Getty Images

Joe Girardi takes job with MLB Network


The only thing surprising about this is that it took until February to announce it. From MLB Network:

MLB Network today announced that former MLB player and manager and four-time World Series champion Joe Girardi has joined its lineup of on-air personalities as an analyst appearing across the network’s studio programming. Girardi will make his debut today on MLB Tonight at 6:00 p.m. ET alongside MLB Network analysts Mike Lowell and Bill Ripken, and host Greg Amsinger.

Girardi has done some work on FOX and has had various radio gigs in the past so he’s not a babe in the woods out there, but it’s hard to see this as anything approaching a permanent move to media. It’s a temp job, right?

That’s because Girardi is likely to be a top candidate for managerial jobs next offseason or, perhaps, even sooner. It’s not like the Yankees got rid of him because he can’t manage anymore. His track record is well-established and, just this past season, he took a team that was expected to be rebuilding to Game 7 of the ALCS. It was more of a “time for a change” kind of thing. Girardi remains one of the best skippers in the business.

In the meantime, expect a lot of “well, it’s not what you want,” responses when asked to break down bad player performances and stuff. Should be awesome.

Major League Baseball to launch an elite league for high schoolers

Getty Images

This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.

The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.

As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.