Cleveland’s League Park still exists, is getting a $5 million renovation

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Things I did not know: Cleveland’s League Park, in which Cy Young pitched for the Cleveland Spiders in 1891 and which was home to the Cleveland Indians until 1946, still stands. At least partially.  And the city of Cleveland has somehow found some money to help renovate it:

City Architecture is wrapping up plans that include restoring the ticket house and a bleacher wall and creating a Major League-size diamond in the same place as the original. Home plate will go in the exact spot where it rested the day that Babe Ruth whacked his 500th career home run in 1929.

Plans also call for a community building with a museum, a youth baseball diamond and a field for football and soccer. If bids are low enough, the city could add a pavilion and splash park.

As the article makes clear, there’s oodles of history associated with that yard. And while its days as a baseball stadium were over before my mother was born, it’s great that enough of the structure remains that it can anchor what sounds like will a useful and vibrant facility in the future. One that recalls history while still serving a present need.

And of course all I can think of is how sad it was that no one could pull that off with Tiger Stadium in Detroit. Despite the fact that it sat vacant for nearly 60 years less than League Park did.

Sigh.

Free agent market slow, but players who have signed have exceeded expectations

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The winter meetings are near the end — many execs are leaving Vegas tonight — and once again, the free agent market has moved rather slowly. Last year’s free agent market was perhaps the slowest in recent memory. This offseason, only 11 multi-year contracts have been signed by free agents to date. Six have been for two years, three have been for three years, one for four years, and one for six years.

Despite another slowly-moving free agent market, the players are optimistic because those that have signed contracts have exceeded expectations in terms of total value, per Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal. Patrick Corbin got $140 million, Nathan Eovaldi got $68 million, Andrew McCutchen got $50 million. Heck, even Lance Lynn coming off of a bad year got $30 million from the Rangers.

For comparison, as the offseason began, Fancred’s insider Jon Heyman (and an unnamed “expert”) made predictions about what the various free agent markets would get. Heyman and the expert predicted $100 million and $85 million, respectively, for Corbin, who got $140 million. They predicted $45 million and $64 million, respectively, for Eovaldi, who got $68 million. And they foresaw $39 million and $60 million for McCutchen, who got $50 million. Heyman predicted Charlie Morton would take the $17.9 million qualifying offer and the expert predicted he’d sign a one-year, $17 million deal. Morton got two years and $30 million. Heyman predicted 2/$16M for Lance Lynn and the expert only went a million higher at 2/$17M. He got 3/$30M.

Heyman isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so let’s also glance at the predictions from MLB Trade Rumors. 6/$129M for Corbin, 4/$60M for Eovaldi, 3/$45M for McCutchen, 2/$32M for Morton, and 2/$16M for Lynn. MLBTR hit a lot closer to the center of the dartboard, so to speak, but generally the players still got a bit more than anticipated, which is good, and justifies the optimism. Hopefully the trend continues over the coming two or three months.

Going forward, though, we probably should adjust our expectations of the winter meetings. Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times brought up a great point, tweeting, “One problem with the Winter Meetings is they are still marketed as a news-making event at a time when executives no longer feel urgency to make news at said event.” All of the execs and journalists have access to one another via cell phones, so it’s become more of a hobnobbing event than a place to wheel and deal. These days, a deal could just as easily happen in the days leading up to or following the winter meetings. Maybe it’s just the new normal that we’ll be going into February with handfuls of free agents still looking for a new home.