Last year Rob Dibble got canned from MASN after he said that Stephen Strasburg should have “sucked it up” and pitched despite having an elbow injury that went on to require Tommy John surgery. After he said it — but before he got fired — he apologized and said that his comments were “inappropriate and disrespectful.” Based on an interview he gave yesterday, however, he didn’t actually believe that:
“And it had nothing to do with the game he got hurt in Philly. He had a sold-out game against the Braves, and the people I worked with at MASN were excellent, we followed his workout regimen — which was fantastic. His warm-up was fantastic. He didn’t do any of that the day that he basically walked away from that Braves start, which was sold-out. And all the money that the Nationals were making per start on Strasburg was well over seven figures. So to me, you know what kid, you’ve got to suck it up.”
Bonus: he says he didn’t get fired because he’s still getting paid by MASN (note to Dibble: just because your contract got bought out doesn’t mean you weren’t fired) and he says that the real reason he got, um, not-fired was because Stephen Strasburg’s dad sent an email to the Lerners after Dibble’s comments.
One wonders if Dibble should just be quiet about all of this. Because if he persists, someone with the Nationals is going to feel obligated to go on record with the truth: that the Strasburg stuff was merely the final straw and that Dibble’s comical incompetence as a color man would have gotten him not-fired eventually.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.
The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.
Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.
The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.
While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.