Quick Hits: Puig, Yankees, Lester, Tigers, Blackouts

For some players, just getting the chance to play is the biggest hurdle. That certainly holds true for Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, whose journey out of Cuba and into Major League Baseball is perhaps more astounding than anyone realized. Jesse Katz of Los Angeles Magazine provides a narrative of Puig's unbelievable tale. 

Here are a few notes from around the game:

  • The Yankees come in at a surprising second in the early-season defensive shift count, writes ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider subscription required). As Olney notes, that kind of decision requires organizational commitment on every level, and two offseason infield acquisitions — Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts — played an important part in the first discussions involving players.
  • Red Sox players view hurler Jon Lester as worthy of the kind of huge payday that the club's front office seems somewhat unwilling to give him, Olney adds. The view from the clubhouse is obviously not likely to drive a decision, but Olney notes that players are keeping a keen eye on how the team's ace is treated.
  • For Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, the big issue facing the club is health, George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press reports. He said that the team's bullpen depth at the minor league level is a strength, that the righty-heavy lineup was driven by having good options that happen to hit from that side of the plate, and that he was comfortable with the team's shortstop options — especially with Eugenio Suarez and Hernan Perez available in the minors.
  • The MLB blackout policy is harmful to the game's long-term development, opines Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Passan traces the league's determined fight to maintain territorial blackouts and its connection to the local TV money that has had such a substantial impact on the MLB player market.

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10 Comments on "Quick Hits: Puig, Yankees, Lester, Tigers, Blackouts"

1 year 4 months ago

Seems like every single batter gets the shift.

1 year 4 months ago

The tigers do have solid bullpen depth in the minors. They’re just unproven at the big league level. Their biggest bullpen addition might be calling up Mercedes or Knebel.

1 year 4 months ago

This is why players like Pedroia should not leave as much money on the table as he is perceived to have done, especially when he was already rather financially secure. It hurts other players, including their teammates.

Red Sox thinking they can get get as much off Lester.

1 year 4 months ago

Lester and Pedroia cannot be compared. The only thing they have in common is how much Red Sox fans love them. Pedroia is truly elite at his position, Lester is not, not even close. Lester’s skill set is poorly suited to Fenway Park. If not for the excellent run support he has received as a member of the Red Sox, his W-L records would much more closely match his mediocre ratios and peripherals. The Red Sox would be much better off spending that money elsewhere if Lester doesn’t feel like taking a huge home team discount.

1 year 4 months ago

I don’t think his point was that they should be paid the same. It was that when one player agrees to work for a lot less than what he is worth, it hurts everyone else.
The club uses that artificially low salary to drive everyone else’s salary down.
It’s kind of like illegal immigrants driving wages down because they are willing to work for less. Or, low ball bidders. Or, outsourcing to China.
Pedroia was a big hit with management and the fans when he signed that contract, but he didn’t do the other players any favors.

1 year 4 months ago

Tigers are extremely stacked at SS/2B from AA down single A and they have Perez playing ss at AAA. Nick C look like 3B for a long time, Jose I is too much fun to watch at ss so he is staying , Kinsler is a keeper at 2B for at least couple of years and Miggy is at 1B so there is not a lot of room for future infielders.DD will be making a trade using his surplus of infielders to get a relief pitcher and a future OF if Fields can’t cut it.

1 year 4 months ago

I won’t even get rolling on MLB’s insane blackout policy. I live in Iowa with a 5 team blackout. Only two of which broadcast locally on cable. It’s ludicrous to think that local cable providers will carry every regional sports network. What I find even crazier is that MLB won’t even allow customers to buy out the black out. What business with something to sell would refuse to sell their product?? Milwaukee and Minnesota would rather have Iowans watching out of market games and developing a fan base for those teams?

Scott Berlin
1 year 4 months ago

Sox fans might as well way say bye bye to Lester. He might join Ellsbury in the Bronx.

1 year 4 months ago

As far as Lester goes. I’m a sox fan. Having said that he hasn’t earned top starter
money. He has been great in the postseason but look at his season numbers.
The top number one starters- 200 innings, 200 strikeouts, ERA below 3, high number
of wins (usually). I don’t count wins, too many of his wins can be attributed to
the redsox offense. He gets the innings. He’s out there everyday.
He’s never finished a season with an ERA below 3. He hasn’t had 200 strikeouts
for at least three years. I love john lester, but he hasn’t earned “number 1″
money. I would be very leery of giving him that kind of money and years.
The sox have been much smarter recently and in this case i hope they continue.

1 year 4 months ago

I’m surprised the Puig story isn’t attracting more interest. Months back we got a few hints of the kind of shifty underworld types that Cuban defectors need to deal with to get off the island, how much they end up owing them. Now we know a lot more, thanks to this article. The implications for baseball are significant.