Last year, after a bunch of missed calls in the early rounds, Major League Baseball made sure that the World Series was populated with experienced umpires. This year, not so much: the crew will include World Series first timers Sam Holbrook and Bill Miller, along with vets John Hirschbeck, Gary Darling, Mike Winters and Jeff Kellogg.
Using a highly scientific method (i.e. searching the HardballTalk archives) I can’t find any instances of Holbrook engaging in any poor umpiring-related shenanigans. Miller shows up once last season after he allegedly called Yorvit Torrealba a bad word. Inasmuch as Yorvit Torrealba is not in the World Series, I think we’re cool here.
Ultimately, though, the “only experienced umps in the World Series” thing last year is a kind of dumb. Joe West has all kinds of experience and he stinks on ice. Whether they’re pups or graybeards, just make sure they’re the ones most likely to get the calls right, cool? I mean, at least until we have replay and don’t have to cross our fingers and make a wish in order to ensure that important stuff isn’t blown in big games.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.
Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.
Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).
It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.
The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.