Jake Mailhot – FanGraphs: Major League Baseball teams are signing their players to extensions earlier than usual. While I’m all for players getting their money from the powers that be it’s worth looking under the hood of what these extensions most likely mean. Owners know that they will be locking players out and that is causing them to sign players earlier rather than test the waters of a non-existent free agency. The other reason is that signing these players keeps costs lower than if the players used free agency to their advantage. When it comes to MLB owners one thing is clear, it’s always a shell game of some sort.
Justin Klugh – FanGraphs: Mike Trout is the best baseball player in the world and one of the best to ever play the game. That’s a simple fact and it’s easy to recognize as being true. All the same, we have become accustomed to Trout’s greatness. If you hear that Trout went 5 for 5 with 4 home runs and a triple you shrug and go, “yeah, that’s Trout.” We take the greatness of Mike Trout for granted and we really shouldn’t. Trout isn’t just a generational talent, he’s a “may never see again in baseball” talent and he deserves all the respect and admiration he gets. He certainly deserves to be appreciated in the here and now and I’m going to try and do more of that.
Ken Rosenthal – The Athletic ($): All it took was one down year, though still a good season mind you, for baseball fans to forget how talented Manny Machado is on the ballfield. Unfortunately, that one down season has only served to heighten the dog-whistling about Machado’s lack of hustle, leadership, and more. Anyone who watches Machado play knows he hustles at the right times and they know that he has always been a leader for his teams, on and off the field. 2020 is going to be a big year for Machado and a lot of naysayers are going to have to come home to roost.
Lead photo courtesy of Ross D. Franklin – Associated Press