Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports has a report about Giancarlo Stanton and the Miami Marlins. A report that may make folks in Miami a tad upset while warming the hearts of the folks in Boston and anywhere else where the local team is willing to spend nine figures on top talent.
He recounts how the Marlins, despite multiple teardowns, fan apathy and the expectation by some that they’d lose a LOT of games this year, are still very much in the playoff hunt. Then he asked Stanton whether the changed vibe in Miami has him thinking he’d like to stay around for the long haul:
The question was whether the events of this season had altered his top-down view of the organization. He’d raised his eyes, thinking.
“Five months,” he said, “doesn’t change five years.”
Stanton is a free agent in two years and he’s going to have a couple of hefty arbitration awards before then. Jeff Loria has never shown that he’ll commit to a large payroll or even a top-of-the-market contract for a top-of-the-market player. Stanton is well aware of this and one has to assume he’s not eager to sign a big contract only to see his team’s owner gut the franchise around him.
If I’m Stanton, I wait and see too.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.
Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.