The replay proposal was well-received? We sure about that?

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Yes, I know I’m beating this to death. Sorry. It’s what I do. You want more A-Rod stories? Didn’t think so.

Anyway, a companion to that “MLB wanting us to accept the challenge system on their word” thing is the “declaration of victory” thing. People talking about yesterday’s replay announcement as if it were overwhelmingly well received. Baseball does this a lot, actually. It says something and then asserts that everyone is on board and points at anyone saying otherwise with the “wow, that guy is crazy” look on their face.  As the guy often being pointed at as crazy, I’ve seen it happen a lot. I realize I look like this much of the time.

But here is what I’m talking about. The headline from USA Today:

source:

The people have spoken! Now here are quotes from two managers from the article. First Bob Melvin, who is portrayed as one of the people approving of the change:

“So, if someone’s watching it and is on top of it and has the use of replay very quickly, that certainly doesn’t sound like a bad thing to me,” says Melvin, who admits he used to be against replay.

See that assumption? “someone watching and on top of it.” Actually, Bob, this proposal does not have someone watching and on top of it. That’s on you. If you decide a play was made improperly it’s your burden to alert everyone. Then someone steps in for a review. That’s yesterday’s proposal.

Then Joe Maddon, who first offers some pithy quotes about technology being great and replay being part of that:

“I just don’t like the idea that the earlier part of the game is considered less important,” he says. “I know we’ve lost games in the first inning. You can lose games in the second inning. I don’t know if that’s something based on research that there are fewer umpire mistakes in the first part of the game than in the latter part of the game.”

But, he’ll take whatever version he can get.

If people want to call this a positive reaction that’s their right. But it seems to be actually negative with respect to the actual proposal.

Everyone wants the calls right. That’s not debatable. So when someone says “we just want the calls right” or even “replay is good,” that is not an endorsement of yesterdays’ announcement. The only specific comments I’ve seen thus far are either skeptical of a challenge system or skeptical of the one specifically proposed.

If there is to be a debate about the merits of this plan, let’s have the debate. Let’s not make sure everyone lines up behind MLB’s proposal and have some premature declaration of victory.

Rival Executives Expect Justin Verlander To Hit The Trading Block

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About a month ago, a report circulated that if the Detroit Tigers weren’t above .500 by the end of June, they were going to chuck the season, look to trade off veterans and rebuild. It’s now June 29 and the Tigers are 34-42 and sit six games out of first place.

As such, we should not be too terribly surprised to see a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo that multiple baseball executives expect Tigers ace Justin Verlander to hit the trade market sometime in the next two weeks. Passan notes that the Tigers haven’t formally offered him and that he’s just passing along speculation from rivals, but it’s pretty astute speculation.

The question is what the Tigers can get for Verlander. On the one hand, yes, Verlander is Verlander and has been one of the top starters in baseball for a decade. While he had struggled for a bit, last year featured a return to Cy Young form. He still has a blazing fastball and there is no reason to think he could not anchor the staff of a playoff caliber team.

On the other hand, as Passan notes, his 2017 has been . . . not so good. He looks amazing at times and very hittable at other times. Overall his walk rate is way up and his strikeout rate is down. There doesn’t appear to be anything physically wrong with him — various ailments contributed to his 2014-15 swoon — so it’s possible he’s just had a rough couple of months. Like I said, Verlander is Verlander, and it may not be a bad gamble to expect him to run off a string of dominant starts like he has so many times in the past.

The problem, though, is that anyone acquiring Verlander is not just gambling on a handful of starts down the stretch. They’re gambling on the $56 million he’s owed between 2018 and 2019 and the $22 million extra he’ll be guaranteed for 2020 if he finishes in the top five in Cy Young voting in 2019. Those would be his age 35, 36 and 37 seasons. There are certainly worse gambles in baseball, but it’s a gamble all the same.

If the Tigers don’t find any gamblers out there on the market, they’re going to have to make a gamble of their own: let Verlander go and get relatively little in return if another club picks up that $56 million commitment or eat it themselves and get prospects back in return to help kickstart a rebuild. Personally I’d go with the latter option, but I don’t work for the Illitch family.

 

There is a Tyler glut in baseball

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It’s a slow news morning — Miguel Montero is gone and everyone else is quiet — so you should go read Tyler Kepner’s latest column over at the New York Times. It’s, appropriately, about Tylers.

There are a lot of them in baseball now, Tyler notes. No Larrys and hardly any Eddies or Bobs. This obviously tracks the prevalence of the name Tyler in the population at large and the declines in Larrys, Eddies and Bobs. It’s the kind of thing I imagine we’ve all noticed from time to time, and it’s fun to do it in baseball. For his part, Kepner tries to make an all-Tyler All-Star team. The results are sort of sad.

There are always one or two Craigs floating around baseball from time to time, but not many more than that. We got a Hall of Famer recently, so that’s pretty nice. There will likely be fewer over time, as Craig — never even a top-30 name in popularity — is now near historic lows. I’m not complaining, though. I never once had to go by “Craig C.” in class to differentiate myself from other Craigs. Our biggest problem is being called Greg. We tend to let it pass. Craigs are used to it by now.