Scott Boras wants the first two games of the World Series played at a neutral site

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In a column posted earlier today, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo wrote about the benefits of Major League Baseball shifting the first two games of the World Series to a neutral site, an idea spawned by super-agent Scott Boras. The aim is to revive interest in the World Series. Cafardo writes that the World Series used to be a can’t-miss event, but even other general managers and agents have stopped attending, choosing instead to watch the game from home.

Cafardo writes:

If you had two games to start the World Series in a warm-weather climate and/or dome, you’d create quite a buzz. The prelude to the game or games, Boras suggests, would be a gala, followed by a big ceremony where the Cy Young, MVP, and other awards would be part of a TV special in the host city. He calls it, baseball’s Oscars.

He adds that added corporate interest would go to a pet interest of Boras: creating a pension fund for Minor Leaguers.

Cafardo goes on, with another Boras idea:

With the inclusion of an awards ceremony, it would create a scenario in which the best players in baseball would gather at the World Series site. Boras even suggested a postseason home run derby, where stars would compete and not have to worry, as they do now at the All-Star Game, about ruining their swings for the rest of the season, which is why some of the best sluggers do not participate.

Whether we like to admit it or not, money is the driving force of this great sport and that happens by generating interest, even if it means breaking with tradition. You will get a lot more eyeballs if your Home Run Derby includes defending Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, who chose not to participate this year’s event due to an injury. Many more people will watch, let’s say, a Pirates-Athletics World Series if, as an auxiliary portion of the World Series festivities, Yu Darvish receives the AL Cy Young award or Cabrera takes home the AL MVP award.

The chances of any of the changes suggested by Boras actually going into effect are pretty slim, but the ideas are worth considering anyway.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.