Big news day for former Mariners closers who saved, like, 65-70 games for Seattle back in the day. First David Aardsma retires, and now Tom Wilhelmsen gets signed by the Padres to a minor league deal.
Wilhelmsen was once pretty effective in Seattle, but he put up a mediocre 4.44 ERA with a 17/12 K/BB ratio in 26.1 innings of work in Arizona last year. They designated him for assignment and then the Brewers picked him up, but he never made an appearance for Milwaukee. His issue: a plummeting strikeout rate in recent seasons after averaging nearly a strikeout per inning several seasons ago with the Mariners.
Still, in an age when it seems like the only players who get signed are relievers, it’s not shocking that someone took a chance on Wilhelmsen.
FOX Sports and Major League Baseball announced a few minutes ago that they have agreed to a multi-year broadcast rights extension. The deal keeps Fox as the lead MLB rights holder, and home of the World Series, All-Star Game and a good chunk of the playoffs through at least 2028.
While the press release does not announce the financial terms, Bob Nightengale of USA Today is reporting that it will pay Major League Baseball about 30-40% more than the previous contract. While ratings are not what they used to be, it would seem that the eyeballs Fox is getting are more valuable to it.
UPDATE: That bump is actually even bigger:
For the time being, things will look very much like they do now. Starting in 2022, there will be more games broadcast. There are no specifics about how many more. The release says “FOX Sports will also expand its digital rights,” but again, no specifics on what that means, exactly.
FOX Sports has been a baseball rights-holder since 1996 and has been the exclusive national non-cable rights holder since 2001. That’s gonna continue for at least another decade.