Might a network help out a team on a bad TV rights deal stay competitive?

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Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution spoke with Braves CEO Terry McGuirk about team finances and TV deals, and the conversation puts the disparity between teams with good deals and teams with bad deals into sharp relief: the Braves’ deal is rumored to be between $10-20 million annually. The Dodgers are looking at deals that could pay them $240 million annually. Yikes.

Still, McGuirk claims that the competition having a ten-fold plus advantage in annual TV money is not crippling to the Braves.  He also strongly agreed with this idea, which is one I’ve not really heard anyone mention before with respect to the disparity in TV deals:

McGuirk was asked about this hypothetical situation: If the TV deal someday put the Braves at a disadvantage and undermined their roster construction and their on-field performance, might it be in the TV rights holder’s best interest to reconsider the terms of the remaining part of the deal if it would help the team on the field and presumably in the TV ratings?

I suppose I can envision a situation where a network with baseball rights tells the team that it would chip in a little more to help the team sign some hyper-marketable player that could have an instant impact on the TV ratings. Think free agent Bryce Harper one day or something. But as for a network, in effect, becoming a team’s partner, sitting down and ensuring that the team is remaining competitive, eh, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.