Those of you who have followed our Baseball is Dying, You Guys series will know this stuff already, but if you haven’t, Allen Barra has an article up at The Atlantic rebutting those who seem to want to make a second career out declaring baseball dead.
The four myths he debunks: (1) That baseball isn’t as competitively balanced as football; (2) that baseball games are too long; (3) that baseball’s talent pool has become diluted; and (4) that baseball is declining in popularity.
Does baseball have competitive balance concerns? Sure. Could the pace of games be better? Absolutely. Do the best athletes flock to baseball the way they used to 50 years ago? Not really. Is baseball still The National Pastime? Of course not.
But as Barra points out — and as we have pointed out constantly around here for years now — baseball’s flaws are not anything close to the fatal level its detractors like to claim. And, when you actually measure baseball on its own terms and use apples-to-apples comparisons, many of those alleged flaws are revealed to be fallacies.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.