Bud Selig spoke with the media this afternoon. John Shea reposted one of the Commissioner’s answers about expanding instant replay:
People in our sport don’t want any more. Given our attendance and everything we’re doing, we’re in the right place with instant replay.
We’ve heard Selig erroneously claim that no one wants instant replay a million times — of course people in the game want it or else they wouldn’t have included an explicit provision about it in the latest collective bargaining agreement — but this new twist is too much. Attendance shows that people are fine with instant replay? Really? As if increased attendance has anything to do with it?
It’s nonsensical, as there is no relation — or at least there should be no relation — between the public’s willingness to purchase tickets and the Commissioner’s decision to make technical improvements to the game. As a response to the specific question and as a piece of logic. it’s simply incoherent.
And now that I think about it, it’s less about an answer that makes no sense as much as it is an answer that gives away Selig’s hand: no single innovation that baseball truly takes seriously is about improving the game. It’s all about the bottom line. “Who cares if we can improve the product? People are still buying tickets!”
It’s a horribly complacent position to take. But hey, as long as a problem in the game doesn’t hurt revenue, who cares? As long as an improvement doesn’t increase revenue, why bother? That’s what Selig is saying here. Find me an example in American business history where such thinking didn’t lead an industry to ruin.
The Marlins are intent on adding one of the three best relievers available on the free agent market, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. Those three, of course, are Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon.
As Ashley noted earlier, Melancon is reportedly fielding multiple four-year offers in excess of $60 million. The price tags for Chapman and Jansen are likely to match or exceed that. The Marlins haven’t typically been eager to whip out the checkbook for free agents but with the bullpen being the name of the game in baseball these days, GM Michael Hill may feel the need to match his rivals.
The Nationals, Giants, Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are the teams most often linked to the “big-three” group of relievers, so it won’t be easy for the Marlins.
A.J. Ramos handled the closer’s role for the Marlins this past season and did an admirable job, saving 40 games with a 2.81 ERA and a 73/35 K/BB ratio in 64 innings. There’s no doubt, though, that Chapman, Jansen, or Melancon would represent a significant upgrade in the ninth inning.
C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Reds manager Bryan Price is likely going to use a trio of pitchers in the closer’s role: Raisel Iglesias, Tony Cingrani, and Michael Lorenzen. At RedsFest on Saturday, Price said:
I’d say right now that we have a series of guys that I’m comfortable with in the ninth inning and that would include (Raisel) Iglesias, (Tony) Cingrani and (Michael Lorenzen). Should we stay with this format – which I intend to do – all three of those guys and maybe more could have opportunities in save situations. At this point in time, there’s no defined closer. There are multiple options and I’d like to stick with the philosophy that we’re going to have our multi-inning guys, so we’re going to need multi-closers.
This seems to be part of the new bullpen zeitgeist in which managers are shying away from strictly-defined roles for their relievers. Indians manager Terry Francona’s postseason success using Andrew Miller likely had some degree of influence on Price’s willingness to go with a three-headed giant.
Iglesias started the 2016 season in the Reds’ rotation but missed two months with an injury, then moved to the bullpen in late June. Price put him in the closer’s role down the stretch in September. The right-hander overall finished the season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings.
Cingrani battled control issues in his 63 innings of work this past season, finishing with a 4.14 ERA and a 49/37 K/BB ratio. He’s left-handed, though, and gives Price some matchup flexibility in the late innings.
Lorenzen impressed in his first full season as a reliever, ending the year with a 2.88 ERA and a 48/13 K/BB ratio in 50 innings. The right-hander uses a fastball that sits around 96 MPH on average along with a cutter and slider.