UPDATE: Being told be several people that teams do not use the 2008 Sharp TVs for replay. That they have true HD screens of more modern vintage. This makes sense to me. It’d still be good if MLB was more upfront with it, however.
9:38 AM: Not sure what to make of this Deadspin post. It shows a fairly small and antiquated TV which doesn’t do true high definition in the bowels of a ballpark, reporting that this is the TV that major league umpires use to review plays. The reason: a sponsorship deal with Sharp and no apparent desire to keep things up to date.
But then later in the article:
Most of what we know about how MLB handles replay comes from 2008, when the system was first implemented. They haven’t talked about any changes since then, and when we asked very specific questions about the technology used a league official politely declined to answer any of them. It’s possible they have larger screens (and ones from Samsung, the new MLBAM official sponsor) but MLB didn’t confirm anything of the sort when we asked—and we can’t find any evidence the system’s technology has been revamped at all, something you’d assume the league would trumpet in support of its sponsor.
So maybe this is old information. But, at the very least, it seems like MLB should say it’s old information if it is. And affirmatively state what technology umpires are using to review plays.
People don’t trust baseball’s umpires or its review system right now, and for good reason. A good way to get people to start trusting again — apart from the obvious in not botching easy calls — would be for Joe Torre or someone in a position of authority to explain the system being used and assure us that it’s the best it can reasonably be. To assure us that the men in charge of deciding things in games aren’t worse off than some fan 500 miles from the park watching the replay on his iPhone.
If it’s not: well, umpires aren’t the only thing we need to worry about.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.
The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.
St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.
The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.
Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?
Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.