Congratulations, everyone! We made it. Spring training officially starts today in Lakeland, Fla. where pitchers and catchers will report to Detroit Tigers camp. There isn’t much to see (or write about) yet, as the first day of spring training is akin to Syllabus Day in your college classes.
But that’s okay. Baseball is back, even if we can’t see it yet.
Mookie Betts is a Dodger
After nearly a full week of waiting, the mega-trade that will send Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers is now complete. The trade, previously a three-team deal that involved the Minnesota Twins, is now technically two separate moves. Betts, Price, and a whole lotta cash will head from Boston to Los Angeles, while prospects Alex Verdugo and Jeter Downs are Boston-bound. The Twins’ portion of the deal is now a separate trade between them and the Dodgers, with flamethrower Brusdar Graterol heading to L.A. for Kenta Maeda.
Even though the Red Sox got a better deal than what was reported a week ago, I stand by what I said at the time; the Red Sox traded a generational talent away because they didn’t want to pay a bit of luxury tax money, and that is a dark omen for the game. Our friends at Beyond the Box Score agree.
Henry just doesn’t care anymore. The economics of baseball have been broken for a long time. Last week might have been a nadir. When you trade a generational talent, a player that is the best your franchise has developed since Ted Williams, someone who is on a Hall of Fame track, and the results make your competitive team worse, there is something seriously wrong with your sport. It’s disgraceful.
Is Henry passing along any of the savings he does not need and will likely just sit in his bank account on to the fans? Of course not! He is raising ticket prices on what was already some of the most expensive tickets in baseball.
If there is one positive to be found from this deal, it’s all of the jokes that will come from a guy named Jeter playing in Boston.
Jeter Downs has 152 more career defensive runs saved for the Red Sox than Derek Jeter had for the Yankees— Devan Fink (@DevanFink) February 9, 2020
Let’s just get even more angry
In the latest episode of “Rob Manfred Hates Baseball,” MLB’s commissioner proposed a new playoff format that everyone is sure to loathe.
MLB is seriously weighing a move from five to seven playoff teams in each league beginning in 2022, The Post has learned.
In this concept, the team with the best record in each league would receive a bye to avoid the wild-card round and go directly to the Division Series. The two other division winners and the wild card with the next best record would each host all three games in a best-of-three wild-card round. So the bottom three wild cards would have no first-round home games.
Other than adding more teams to the postseason, something baseball fans already hate, that doesn’t seem so bad, right?
The division winner with the second-best record in a league would then get the first pick of its opponent from those lower three wild cards, then the other division winner would pick, leaving the last two wild cards to play each other.
We will have more on this later, but... yeah. Chew on that idea for a bit.
The part where we talk about the Tigers for a bit
It’s time for the Tigers to win, according to manager Ron Gardenhire. That may be difficult with one of the worst projected rosters in baseball, but that isn’t stopping the club from saying all of the right things as they open camp. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press detailed how important Matt Manning is to that whole “winning” thing. And what is spring training without some roster and position battles?
Around the horn
FanGraphs updated their draft boards for the next three years, the overachievers; I won’t start my taxes until April 1. The Rays and Padres made a trade that no one is talking about. Baseball isn’t the only sport where owners make trades to save money. The Athletic thinks the Tigers had a better offseason than the Marlins, which is cool, I guess.