Gio Gonzalez
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Gio Gonzalez says he only got one offer all offseason

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Gio Gonzalez signed a minor league deal with the Yankees earlier this week. We learned today that he didn’t have a choice, as Brendan Kuty of NJ.com reports from Tampa today that it was the only offer Gonzalez received.

That’s rather surprising. No, Gonzalez is not Max Scherzer or anything, but he’s been a pretty solid pitcher over the years. Last year was, admittedly a down year, as Gonzalez went 10-11 with a 4.21 ERA and a 148/80 K/BB ratio in 171 innings. He was solid in his five starts with the Brewers, however, going 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA down the stretch. That, combined with several previous years of above-average results, is the kind of thing that’ll almost always land someone a job, either as an innings eater for a rebuilding team or at the back of the rotation for a contender. Instead, Gonzalez only got the minor league offer a week and a half before spring training was over.

It’s possible that there is some gray area and semantics at play here. For example, if Gonzalez and/or his agent spent the winter signaling to teams that he wanted a fat multi-year deal, and most teams valued him on either a one-year deal or a lower dollar multi-year deal, it’s possible that no one would bother. The expectations, as it were, making the extension of an offer seem rather pointless. That happens. It’s the same reason why I’ve never asked Gillian Anderson out on a date.

Sill, there are very, very few teams who have a full five or six pitchers better than Gonzalez on their staff. At least one of them, you’d assume, would think they’d have nothing to lose and extend Gonzalez a major league offer at or just below what, internally, they valued him at as opposed to what Gonzalez was asking for (or what he was presumed to expect). You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, right? Short of that, how were there not multiple other minor league offers, the sort of which the Yankees extended? It’d be the ultimate no-risk move for a guy who stands a pretty good shot at being a decent starter in 2019. What’s the harm? What’s the purpose of not doing that?

Such is the market. Such is why, absent some major changes, there is likely going to be labor unrest in the future.

Straight-away center field will be 385 feet at London Stadium

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Marley Rivera of ESPN has a story about some of the on-field and in-game entertainment, as well as some aspects of the field conditions, for this weekend’s London Series.

The fun stuff: a mascot race, not unlike the Sausage Race at Miller Park or the President’s race at Nationals Park. The mascots for London: Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury, Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster. I suppose that’s OK but, frankly, I’d go with Roger Bannister, Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Guy Fawkes. Of course no one asks me these things.

There will also be a “Beat the Streak”-style race which had better use the theme to “Chariots of Fire” or else what the heck are we even doing here.

They’ve also taught ushers and various volunteers who will be on-site to sing “Take me out to the ballgame,” which is a pretty good idea given how important that is to baseball. As a cultural exchange, I think some major league team should start using “Vindaloo” by Fat Les during the seventh inning stretch here. It’s a banger. It also seems to capture England a bit more accurately than, say, “Downton Abbey” or “The Crown.”

That’s all good fun I suppose. But here’s some stuff that actually affects the game:

The end result will have some interesting dimensions. The field will be 330 feet down each foul line, and it will have a distance of 385 feet to center field, which will feature a 16-foot wall. Cook also said it would have an expanded, “Oakland-like” foul territory, referencing the Athletics’ Oakland Coliseum expanse.

Those dimensions are unavoidable given that the square peg that is a baseball field is being shoved into the round hole that is a soccer stadium. As Murray Cook, MLB’s senior field coordinator tells Rivera, that sort of thing, while perhaps less than ideal, is at least in keeping with baseball’s strong tradition of irregular field conditions. It will, however, be one of the shortest dead center distances in baseball history.

Oh, and then there’s this:

Protective netting was also an important issue addressed when building the ballpark, with Cook stressing that his team has implemented netting that “is the largest you’ll ever see in any major league ballpark.”

[Craig makes a mental note to bookmark this for the next time MLB says it won’t mandate extended netting in the U.S. because doing so is too difficult]