Earlier this week Buster Olney of ESPN.com reported that CC Sabathia lost 30 pounds during the offseason, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman isn’t buying it.
Here’s what Cashman told Wallace Matthews of ESPN.com after seeing Sabathia in person recently:
I don’t believe it. I saw him at the B.A.T. dinner and he didn’t look like he lost 30 pounds to me. Maybe half that amount. We haven’t weighed him so I don’t now where that number comes from. He obviously has worked very hard to rehab his knee and he’s lost some weight, but he’s still around 300 pounds. Clearly, he’s a tremendous athlete and he can handle it , but it has to be managed so it doesn’t become a problem. I just think 30 pounds would have been a lot more noticeable.
As a longtime fatso who has shed 30-plus pounds on numerous occasions over the years, I can tell you from experience that it’s almost impossible to eyeball whether someone as big as Sabathia has lost 15 pounds or 30 pounds (or, for that matter, gained 15 pounds or 30 pounds). Once you get to be that size–and my guess is Sabathia is well over his listed weight of 307 pounds–the random weight fluctuations are pretty huge and you can easily drop 20-30 pounds in a very limited amount of time.
In other words, Cashman probably can’t accurately gauge Sabathia’s weight just by looking at him wearing a suit at a charity event and someone as big as Sabathia losing 30 pounds in an offseason really isn’t such an impressive feat anyway. I could easily lose 30 pounds by the end of the month. You know, if I wasn’t so lazy and didn’t like Chinese food so much.
Also of note is that this continues Cashman’s offseason-long pattern of saying more and more outspoken things in the media for seemingly no good reason. It started with the Derek Jeter negotiations and extended to telling everyone that he was forced to sign Rafael Soriano for $35 million, and now he’s basically saying “eh, Sabathia still looks like a fatso” following reports that the Yankees’ ace tried to get into better shape.
I’m not complaining, of course, because an outspoken Cashman is a whole lot of fun for guys like me. I’m just not sure what he and the Yankees stand to gain from it. Or maybe I’m just so used to the general manager of my beloved Twins refusing to say anything of interest through the media, ever, that it only seems weird for Cashman to be so open. Or maybe I’m just ornery because I haven’t eaten in a while.
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.
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: