With the NFL playoffs underway, baseball is off the stage with offseason news — especially when the top free agents have signed now. But there are still some transactions going on while baseball gears up for its next wave of activity, probably around February before teams prepare for spring training.
That’s what we covered on Monday’s WISE Sports Radio baseball segment. I really like what the Washington Nationals are doing, building depth instead of throwing big money at stars (other than keeping Stephen Strasburg). Pat Ryan and I also covered Yoenis Cespedes encountering a wild boar, and two shows that Pat’s been binging on Netflix.
For Wednesday’s WISE Sports Radio baseball segment, Pat Ryan and I focused largely on Major League Baseball’s new rule that mandates pitchers must face at least three batters (or pitch to the end of an inning) when they’re brought into a game.
How that could affect game strategy and roster construction were part of our conversation, in addition to trades that could still be made, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona getting back some treasured keepsakes, and the Detroit Tigers finally deciding to retire Lou Whitaker’s No. 1 jersey next year.
Unlike last year, MLB’s offseason is humming along in 2019. Maybe most of the big names will have been signed or traded before Christmas!
Anyway, the teams who didn’t want to pay for Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg got less expensive aces for their starting rotation as Madison Bumgarner signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Texas Rangers traded for Corey Kluber.
Also on Monday’s WISE Sports Radio baseball segment, Pat Ryan and I talk about MLB taking marijuana off its list of banned drugs.
The 2019-20 baseball offseason is already much more exciting and interesting than it was a year ago, when transactions and activity were virtually frozen until Bryce Harper and Manny Machado signed. And that didn’t happen until late February, when teams had already reported to spring training camps.
Meanwhile, the NFL and NBA make free agency an event which fans and media follow with excitement. MLB still isn’t there, but at least top free agents like Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are now signing in December as expected. Baseball’s winter meetings — essentially the sport’s signature offseason event — is meaningful again.
Cole’s nine-year, $324 million (!!) contract with the New York Yankees was the main topic for Wednesday’s WISE Sports Radio baseball segment with Pat Ryan:
Shortly before our Monday baseball segment on WISE Sports Radio, Stephen Strasburg re-signing with the Washington Nationals hit the news machine. It’s an encouraging start to baseball’s winter meetings, which has traditionally been where big offseason news occurs but has been disappointingly quiet the past couple of years.
Pat Ryan and I also discussed the Modern Era Committee’s inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller. Not as flashy or controversial as last year, when Harold Baines was voted in. Miller, in particular, has been long deserving for his role in forever changing baseball’s economics.
Normally, I do baseball segments Monday and Wednesday on WISE Sports Radio. But Pat Ryan and I got our times mixed up on Monday, and Pat’s taking Wednesday off. So we did a longer mash-up segment on Tuesday with NFL and college football talk before touching on some baseball topics and doing a movie review.
News of the Carolina Panthers firing head coach Ron Rivera broke shortly before my segment, so Pat, Charlie Metcalf, and I started there first. Then we discussed my Awful Announcing interview with Toledo sportscaster Jordan Strack, who went viral when his question offended Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh. We closed out with the Pittsburgh Pirates hiring Derek Shelton as their new manager and conversation on A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
So on Wednesday’s WISE Sports Radio baseball segment, Pat Ryan, Charlie Metcalf, and I look at which teams will be active in pursuing free agents, who really needs to make an impact signing, and some of the big names rumored to be traded this offseason.