The Detroit Tigers open the preseason against their hated annual foe, the Florida Southern University Moccasins on Thursday. Something resembling an actual baseball game will happen today and it feels great to say that again. Alex Wilson will begin his audition as a starter, but will probably pitch two innings or so.
Last year, Myles Jaye and Sandy Baez throttled the Mocs for two innings each before the bullpen took over and cruised to a 9-0 victory. The Mocs are off to a fantastic 10-0 start, and hitting the cover off the ball in the early going, but I’ll come right out and predict that the streak ends today. For his part, Wilson understandably predicts some kinks in his game. James McCann will get the nod behind the plate, but otherwise the starting lineup hasn’t been announced.
Starting all over again
In other Tigers news, Ron Gardenhire has released his initial rotation, starting with Alex Wilson going against Florida Southern University on Thursday. Ryan Carpenter and Jordan Zimmermann will take the Grapefruit League openers with split squad action against the Yankees and Blue Jays. Matt Boyd and Artie Lewicki will start split squad games on Sunday, February 25th, with Michael Fulmer then debuting on Monday. Mike Fiers and Daniel Norris are set to get underway next week.
Nick Castellanos meanwhile, sounds very happy to be playing right field. It’ll be interesting to see where Gardenhire puts him in the lineup.
Maybe the current labor strife isn’t as dire as it seems
The fundamental number behind a whole offseason worth of discussions of free agency, and the health of baseball’s labor relations, is based on the players’ share of MLB’s total revenue. Articles in FanGraphs and other sites have claimed that the players’ portion of revenue is rapidly plunging toward 40 percent, after decades with a 50-50 split held as the ideal. Those numbers may not reflect reality, according to Ben Lindbergh of the Ringer.
Deeper investigation reveals some costs that don’t show up on a site like Cot’s Contracts or Spotrac, which many articles neglected to include. Postseason player shares, which according to MLB’s data cost teams $84.5 million, as well as contributions to the player benefits fund and payroll for minor league players are all cited as expenses not included in most estimates of the players’ portion of revenue.
MLB could make this all a lot more straightforward by actually opening the books, but there do seem to be elements of a given team’s spending that are left out of payroll estimates based on what publicly available data we have. On the other hand, I’m not sure the league is wise to bring minor league salaries into their argument. That’s probably not a winning issue for them either.
Around the horn
Lynn Henning profiled Daz Cameron and a newly beefcake Dixon Machado for the News. The Rays continued their strange transition into a re-tooling club with an outside shot, inking Carlos Gomez to be their new Steven Souza. Travis Sawchik at FanGraphs tries to make sense of all this.
The Houston Astros’ top prospect, starting pitcher Forrest Whitley, was suspended for 50 games for a failed drug test. It doesn’t sound like PED’s, but no details are available as to what Whitley popped for. Phillies outfielder Nick Williams crushed a BP bomb that dented Gabe Kapler’s car. Teenagers mock Sean Doolittle for his resemblance to Seth Rogen and it is great.
Baseball is awesome
Things get pretty competitive when it comes to the ragball drill.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) February 22, 2018
So we called in a judge. pic.twitter.com/0tf9A5MQiw