Craig Calcaterra

Nick Markakis Getty

The Giants are talking to Nick Markakis

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The Braves have been said to be hot and heavy on Nick Markakis, and were reported to have met personally with Markakis in Baltimore the other day. But it may not be a one horse race:

I don’t root for the Giants much, but ain’t gonna lie: rooting for them to save the Braves from themselves here. For, while Markakis may be a fine guy and a decent enough corner outfielder, he’s not the guy a team that is rebuilding or re-jiggering or whatever it is the Braves are doing should be going after.

At least not based on the contract he’s expected to get, which is 4-5 years and in excess of $10 million per. Yes, he’s a big name, but that name rests on a lot of production from several years ago. This past season he hit just .276 with 14 homers and a .729 OPS in 155 games and he was even worse in 2013, hitting .271 with 10 homers and a .685 OPS in 160 games.

The Braves sign Jim Johnson to a one-year deal

Jim Johnson Tigers
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Feel the excitement:

Johnson, of course, had back-to-back seasons with 50 saves in 2012 and 2013. 2014 was a total train wreck, however, as he posted a grisly 7.09 ERA in 21 appearances between Oakland and Detroit. You have to assume he had some sort of physical breakdown and/or the expiration of his Faustian Bargain, leading to his cratering last season.

Jon Heyman reports that Johnson’s base salary will be $1.6MM and that he can earn up to $900K in incentives.

The Royals and Reds are interested in Melky Cabrera

Melky Cabrera
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I feel like Melky is going to be Reggie Sanders going forward. Competent journeyman who doesn’t stay in a place long and plays well for everyone except Atlanta. From Heyman:

The American League champion Royals, looking for bats, have been in contact with former Royal Melky Cabrera . . . Cincinnati was tied earlier to Aoki and Morse, but if the Reds decide to go for it, they may stretch for Cabrera.

 

Of course, Melky played for the Royals once before. Back then he was trying to stay in the bigs. Now he’s likely looking for a longer term deal. He is said to want to play on the east coast or the Midwest, however, so his options aren’t as wide as they could be.

Report: the Rays, and other Tampa sports teams, had indentured servants working their concessions

Tropicana Field
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This report from the Tampa Bay Times is a couple of days old, but I just saw it via Deadspin, who picked up and brought it to our attention on Sunday.

The upshot: concession operators for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the the Rays, the Lightning, and the Daytona 500 all employed labor from a ministry called New Beginnings, which labor investigators have characterized as “indentured servitude.” Specifically, the money the workers earned working the concession stands goes directly to the ministry which provides the men with shelter and food. Investigators say, however, that the ministry takes advantage of the men, many of whom are mentally ill and/or drug addicted, and fails to provide them with the services and support it claims.

For what it’s worth, the company which runs the Tropicana Field concessions says it was unaware of the arrangement and that it violates its terms.

Read the while investigative report. And then take a step back and marvel at what some people will do to make a buck.

Tim Brosnan, V.P. of business, is leaving MLB

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Major League Baseball just announced that Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball’s Executive Vice President, Business and CEO of MLB Enterprises, will depart from MLB at the end of January.

Brosnan was a finalist for the commissioner’s job which went to Rob Manfred. He had been with Major League Baseball since 1991, and had spearheaded many of MLB’s sponsorship and business deals. Manfred is basically squeezing him out, however, by naming MLB Advanced Media President Bob Bowman “chief revenue officer” and putting him more squarely in charge of overall business matters, rather than simply limiting him to digital initiatives.

As Maury Brown wrote in November, baseball’s previous structure — Bowman on the digital side, Brosnan doing other things — was frustrating for sponsors and would-be partners who would prefer to deal with MLB in a unified way rather than have to talk to two different shops, as it were. It also created turf wars internally, some say. I have spoken personally to at least one club employee who said it was really, really frustrating to have to clear ideas and initiatives through two offices, practically speaking.

Bowman’s ascension means that Brosnan was, as the British like to say, made redundant.