Brian Wilson has started throwing again after missing nearly the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery, but his days with the Giants could be numbered.
Friday is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players and Wilson seems all but certain to be non-tendered by the Giants after being paid $8.5 million in 2012.
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement the least Wilson could make in 2013 if offered arbitration by the Giants is $6.8 million–a 20 percent pay cut from $8.5 million–but according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle the Giants have no interest in guaranteeing him that much money.
According to Schulman the Giants would still like to sign Wilson for a lesser salary, but the two sides “are not exactly seeing eye to eye” in negotiations and if they can’t work something out by Friday he’ll become a free agent.
It makes little sense for the Giants to commit $6.8 million or more to Wilson considering he’s such a huge question mark at age 31. Even setting aside his uncertain health status few relief pitchers are worth that much of a commitment in the first place and the Royals just made a similar decision in declining their $8 million option on Joakim Soria after Tommy John surgery cost him the whole season.
Based on Schulman’s report it sounds like Wilson might turn down a lesser salary from the Giants based partly on hurt feelings, but the odds of him snagging even $5 million in guaranteed money for 2013 on the open market seem pretty long.
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: