The centerpiece of the trade that sent right-hander James Shields to the Royals will begin the 2013 season in the minor leagues.
The Rays announced this morning that top prospect outfielder Wil Myers was reassigned to minor league camp. The 22-year-old batted .300 (9-for-30) with a triple, three doubles and an RBI in 15 games during Grapefruit League action.
Myers has been expected to begin the season with Triple-A Durham all along. And while Rays fans are anxious to see him, the timing of his major league debut has some major financial implications. Keeping him in the minors for even a few weeks would delay his free agency by a year, similar to how the Nationals handled Bryce Harper last year. If the Rays wait until around mid-June to call him up, it would keep him from being a “Super Two” player and having four years of arbitration eligibility as opposed to the usual three. Of course, his contract situation could be rendered moot if the Rays are somehow able to sign him to a long-term deal similar to Evan Longoria and Matt Moore, but Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times hears that Myers hasn’t been approached with any offers yet.
Myers, 22, batted .314/.387/.600 with 37 home runs and a .987 OPS between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha last year. Baseball America recently ranked him as the No. 4 prospect in the game on their annual Top 100 list.
A Solar Eclipse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
In that great journey of the stars through space
About the mighty, all-directing Sun,
The pallid, faithful Moon, has been the one
Companion of the Earth. Her tender face,
Pale with the swift, keen purpose of that race,
Which at Time’s natal hour was first begun,
Shines ever on her lover as they run
And lights his orbit with her silvery smile.
Sometimes such passionate love doth in her rise,
Down from her beaten path she softly slips,
And with her mantle veils the Sun’s bold eyes,
Then in the gloaming finds her lover’s lips.
While far and near the men our world call wise
See only that the Sun is in eclipse.
Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union — launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.
Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:
“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”
As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.
I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.