MLB.TV, the world’s longest-running and most successful live streaming sports product, returns for its 15th-anniversary year, starting with Phillies at Yankees at 1:05 p.m. ET today, followed by seven live games on Saturday and another eight on Sunday.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale spoke to a number of active players that voiced extreme displeasure for many of the proposed rule changes that have been mentioned in news and rumors this winter. Brandon Moss, Jonathan Lucroy, Cole Hamels, Chris Young, Peter Moylan, Jason Grilli and Jimmy Rollins were among those to weigh in, with none sounding the slightest bit enthused by the notion of changes such as pitch clocks and automatic intentional walks. Young took a level-headed approach to the topics and suggested that while commissioner Rob Manfred’s “mind is in the right place” — keeping an open mind about progressive ways to improve the game — the players need to be more involved in talks. “It can’t be just unilateral that we’re going to implement this,” Young said to Nightengale. “…The game’s a partnership between the players and the owners. We can’t just mandate that every team has a $200 million payroll. They can’t mandate that the rules are going to be changed without our consent, either.
After moving on from a potential effort to buy the Marlins, Mitt Romney and his family are eyeing the purchase of a share of the Yankees, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. In this case, though, the high-profile politician and businessman would only be looking at obtaining a small portion of the franchise’s highly valuable ownership stake. Here’s more from the American League: There’s ongoing concern in the Indians organization regarding the health of outfielder Michael Brantley, Heyman futher reports. Though Cleveland is expressing at least some degree of optimism publicly, the most important steps remain to be taken. Hopes that Brantley could be ready to take the field on Opening Day “have waned just a tad,” says Heyman, though clearly the most important issue isn’t so much when he’s ready as it is ensuring that there isn’t another major setback when he does return to action. It seems that Josh Hamilton will be able to resume his quest to crack the Rangers roster, as he T.R. Sullivan was among those to tweet that a knee exam yesterday revealed no new structural damage. For the time being, it seems, the discomfort will slow him down somewhat, though presumably he’ll be back in action as soon as the oft-injured joint allows.
The White Sox are set to retire Mark Buehrle’s #56 jersey this summer, the team announced. As Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago notes on Twitter, that would appear to suggest the the lefty himself is also hanging up his spikes for good — though there’s been no official word to that effect as of yet. Last we heard, around this time last spring, Buehrle was still pondering his future. But he decided against pitching in 2016, and we’ve heard no indication since that he was planning a return. Today’s news seemingly confirms that the famously fast-working and incredibly durable southpaw is finished after 16 highly productive seasons in the majors. Though he ended his career elsewhere, Buehrle spent his first dozen seasons in Chicago. He was a model of consistency there, providing 2,476 2/3 innings of 3.83 ERA ball while averaging 5.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9.
The Rangers and the reps for second baseman Rougned Odor have undertaken renewed efforts to reach agreement on a long-term deal, according to a report from Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. It’s not clear just how likely it is that the sides will see eye to eye, but Heyman says there’s “at least a bit of hope.” Last we checked in, early last fall, the sides had stalled out in talks over the size of the guarantee and number of option years that the club would pick up. Now, Odor stands one season away from reaching arbitration eligibility, perhaps adding impetus to the club’s effort. Indeed, Texas appears to be making a significant push to get something done. The club is “believed to have offered something in the range of” the extension reached between Jason Kipnis and the Indians at the outset of the 2014 season. That six-year deal promised Kipnis $52.5MM and came with a single club option. At the time, the Cleveland second baseman was also a 2+ service class player who had not reached Super Two eligibility, putting him in the same position as Odor. (Interestingly, as Heyman notes, both are also represented by the large Beverly Hills Sports Council agency.) Of course, that deal is now a few years old. And one could argue that Odor ought to earn more, based largely upon his age.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon has emphasized the need to be humble and moving on after winning the World Series. This was a play on that.
Eleven-year-old Nicole Parker, of Ellicott City, Md., had a once-in-a-lifetime experience on Tuesday, as the aspiring sportswriter — who started an Orioles blog of her own about a month ago — got to visit O’s camp and meet some of her heroes.
The Nationals had been the speculated landing spot for free-agent catcher Matt Wieters this offseason, and the two sides reached a deal on Tuesday, pending a physical, manager Dusty Baker confirmed.
After successful Tommy John surgery, Yu Darvish is back in All-Star form. In his first appearance on the mound this spring, he broke Hanser Alberto’s bat.
Worrying over a pitcher’s velocity — or lack thereof — in Spring Training is now an annual tradition, but the data supports a cause for concern.