World Series Giants Rangers Baseball

Michael Young probably isn’t going anywhere

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There’s a really good chance that disgruntled infielder Michael Young is going to have to report to Rangers camp next week. He has requested a trade and the Rangers’ front office has attempted to satisfy that request, but there’s simply nothing out there.

A source told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Thursday evening that the Rangers now don’t expect to find a landing spot for Young before the start of spring training.

The 34-year-old is simply owed too much money and not productive enough historically away from the Rangers’ cozy ballpark to justify such a lofty salary. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Dodgers asked Texas to assume 75 percent of the remaining three years and $48 million on Young’s current contract when the two sides engaged in trade talks earlier this week. That’s $36 million that the Rangers would simply have to eat. Those talks have obviously been broken off.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels isn’t dumb. In fact, he’s a very highly regarded baseball mind. He is not going to blindly satisfy Young’s desire to get out of Texas with a deal that would cause harm to the future of the club that he is in charge of running. Paying $36 million to thin air over the next three seasons would be borderline idiotic and would certainly limit the Rangers’ ability to improve their overall roster.

If Young wants to suck up his pride and report to Rangers camp with a smile on his face, maybe all of this can be smoothed over. Young has expressed great feelings of respect for club president Nolan Ryan and manager Ron Washington, and a face-to-face meeting with those two would surely go a long way toward the reconciliation of what is, right now, a complete mess.

Young might not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel at the moment, but there will be plenty of at-bats available to him if he commits to being a flexible member of the 2011 roster. Whether at designated hitter or first base, Washington can find him regular playing time.

The Rangers tried to shop him and couldn’t find a viable suitor. Now the ball is in Young’s court.

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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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: