MLB, Fox and TBS reach eight year broadcast rights extension — some blackout restrictions lifted


The key thing that you should care about most first: starting in 2014, Saturday out-of-market games will no longer be blacked out from and Extra Innings customers, even when Fox has a national game.  It’s not as significant as, say, MLB lifting the territory-driven blackouts currently enforced for vast swaths of the country despite the fact that they are unable to watch the games on TV, but this is a step in the right direction.

As for the stuff that the league, the owners and the networks care most about: the league just announced an eight year extension of the TV rights deals for Fox and TBS.  For the most part it will remain the same — Saturday games on Fox, Sundays on TBS, the World Series and All-Star Game on Fox, the rest of the playoffs split between them — with a lot of interactive and live streaming as part of the deal.

The money: Selig says that the ESPN, Fox and Turner deals are collectively worth $12.4 billion between 2014 and 2021.

There will be big money rolling in to every major league team now as a result of this deal.  Adjust your surprise at teams’ spending habits accordingly.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.