Report: Pirates sign left-hander Erik Bedard for $4.5 million

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This certainly won’t quell the rumors that the southpaw isn’t big on pressure situations.

According to Marc Brassard and MLB Trade Rumors, the Pirates and Erik Bedard have agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract.

Bedard made 24 starts last season and went 5-9 with a 3.62 ERA for Seattle and Boston. He proved that his stuff is still mostly intact after years of shoulder problems, but it’s anyone’s guess is he’ll ever put together another full season. The 32-year-old has made 30 starts in a year just once. Last year’s 24 was his high total since 2007.

Bedard will join Kevin Correia, James McDonald and Jeff Karstens in the Pittsburgh rotation. Charlie Morton could also have a spot if healthy, but the Pirates will likely be on the lookout for one more starter this winter.

Minor League Baseball had its worst attendance in 14 years

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Baseball American reports today that total attendance at minor league baseball games reached a 14-year low in 2018. Total attendance was 40,450,337. That’s a drop of 1,382,027 fans compared to last season.

Around a third of that drop is attributable to fewer scheduled games but, as Baseball America notes, even when you go to average attendance per game, there was a sharp drop off this season. BA suggests that this represents a leveling off after over a decade’s worth of large increases in minor league attendance. Which sound pretty plausible. Overall, attendance numbers are still massively above where they were 15-20 years ago, so this seems more like a correction than a real problem. The BA article goes into some good analysis of the decline.

All of that said, revenues are up for the minors, in large part because of merchandise sales and because minor league ballparks have a lot more amenities and better concessions than they used to have and fans are willing to pay for them.