Questions swirl about the Rockies' humidor

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And by “questions swirl” I mean “lots of people are wanting to make an accusation about the Rockies messing with the humidor, but don’t have enough evidence to do so, so they phrase their accusations in the form of questions so as to make it seem like they’re not accusing anyone of anything”:

The humidor is used to make balls less hitter-friendly in the thin air of the Mile High City but what if some non-humidor balls were in the mix with the Rockies at bat?

In July, the voice of the Giants, Jon Miller, said in a KNBR
interview that he had heard from people in the game that something fishy
could be happening with the baseballs, which are to be humidified and
used by both teams.

“I wasn’t making accusations. I was saying there were people on the
Giants and apparently other teams talking about something could be going
on,” Miller said Monday . . . Two
Dodgers coaches questioned a reporter in San Francisco last week about
the validity of the humidor process, suggesting the Rockies could use
non-humidor balls if the process isn’t monitored properly.

It doesn’t sound like it would be that hard to mess with the balls if one were inclined to do so, given that there appears to be an unmonitored, multi-step chain of custody of the baseballs involving Rockies employees who aren’t exactly critical to the organization (i.e. umpires’ assistants, etc.) and who are thus easily ordered-around and ultimately expendable.  I can see, therefore, how it would be possible to screw with the humidor if the team were so inclined.

But the hallmark of all conspiracy theories is the operation of something that is possible, but for which there is no evidence of it actually occurring. Until someone squeals — and the same non-critical employees who could be asked to mess with baseballs are the same sorts who might find it in their best interests to squeal about such a thing — I’m going to chalk this up to superstition and frustration on the part of the Rockies’ opponents.

Jeffrey Springs, Rays agree to $31 million, 4-year contract

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Left-hander Jeffrey Springs became the first of the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration salaries with their teams to reach a deal, agreeing Wednesday to a $31 million, four-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year old was among seven Rays who swapped arbitration figures with the team on Jan. 13. He began last season in the bullpen, transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts. He is 14-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 76 outings – 51 of them in relief – since he was acquired from Boston in February 2021.

Springs gets $4 million this year, $5.25 million in 2024 and $10.5 million in each of the following two seasons. Tampa Bay has a $15 million option for 2027 with a $750,000 buyout.

The 2025 and 2026 salaries can escalate by up to $3.75 million each based on innings in 2023-24 combined: $1.5 million for 300, $1 million for 325, $750,000 for 350 and $500,000 for 375. The `25 and ’26 salaries also can escalate based on finish in Cy Young Award voting in `23 and ’24: $2 million for winning, $1.5 million for finishing second through fifth in the voting and $250,000 for finishing sixth through 10th.

Tampa Bay’s option price could escalate based on Cy Young voting in 2025 and 2026: by $2.5 million for winning, $2 million for finishing second through fifth and $500,000 for sixth through 10th.

Springs would get $45.25 million if the option is exercised, $52.75 million with the option and meeting all innings targets and the maximum if he meetings the innings targets and wins two Cy Youngs.

Springs’ ERA last season was the second lowest in franchise history for a pitcher working a minimum of 100 innings. Former Rays ace Blake Snell compiled 1.89 ERA on the way to winning the 2018 AL Cy Young.

In addition to finishing sixth in the AL in ERA, Springs allowed three runs or fewer in 22 of 25 starts and two runs or fewer 17 times. He joined Tampa Bay’s rotation on May 9, gradually increasing his workload over his next six appearances. Springs was 6-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break.

Arbitration hearings start next week and the Rays remain with the most players scheduled to appear before three-person panels.

Springs had asked for a raise from $947,500 to $3.55 million and had been offered $2.7 million. Tampa remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam, Pete Fairbanks and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.

Tampa Bay also agreed minor league contacts with catcher Gavin Collins and right-hander Jaime Schultz, who will report to major league spring training.

Infielder Austin Shenton and pitchers Anthony Molina and Joe LaSorsa also were invited to big league spring training.