Factoids I was not aware of:
In light of this, baseball is absolutely right that the All-Star Game truly does decide something important. Too bad, then, that nothing about how the All-Star Game is conceived, constructed and executed shows any evidence whatsoever that anyone truly appreciates the gravity of that which its outcome determines.
And if you doubt that baseball cares very little about the All-Star Game’s impact on home field advantage in the World Series, here’s a little thought experiment: Say Ron Washington decides to pitch Justin Verlander eight innings, allowing him to throw 115 piches, and leaves all of his starters in for the duration tonight. After the game he says “I had my best pitcher throwing bullets and kept in my top players all game because the Rangers are going to make the World Series, dammit, and this year we want to be at home. It counts, and I treated this game just like I’d treat Game 7 of the World Series.”
Think everyone would be cool with that? I don’t think so. I think there would be outrage and anger and immediate calls for change, and not just from Jim Leyland. And I think that outrage would be proof positive that baseball isn’t truly serious about the All-Star Game mattering, even though, in reality, it does.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.