There’s a long article in the ESPN the Magazine season preview issue about pitching and biomechanics. About how a pitchers’ motion and physical approach could make all the difference in terms of whether that pitcher maintains his health and avoids those visits to Dr. James Andrews.
I’m not gonna say I fully understand this stuff. Even the experts have some disputes among one another and the data is far from perfected yet. But I read this this quote from White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper and I don’t want to live on this planet anymore:
“I’m not going to let new-school ways get in the way of my old-school thinking. I don’t need biomechanics. I have experience. I have my eyes. I just watch and look.”
If you were an executive in a billion dollar business and one of your supervisors took that approach when presented with something that, even if untested, at least claimed to have significant benefits for your business, you would fire him. Indeed, even if you were skeptical yourself, you would fire that guy if he didn’t at least engage the new information if, for no other reason, than to debunk it.
But not baseball! In baseball, people like Cooper ignore and dismiss new stuff until they have absolutely have no choice but to acknowledge it. Or, more commonly, until their successors acknowledge it while they sit in the retirement home and continue to talk smack about the new-fangled ways of doing things.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.