Author: Craig Calcaterra

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Baseball died in the movie “Interstellar,” you guys


I saw “Interstellar” over the weekend. I’m not going to give away any important plot points or anything like that, but I did want to share one amusing part of it.

The scene, set up from the very beginning, is an Earth in which dust storms and any manner of other bad happenings have basically crippled the world. Everyone lives on corn, as all other crops have failed, there are no more armies and scientific inquiry and optimism and all of that has, apparently, disintegrated due to apocalypses large and small. Life still goes on in a lot of ways — people have cars and jobs and there are schools and stuff — but it’s definitely a leaning-toward-a-dark-age scene.

One of the extraordinarily small yet extremely vivid bits of the scene setting is a baseball game. It’s on what looks like a small, minor league field in the middle of a farming community. One team is a local nine made up of what are presumably amateurs. The other team: the New York Yankees. Which still exist, but have been reduced to a barnstorming, probably semi-pro situation. They have a banner on the wall welcoming “The World Famous New York Yankees,” for example.

I’m trying to get my head around all that would have to happen in society for Major League Baseball to truly die like that. Yet what would not be so bad that the New York Yankees could still exist, in however a diminished form. And I can’t decide if seeing them diminished like that should be a joyful bit of schadenfreude for non-Yankees fans or if, alternatively, we should be concerned that not even a freakin’ world-threatening apocalypse can kill the Bronx Bombers.

The Braves are pushing to trade Evan Gattis

evan gattis getty

Joel Sherman of the New York Post says that the Braves are pushing hard to trade catcher Evan Gattis.

Makes a ton of sense given his defensive limitations and the fact that the Braves have Christian Bethancourt ready to play behind the plate. Bethancourt is clearly the superior defensive catcher, he’s younger and, while the bat isn’t there yet, he has promise. Gattis’ power is incredible but as a catcher he makes a pretty good DH, which the Braves cannot use. They tried Gattis in left field once. That was horrible. He really can’t play elsewhere.

Gattis would feature well on an AL team who could use him as DH and occasional catcher. What the Braves can get for him will be John Hart’s true first test as the head of the Braves baseball operations.

The 25 most important people in baseball history

Ruth Called Shot Baseball

Graham Womack of Baseball: Past and Present polled several hundred people about who the most important people in baseball history were. His results can be seen here. Some may flip and flop numbers 1 and 2, but I think either of them would be a good answer for the top spot.

Down list is where it gets more fun. I mean, both Marvin Miller and Bill James are in the top 10, and I KNOW that’ll tick some of you off.

This, by the way, is the best stuff of the offseason. Arguing about things like who the most important people in baseball are.

The Royals will “take a look” at Ervin Santana

ervin santana getty

Jon Heyman says that the Royals will “take a look” at free agent Ervin Santana.

Santana pitched for the Royals in 2013, of course, and had a fantastic year for them. By virtue of their qualifying offer to him last winter, Santana had a hard time finding work and had to settle for a one-year deal from Atlanta. The level to which ballplayers take such matters personally or as a mere matter of business will determine if Santana looks back, of course. As will whether Santana garners much interest at large, seeing as though it’s hard to feature the Royals spending too tremendously much on a starter like him.

Santana should be able to help someone, of course. He finished the season with a 3.95 ERA and a 179/63 K/BB ratio in 196 innings. Which isn’t as good as 2013 was for him, but ain’t chopped liver.

The deadline to accept or reject qualifying offers is 5PM today

Reuters David Robertson

source: Reuters

Today at 5pm is the deadline for the 12 free agent players who were given qualifying offers by their 2014 clubs to either accept them or reject them. Here, again, are the players who were given qualifying offers:

Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays
Nelson Cruz, Orioles
Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
Francisco Liriano, Pirates
Russell Martin, Pirates
Victor Martinez, Tigers
Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers
David Robertson, Yankees
Pablo Sandoval, Giants
Ervin Santana, Braves
Max Scherzer, Tigers
James Shields, Royals

If these guys accept their qualifying offer they will be given a one-year deal with their current club for $15.3 million. If they reject, they are free to sign with any team, however the team that signs them will have to give up a first or a second round draft pick (if the signing team has a top-10 pick in next summer’s draft, they will give up a second rounder). Those picks are often called “compensation picks,” but as our friend Joe Sheehan reminds us today via his fantastic newsletter to which you should subscribe, it’s really a punishment to teams for signing free agents, designed specifically to impede the market for players’ services. Why the union ever agreed to that I have no idea, but it was really stupid of them to do so. Alas.

No player, since the advent of the qualifying offer, has accepted one. That seems likely to change this year, partially because we saw a couple of guys end up taking low-price, one-year deals after they couldn’t find a robust market for their services after rejecting the qualifying offer. Partially because a couple of this year’s qualifying offer recipients would, on the merits, be unlikely to find a better deal regardless.

Michael Cuddyer is an obvious example given his recent injury history and the fact that many teams may perceive him as something of a creature of Coors Field at this point in his career. Ervin Santana and Nelson Cruz were two of the guys who had trouble finding jobs last winter due to their last qualifying offers so you could understand it if they accepted, but most reports suggest they will not. It’s possible, however, that Francisco Liriano accepts. Beyond that, it seems like everyone will reject and test the market.