Recently, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Astros offered top prospect George Springer a seven-year, $23 million contract last September. As Matthew Pouliot explained earlier this week, it was a way for the Astros to guarantee themselves a bargain while giving Springer the playing time in the Majors he obviously wants. Springer, though, rejected the deal, preferring to keep control over his own fate.
Over the off-season, the Astros acquired Dexter Fowler to play center field, which all but guaranteed Springer would be back in the minors when the 2014 season began. The reason is obvious: without that contract in place, the Astros are being careful with how they use Springer. If he makes his debut before June and accrues any serious amount of playing time, the Astros likely lose a year of control, making Springer a free agent after the 2019 season rather than after 2020.
Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that Springer’s agent Greg Genske and the MLBPA are considering filing a grievance over Springer’s playing time. Drellich writes:
Although Springer is technically not a member of the major league baseball players association — he is not on the team’s 40-man roster yet — that does not limit the union’s ability to potentially contest that the Astros did not act properly. The central issue is always whether the collective bargaining agreement was violated in any way.
Springer, 24, slashed .303/.411/.600 with 37 home runs between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City. He was rated the 20th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus recently.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.
If you’ve happened to catch any of the coverage of the 2016 postseason on Fox and FS1, you’ve heard former Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez as part of an analyst panel with host Kevin Burkhardt and former major leaguers Pete Rose and Frank Thomas. Rodriguez has drawn rave reviews not just for passing a rather low bar we set for former athletes-turned-commentators, but because he’s adding real insight drawn both from his playing days and from doing research.
Indeed, Rodriguez is taking his new job as an analyst quite seriously, Newsday’s Neil Best reports. Bardia Shah-Rais, the VP of production for Fox, said of Rodriguez, “This is not a hobby for him. It’s not a parachute in. He’s invested. If we have a noon meeting, he’s there at 11:30 a.m. He’s emailing story ideas in the morning. He wants research. He’s almost all-in to the point where it’s annoying.”
Rose also praised Rodriguez, saying, “You’ve never been around a guy who prepares more than Alex does. Alex does his homework. He knows the game. He understands players. He’s into the deal . . . Frank does a great job in preparation, too. I’m the only one that don’t prepare as much as these two guys. I don’t know if that’s because I can’t write or what it is. But these guys do their homework and they ask questions and they ask the right questions and then you put that in with our experience, all the things we’ve been through and how good we get along with each other, that’s why it shows up on the TV.”
Rodriguez, who hasn’t officially retired despite not having played since the Yankees released him in mid-August, wouldn’t commit to more TV work beyond this year’s postseason.