I basically retweeted Ned Colletti’s comments back at Matt Kemp in the recaps this morning because I thought it’d be funny, but let’s be clear about something: Kemp’s misplay on that two-run triple was not the death blow in the Dodgers’ loss to the Pirates. It was the fact that the Dodgers were blanked by the worst pitching staff in all of baseball.
Four hits. Four hits is all Big Blue could muster against a team that has been giving up runs by the bucketful. And don’t tell me that it was just a fluke or that it was due to unusual weather conditions in L.A. yesterday (the wind chill factor was in the 40s). Why? Because the Dodgers have been shut out in three of their last five games. So what gives?
Garret Anderson, for one thing. The fact that he’s on any major league roster is something of a surprise, but thanks to Manny Ramirez’s injury he’s been getting way more at bats than he has any business getting. In the two-hole last night he went 0 for 4. In part-time play over the past two weeks he’s 1 for 25. James Loney has disappeared lately as well, going 0 for his last 18. Overall the Dodgers are six for 49 with runners in scoring position. All singles. There’s just no boom in their boomsticks, and the Dodgers look simply listless.
Matt Kemp is likely to get his share of media jeers today, but make no mistake: he’s not alone in deserving them.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.
The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.
Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.
The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.
While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.