It’s the offseason and free agents can’t even sign yet, so what better time to start some good old fashioned shootin’-the-poop over almost certainly not going to happen roster moves?
Today: Corey Seidman and the CSNPhilly.com gang talking about A-Rod to the Phillies!
Pursuing A-Rod makes sense for the Phillies, who have a glaring hole at third base. There just aren’t many impact names set for free agency at the position … A-Rod is not the player he was in his 13-year peak, when he hit .308 with averages of 42 homers and 122 RBI per season. He’s not even the player he was in 2009 and 2010, when he had an .888 OPS and 30 homers each year. But he’s still a vast upgrade over what the Phillies have. Phillies third basemen hit .272 with five home runs and 42 RBI in 162 games this past season.
Underscoring all of it is the fact that third base is THIN in this year’s market, with really only Kevin Youkilis, Scott Rolen (ha!), Eric Chavez and maybe Marco Scutaro available. Like, ick.
But no, I don’t think it will happen. I doubt most of the folks opining on it at CSNPhilly.com think it will either. But it’s the offseason. Think of this as a bar and have fun with it!
Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.
The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?
Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.
The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.
I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.
ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.
MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.
Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: