Boras sulking

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.

Astros avoid arbitration with Mike Fiers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Starting pitcher Mike Fiers #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after pitching an inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 17, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won the game 2-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.

Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.

Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.

Raines to wear an Expos cap, Pudge to wear a Rangers cap on their Hall of Fame plaques

1990:  Outfielder Tim Raines of the Montreal Expos in action. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule  /Allsport
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There is little if any controversy to be had about the caps this year’s inductees will wear on their Hall of Fame plaques, but in case there was any doubt at all, it was put to rest this afternoon at the Hall of Fame press conference: Tim Raines will wear a Montreal Expos cap and Ivan Rodriguez will wear a Rangers cap. Jeff Bagwell, of course, never played for a team other than the Houston Astros at the big league level.

Though Raines had some good seasons with the Chicago White Sox and though he helped provide a nice kick start to the Yankees dynasty in the mid-1990s, his best seasons, by far, took place while he was an Expo. It’s also the case that the bulk of his Hall of Fame push came from Expos fans. He was particularly boosted by Jonah Keri, who recently wrote a book detailing the history of the Expos. So, yeah, that’s easy.

Rodriguez played 13 of his 21 years with the Texas Rangers, including his MVP 1999 season. He did have some notable years elsewhere, particularly in Detroit where he remains a fan favorite, but it was always going to be the Rangers for him, one would think. Maybe a slight, slight chance that he’d do the blank cap thing, Greg Maddux-style, but smart money was on the Rangers.

With Bagwell, the only question is which Astros cap he’ll wear. There are a couple of applicable ones: the brick red star, which he wore to the World Series in 2005. There’s also the shooting star cap he wore during his best seasons and which Craig Biggio’s plaque displays. He was around for the classic “H” over the star look, but he was just a kid then, so I doubt he’d wear it.

Anyway, sorry to the Marlins fans who wished that Raines and Pudge would wear the fishy-F.