Unlike the popular game show, MLB free agency isn’t about being the closest without going over. I mean, sure, teams will generally try to land new players without setting piles of money on fire, but coming in under the target is rarely the best strategy. No numbers are being reported yet, but I think we can assume from recent reports that what has been discussed may not quite be on par with the $200 million or so David Price has been projected to command.
Robert Murray of Baseball Essential had this to say about the situation yesterday:
According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Price and his agent, Bo McKinnis, have made it clear that playing in Toronto for the Blue Jays is “far and away [Price’s] first choice.”
Price loves Toronto and “relishes” the attention he is getting as a superstar, which he may not get elsewhere, making Toronto his top choice, the source said.
I’m not all that fluent in agent-speak and I know a bit can be lost in translation, but what I read in this is: “David had a really good time in Toronto and he’s going to stay there…unless y’all up the ante.” I suppose this could also be a totally face-value leak of information, but c’mon. No agent is going to say something that decreases his client’s leverage when it comes to scoring what is sure to be the biggest contract this offseason.
David Price is still very much in play, though how interested the Cubs are going to be as the tag goes higher and higher remains to be seen.
Japanese pitcher wants to move stateside
Standout Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda has expressed a desire to be posted by the Hiroshima Carp in order that can come to the States to play. Unlike the previous system of highest-bidder-wins, the updated agreement between MLB and Japan’s NPB holds that a release fee cannot be set higher than $20 million. Any club willing to pay the fee has the opportunity to negotiate with the player and will pay the posting fee to his former team in installments.
As you might imagine, this changes the landscape a bit when it comes to MLB teams willing to jump into the market for Japanese talent. Of course, the big spenders are still going to have the advantage when it comes to contract offers, but at least some smaller-budget teams can get a foot in the door.
I’m not going to pretend to know much about the 27-year-old Maeda, but Eno Sarris of FanGraphs had a really nice breakdown of his stuff in this piece from a couple weeks ago. The numbers really aren’t all that impressive, but Sarris concludes that Maeda could be somewhere in the neighboorhood of the Phillies’ Aaron Nola.
Michael Wilbon is scared of bloggers
This is neither Cubs nor even baseball-related, but it gets my dander up every time I hear about a traditional journalist trashing bloggers. One of my most-popular posts was a response to Rick Telander’s comments about members of alternative media last year. More recently, Jason Whitlock took aim at the same crowd and was rebuffed by Julie DiCaro.
And now we’ve got Michael Wilbon joining the chorus of old-school writers lamenting the rise of “people [who] sit in their mother’s basements and write this crap and they don’t have any knowledge of what is going on in that place, and it’s too easy to get it.” Oh, Mike, I thought you were better than this. Wait, no I didn’t.
This doesn’t need to be an us-versus-them battleground, doesn’t have to resort to name-calling and mudslinging. Sadly, though, that seems to be the tack Wilbon and his ilk have chosen to take. I’ve got news for you, folks: the game-story game is playing out the string.
“You can go to a game, you can go to a locker room,” the Chicago-born ESPN talking head told attendees of the 2015 Shirley Povich Journalism Symposium. “The only reason to read this stuff is to tell people why something happened, and if you’re not there, and you can’t tell me why it happened, I don’t care about all your advanced analytics and all the other things you concoct.”
While it’s true that there’s added depth to be gained from “being there,” the access we all have to angles and info — even from the depths of our parents’ basements — can be almost as immersive. I don’t like what Wilbon said, but I am willing to forgive him because I know his comments are motivated by fear. Sorry to have wasted this much time on something so inconsequential.
I guess today’s perhaps a weird time for me to complain about someone talking about the need to be there. To that end, stay tuned to my Twitter feed this afternoon.