I wanted to be as genuine as possible about my reaction to Hank Aaron passes away earlier today, but I was a little scared of how it would be received. On the one hand, of course, I can easily recognize and appreciate the enormous impact Aaron had on the baseball game, and I’m sorry that some of his individual character and moral leadership have passed away. That part of the reaction to the news is immediate and simple.
On the other hand, it feels uncomfortable to behave as if the news struck me in the same way that it will hit many other people. I’m not black. I’ve never been a Braves fan. I’m under 30 years old. I never met him, as I did Tommy Lasorda, who also passed away earlier this year. Probably the most * direct * connection I have to Aaron, watching Barry Bonds pass the home side, and it has certainly been spoiled in hindsight.
But this is Hank Aaron we’m talking about here. I probably do not need to think about things. The guy was a legend. There are only a few select people like him on the entire planet at a time. In terms of relevance and unique significance to his field both now and over time, Aaron is up there with Paul McCartney and Michael Jordan and Albert Einstein. Maybe that’s what resonates with me more than anything else. Today we, as humans, lost a truly BIG one. I do not need any specific experience that ties this together in a nice little bow. The connection is humanity. We all lost someone special. So rest in peace, Hank. The earth will be a little less impressive tomorrow than it was yesterday.
Here are statements from Commissioner Manfred and the Braves:
Statement by Commissioner Rob Manfred on the passing of Hank Aaron: pic.twitter.com/1IUy3XE4rA
– Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 22, 2021
It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our homemade king, Hank Aaron. pic.twitter.com/ZdRuhqIaet
– Atlanta Braves (@Braves) January 22, 2021
It’s just a sad day. Nothing complicated with that.
Elsewhere in baseball news …
Jurickson Profar to Padres
The San Diego Padres took Ha-Seong Kim from us. Then they took Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini from us. And now they’re taking Jurickson Profar from us, and what could also lead to a theft of a deal:
IF / OF Jurickson Profar and San Diego Padres have agreed on a three-year contract of 21 million dollars, a source familiar with the agreement tells ESPN.
– Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 22, 2021
At first blush, this seems like a good deal to the Padres (who just won’t stop!). Profar has been up and down offensively throughout his career, but he is a former top prospect who found his most success in San Diego last season (111 wRC +, 1.3 WAR in just 56 games). If he just repeats these numbers, he will easily be worth that contract over time, especially when you consider his defensive versatility. And remember, as a 27-year-old, Profar is still quite young.
But it is also a wrinkle.
According to Jon Heyman, Profar’s agreement does not come with one, but TWO opt-outs. So it really is a one-year deal, with two player options ready at the end (and I would bet the first year is also pretty cheap, leaving it to Profar how much he wants to be to collect or not). So while he has some of the power to come back and make more money in 2022 and 2023, this means that the Padres are likely to get Profar at the age of 27 for a relative price of 2021 dollars.
And it’s a bummer because if we believe The kids do not use right, not largely due to the pandemic broken budgets (which can harm them disproportionately at the gate / in the stands), so you can imagine a deal that costs very little in 2021, but has spread more over 2022 and 2023 (when things should be better and revenues became normal) would be feasible / reasonable. And considering the upward-looking Profar offers and positions he can cover … that’s the most vague goal for Chicago. Men nei. Despite the obvious fit and previous speculation, no deal. So … what are we doing here exactly?
How to fix the game
When Theo Epstein was hired as a consultant by the commissioner last week, I received a text from a friend who read …
“The last big turn again.
Baseball becomes irrelevant “
To which I replied, “Au … but not unfair.” And in fact, this is exactly how Ken Rosenthal begins his “open letter” to Theo Epstein on how to fix the baseball game (and I’m sorry, but no matter how much YOU love the game and always have, it takes some fixing):
An open letter to Theo Epstein on how to fix the game: https://t.co/DiR35bF917
– Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 22, 2021
Rosenthal goes through any number of actual rule changes (and non-rule changes), and focuses, rightly, I think, on changing incentives of the game, not the results, itself. But most importantly, he discusses Epstein’s unique role as a trusted ambassador for the league / owners – someone who can actually get players to buy in, especially if he tries to include them in the process.
There are some good suggestions in there (and some that I do not really agree with), but if the runner on the other rule taught me anything, it is that you have to watch these things play out before you personally commit one or the other. The real effects are hard to nail down perfectly in advance, and sometimes a rule ends up being much more OK than you thought.
I often harp on the fact that any baseball team could have had Brad Hand for just $ 10 million in 2021 back when he was placed on leave at the start of the offseason, given that he is almost certain to earn more than that now. But he’s not really the only example (think of the Cubs’ non-bid Kyle Schwarber at an estimated rate lower than what he got six weeks later in free agency), and there’s probably a broader story at stake here.
At The Athletic, Jake Kaplan questions why the Astros were suddenly interested in paying Michael Brantley $ 32 million over two years when earlier in the offseason they refused to even extend the one-year qualifying offer of $ 18.9 million. Sure, it’s more in $ 2021, but it’s a much smaller commitment overall, and if they thought he would be able to get a $ 32 million two-year deal, they would be even more inclined to post that offer. to receive draft compensation if he signed elsewhere.
The Astros in 2021 undoubtedly got better with today’s Michael Brantley deal. But if they were willing to pay him $ 32 million over two years, why not expand the qualifying offer in November? Changed their rating?
I take on the (re-) signing: https://t.co/MBCdtlotbn
Jake Kaplan @jakemkaplan January 20, 2021
Needless to say, the healthy free agent contracts we’ve been awarded over the last two weeks – in addition to our expectations of boys like Hand compared to previous data points – seem to suggest that budget and revenue expectations have changed dramatically since November and December. . .
But it was always the opportunity / hope. A little more clarification of the season, a little more about developing a vaccine, anyway … but everything happens. People get paid. Just not for the Cubs or NL Central, I guess. At least not yet.
Regardless of farmer
Sometimes we let things from Trevor Bauer go in one ear and out the other. Bla bla bla … Trevor Bauer wants to be paid more than Gerrit Cole. Yak, yak, yak … Trevor Bauer wants everyone to have fancy toy drones. Mhmm, ok, sure …
Trevor Bauer wants to start every fourth day. No, he really does. A couple of years ago, he actually said that it was his first priority to find a team to meet this desire, and with hat tips for ESPN, who recently followed up on his YouTube channel: “I want a team that is open to having an honest discussion with me about pitching every four days.”
Goals … come on. Not only should a team be reluctant to let Bauer throw every four days solely from an individual performance optimization standpoint, there are also major risks when it comes to injuries (and will you really risk something like that on a pot that hopes / aims to make $ 35 million + a year?). Furthermore, this idea would be insane for a modern pitcher to try on one regularly season, let alone the first full season after 2020’s short years. And on top of everything else, switching to a four-day turn can throw the rest of the rotation for a loop in a year when getting back to a normal routine may be more important than ever.
Bradford Doolittle looked at how it really would be for Bauer to throw every four days, and it moves the other starting jugs quite a bit (as you would expect). Bauer would get 44 starts in an entire season, while the other members of the rotation would have to rest longer more often. Of course, it may not be the worst in the world? The problem, however, is that you do not have just one starter pack whose workload you want to manage individually, and the real world is constantly creating problems with injuries and double heads and other schedule changes. Still, Doolittle sees it as possible, and wants a team to make it happen – just to see what it looks like.
Me? I do not see it, especially in 2021, all things considered.
Odds and Ends
• Tim Dierkes sits down with Eugene Freedman, adviser to the president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (ie a labor lawyer who also writes about baseball matters in his spare time), to discuss some important upcoming CBA issues.
• Offers will be completed:
Anthony Bass Marlins Deal: $ 5 million Guarantee Plus Supplement. 2 years plus 3rd option year
– Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 22, 2021
• Cool stuff:
– Luis Patiño A⚾️🔥 (@ ElElectrico62) January 20, 2021
• This feels right, right now:
I ALWAYS WANT
– Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) January 22, 2021