Reliever Andrew Bailey’s days with the Red Sox could be numbered. After moving to Boston in the Josh Reddick deal with the Athletics prior to the 2012 season, Bailey has made just 49 appearances in his two seasons with the Sox. He missed most of the 2012 season with a thumb injury, then had his 2013 season end abruptly to undergo surgery to repair labrum and capsule damage in his right shoulder.
Bailey is now eligible for arbitration for his third and final year, projected to take home a salary north of $4 million. As a result, the team could opt not to tender him a contract for the upcoming season, suggests Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. Bailey would enjoy continuing his career with the Red Sox, though he realizes that may not be possible:
“I’ll just wait and see,” he said. “Hopefully something will get worked out. If they take me through arbitration or not, I love the city, love the area, love the guys, and it’d be great to get the opportunity to play there again.
“I’d love to be back with Boston. I don’t really know what’s out there for me. In my mind, we’re going through arbitration until I’m notified otherwise. If that scenario happens, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m a Red Sox. I haven’t even though about those scenarios yet. Until something is on the table, you try not to think about it.”
Bailey is expected to miss the first half of the season. Meanwhile, the Red Sox were happily surprised from a number of their bullpen pieces throughout the 2013 season, namely Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, and Andrew Miller. While a healthy and productive Bailey would be an asset, the Red Sox have enough talent in their bullpen to move on and not have to make a $4 million gamble on a reliever heading into his 30’s.
ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.
MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.
Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this:
Earlier, Craig covered Rob Manfred’s comments in which he accused the Major League Baseball Players’ Association of “a lack of cooperation” concerning some proposed rule changes. The union would need to agree to any such changes, which have included automatic intentional walks, limiting mound visits, pitch clocks, and swapping batting practice times for home and visiting teams.
Manfred went on to say that MLB will impose those rule changes unilaterally next year as allowed in the latest collective bargaining agreement.
Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLBPA, responded to Manfred’s comment. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
“Unless your definition of ‘cooperation’ is blanket approval, I don’t agree that we’ve failed to cooperate with the Commissioner’s office on these issues.”
“Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this off season we’ve been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened.”
“I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don’t continue, notwithstanding today’s comments about implementation. As I’ve said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open.”
“My understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2min limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of Game warning/fine adjustments.”
Clark’s response isn’t anything too shocking. Manfred’s accusation was pretty baseless, but it’s behavior to be expected of a commissioner who comes down on the side of the owners over the players almost always.