Mariners release right-hander Scott Baker

17 Comments

According to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, the Mariners granted Scott Baker his release today. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that he asked for his release after declining an assignment to Triple-A.

Signed to a minor league deal over the winter, Baker appeared to have a rotation spot to lose after Hisashi Iwakuma went down with a finger injury and Taijuan Walker fell behind due to a sore shoulder, but he pitched himself out of consideration with an awful spring. The 32-year-old allowed 12 runs (nine earned) in just 12 Cactus League innings. He struck out just one batter and allowed 16 hits and seven walks. He also hit three batters in a row in one of his starts. Put it all together and you have a ghastly 1.92 WHIP.

Baker has three major league starts to his name since 2011, but he shouldn’t be long before he gets an opportunity elsewhere. As for the Mariners, they will now likely go into the season with a rotation of Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, Erasmo Ramirez, Randy Wolf, and Roenis Elias.

White Sox to extend protective netting to the foul poles

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Recently two more fans suffered serious injuries as the result of hard-hit foul balls at major league games. One of those fans was hurt at a White Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field earlier this month. In response, the White Sox have taken it upon themselves to do that which Major League Baseball will not require and extend protective netting. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The White Sox and Illinois Sports Facilities Authority are planning to extend the protective netting at Guaranteed Rate Field down the lines to the foul poles, according to a source.

Exact details will be announced later, but the changes will be made as soon as possible this season.

If recent history holds, they will not be the last team to do it.

Major League Baseball has taken a laissez-faire approach to protective netting over the past several years, requiring nothing even if it has made recommendations to teams to do something. The last time it made a suggestion was in December 2015 when teams were “encouraged” to shield the seats between the near ends of both dugouts and within 70 feet of home plate. In the wake of that recommendation only a few teams immediately extended their netting, primarily because if you ask a business to do something but say it is not required to do anything, it is not likely to do anything.

It would not be until September 2017, after a baby girl was severely injured at Yankee Stadium, that the rest of baseball was inspired to extend protective netting in keeping with MLB’s recommendations. Indeed, it was a land rush, with all 30 teams extending their netting by Opening Day 2018. While a generous interpretation would have everyone seeing the light simultaneously, my slightly more experienced eye saw it as a “don’t be the only team not to have extended netting by the time the next lawsuit hits” approach.

In the wake of the two recent injuries Major League Baseball issued a statement about how it “will keep examining” the matter of additional protective netting while, again, mandating nothing. Now that the White Sox are extending netting to the foul poles, however,  it’s not hard to imagine a situation in which other teams follow suit. Sooner or later, enough will likely have done so to create critical mass and make any team which has not done so to make the effort out of self-preservation.

Or, more generously, good sense.