Heading into the three-day weekend with some Dodgers news and nuggets.
Dylan Hernández at the Los Angeles Times said the World Baseball Classic is letting paperwork get in the way of growth if stars like Clayton Kershaw face such a prohibitive cost. “Kershaw will make $20 million this season and that couldn’t be risked in a tournament that doesn’t matter, Hernández wrote. “But wasn’t the entire point of recruiting player of Kershaw’s stature to transform the event into something meaningful?”
Another example of keeping things in perspective comes from Jayson Stark’s MLB executive survey at The Athletic. The Dodgers received a lot of votes for the least-improved team in the National League, but are also coming off winning 111 games. From Stark: “All right, so it’s not as if our panel piled on the Dodgers as if they were the Rockies or Reds. And one exec who voted for the Dodgers added, ‘They’ll still win the West,’ practically in the same breath.”
Also in Stark’s exec survey, J.D. Martinez’s one-year, $10-million contract with the Dodgers was tabbed as one of the five best free agent bargains of the offseason.
David Schoenfield at ESPN looked back at some classic MLB moments through the lens of the new rules regarding the pitch timer and limited mound disengagements with runners on. First up was a pitch-by-pitch breakdown of Kirk Gibson’s home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
“Multiple clock violations ... Gibson steps out too many times ... Eckersley throws over to first base too many times,” Schoenfield wrote. “While there is no doubt that the game does need to speed up, there will also understandably be calls to eliminate the pitch clock for the postseason.”
Regarding the ongoing Bally Sports regional networks bankruptcy concerns, Travis Sawchik at The Score opined, “What’s clear is the cable model is failing, and it’s been exacerbated by Bally’s debt problems. For MLB, it’s time to take control of as many of its local rights as possible and follow a Netflix or Disney+ model.”
To that end, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in Florida on Thursday said, per Evan Drellich at The Athletic, “I hope we get to the point where on the digital side, when you go to MLB.tv, you can buy whatever the heck you want. You can buy the out-of-market package. You can buy the local games, you can buy two sets of local games — whatever you want. I mean, that is, to me, the definition of what is going to be a valuable digital offering going forward.”
More from Drellich, who wrote about the risks MLB perceives with the implementation of new rules in 2023.
And finally, here is my favorite picture yet that provides even more context of the new, larger bases that will be used in MLB this season: