Hello and Happy Tuesday everyone! The biggest national baseball news from yesterday was a report that Max Scherzer will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic due to a stress fracture in his finger. His removal from the roster is a big blow for the U.S. team.
The World Baseball Classic is a tremendous competition and could, in theory, be appointment television. But this year’s WBC could be the last one due to its lack of ability to generate enough money. That’s really a shame.
Many star players choose to sit out of the competition for various reasons. Some would rather focus on the upcoming MLB campaign. Others don’t want to get injured. It’s not something all players take pride in the same way many soccer players view the FIFA World Cup.
But just imagine something like that for baseball. Setting aside all of the political entanglements of the FIFA organization, of course. It would sure be cool to see the baseball superstars of every nation come together once every four years to duke it out. It would be even cooler to be able to see it all unfold on TV.
A worldwide competition of that degree would do so much to grow the sport around the world. It’s too bad that such a spectacle won’t become a reality any time soon.
Now, let’s check out the rest of the day’s news.
In Mariners news...
- Dave Cameron at Fangraphs thinks the Mariners are trying to copy the Royals by relying on pitching and defense to carry them in 2017. Not sure I buy that the M’s lineup is “thin” like Dave claims, but sure.
- Looks like people are finally caving to the stat nerds on Edgar.
- Jerry Dipoto doesn’t appear to be done making moves yet. The Mariners general manager is reportedly seeking additional pitching to round out the 2017 roster.
Around the league...
- Endy Chavez did what he does best: robbing a home run at the wall in this winter league game.
- Look out for a mid-season roster crunch from the Tampa Bay Rays in 2017, writes DRaysBay. Should the Mariners find themselves competing this season, the Rays would match up as excellent trade partners for a starting pitcher.
- Speaking of the Rays, Tampa agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder Colby Rasmus.
- Teams don’t hit for contact in the way that they used to, writes Scott Ferkovich over at The Hardball Times. That’s not surprising, considering we live in an era of both increased power and higher strikeout rates.
- The notion of the “home field advantage” might be slowly vanishing, according to Travis Sawchik at Fangraphs. If indeed that is the case, it lines up with a diminishing home court advantage in college basketball.
- David Schoenfeld makes a mighty hot take by suggesting that Ivan Rodriguez was the greatest catcher to ever play the game of baseball. Up until a couple of months ago, I hadn’t even realized Pudge was as good as he was. It’s not easy to put up the numbers he was able to do at the toughest defensive position in the game.
- Have you ever noticed that college basketball players aren’t allowed to wear high numbers? I didn’t know this until last weekend. Here’s an explanation of why that’s the case.
- A recent study finds that you’ll actually become better at knowing direction if you don’t use a GPS. As if that’s ever going to happen! (How did people even survive before GPS anyway?)