Indians finalize minor-league deal with Cristian Guzman

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UPDATE: It’s now a done deal.

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After sitting out all of last season Cristian Guzman is expected to sign a minor-league contract with the Indians, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.

Guzman, who made All-Star teams as a shortstop in 2001 and 2008, will be invited to spring training to compete for a bench spot.

At age 34 he’s likely to be stretched defensively at shortstop, but Guzman also has some experience at second base and has played sparingly in the outfield as well. He hit .266 with a .311 on-base percentage and .337 slugging percentage in 104 games for the Nationals and Rangers in 2010 and wasn’t much better in 2009, so even a bench gig is far from a sure thing.

Still, as a switch-hitter with good contact skills and plenty of middle infield experience he’s a decent no-risk pickup to compete with, among others, Jack Hannahan, Jason Donald, and Jose Lopez. Cleveland skipper Manny Acta managed Guzman in Washington.

Blue Jays games will be blacked out on MLB.TV in Canada

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Canadian MLB.TV subscribers received an email yesterday that informed them that Blue Jays games will no longer be able to be streamed live on the league’s streaming service. Those wishing to stream Jays games will now need to subscribe to Sportsnet NOW, a streaming service provided by the broadcasting network that carries Jays games on television.

As Andrew Stoeten wrote in The Athletic, Canadian subscribers were unable to view the Jays live on MLB.TV until the mid 2010’s, when the restriction was lifted. MLB.TV subsequently became a popular purchase for Canadian fans.

Sportsnet is owned by Rogers Media, which also owns the Jays. Clearly this is meant to be a moneymaking opportunity for Rogers, but it’s remarkably shortsighted and petty.

Sportsnet NOW comes at a comparable price to MLB.TV, but it doesn’t carry the whole league. By encouraging fans to subscribe to MLB.TV. you also encourage them to check out baseball as a whole and grow love of the game. And for those fans who are already avid MLB.TV watchers and enjoy the full scope of baseball, they now have to shell out for a second streaming service that isn’t on as many devices as the app they already use.

MLB.TV’s blackout restrictions have long been the source of ire from customers. You can check exact blackouts for each ZIP code here. Fans in Iowa in particular have been vocal about their dissatisfaction. Plugging in a ZIP code from Des Moines spits out a result saying that customers there can’t watch six (!) teams live. That’s bad news if you’re a fan of the Cubs, White Sox, Royals, Twins, Brewers or Cardinals. Why Iowans wouldn’t be allowed to stream games being played by a team from Minnesota is beyond me.

Similarly, Hawaiian customers are also barred from live coverage of six teams. Sorry, you simply can’t stream the Angels, Dodgers, A’s, Padres, Mariners or Giants if you live in Hawaii. Moving to Alaska won’t help you if you’re a Mariners fan, either. They’re blacked out up there too.

It’s all very silly. I understand why the blackouts exist. They want you to watch the games on TV or subscribe to the relevant cable network’s streaming app, so that the sports networks make money. But in an age of cord-cutting, it’s unnecessarily aggravating. It’s also counterintuitive to growing the game.

Sorry, Canada. Looks like you’re getting screwed here.

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