Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder walks back to the dugout after grounding out to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 8th inning in Game 6 of the MLB NLCS baseball playoffs in Milwaukee

Doug Melvin on Prince Fielder: “it’s simple math”

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Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel spoke with Brewers GM Doug Melvin and, while Melvin said that he “might” meet with Scott Boras this week at the GM/owners meetings in Milwaukee, there is zero chance that the Brewers will make Fielder an offer.

Haudricourt breaks it down pretty simply: the Brewers have extended Ryan Braun and Yovanni Gallardo and have taken on Zack Greinke and other contracts. By the time the roster is filled out without Fielder, the payroll is going to be something close to where it was in 2011 or a bit more. The Brewers draw great crowds, but there are practical limits there.

Mat Gamel will not be Prince Fielder. Not by damn sight. He’s had 194 major league plate appearances sprinkled over four seasons and hasn’t produced at all. But he hit .310/.372/.540 with 28 homers in Nashville last year. He’s going to turn 27 next summer and it was his fourth time around the PCL — NOTE: I love that Nashville is in the Pacific Coast League — but there’s nothing for him to prove on the farm anymore. It’s put up or go away time for him and the Brewers know that.

As for Fielder, his time in Milwaukee is over. The Rangers have already said they’re out. The Dodgers have been ruled out by either Major League Baseball, Frank McCourt, the bankruptcy court or some combination of them all.  Everyone suspects that the Cubs will show interest, and the Marlins are giving off the vibe that they’ll do anything. Seattle badly needs some power. Maybe the Nationals will do something crazy again.  But there aren’t a ton of other teams that have both a hole at first base and a possible desire to spend money.

So, like, we’ll see.

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: