Remember several years ago when Major League Baseball was getting ready to move the Expos to Washington and Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos — a trial lawyer by trade — threatened to sue until Hell wouldn’t have if if his precious territory was invaded? Yeah, he’s over that now, saying today just how wonderful it is to have the Nats nearby, fostering a budding rivalry and all of that.
Of course he’s quite honest about the fact that the TV deal which was hammered out between the Orioles and Nationals — the Orioles own a majority share in MASN, which broadcasts Nats games — is what made all the difference, saying “What’s good for the Nationals is good for MASN,”
It’s a simple lesson: money greases the skids for franchise movement. You wonder why Bud Selig’s committee has taken so long to recommend what to do with the Athletics? It’s because they still haven’t found the right deal to buy off the Giants’ opposition to the A’s in San Jose. Once that’s done, though, everyone will likely forget all the acrimony and wonder how it every worked any other way.
The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.
Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.
His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.
The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.