Baseball to put a stop to the Yankees' mound meetings — in the offseason

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Sunday night’s game will be remembered for the Damon steal, but until that happened the most memorable thing was just how many times Jorge Posada and CC Sabathia met on the mound to discuss the weather or their favorite Pavement album or whatever else it was they were talking about.  Couldn’t have been baseball. I mean, after the tenth or eleventh meeting, they pretty much had covered it all, no?

I guess I’m not the only one who was annoyed by that, as it seems Major League Baseball is going to “discuss” the issue in the offseason:

Posada and pals visited pitcher CC Sabathia eight times–in a single inning–on Sunday night, grinding Game 4 of the World Series to a standstill. Agitated Phillies fans booed each trip.

MLB vice president of umpiring Mike Port said frequent mound meetings by all teams would likely be discussed by baseball officials this offseason.

“It would fall under the province of pace of game,” Port said before the Yankees beat Philadelphia 7-4 to take a 3-1 Series lead.

Not sure what there is to discuss, and there’s certainly no need for some new rule. In order for a catcher to go out to the mound to talk to the pitcher, he has to call time and the ump has to grant it.  If the pace of the game is suffering because of too many visits, the umpire should tell the catcher “sorry Charlie, but if you go out there, the clock is still tickin’ and if that pitch doesn’t come soon, I’m calling a ball for delay of game.”

Of course, that would mean that the umps would have to start calling balls for delay of game in the first place, and they almost never do that.

UPDATEJason at the excellent IIATMS blog talks a bit about why there may have been so many mound visits.  Given the conspiracy theorist behind it all is Larry Bowa, you may want to take all of it with a grain of salt.

BREAKING: Manny Machado to sign with the Padres: 10 years, $300 million

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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Manny Machado has a deal with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the deal is for ten years and $300 million with an opt-out after year five.

At the moment there is some disagreement as to how “done” this deal is, with Padres chairman Ron Fowler saying “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions.” Ken Rosenthal, however, says that’s “semantics” and that the financial terms are in place, with the deal requiring over some final touches on language and Machado’s physical, which will likely be a formality.

The Padres were a late entrant into the Machado sweepstakes, but they reportedly met with Machado last week. The club has obviously not won for a long time, but they have a strong farm system. While that usually mitigates against a big free agent signing, Machado’s age — 26 — means that he’s still likely to be a productive player when that core of prospects is mature. And if it doesn’t develop, hey, he’s made some serious bank and can still opt-out at an age when he might get another decent paycheck.

For the Padres, Machado represents the biggest single investment in a player in club history. Last year they spent too, of course, giving Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract, but this is definitely next-level. As for the baseball side of things, it’s likely that Machado will be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop. While all of the talk about Machado over the past several months has been focused on money and, sometimes, his alleged lack of hustle, the Padres are getting a player with a career line of .282/.335/.487 (121 OPS+), 175 career homers and a 33.8 career WAR in seven big league seasons. While he played shortstop last year and as a minor leaguer, his past and future is at third, where he is a superior defender. As for the hustle: it has almost exclusively been an obsession of the media, based on an ill-advised postgame quote in October. He has received no bad reviews from former teammates, all of whom speak highly of his game and his work ethic.

When the offseason began it appeared that the Phillies or the Yankees or, perhaps, the White Sox had the inside track on Machado. Everyone took a wait-and-see approach, reasonably believing that by waiting out Machado, a better deal could be struck. The risk of that approach, of course, is that it allowed the Padres to talk themselves into getting bold and, ultimately, swooping in to strike this deal.