A couple of weeks ago we got a report — from Brody Chernof, the six-year-old son of Indians’ general manager Mike Chernof — that the club and shortstop Francisco Lindor were in talks regarding a seven-year contract extension. Today we get a report — from the somewhat older Tom Verducci — that the Indians made an offer to Lindor in excess of $100 million. And Lindor turned it down.
Lindor is not even arbitration-eligible until after 2018, but in his first 271 games as a big leaguer he’s shown that he’s among the top talents in the game. He’s currently scheduled to hit free agency at age 28. If he merely maintains his current level of play he could double the offer he’s reportedly turned down. If he continues to improve — and he’s just 23, so it’s quite possible — he could get a deal that dwarfs it.
In an age when teams are increasingly locking up young players to club-friendly deals, it’s not often that you hear of a young talent saying no. But as Verducci’s story makes clear, there are a handful of young stars who could break the bank if they take the path to free agency players of the previous generation did. Lindor is one of them.
Earlier today we talked about how David Price was knocked around in a minor league rehab start. Apparently he felt good while being knocked around because he’s going to make a start for the Red Sox on Monday afternoon against the White Sox.
Healthy is all that truly matters at this point, what with Drew Pomeranz struggling and Steven Wright out for the year. The Sox need someone to eat some innings at the moment. If it takes him a bit to get super sharp, well, so be it.
Recently, in the wake of Noah Syndergaard‘s injury, we talked about velocity and the maximal effort exerted by pitchers in throwing each pitch. We talked about how, simply as a matter of observation, pitchers seem to take longer between pitches, in part to maximize the energy available. About how we hear them talk about “executing pitches” all the time, with each of the 90-100 pitches they make each game being treated like an individual performance, each of which can be judged as successful or not.
Today at FiveThirtyEight, Rob Arthur puts some numbers to all of that and concludes, not surprisingly, that there is a pretty strong correlation between the dramatic uptick in velocity we’ve seen over the past decade or so and the length of games, which has grown longer over that time. Seems that, yep, pitchers are taking longer precisely because doing so gives them extra ticks on the radar gun.
Indeed, Arthur finds that for every additional second pitchers take between pitches, they throw about .02 miles per hour harder. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but as Arthur demonstrates, each little bit adds up. Those seconds, over 100-150 pitchers per team per game add up in time, obviously. And, based on past research Arthur cites regarding the correlation between pitcher velocity and pitcher effectiveness, those miles per hour add up in terms of team wins.
All of which adds some spice to the whole game length/game pace debate. We’d all like to see things move along more quickly, but doing so will likely impact player effectiveness, which will in turn make it harder to get teams and players to agree to measures designed to speed things up.