When will baseball do something about maple bats?

23 Comments

So Tyler Colvin could have died yesterday. As Jeff Passan said: I guess someone is going to have to actually die before Major League Baseball and the MLBPA decide to do something.

One possible thing, which IIATMS has been writing about for months, is some sort of device that can keep maple bat pieces from flying out like projectiles. One such device is the Batglove, which is a thin safety film that goes over a bat like tape. According to its makers, Major League Baseball has tested it and has been poised to approve it for some time. IIATMS and the Batglove people say, however, that there has been resistance by bat manufacturers, specifically Rawlings.

As I noted this morning with the Steve Yeager story, it’s not as if maple bats are the only bats that can, if things break just wrong, pose a serious danger to players and fans.  But it certainly seems like we’ve had far more close calls and/or incidents in which people have been hurt involving maple bats than we ever saw with ash.

In light of this baseball and the union’s silence on this is simply not acceptable.  If we’re all being hysterical and maple bats truly are no more of a risk than ash, please, point us crazy folk in the direction of the data which proves us wrong.  If, however, the anecdotal — and in some cases empirical — evidence which has a great many of people in and around the game worried that someone is going to get killed by a shattering maple bat is valid, something has to be done.

While we wait for that, why don’t we all take a look at the fantastic yet scary video of some of the more notable broken bat incidents in recent years, complied by lar from Wezen-Ball:

Danny Espinosa reportedly skipped Nationals Winterfest because of Adam Eaton

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after teammate Chris Heisey #14 (not pictured) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Getty Images
8 Comments

According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.

A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.

Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.

Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.

Nick Cafardo: Red Sox should deal Pomeranz, not Buchholz

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
Getty Images
11 Comments

The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.

The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.

Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.

Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.