Like we said earlier: tons of signings today. We’ve been highlighting the bigger names, but many, many more players are avoiding arbitration. Among the more notable ones:
- Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox, $2.4 million;
- J.J. Hardy, Orioles. $5.5 million;
- Carlos Quentin, White Sox, $5.05 million;
- Kevin Kouzmanoff, Athletics, $4.75 million;
- Martin Prado, Braves, $3.1 million;
- Boone Logan, Yankees, $1.2 million;
- Phil Hughes, Yankees, $2.7 million;
- Andy Sonnanstine, Rays, $912,500;
- Kendry Morales, Angels, $2.95 million;
- Joba Chamberlain, Yankees, $1.4 million;
- Matt Garza, Cubs, $5.95 million.
There are a lot of things to say about some of these guys, but one observation I think is worth making right now: for the past several years we’ve witnessed the disappearance of baseball’s so-called middle class. There are lots of top end deals, and lots of low-dollar deals, but not much in between. While that remains true of the multi-year deals, it does seem like there are more higher-priced single-year deals this year than in arbitration filing deadlines past.
We’ll wait for them to all come in and see if that holds up, but it’s the sense I have just from eyeballing it this afternoon.
Lots of teams have crazy concession items and lots of them will circulate photos of the more gonzo ones in the coming week leading up to the baseball season. The Braves, however, have been one of the more aggressive players in the gimmick concession item game in recent years, and they just sent around a release talking about some of the stuff they, and their concessionaire, Delaware North, will be serving at their new ballpark, Sun Trust Park, in 2017.
Among them:a blackened catfish po boy, which is a blackened 6-ounce filet of catfish cut up among three tacos, with a cajun remoulade. Some BBQ beef brisket sliders. A double burger. An ice cream bar. They’re also going to have a regionally-inspired thing called “The Taste of Braves Country,” showcasing southern cooking from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Which they’re calling “Braves Country.” Accurate enough, I guess, even if some of us are old enough to remember when they aspired to be a national team. Alas.
The big item, though, is this one:
It’s called the “Tomahawk Chop” sandwich. It’s a fried pork chop with collard green slaw and white BBQ sauce. It serves four and costs $26. I’m guessing it tastes fantastic, but I think the name is pretty cringeworthy for the same reason the cheer which gives it its name is. And, given the dynamics of the Braves move to their new stadium, the choice of BBQ sauce is . . . amusing? I dunno.
Anyway, enjoy, Braves fans.
Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.
[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:
Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.
He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.
Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.