Rays, Red Sox made offers for Colby Rasmus

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That according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss, who has been on top of the Colby Rasmus rumors since they started.

Strauss reports that the Cardinals turned down the Rays’ offer of right-hander Jeff Niemann and reliever J.P. Howell for Rasmus and that they instead held out for either James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson.

Which sounds about right.  Niemann has been on a nice roll lately, having allowed four earned runs in his last four starts.  However, he’s battled arm problems the last two years and he certainly can’t match Edwin Jackson when it comes to stuff.  Howell, a top-notch lefty reliever a couple of years ago, missed 2010 and has a 9.17 ERA in 17 2/3 innings this year since returning from shoulder surgery.

One would think something could have been worked out if the Rays were especially motivated.  The Cardinals may not have had any great desire for B.J. Upton, but he could have been flipped to a third team for someone the Rays could have used here.  Also, the Rays could have parted with Kyle Farnsworth, who has been a more dominant right-hander out of the pen than Octavio Dotel this year.

Strauss doesn’t know what the Red Sox offered, but it’s safe to assume Boston’s proposal was more prospect based, while the Cardinals are very much in win-now mode.  Rasmus would have stepped in as the new long-term right fielder for the Red Sox, making Josh Reddick expendable.  Reddick, though, fits a lot better in right field than in center, so he may not have been of a whole lot of help to St. Louis right away.

What is interesting here is that the new-school GMs seemed to be much more interested in Rasmus than the old-school ones, who may have been putting a lot more weight into the talk of his attitude problems and lack of coachability.  The Blue Jays, Rays and Red Sox are all run by much more sabermetrically inclined GMs, and while the White Sox did reportedly make a run at Rasmus, using Jackson and Matt Thornton, GM Kenny Williams eventually decided not to pay what seemed to be a very fair price for the 24-year-old center fielder.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.