Terry Collins

Terry Collins almost certain to be back in 2014

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Terry Collins is technically a lame duck as the Mets’ skipper. His contract runs out at the end of the month and, given his 213-246 record at the helm, it’s not as if there is a rich history of success in New York compelling the Mets to extend him.  Nevertheless, Buster Olney reports that extend him they likely will:

Sources say it would be a complete surprise if the Mets don’t retain Manager Terry Collins; they have no plans to make a change.

Earlier this year Sandy Alderson gave Collins a vote of confidence, saying that the decision to keep Collins on “isn’t just about wins and losses. It’s about how we approach the game and fully taking into account what he has to work with.” Collins hasn’t had much in that regard, having been given one of the worst outfields in baseball out of spring training, having a guy in Ike Davis who was supposed to be an anchor in the lineup struggle and be demoted, having lost David Wright for a chunk of the season and now having lost his ace in Matt Harvey.

But through all of that, there has been decidedly less Mets-style drama this season, with the only knucklehead being Jordany Valdespin, who was exiled as soon as his head-knucklery reached a tipping point.  Beyond that, relatively smooth sailing and good attitudes and that’s about as much as you can expect from a team in the Mets’ competitive position.  In light of that, it seems like a good move to bring Collins back.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.

Spring training will be slightly shortened in 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  General view of action between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 15, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The A's defeated the Giants 8-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.

Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.

The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.

While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.