Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Tampa Bay Rays will be moving their spring training workouts back an hour, starting at 10:30 AM instead of 9:30 AM. The reason: sleep studies which, presumably, show that players are at their best a bit later in the morning.
Before you scoff at the idea of 9:30 being too early, known that that is merely the time when players are in uniform and assembled on the grass for workouts. They report to the clubhouse way, way earlier than that. Many of them work with the training staff to deal with injuries and things. Others have personal workouts scheduled then. Many hit the batting cages independently during this time. There are meetings too, and media availabilities and all manner of other responsibilities. Most players are at the park before you’re at work in the morning.
The players aren’t the only ones who may benefit from this. The press will love it. Baseball beat writers tend to be night owls, as they spend most of the year working from between 4pm and midnight covering games. In the spring they have to force themselves into early schedules for a month and a half and then snap back to normalcy. Based on what I’ve seen on Twitter so far this morning, each and every one of them is gonna start lobbying the team they cover to push their workouts back too.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.
The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.
That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.
Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.