Your pre-arbitration filing deadline signing scoreboard, Part IV

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We’re reaching the point where only the true completists among you — the sort of people who are such big Pixies fans, for example, that they bought The Amps’ CD when it came out — will care about these signings. But dadgummit, when I start something I’m going to finish it. Unless I, you know, don’t feel like it.

Anyway, Part I was here, Part II was here, and Part III was here.  Now, once more into the breech!

  • Francisco Liriano ($1.6 million), Jessee Crain ( $2 million), Brendan Harris ($3.2 million), Matt Guerrier ($3.15 million) and Pat
    Neshek ($625,000).  Not all of these guys were due for new contracts, actually, it’s just that when the team built the new ballpark one of those fancy automatic signature machines were included and they’re understandably going a bit nuts with it.
  • Mike Napoli and Reggie Willits, Angels, $3.6 million and $625,000, respectively. Willits — who is a fifth outfielder — is lucky he was even tendered.
  • We mentioned Zach Duke yesterday, but now we have the details: $4.3 million. He still hails from parts unknown, however.
  • Mike Adams, Padres, $1 million. Pfun Pfact: Mike Adams is 6’5″ tall and he’s only like the fifth or sixth tallest pitcher on the team.
  • Sean Green, Mets, $975,000. True story: Green scared Omar into this settlement by telling him that he’d easily win his arbitration case, what with those 42 homers he hit for the Dodgers in 2002.  And he negotiated a day off for the El Malaguana holiday to boot.
  • Gerald Laird, Zach Miner, Bobby Seay, Tigers, $3.95 million for Laird, $950,000 for Miner and $2.475 million for Seay. After the Valverde deal I suppose all of these look reasonable to the Tigers.
  • Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, Red Sox. $905,000 on Ramirez. Not sure about the money on Delcarmen, but I’m not his wife or accountant so it’s sort of not my problem.
  • Jason Bergmann, Jesus Flores, Wil Nieves and Josh Willingham, Nationals. Willingham will make $4.6 million, Bergmann $750,000. Flores and Nieves will apparently be paid via in-kind services or stock swaps or something.

More may trickle in later today, but I think we’ve done about all we can do with the scoreboard.

MLB to crack down on sign stealing

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We’ve had a couple of notable incidents of sign stealing in Major League Baseball over the past couple of years. Most famously, the Red Sox were found to be using Apple Watches of all things to relay signs spied via video feed. Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that there have been other less-publicized and unpublicized incidents as well, mostly with in-house TV cameras — as opposed to network TV cameras — stationed in the outfield and trained on catchers, for the specific purpose of stealing signs.

As such, SI reports, Major League Baseball is cracking down beginning this year. Within the next couple weeks an already-drafted and circulated rule will take effect which will (a) ban in-house outfield cameras from foul pole to foul pole; (b) will limit live broadcasts available to teams to the team’s replay official only, and the replay official will be watched by a league official to keep them from relaying signs to the team; and (c) other TV monitors that are available to the clubs will be on an eight-second delay to prevent real-time sign stealing. There will likewise be limits on TV monitors showing the game feed in certain places like tunnels and clubhouses.

Penalties for violation of the rules will include the forfeiting of draft picks and/or international spending money. General managers will have to sign a document in which they swear they know of know sign-stealing schemes.

As was the case when the Apple Watch incident came up, there will not be any new rules regarding old fashioned sign stealing by runners on second base or what have you, as that is viewed as part of the game. Only the technology-aided sign stealing that has become more prominent in recent years — but which has, of course, existed in other forms for a very, very long time — is subject to the crackdown.

While gamesmanship of one form or another has always been part of baseball, the current wave of sign-stealing is seen as a pace-of-play issue just as much as a fairness issue. Because of the actual sign-stealing — and because of paranoia that any opponent could be stealing signs — clubs have gone to far more elaborate and constantly changing sign protocols. This requires mound meetings and pitchers coming off the rubber in order to re-start the increasingly complex series of signs from dugout to catcher and from catcher to pitcher.

Now, presumably, with these new rules coming online, teams will figure out a new way to cheat. It’s baseball, after all. It’s in their DNA.