Jack Wilson has seemingly been the cheap, light-hitting, veteran fallback plan for a handful of teams in the middle infield, but today he agreed to re-sign with the Braves after coming to Atlanta from Seattle in an August 31 trade.
Wilson gets a one-year, $1 million deal and Mark Bowman of MLB.com speculates that he’ll likely serve as the backup to Tyler Pastornicky, the 23-year-old shortstop prospect who’s in line to replace Alex Gonzalez as the Braves’ starter.
Pastornicky hit .314 in 117 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season, but his OPS was a modest .773 thanks to just seven homers and 32 walks. Of course, Wilson hit .243 with a .559 OPS last season, hasn’t cracked a .700 OPS since 2007, and is no longer a standout defender, so if Pastornicky isn’t the Opening Day shortstop it will have more to do with his development than Wilson’s presence.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.
Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”
The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.
It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.