Earlier today we passed along word of Brandon Webb saying that he’d like to come back to Arizona and that he’d be content with some kind of incentive-laden deal. This must have given his agent a conniption fit, because he just came out with a slightly different statement, in the form of an email sent to MLBTR.
The upshot: let’s not be too hasty! Webb is gonna play the market and his contract next year should have a base salary in with what Rich Harden, Tim Hudson, Brad Penny and Ben Sheets got this year, baby! That would put him at anywhere between $7.5-10 million.
Sure, dude, whatever. All of those guys except Sheets actually showed that they were healthy and at least somewhat effective before the 2010 season began, which is something Webb is unlikely to do before 2011. And the one guy who couldn’t — Sheets — ended up being one of the bigger free agent busts this season.
I suppose it’s not impossible to imagine a team willing to give Webb close to eight figures plus incentives for 2011 based on a couple of September mopup appearances (at best). I just don’t think it’s anywhere close to likely.
But then again, he’s Webb’s agent, so what would you expect him to say?
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.