Earlier I laughed at Nats fans who were complaining about the start time of tomorrow’s playoff game. But I’ll acknowledge this much: it’s ok to complain some. I mean, it is kind of annoying when your team gets stuck with a game you can’t watch. Shucks. Darn. That sort of thing seems quite alright.
The problem is when it goes beyond a mild complaint and turns into some entitlement-based outrage. I mean we can all agree, can we not, that it’s not a violation of some fundamental right or a transgression of ethics or human decency for a playoff game to be on at 1PM, right? Oh, wait:
Of course, this is tremendously unethical and unfair to the thousands of DC residents who are unable to afford to attend the game or afford the high cost of cable and satellite service (not to mention the additional costs for MLB Network). This migration of sports to pay TV is particularly troubling given the massive public subsidies, tax exemptions and antitrust exemptions we’ve given the leagues. By moving games — particularly playoff games — to pay TV packages and forcing fans to spend even more money to watch games, the leagues are abusing that relationship.
MLB should allow DC 50 or one of the local stations to retransmit the MLB Network feed of tomorrow’s game immediately.
If you feel that way, go join the fight. Alternatively you could wake up and realize that Major League Baseball is a business that has been operating this way for as long as anyone can remember and don’t act so surprised and outraged. And that there is no way on Earth that baseball is going to give up an MLB Network broadcast to free TV simply because some Nats fans are upset.
Bonus question: Nats games are on cable (MASN). If Nats games on cable are such a violation of societal norms, why weren’t you fighting this fight a few years ago?
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.