Report: MLB likely to file motion to seize the Dodgers

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A source told The Associated Press that Major League Baseball “probably” will file a motion in bankruptcy court to seize control of the Dodgers.

The AP describes its source as a person familiar with the league’s plans.

Baseball’s constitution allows commissioner Bud Selig to take control of a team that seeks Chapter 11 protection, with the Dodgers did with their bankruptcy filing Monday. MLB first must file a motion seeking termination of the franchise, and the person says that is “probably going to happen.” However, there is no timetable for that filing.

A Delaware judge on Tuesday authorized the Dodgers to enter into a $150 million bankruptcy financing arrangement. MLB has agreed to continue letting Frank McCourt run the team with the interim financing deal while providing its own terms for a new alternative financing plan. Additional hearings are scheduled for July 20.

Unless MLB can somehow get things moved up, it’s hard to imagine the league gaining control of the Dodgers in advance of the July 31 trade deadline.  A league-owned Dodgers franchise would seemingly be less likely to sell off players in advance of the deadline.  McCourt, meanwhile, has more incentive to shop arms like Hiroki Kuroda and Ted Lilly, even with his new loan.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.