- Kevin Kiermaier hopes he’s not going anywhere ($). Of course Blake Snell said the same thing like 2 weeks before he was traded....
- Speaking of faces of the franchise, what to make of rumors of a possible Willy Adames trade? I’m not sure fans can take another loss of a key player from the 2019 and 2020 playoff teams, but let’s be honest: as a middle infielder, Adames is in a position of some organizational depth.
- The Rays, you may recall, have dropped their affiliation with the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Their new A affiliate is the Charleston Sea Dogs, and they have just promoted Blake Butera from Hudson Valley to be the Sea Dog manager.
Around the League
- Rockies fans, we feel for you: Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Team has face-of-the-franchise third baseman who has been their best player for years. They’ve signed him to a long-term contract and still owe him a good chunk of money moving forward. So they send said franchise player, plus some cash, to another team for a meh group of prospects.
On behalf of Rays fans, and perhaps key members of the Rays front office, thank you Colorado Rockies for trading Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals for a handful of not-top prospects...and even sending along $50M to the Cardinals to take him off your hands. Arenado is owed $199,000 over the next 6 years. He has several opt-outs but it’s hard to imagine opting out of that contract! As of this writing they were finalizing a return of 4-5 prospects, none ranked at the top of the St. Louis system.
So now the Rockies can get mocked by baseball commentators.
The Cincinnati Reds should offer four low-tier prospects to the Rockies for Trevor Story. If the Rockies aren't willing to pull the trigger, assure the Rockies that they can also send the Reds the money for Story's salary too.— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) January 30, 2021
CARDINALS: We'd like to trade for the best thing to happen to your franchise in the last 15 years.— Foolish Baseball (@FoolishBB) January 30, 2021
ROCKIES: There's no way we can do that.
CARDINALS: Ok, what if you also gave us 50 million dollars?
- Pitchers and catchers report in just over two weeks — or do they? Major league camps are scheduled to open in mid-February, but MLB would still like to put that off a bit. They want to push everything back a month, and play a bit later into the Fall (154 games). Players will respond this week.
- Baseball from an agent’s perspective: Other than Scott Boras, perhaps, agents are not particularly high profile for most fans. They are, however, people who have a unique close-up look at the game: they have to stay abreast of the analytics, the potential changes to the CBA, as well as the other nonquantifiable things their clients might be talking about. As a result it is interesting to get their views on a range of topics. So several Athletic reporters polled them on a bunch of issues, part 1 and part 2. Definitely worth a read if you have a subscription ($). Some takeaways: for players with multiple suitors, the Blue Jays are often at the bottom of the list — nothing wrong with the team but perhaps the need to cross borders is a disincentive. Also interesting thoughts on how to prevent tanking.
For a Rays connection, agents were asked about worst places to play, and one had this to say:
“Tampa Bay. If I’m a big-leaguer, that’s the worst stadium to go play in, the worst (surrounding) area (around the ballpark). That’s pretty shitty to me. But now as an agent, prospect-wise, I would love for my players to be drafted by Tampa Bay. They’re going to develop them and they’re going to get there quickly.”
Not sure whether this person has been to St. Pete in the past five years (area surrounding the stadium is basically a ton of parking but then you get to Central Ave which is not at all terrible — have they seen the area around Citifield, as a contrasting example?) But I won’t defend the stadium.
- Daniel Murphy announces his retirement. Murphy was a popular Mets player, but might be best known outside his home team turfs for two rather disparate controversies. In 2014 he took criticism for his decision to take a whole three days of paternity leave for the birth of a child. And a year later, he pushed back against MLB’s hiring Billy Bean as MLB’s “ambassador for inclusion” because he “disagreed with [Bean’s] gay lifestyle”.
- We’ve often linked to Craig Edward’s analysis in out Catwalk column. Well those days are over. Craig isn’t leaving baseball, but he is leaving Fangraphs. He’s been hired by the MLB Player’s Association.
- Didi Gregorius is back with the Phillies (2 year contract).
- Old friend alert — Wilson Ramos has signed with the Tigers. Remember how the Rays gave him away for nothing?
- Old friend alert, part deux: Matt Moore rebuilt his value with a successful season in Japan; he’s now signed with the Phillies.
- And yet another old friend alert: