I haven’t watched the David Ortiz-produced “Off the Bat from the MLB Fan Cave” show on MTV2 for a couple of reasons. The biggest of which is that I’m not really the demographic they’re shooting for. “Off the Bat” is aimed at younger people and is an (admirable, in my view) effort to try to market MLB players in ways the league really hasn’t done much of before. Since it is speculated by experts that I don’t enjoy or appreciate baseball, all this fun and jocularity is all lost on me.
But I may have to change that policy this week, because this is happening:
According to the press release, “Yasiel Puig flips a bat for every occasion.” Which is pretty fantastic. In the likely event that I die before Puig, I would want him to do a bat-flip salute at my funeral. Maybe we could get Carlos Gomez to be a pallbearer too. Let him decide if he wants to do a slow strut to the grave or one of those fast sprints he sometimes does. Regardless, I’d probably pay Puig and Gomez $200/hr to walk and/or strut around my son’s birthday party and flip bats and things.
This week’s “Off the Bat from the MLB Fan Cave” airs at 11pm tomorrow night on MTV2. Ain’t gonna lie, I’m gonna watch this thing.
Rays sign lefty Ryan Merritt to a minor league deal
The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.
Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.
His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.
The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.