This was suspected, but ESPN made it official today: Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine will be be the new Sunday Night Baseball announcing team. They replace Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. Hershiser was the third man last season.
I like Shulman. He’s a solid play by play guy and, most importantly for me, doesn’t act like the stuff happening on the field has never happened before in the history of baseball! Which was one of my only criticisms of Miller, by the way. He didn’t do it often, but sometimes Miller got a wee bit too excited. I shan’t spend any more words on Joe Morgan because everyone knows what he was all about by now. I don’t have a terrible problem with Valentine as a studio guy, but I’ve never liked a third guy in a baseball broadcast booth. I just don’t think there’s enough ground to cover and it leads to chatty awkwardness. Or awkward chattiness. Sometimes both.
All of that said, it’s a good team, and for the first time in a long time, I won’t have to consider the broadcasters as a possible reason for me to tune in or not tune into the Sunday night game.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.