Kyodo News – Jim Allen: Two-way players have become all the rage for Major League Baseball teams this offseason. Having seen the success of Shohei Ohtani MLB executives and decision makers are softening to the idea of players who want to pitch, and hit/play the field. That doesn’t mean they are on board with every player who wants to be the next Ohtani, because frankly, none of them will be the next Ohtani. He is a special breed, not just a two-way player, but an elite two-way player. Ohtani has shown that in his preparation and in his results.
Baseball Prospectus – Matthew Trueblood ($): MLB is going to expand, it seems it is more a matter of when, not if. There are logistical, execution, and implementation problems with expansion. Most people are in favor of expansion, but they don’t seem to want to broach how it should happen, what could go wrong, and the impact on the thirty teams playing right now. When expansion becomes a reality I hope MLB has most of this stuff figured out, but in all honesty, the current powers that be leave me a few wafers short of being sure they will get it right.
For The Win – Ted Berg: Spring Training is in full swing, and that means that MLB teams are forcing players to attend camps without pay. There’s nothing optional about Spring Training, yet MLB has never paid players for the actual work they put in during Spring Training. Imagine if your place of business offered a mandatory refresher class every year. That class lasted two months, and outside of a daily meal stipend, often not enough to cover all three meals, you weren’t being paid. That sounds pretty lousy, the sort of practice that people would be up in arms over. Yet, every single year it happens to MLB, and Minor League Baseball, players and all we do is shrug our shoulders. Billion dollar owners with teams that make millions in profits refusing to pay the laborers toiling away in the heat; America’s Pastime indeed.
Lead photo courtesy of Shinya Suzuki – flickr