Coming back after an off day by catching up on a few Dodgers stories you may have missed over the last few days.
Restrictions on defensive shift in the infield make Miguel Rojas’ defense at shortstop even more valuable, manager Dave Roberts told Matthew Ritchie at MLB.com: “I think it’s really going to show itself without the shift this year. And so, not only getting to baseballs, but the ability to finish plays with arm strength and accuracy. With the numbers, as far as defensive WAR, whatever the statistics may be, he’s going to be right at the top — he’s a plus, major league shortstop.”
James Outman has been so good this spring that he’s turning heads, wrote Bill Plunkett at the Orange County Register. “You can just see the head, the mechanics, the physicality,” Roberts said Sunday, per Plunkett. “is he big-league ready? I would say he is. But how we shake out — that’s a different question. he’s doing everything he can do.”
After winning 111 games last year, it’s no surprise that the Dodgers are picked by David Schoenfield at ESPN as one of five MLB teams likely to take a step back in 2023.
Included among the pre-arbitration-eligible MLB players to have their contracts renewed by teams this year, compiled by Ronald Blum at the Associated Press, is Dodgers outfielder Andrew Toles, who hasn’t played since 2018 but by being under contract can have access to health insurance, among other things.
More on regional sports networks
“DSG will continue broadcasting games and connecting fans across the country with the sports and teams they love,” Diamond Sports CEO David Preschlack said in a statement. “Diamond Sports Group owns the television rights to local games for 14 MLB teams, so we’ll find out how this plays out fairly soon, with the season set to begin in just over two weeks.
Major League Baseball has a plan, too. The league wants to stream games for free for at least the Padres, Diamondbacks, Guardians, Reds, and possibly several other teams, per Josh Kosman at the New York Post:
“Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred will have the league take over the local broadcasts of the money-losing teams and stream them for free in their respective local markets as he negotiates with their cable companies for lower contracts, a source with knowledge of the discussions said.”
Daniel Kaplan at The Athletic looked at the larger picture of the long-term viability of regional sports networks, how ultimately costs will likely rise for consumers, and the messiness of transitioning to a new model:
MLB would like to wipe the slate clean and create a system where there is a mix of linear and streaming options, both in-market and out-of-market. But even if the league gets the 14 MLB teams in Diamond — a very unlikely if — other teams have existing, well-established RSNs they either own or have equity in, including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles. The Red Sox already have a streaming option through NESN, with the Yankees expected to have one soon. It’s hard to see these teams abandoning their RSNs to join a nationalized MLB media initiative.