As a follow-up to my MLB/Twitter report from earlier this week, I’m told that what I called a “ban” on MLB.com writers using their Twitter accounts for non-baseball topics was really more like “a strongly worded suggestion” (that every writer followed, since that’s what happens when your employer makes a strong suggestion). To me that sounds like semantics, but fair enough. My apologies for the overstatement.
As you may recall, however, an MLB spokesperson denied the entire premise of my report and told me they were “mystified” by the mere notion of any changes related to MLB.com writers and Twitter. Which is funny, since all the MLB.com writers received an e-mail memo with the “strongly worded suggestion” and several of them quickly created separate Twitter accounts as a result.
Also amusing given the whole “mystified” thing is that any tweets from MLB.com writers mentioning the Twitter-related changes were deleted yesterday, which seems odd if there’s nothing to the report and the whole thing is false. Anyway, this isn’t exactly an earth-shattering story and I’ll probably give it a rest now, but MLB denying the entire premise of something that’s clearly based in fact has been frustrating and strange.
Apparently the MLB spokesperson didn’t inform Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune that the whole thing was make believe, because he has this report today:
It turns out that the Twitter policy sent to each of the 30 Major League teams applies to non-uniformed personnel only. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he didn’t receive an e-mail that was sent to front office members of every major league team. Sox third baseman Mark Teahen said he was informed of the Sox’s Twitter policy from a member of the Sox’s traveling party but didn’t realize the memo was for non-uniformed personnel only.
Setting aside the silliness of MLB denying the existence of something sent to 30 teams and every MLB.com writer, that news from Gonzalez is very positive in that managers like Ozzie Guillen and players like Mark Teahen aren’t subject to any “bans” or “strongly worded suggestions” or whatever you want to call it. We may have lost the ability to see the MLB.com writers’ personalities in between lineup postings, but at least Denard Span can still use Twitter to complain about umpiring.
The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.
Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”
Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”
Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.
Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.
According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.
While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.