last eligible catcher is injured.  That rule is being expanded to cover one additional non-catching position player.

The one rule change that we would all like to see — the elimination of the All-Star Game determining home field advantage in the World Series — did not occur. Given that was basically Bud Selig’s baby, I presume we won’t see that change until he has gone off to Commissioner of Baseball Valhalla.

Orioles acquire Mark Trumbo from Mariners for Steve Clevenger

Mark Trumbo
AP Photo/Joe Nicholson
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As first reported by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma Tribune and now confirmed by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Mariners have traded first baseman and corner outfielder Mark Trumbo to the Orioles in exchange for catcher and first baseman Steve Clevenger. There is also a second player headed to Baltimore in the deal.

This feels like an admission from the O’s that they’re not going to be able to re-sign Chris Davis, who is said to be looking for more than $150 million in free agency.

Clevenger was out of options and the Orioles have both Matt Wieters and Caleb Joseph coming back at the catcher position. Wieters was due to become a free agent but accepted a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Baltimore last month.

Trumbo has always been a low-OBP guy and he rates as a poor defender everywhere he has played, but the 29-year-old has averaged 31 homers and 96 RBI for every 162 games in his six-year major league career. Camden Yards is a much better place than Safeco Field for him to show that power.

Cardinals finished runner-up to Red Sox in David Price sweepstakes

David Price
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

These kind of after-the-ink-has-dried reports have to be taken with a grain of salt for a variety of reasons, but they’re fantastic conversation-starters …

Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the Cardinals “finished runner-up” to the Red Sox in the bidding for free agent left-hander David Price, who signed with Boston on Monday for a record seven years and $217 million.

There were reports early on that the Red Sox were going to have to overpay on Price because he wanted to either stay in Toronto or make the move to the more pitcher-friendly National League. And maybe they did go significantly above and beyond the next-best offer to land him.

But the report from Nightengale serves as an indication that the Cardinals are ready and willing to spend big money ahead of next week’s Winter Meetings in Nashville. Does that chunk of change now get directed toward Jason Heyward? Or might the Cardinals pounce one of the falling dominos in this still-loaded starting pitching market? What about both?

St. Louis lost Lance Lynn to Tommy John surgery last month and both Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha carry some injury concerns into 2016. There’s money to spend there with a new billion-dollar local television deal about ready to kick in.

Pirates expressing interest in Justin Masterson

Justin Masterson
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has become the king of the reclamation project. And it sounds like he’s about to take on another big one …

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Pirates have expressed interest in free agent Justin Masterson. The expectation is that it will be a one-year deal with the goal of rebuilding the right-hander’s value in an environment where many other struggling veteran pitchers have executed significant career turnarounds.

Masterson earned his first (and only) All-Star nod in 2013 when he registered a 3.45 ERA, 195 strikeouts, and three shutouts in 32 appearances with the Indians. But he had a 5.88 ERA in 128 2/3 innings between Cleveland and St. Louis in 2014 and he continued struggling to the tune of a 5.61 ERA with the Red Sox in 2015.

It’s not clear whether the Bucs would try him as a starter or reliever.

Zack Greinke deal “could come soon,” Dodgers and Giants lead the bidding

Zack Greinke
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Jordan Zimmermann signed with the Tigers on Sunday for five years, $110 million. David Price signed with the Red Sox on Tuesday for seven years, $217 million.

Two big dominos have fallen in this loaded free agent market for starting pitchers, and another big one is about to go …

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says a deal for Zack Greinke “could come soon” and it’s currently “Dodgers vs. Giants” at the top of the bidding ladder.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick confirms that both the Dodgers and Giants are looking for an answer from Greinke, adding that the 32-year-old right-hander seeks a five- or six-year deal with a greater average annual value (AAV) than what Price just secured from Boston. That number would be $31 million, so we’re talking something close to $32 million through 2020-2021.

Greinke opted out of the remaining three years and $71 million contract with Los Angeles in October after posting a 1.66 ERA and 0.84 WHIP across 222 2/3 regular-season innings in 2015. He finished second to the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta in the National League Cy Young Award balloting.