MLB “actively studying” fan safety; Phillies plan to expand netting at Citizens Bank Park

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Over the past year-plus, multiple high-profile players and agents have come out in favor of expanding the use of protective netting at Major League Baseball stadiums. Currently nets only cover the sections surrounding home plate, and there’s a push to have it extend farther up both foul lines.

This issue was shot down by the owners in the last two collective bargaining agreements — 2007 and 2012 — but there seems to be a bigger groundswell of support for the extension of netting right now than at any time in recent memory. And the people in the commissioner’s office have been listening …

“We are actively studying and evaluating a number of issues related to fan safety, including bat safety, netting, etc., at the league level,” MLB spokesman Pat Courtney told FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

In that Rosenthal piece is an announcement that the Phillies intend to extend the netting at Citizens Bank Park. But it might not happen this year because they don’t want to do it and then have MLB come out with a new, different, suddenly-official set of parameters. Major League Baseball, meanwhile, has to examine the different codes in all of the cities and counties where its teams play.

Look for something more concrete on this over the offseason.

Good on everybody involved in wanting to get ahead of a potential tragedy.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

Justin Verlander
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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.