Welcome to ‘Marty’s Musings’, my weekly column of numbers summarizing the happenings in the baseball world. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the news and notes throughout the game.
All this news and more in this week’s Musings.
News and Notes
74 - Years of age for Mets legend Tom Seaver, who last week announced that he has been diagnosed with dementia and will be retiring from public life. The baseball community was saddened by the news, as Seaver has been a part of the Mets nearly as long as the franchise has existed. Seaver was an integral part of the 1969 Amazin’ team that will celebrate a 50-year anniversary this season, and Seaver continued to work with the team and be part of the brand as a broadcaster after his retirement. Seaver will spend the rest of his days out of public life, tending to his California vineyard.
3 - Weeks Vlad Guerrero Jr. will be sidelined due to an oblique strain. The reality is that he likely would not have sniffed the majors until his service-time was manipulated enough to allow the Blue Jays to keep him for an extra year defense improves. Jr. is the top-ranked prospect coming into 2019, and is expected to adjust pretty quickly once he is called up to the Bigs.
80 - Game suspension for Red Sox knuckleball pitcher Steven Wright, who received the sentence after testing positive for PEDs. Although Wright only pitched 53 ⅔ innings in 2018, the suspension will test the limits of Boston’s rotation since they will lose their spot-starter.
15,500 - Dollar raise for the reigning AL Cy Young winner, Blake Snell. Snell was masterful last year, turning the corner on a promising future to an arrived-ace. While teams are under no obligation to raise the salaries of young players based on performance, there is precedence to at least give the optics of decent money. The Cubs nearly doubled Kris Bryant’s salary after he won the NL Rookie of the Year, and the Angels raised Mike Trout’s compensation as he demonstrated he was a generational talent. The MLBPA will have to address this issue, because as much as they sell-out non-union members’ rights in negotiations, once players are called to the bigs, they seem to still be getting hosed.
1 - Year, $3 million deal the Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to with Adam Jones. The former Baltimore outfielder has been a productive player for over a decade, posting 2.0--5 wins above replacement like clockwork until 2017. Although his production had been down the previous two seasons, he is still a solid asset that brings power and speed to any lineup. Jones had 50 extra-base hits in 145 games in 2018.
7 - Initiatives that the independent Atlantic League will be toying with entering 2019, as an experiment for MLB. 1) The mound will be moved back two feet, to 62’6”, 2) bases will increase in size by 3”, 3) defensive shifts will be banned as rules will require a certain number of fielders on each side of second base, 4) the league will use radar enabled strike zones, 5) there will be no mound visits allowed by either players or coaches, 6) a pitch-clock will be in effect, and 7) time between innings and pitching changes will be lowered to 1:45 from 2:05. It will be a lot to figure out what is helping the pace of play and what is ancillary to the pace, but these are just some of the initiatives that Major League Baseball is toying with to improve the aesthetics of the game.