40 thoughts on “Spring Training #1, 2024

  1. My goodness, I didn’t realize this. This is ridiculous. Labor is worthy of its hire. Bob Nightengale of USA Today in Oct. 2023:

    LOS ANGELES − They are the face of the franchise.

    They’re the voice of the team, the representative of the organizational brand, the messenger to their fanbase, the ones who ultimately are responsible for the actions of every player who puts on a uniform.

    They are the Major League Baseball managers.

    There are 30 of them, and not a single one escapes the constant abuse, scorn, ridicule and second-guessing.

    They also have something else in common that’s an embarrassment to the sport.

    They are grossly underpaid.

    It was 15 years ago when Joe Torre was earning $7.5 million a year as manager.

    This season, the winningest manager in Los Angeles Dodgers history, Dave Roberts isn’t even making half that salary at $3.25 million.

    Brian Snitker won Atlanta’s first World Series in 26 years in 2021. His salary that season? $1.2 million.

    There are six managers this year earning less than $1 million and 15 managers earning $1.75 million or less.

    If those same managers went to college baseball, they’d get a pay raise, with 10 collegiate managers earning $1.2 million or more , according to USA TODAY Sports’ research, with Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin topping the list at $2.47 million.

    And then there’s college football coaches’ salaries.

    This is disgustingly cheap. “One of Counsell’s goals in becoming a free-agent manager was to raise the bar financially for his managerial peers,” Ken Rosenthal says at The Athletic. Well, he raised his own pay; the Cubs are paying him $8M per season.

    • The more teamy team sports pay more. NFL average is $6.6 million, heck assistant coaches garner $5.5 million on average. Can’t imagine assistant coaches in MLB making much more than $100k. NBA average is $3.3 million.

    • In return, the Dodgers get Noah Miller.

      Miller, the No. 36 overall pick in the 2021 Draft, was ranked No. 23 on MLB Pipeline’s latest ranking of Minnesota’s top 30 prospects. He is the younger brother of Brewers utility man Owen Miller. He owns a .644 OPS with 12 homers and 36 steals in 250 Minor League games, topping out at High-A last year.

  2. Bellinger got a “Pillow” contract from the Cubs:

    The 28-year-old Bellinger will get the opportunity to show that his 2023 performance was no fluke, with two chances before his age-30 season to secure a much bigger payday. He’s guaranteed $30 million in 2024, with salaries of $30 million in ’25 and $20 million in ’26 if he hasn’t exercised his opt-outs

    Bellinger’s agent Scott Boras coined the term: “a one-year contract. It’s a pillow. You use it for a little bit, and you go on.”

    Bellinger gets $30M this season and can opt out when it’s over if he thinks his 2024 year justifies him asking for more than the $50M he’s contracted for in the next two years or for a longer period than just two years. He’ll be 29 at the end of the 2024 season.

  3. By the way, I’ve had two routine surgeries in the past three weeks. Cataracts in both eyes now gone, new intraocular lenses implanted, and my eyeglass requirements are down to just when I’m reading a book or a really up-close screen. As I’m sure the doc hears after every procedure, I’m wondering “why did we take so long to do this?” Holy cow, is this wonderful.

  4. According to MLBTR, J.D. Martínez turned down a contract offer from the Gnats, who then signed Soler.

  5. From The Athletic, Shoehei Ohtani’s 50-AB requirement before declaring himself ready to go:

    The at-bats themselves aren’t limited to Cactus League action, including the live at-bats he’s taken on the back fields (he’s had five, including two on Wednesday) and the repetitions he’s received from the Trajekt Arc pitching machine inside the organization’s sparkling new hitting lab that was built last summer; the machine itself projects images of opposing pitchers onto a screen, mimicking their delivery and release point.

    Forget the rest of it, I want one of those machines. “Let’s see Jake Musgrove’s curve. Okay, now Josh Hader’s fastball. Next…”


  6. We’ve not yet reached the spring equinox, but I’m looking forward to the summer solstice when I’ll be watching midnight baseball in Fairbanks.

    • No lights-out lefty out there, but the bullpen cupboard seems well stocked if these two are ready to go.

  7. From The Athletic:

    For the first time in years, Dustin May is throwing without obvious discomfort, an encouraging sign for the flamethrowing right-hander who, despite his promise, has managed to make just 46 appearances over parts of five seasons since making his debut.

    May’s ascendant trajectory was cut short in 2021 when throwing a fastball left him writhing in pain with a torn ulnar collateral ligament that ultimately required Tommy John surgery. Though May returned to the mound by the end of the next season, “it never really felt right,” he said.

    “Everyone (who has the surgery) always talks about having one of those days where it’s kind of clicking and the pain goes away,” May said. “Mine never really did.”