UPDATE: Maybe not. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com hears the Rays are unlikely to make another deal today. Don’t worry, this madness will be over in an hour or so.
2:24 PM: The Rays already picked up Chad Qualls from the Diamondbacks today, but with Grant Balfour expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a strained intercostal/rib muscle, they are still sniffing around for bullpen help.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Rays have interest in Scott Downs of the Blue Jays and Brandon League of the Mariners.
League has a 3.40 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 47 appearances with the Mariners this season. The 27-year-old right-hander is under team control until 2013, so there isn’t much urgency for Trader Jack to swap him. He’d be costly.
Downs has a 2.34 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 47 appearances with the Jays this season. He projects to be a Type A free agent, so the Blue Jays probably be just fine with keeping him and taking the draft picks if they don’t receive a substantial offer.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: