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.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.