Baseball and Bud to stay together for six more years

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No, not Selig, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did too. Bud as in Budweiser:

Budweiser and baseball, two American staples whose history can be traced back to the late 1800s, will continue to go hand-in-hand. Anheuser-Busch and Major League Baseball Properties today announced a six-year renewal of the sponsorship agreement that designates Budweiser as the Official Beer Sponsor of Major League Baseball, continuing a relationship that has lasted more than 30 years.

Sorry hipsters, your trappist/craft/home brew/fancy IPA whatever just missed the cut.  Meanwhile, baseball will continue to tolerate the Miller incursion in places like Milwaukee and Detroit. Colorado? Oh boy, we have no idea what to do with you.

In all seriousness, though, the Bud-baseball thing is quite something. They sponsor practically everything in baseball, from player of the month awards, playoff games (they’re sponsoring this year’s new play-in wild card game) and lots of other things. It’s almost to the point where the baseball-Bud partnership is so deep that one wonders if, perversely, it’s almost too good. Like, is the Bud logo on so many baseball things and vice-versa that you don’t really even see it anymore. I’m sure some marketing person could tell me if that’s actually a thing.

If so, maybe there is room for Olde Comp-le-cated Imperial Lentil Soup Stout to forge some kind of partnership with baseball. Because there’s nothing like drinking away a hot day at the ballpark with that sort of thing.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.