Dec 13

Keep the Action Alive — a guest post

Our colleague Fred sent this to me and suggested he’d post it as a comment if I didn’t put it in a post. It seems to me it’s likely to get more attention for a longer period if it’s in a post, and it’s worthy of discussion.

Every year there is talk about speeding up the game of baseball. Millennials are different, they don’t want to watch the grass grow during the 25 seconds between pitches or watch the pitcher and catcher play catch.

Players are not playing at their best if they stand around and they are not at their best in extra innings.

Here are some ideas for creating more action in a shorter period of time:

  1. Use the DH in the NL but when the third pitcher enters the game, he goes into the DH spot.
    a. The pitcher who last pitched would thereafter be in the DH spot.

  2. Start all extra innings with a runner on second base. This will shorten the number of extra innings played and keep the game lively in those extra innings.
  3. Use electronics to call balls and strikes. Less arguing and allows hitters to be more aggressive.
  4. Reduce the time between innings.
    a. Five warm up pitches?
    b. Insert more ads during the innings whether it is the announcer reminding viewers that the game is brought to you by X or maybe a graphic somewhere on the screen.

  5. Electronically reduce the strike zone whenever a pitcher takes too much time. The clock would start when the pitcher has the ball and is within 10 feet of the mound. Maybe 18 to 22 seconds?
  6. Expand the strike zone electronically whenever a hitter is not ready to hit within 8 seconds between pitches.
  7. Reduce the strike zone for the next 5 pitches whenever a pitcher puts a pitch more than 6 inches inside and above the shoulders. Less intimidation means more action. The location would be determined electronically.
Dec 07

The Stanton sweepstakes

From Sports Illustrated today:

Stanton is a definite upgrade in leftfield over the combo of Kiké Hernandez and Joc Pederson, but considering they’ll combine to make around $3–4 million next year, is it worth tacking on Stanton’s contract and potentially hamstringing future offseasons or losing Kershaw to accomplish that?

When it’s put that way, and when I consider that Stanton will be in his thirties for most of the remaining ten years and $275 million of his existing contract, I don’t think I really want him that badly.

Nov 21

Find your sports bar now

Two of the first four Dodgers’ games in 2018 will be on ESPN.

ESPN will televise the Dodgers-Giants opener on Thursday, March 29, a 4 p.m. PT start, and will also showcase the series finale on “Sunday Night Baseball,” a 5:30 p.m. PT start. Both will be exclusive telecasts by ESPN, which means no SPNLA broadcast of either game.

Hmm. Kershaw pitches Opening Day, Hill in Game Two, Maeda in Game Three and Wood in Game Four, I’m guessing.

Nov 12

Personnel departures

Not players, though. It’s only 10 days after the World Series and the Dodgers have already seen three members of their front office depart: Director of Player Development Gabe Kapler has left to manage the Phillies, Assistant Director of Player Development Jeremy Zoll has left to run the Twins minor league system, and as of Monday Vice President of Baseball Operations Alex Anthopolous is expected to be announced as the new General Manager of the Braves.

I suspect it’s easier to find front office talent than it is good-to-excellent players, but it still means a lot of work for the HR Department.

Nov 02

Free agency day

Here’s the most comprehensive list of free agents I could find. Go shopping for ones the Dodgers might want!

Here are the Dodgers who are free agents: Yu Darvish; Curtis Granderson; Franklin Gutierrez; Brandon Morrow; Chase Utley; Tony Watson

MLB has a slightly longer list. It includes Forsythe and his $8.5 million club option and Ethier and his $2.5 million club option.

The following Dodgers are arbitration-eligible: Luis Avilan, Pedro Baez, Tony Cingrani, Josh Fields, Yimi Garcia, Yasmani Grandal, Enrique Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Alex Wood.

MLB’s story also raises several questions:

  1. Does Seager’s elbow need surgery, and if so, when will he have it done?
  2. Will Honeycutt be back for another season? His contract’s up and he’s 63 years old (I remember him as a pitcher! He can’t be that old!)
  3. What does Adrian Gonzalez want to do and what do the Dodgers want to do with him?

They might very well go after Darvish, despite his horrific failures in the World Series. They will probably try to sign Morrow, but he might be offered more than the Dodgers want to pay. The same goes for Watson. Granderson they’ll let go, and Gutierrez was a failed pickup (due to injury, not performance); I can’t see them keeping him. I doubt they’ll keep Utley unless he wants to coach. They have more use for the 25th spot on the playing roster than to re-sign him for several million dollars just to act as a pinch-hitter and occasional caddy for whoever plays second base next season.