UPDATE: So much for that. Multiple sources are now reporting that the Bartlett-for-Reimold talks hit a snag and the deal is unlikely to happen. Perhaps the Orioles came to their senses.
It’s no secret that the Rays have been trying to trade Jason Bartlett and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that they’re close to sending the 31-year-old shortstop to the Orioles for Nolan Reimold.
According to Connolly talks between the two teams are “heating up” and “one source expects it to happen today.”
Bartlett is one season away from free agency and set to receive a raise from his $4 million salary in 2010 via the arbitration process despite an underwhelming performance, but the Orioles have been linked to various shortstop options throughout the offseason and are clearly looking for veteran help at the position.
Reimold had a strong rookie season in 2009 before undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn Achilles’ tendon and struggled to bounce back this year, spending most of the season at Triple-A. Tampa Bay presumably views him as the replacement for Carl Crawford in left field, or at least as part of the replacement plan along with top prospect Desmond Jennings.
Assuming the Rays feel confident about Reimold medically getting a 27-year-old potential impact bat who’s cheap and under team control for another five seasons for a mediocre 31-year-old free agent-to-be shortstop is a very nice move.
ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.
MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.
Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this:
Earlier, Craig covered Rob Manfred’s comments in which he accused the Major League Baseball Players’ Association of “a lack of cooperation” concerning some proposed rule changes. The union would need to agree to any such changes, which have included automatic intentional walks, limiting mound visits, pitch clocks, and swapping batting practice times for home and visiting teams.
Manfred went on to say that MLB will impose those rule changes unilaterally next year as allowed in the latest collective bargaining agreement.
Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLBPA, responded to Manfred’s comment. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
“Unless your definition of ‘cooperation’ is blanket approval, I don’t agree that we’ve failed to cooperate with the Commissioner’s office on these issues.”
“Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this off season we’ve been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened.”
“I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don’t continue, notwithstanding today’s comments about implementation. As I’ve said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open.”
“My understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2min limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of Game warning/fine adjustments.”
Clark’s response isn’t anything too shocking. Manfred’s accusation was pretty baseless, but it’s behavior to be expected of a commissioner who comes down on the side of the owners over the players almost always.