Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

Rougned Odor gets an eight-game suspension, Jose Bautista gets one game


Update (6:35 PM EDT, Bill Baer): Here’s the full rundown for those that want it quick:


Major League Baseball has not yet officially released its ruling, but Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that Rougned Odor has received an eight-game suspension for his fight with Jose Bautista on Sunday. Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that he has also received a $5,000 fine. He is appealing the discipline.

Jose Bautista received a one-game suspension for his role in the fracas. With his role, primarily, being clocked on the jaw by Odor, but I guess it takes two to tango.

In addition to Odor and Bautista, Ken Rosenthal reports that Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has been suspended for three games for returning to the field during the brawl that followed Odor’s punch. Gibbons had been ejected earlier in the game. Also, Elvis Andrus was suspended one game for throwing a punch and Kevin Pillar.

Odor’s eight games will probably seem light to some given his pretty impressive punch to Bautista’s jaw and given how quickly footage of it went viral, but eight games for on-field incidents like this is a pretty standard sort of penalty. Personally I speculated that MLB would hit Odor harder than that given how rare actual fights are these days and given the social media reach these figurative black eyes entail these days, but at the end of the day a disciplinary act has to be relate to precedent lest it be overturned in a lengthy and unpleasant arbitration proceeding.

Cubs to sign Joe Nathan


Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Cubs are signing reliever Joe Nathan.

Nathan, 41, last pitched on Opening Day 2015 for the Tigers before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the rest of the season. Over the winter it was thought that he’d be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June of this year if he has no setbacks, and none have been reported. Assuming this is a minor league deal, this is a low-risk gamble with some possible upside. UPDATE: It’s a major league deal, actually. Joel Sherman of the New York Post is hearing that it’ll be at the major league minimum, prorated, with lots of performance incentives.

Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings in his 15-year career.

Games are longer this year than last year


In 2015 Major League Baseball implemented measures to speed up the game, both in terms of pace and in terms of overall length. A between innings clock, warnings to pitchers and batters and threats to call balls and/or strikes if they dilly-dallied too much were imposed. It worked too: game length was reduced for the first time in a long time and there was little if any blowback from the players.

Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that this year, however, game length is back up again. Seven minutes up, which more than erases the six minute reduction in games realized last year. Stark speaks to Rob Manfred about it, who voices his displeasure and says that MLB will make better efforts to speed things up. Primarily getting on players’ cases.

As Stark notes, the biggest culprit appears to be pitches per game. Which tracks the increase in strikeouts per game. All of which adds to the time and takes away from moments when the ball is in play, which makes things a lot more . . . static. Not sure what Manfred can do about that with memos. That’s about the strike zone and guys who throw 97 all the dang time. And, of course, about how all of those max effort pitches take longer to gear up for, especially from relievers.