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.
The Mariners are in the midst of reconstructing their roster, a process which most recently resulted in the trade of first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnación to the Yankees, per a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the teams have yet to publicly confirm the deal, the Mariners are expected to receive pitching prospect Juan Then and will likely eat a significant portion of Encarnación’s salary as well.
Encarnación is a sizable get for the Yankees, who could benefit from the veteran’s power and consistency in their ongoing drive toward the postseason. The 36-year-old infielder missed some time with a bout of lower back tightness, dental issues, and soreness in his left hand, but has still maintained a decent .241/.356/.531 batting line with an AL-best 21 home runs, an .888 OPS, and 1.7 fWAR through his first 289 plate appearances of the year. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Encarnación has another $11-12 million left on his contract in 2019, with a $20 million option for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout.
Then, 19, was acquired by the Yankees in a three-person trade with the Mariners during the 2017 offseason. The right-hander currently ranks no. 27 in the Yankees’ system and made his last pro ball appearance for New York’s rookie-level affiliate in 2018, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, and 7.6 SO/9 across 50 innings. It’s not clear if any other players are involved in the trade, though USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that no other prospects are thought to be included in the package for Encarnación.