Someone else tell me if this is bizarre:
- On Sunday, a story appears on Philly.com — Internet home of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News — reporting that Cliff Lee has a muscle strain;
- In the next 12 hours, the Internet picks up the story, people start blogging about it, tweeting about it, etc. Philly.com/The Inquirer is proud of this story, and understandably gets annoyed when they’re not immediately credited for it.*
- The next day, it is revealed that the story is non-story. Cliff Lee is fine. The muscle strain was a thing of the past, not the present, and his spring training program will go on, uninterrupted.
- The day after that, a writer on Philly.com tut-tuts us all for believing everything we read on the Internet and uses it all as a cautionary tale about the Internet, blogging, Facebook and Twitter.
- Oh, and Philly.com has since removed the initial report about Cliff Lee. Or at least moved it. I can’t find it anywhere on their site. (UPDATE: here it is. New URL).
Look folks, this isn’t hard: The Internet has changed the game a bit, but the game isn’t unrecognizable: report what you think is true, and yes, feel free to report it quickly if you feel it necessary. This is baseball after all, not national security. If the story turns out to be wrong or different or whatever, correct it. But do so in a transparent manner. Don’t delete your earlier, erroneous or misleading report and pretend that you’ve been right all along because to do so misleads readers who have an even tougher task today than they ever have had in judging a source’s credibility.
Likewise, bloggers: credit and link those who do the actual reporting and don’t block quote too much.
And newspaper people: think hard about writing that “beware of the blogs and social media” column. It’s a tired topic even if it’s right, but it’s downright galling if the primary example you use is one of the newspapers’ doing in the first place.
*That tweet, BTW, was in reference to HBT’s own initial post on the Lee thing which had ommitted the link and reference to the Inquirer at first. We fixed that as soon as it was brought to our attention and apologized to the Inquirer for the error. We’re not above any of the rules of the Internet and, no, we’re not perfect either.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.
The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.
While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.