Been a good morning, quote-wise, around spring training:
McClendon: a lesson in some wise hands-off managing. Price: a lesson in plain speaking. Yost: Well, I think he’s calling all of us baseball writers “fluffers” and that’s kind of rude, but he gets the plain spoken award as well.
Here’s hoping managers remain as loose and direct as all of this once games start and things get testy. I doubt they will, but it sure would be nice to see.
UPDATE: The linked article was updated after I first read it to include the information about Providence being the new Triple-A city for the Sox.
11:03 AM: Minor league affiliations shift around pretty often, but some have lasted so long that it still feels weird to think of them changing. One change that would be hard to get our brains around is the Red Sox’ Triple-A team leaving Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Welp, time to get your brain around it. From the Boston Globe:
Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien said his city’s Triple A baseball club, the Pawtucket Red Sox, has been sold and is leaving the city.
The mayor told radio station WPRO that he was briefed by the team Sunday. He did not disclose the new owners or where they will move the team. The Globe reported Sunday that the Red Sox are among the new owners along with a local group.
Pawtucket has been the Red Sox’ top affiliate since 1973. The Pawtucket Red Sox were a Double-A team for a couple of years before that. There has been some minor league team or another there since the 19th century.
The Rays’ stadium lease for Tropicana Field lasts another 13 seasons. While, at times, the club has talked about looking to get out of that lease beforehand and while the club and the city of St. Petersburg have, at times, negotiated about allowing the Rays to look elsewhere, that least remains pretty darn ironclad. As such, the club and the city’s comments about the matter have always been and should always been seen as statements in a grand negotiation than anything else.
The latest statements, from Rays owner Stuart Sternberg, suggest that the grand negotiation isn’t exactly going the way Rays fans who want to see the club leave Tropicana Field want it to:
We need a ton of time,” Sternberg said. “Right now we are talking about trying to build something in the Tampa Bay region that would have us playing before 2028. But at some point, we have to start looking at 2028.”
The excitment that surrounds a move or the building of a new stadium will come sooner, of course. As the interview in the linked article makes clear, the Rays setting up shop in a new park the first year they are able to do so would require at least five years of preparation and construction and the like. So Sternberg says, really, the team will begin a search for a new park before 2022.
Which still seems like an awfully long time from now.
This is interesting: Clint Hurdle made a comment about possibly resting Andrew McCutchen more this year. And it’s not just about rest. It’s something based in analytics learned from, of all places, the NBA:
“I read an interesting article a while ago on the Golden State Warriors, how they get maximum production with their players,” Hurdle said. “They’re actually playing less, and they’re playing better collectively as a group.”
And it’s not just a random comment from Hurdle. Jayson Stark reports that the Pirates’ front office has been studying minutes maximization in basketball and hockey and are thinking about how it might apply to baseball. How, from an overall production perspective, you may get more from your star playing 153 games and his backup playing in nine instead of 159 from the star and three from the backup. Which is an interesting thing to study that not a ton of folks who think casually about baseball have thought too much about.
This is a good example, by the way, of how that stuff we talked about earlier this morning regarding Jeff Samardzija works. There is literally no need whatsoever for, say, Andrew McCutchen to know how the formulas or calculations behind the metrics that may explain how playing time is best maximized. Let Neal Huntington’s staff figure that stuff out. Once they figure it out, they can tell Clint Hurdle, who can tell McCutchen that he’s going to get a bit more rest this year so he’s sharper when he plays. And Cutch will likely say “cool, Skip.”
So far so good on Miguel Cabrera’s rehab from surgery to remove bone spurs and to repair a stress fracture in his foot. He has taken is first hacks in the cage and is feeling fine.
He’s not in camp yet — he’s reporting today — but Brad Ausmus says that he took some batting practice and texted him about it afterward, reporting no pain.
Cabrera hit .313/.371/.524 with 25 home runs and 109 RBI over 159 games last season and a lot of those games were played while battling injury. Given that Victor Martinez will begin the season late due to knee surgery, having a healthy and productive Cabrera in the lineup is going to be critical to the Tigers’ early season success.