The Major League Baseball players and owners reached a new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement yesterday, avoiding any sort of work stoppage.
The big part of the deal divides up the billions of dollars of revenue generated in the majors, but there are a few aspects of the deal which could trickle down to Triple-A.
One change that could affect us: the minimum major league disabled list stay has been changed from 15 days to ten days. This could lead to more roster moves and short-term promotions. Let’s say a major league shortstop sprains his ankle and is expected to miss about five games. In the past, a team would have just played short-handed rather than put the player on the 15-day disabled list. Now, with a ten-day disabled list, the team might be more likely to use the DL and promote a fill-in.
The majors decided to no longer award World Series home field advantage to the winner of the All-Star Game; it will go to best record instead. I didn’t despise the all-star rule as much as many others did, but it simply wasn’t going to work if the all-star managers didn’t deploy their players in an attempt to win the game. This rule would have been a lot more popular if the Mike Trouts played all game, and the starting pitchers had normal outings instead of going just two innings so everyone could play, etc. They gave the game meaning but continued to play it like an exhibition. Thus, it failed.
Currently, the winner of the Triple-A All-Star Game gets to bat last in the Triple-A National Championship Game. I’m not sure if that is going to continue now – or if anyone really cares, since the game is played at a neutral site.
There are also reports that in 2018 the major leagues will open their season four or five days earlier. Currently MLB has the “soft opening” on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, with the majority of the teams opening on Monday. Then all of the minor leagues start a couple of days later on Thursday. If MLB starts earlier, will the minors follow suit, or will they hold all of the minor league players in spring training longer?
Speaking of the PCL schedule, the league officially announced the entire 2017 schedule, with games times, on Thursday.
Two games were shaved off this year – the league is playing 142, and reportedly will drop down to the Minor League Baseball standard of 140 games in 2018. The PCL had been playing 144 games since – as far as I can tell – 1982.
Looks like my favorite road date in 2017 is going to be May 3: a rare midweek day game in Las Vegas, which means… a rare night off in Vegas!
- Here’s the Pacific Coast League schedule press release, and a league-wide schedule grid.
- Seattle has reportedly signed major league left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski to a two-year contract. He’s a “LOOGY” – Left Handed One Out GuY; he’s really good at getting left-handed batters out but right-handed hitters lick their chops when stepping into the box. Still, teams need a guy like this. He also has one of the best nicknames in modern baseball: Scrabble.*
- The Mariners face an unusual contract situation with catcher Jesus Sucre, Bob Dutton writes. Also, switch-pitcher Pat Venditte and right-handed reliever Ryan Weber each cleared waivers and was assigned to Tacoma’s roster.
- Baseball America held an online chat about the Mariners Top 10 Prospects list, and you can read the transcript.
- Jerry Dipoto is the last of a dying breed: a player-turned-general manager.
- Former Rainiers and Mariners outfielder Jeremy Reed is now the minor league hitting coordinator for the Angels.
- Some PCL managers were announced in the American Conference: Stubby Clapp is the new Memphis Redbirds manager, and Jason Wood will return to manage Round Rock.
- If you are really into the details of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Jeff Passan has you covered. Interesting to note that there is already an opinion that the 2021 negotiation is going to be a lot more difficult.
*the irony is that you can’t even spell Rzepczynski in Scrabble, because a standard Scrabble set has just one ‘z’. Well, I guess you could if you had a blank, and eight tiles, and “ski” already on the board. I’ve spent too much time thinking about this. I already regret it.