It says a lot about the state of baseball that it is now the middle of January and we still don’t know what rules will be in effect for the 2021 MLB season. Things such as expanded playoffs, roster size and the Universal DH are just some of the things that are reportedly still on the table. While it is true that there were reports a month ago that the league had told teams to proceed as if there would not be a DH in the National League for 2021, no one seems to believe that it is completely off the table. You need look no further than the free agent market for guys like Nelson Cruz and Marcell Ozuna as a confirmation.
So presumedly the league and the Players Association will get around to discuss the DH at some point between now and Spring Training. When they do decide to talk it out, they need to either adopt it or get rid of it entirely. The worst idea would be this hybrid plan that was discussed Thursday in a column by The Athletic’s Jayson Stark. Under this hypothetical scenario, teams would begin the game with a DH but would lose him as soon as the team takes the starting pitcher out of the game.
On one hand, the universal DH would be in effect for all 30 teams, just as it was in the 2020 season. On the other hand, there would be one huge difference. Once a team takes its starting pitcher out of the game, it would also lose its DH for the rest of that game.
This idea actually came from Bud Black who was on a Zoom call a few weeks back. His reasoning, because it would place “a premium on good starting pitching.” It would also hurt players like Nelson Cruz who would be unlikely to be paid a premium price while seeing less at-bats per game. It is like trying to fix a problem that isn’t there.
This isn’t hard, either say yes to the Universal DH or say no. There doesn’t need to be any in-between.
International Signing Period
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez previews the International Signing Period which officially opens on Friday. The period was originally scheduled to begin on July 2 but was postponed until January 15 due to the pandemic. The period will run through December 15, 2021. Sanchez previews the top prospects, the signing rules and how much each team has to spend.
When the signing period opens on Friday, the Braves are expected to sign Dominican shortstop Ambioris Tavarez with nearly all of its pool.
Cory McCartney took a look at the Braves best international signings over the years. This is a list that includes the likes of Andruw Jones, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Andrelton Simmons.
The San Diego Padres are reportedly exploring a possible mega-extension for shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr and ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel explores the many possibilities. While you read this, remember that the Braves were able to sign Ronald Acuña Jr. to a ridiculously team-friendly extension and think about how much money he left on the table.
The Los Angeles Dodgers avoided arbitration with reliever Corey Knebel Thursday agreeing to a one-year, $5.25 million contract.
The Philadelphia Phillies reportedly have an agreement with reliever Archie Bradley on a one-year, $6 million deal. Bradley was non-tendered by the Reds earlier this offseason.
The New York Mets signed veteran Jose Martinez to a split contract on Thursday. Martinez’s deal will be worth $1 million if he is in the majors with another $500,000 in possible incentives. He will make $225,000 if he is in the minors.
The Oakland A’s acquired left-hander Nik Turley from the Pirates in exchange for cash considerations. Pittsburgh had designated Turley for assignment on Tuesday.
Free agent catcher Yadier Molina is looking for a two-year deal to return to the Cardinals this offseason and recently said that he will consider retirement if an appealing offer isn’t there.
Finally, a mint condition 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card was recently auctioned off for a record $5.2 million. That breaks the previous record of $3.93 million that was set by a 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor Mike Trout.