The last time we checked in with Pat White was in March of 2011 after he informed the Royals of his intention to retire from baseball. Nearly two years later, he’s thinking about giving it another shot.
According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, White said on 640-AM in Miami today that he has an offer in hand from the Marlins. If he accepts, he will report to spring training to attempt to win a spot with one of the team’s minor league affiliates. However, the Marlins have their doubts about whether White is committed to baseball, as the 26-year-old indicated that he was open to a return to football while mingling at the practices for the Senior Bowl earlier this week.
While White is known mostly for his time as a quarterback at West Virginia University and his bust of a season with the Dolphins in 2009, he was a highly-regarded high school outfielder. He was even drafted twice by the Angels and later by the Reds and Yankees. His last stint in baseball didn’t go so well, as he gave up after playing the fall instructional league with the Royals, but there’s no harm in giving him a chance if a return to the NFL isn’t in the cards.
Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.
Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.
Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:
I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.
First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:
+10 Blue Jays
The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.
Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:
Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.