Craig Calcaterra

brandon belt giants getty

The Giants and Brandon Belt avoid arbitration

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Jon Heyman reports that the Giants and Brandon Belt avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.6 million contract. Belt had asked for $4.5 million and was offered $3 million from the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged.

Belt’s 2014 was derailed by injuries, causing him to appear in just 61 games last season. He hit .243/.306/.449 with 12 homers. Which explains why the settlement number was a lot closer to the Giants’ submission than his own.

Belt has two more trips through arbitration in his future and can become a free agent following the 2017 season.

Lucas Duda and the Mets avoid arbitration, agree on a one-year deal

Lucas Duda
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The New York Mets and first baseman Lucas Duda avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $4.2 million contract, Jon Heyman reports.

Duda requested $4.7 million from the Mets and was offered $3.75 million when arbitration figures were exchanged on January 16.  This was his first time in arbitration.

Duda hit 30 home runs and knocked in 92 RBI in 153 games last year. So it’ll also be his first time for a spring training in which people won’t constantly be asking how much playing time he’ll get, where, etc.

Watch Pat Burrell go down a slip-and-slide without spilling his drink

Pat Burrell
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Chase Utley posted this on Instagram yesterday. Apparently from a beach Super Bowl party he was having. Former teammate Pat Burrell is the star. Naturally, Pat the Bat does not spill a drop of his drink:

Cafardo: make the DH universal now

New York Yankees v Kansas City Royals
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Nothing else going on in baseball now, so Nick Cafardo proposes making the DH universal:

New commissioner Rob Manfred will hear, and already has heard, plenty of suggestions on how to increase offense, and he has thrown out a few ideas himself. And while Manfred probably doesn’t have the backing of the National League, the old standby is always there: make the designated hitter universal.

His rationale is offense. As in, if baseball needs more offense, eliminating pitchers batting is a good way to start. He’s not wrong about that as far as it goes. Pitchers have become even worse batters than they used to be, likely due to the fact that teams accept them being poor batters from the get-go and don’t want to waste important development time for young pitchers on them maintaining whatever hitting skills they had as high schoolers.

For what it’s worth, Manfred has stated recently that, given the sentiment about the DH among National League owners who would have to approve such a change (i.e. sharply negative), it’s not happening any time soon. He is also on record saying that having the DH in one league and not having it in another does not cause him personal dissonance. Probably because he’s an intelligent person who can process competing realities without getting all worked up. Which is sort of rare in sports, actually.

As I’ve stated here a number of times, I have a personal preference for pitchers batting. It’s not based in logic or reason or anything like that. It’s just one of those subjective things people feel. Like preferring dark chocolate to milk chocolate. Despite that taste, however, I think it’s inevitable that, one day, baseball will go with a universal DH rule and that it probably should go with a universal DH rule given the increased amount of interleague play, fairness considerations and that fact mentioned above about pitchers not being able to bat worth a spit anymore.

Not that that keeps people from arguing DH vs. no-DH as if it were something objective as opposed to one’s personal tastes. It’s become a religious subject more than anything else.

 

Pitchers and catchers report in 16 days, you guys

spring training getty
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source: Getty Images

With that silliness out of the way, we can now turn to baseball. Pitchers and catchers, people. Figure position players report four or five days later.

GRAPEFRUIT LEAGUE

Atlanta Braves: Friday, Feb. 20
Baltimore Orioles: Thursday, Feb. 19
Boston Red Sox: Friday, Feb. 20
Detroit Tigers: Thursday, Feb. 19
Houston Astros: Friday, Feb. 20
Miami Marlins: Friday, Feb. 20
Minnesota Twins: Sunday, Feb. 22
New York Mets: Thursday, Feb. 19
New York Yankees: Friday, Feb. 20
Philadelphia Phillies: Wednesday, Feb. 18
Pittsburgh Pirates: Wednesday, Feb. 18
St. Louis Cardinals: Thursday, Feb. 19
Tampa Bay Rays: Saturday, Feb. 21
Toronto Blue Jays: Monday, Feb. 23
Washington Nationals: Friday, Feb. 20

CACTUS LEAGUE

Arizona Diamondbacks: Thursday, Feb. 19
Chicago Cubs: Thursday, Feb. 19
Chicago White Sox: Thursday, Feb. 19
Cincinnati Reds: Wednesday, Feb. 18
Cleveland Indians: Wednesday, Feb. 18
Colorado Rockies: Friday, Feb. 20
Kansas City Royals: Thursday, Feb. 19
Los Angeles Angels: Thursday, Feb. 19
Los Angeles Dodgers: Thursday, Feb. 19
Milwaukee Brewers: Friday, Feb. 20
Oakland A’s: Thursday, Feb. 19
San Diego Padres: Thursday, Feb. 19
San Francisco Giants: Wedneday, Feb. 18
Seattle Mariners: Friday, Feb. 20
Texas Rangers: Friday, Feb. 20