With the White House and CDC extending social distancing restrictions on gatherings of 50 people or more to April 30, a Major League Baseball season can’t begin until June at the earliest.
A shortened season is a near-certainty, which left MLB and the players’ union to work out many logistics in terms what players will be paid and the conditions games would be played under. On Monday’s WISE Sports Radio baseball segment, Pat Ryan and I went over the big points of the new agreement.
We had to begin Monday’s WISE Sports Radio baseball segment with some talk about Kobe Bryant’s stunning death. There was a baseball connection as one of the eight passengers who was also killed in that helicopter crash was legendary Orange County College coach John Altobelli, along with his wife and daughter, who was a basketball teammate of Bryant’s daughter, Gianna.
After that, Pat Ryan and I discussed the Cincinnati Reds’ surprising plunge into free agency, signing Nicholas Castellanos to go with Mike Moustakas, Wade Miley, and Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama. With last season’s additions of Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer, and Freddy Galvis, are the Reds a contender in the NL Central?
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.