What goes into a ballplayer’s physical

Library of Congress

Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times wrote a fun, participatory journalism kind of article. It’s about the physicals Mariners players and coaches go through at the beginning of spring training. He himself went through it too in order to tell us what it entails.

Unlike what normals like you and me go through once a year, it ain’t five questions from the doctor, a blood draw and a turn-your-head-and-cough. It consists of 13 different examination stations, going from dental exams and oral cancer screenings to X-rays and, finally, a grueling treadmill stress test which Divish took himself and which he describes in detail.

A player starts on a treadmill running at a designated speed — ranging from 6 to 9 mph. Once the speed is determined, the player is supposed to run at that speed until he can’t go any longer. But here’s what makes it difficult. Every two minutes the treadmill is raised by an increment of 2.5 degrees until it reaches a 10 degree incline . . . For a middle-aged sportswriter in average shape, it was less than enjoyable.

I’ve met Divish and he sells himself short. While it’s not saying much given the physical condition of most sportswriters, he’s in pretty fantastic shape for a scribe. That it was tough for him means that it would likely kill most of the rest of us. At least if we were to take the time away from calling some ballplayers fat from the comfort of our couches to actually get on a treadmill.

Anyway, congratulations for making it through, Ryan. I think that entitles you to an honorary Best Shape of His Life designation.

Gallegos agrees to $11M, 2-year contract with Cardinals

Atlanta Braves v St. Louis Cardinals
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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed Monday to an $11 million, two-year contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said Monday before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.