In the wake of Rob Neyer’s announcement that he’s leaving ESPN yesterday, I’ve encountered a good dozen or more people on Twitter, on various message boards and in comments sections saying something to the effect of “I used to read Neyer all the time, but since he’s been behind a paywall, I haven’t read him in years.”
Which is crazy, because Rob’s time behind ESPN’s Insider paywall was relatively brief and ended years ago. His blog went behind the paywall in 2004. It was out and free again no later than 2007 and may have been out as earlier. It’s been free ever since.
There are an increasing number of media outlets looking to put sports content behind paywalls these days. Newsday has done it for a good year or more. The Dallas Morning News will be doing it soon. That’s their prerogative, of course, and I wish them well. But they should look at the Neyer example and realize that once you go pay, people move on and it’s very, very hard to get them back.
Neyer’s brand was ultimately too strong to kill, but I don’t think that applies to everyone. There are just too many choices out there.
UPDATE: Paywalls kill, yo.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.
Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.
The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins wants to continue playing in 2017.
Rollins, 38, signed a minor league deal with the White Sox for the 2016 season but hit a disappointing .221/.295/.329 over 166 plate appearances. The club released Rollins in the middle of June and he did not sign with a new team. He did join TBS as part of their playoff coverage.
Rollins is almost certainly looking at another minor league contract and will have to earn his way onto a major league roster by performing well in spring training.