Here are MLBTR, we routinely toss around dollar figures in the tens or hundreds of millions in reference to players’ salaries. It’s rare, though, that we get as clear a glimpse into what those tens or hundreds of millions can actually buy as we do in this look at MLB players’ cars, courtesy of Tim Rohan of the New York Times. Specifically, Rohan profiles Alex Vega, who owns a custom car shop in the Miami area. Vega frequently works with baseball players during the offseason, because, he says, “Spring training is when business gets the craziest because everybody wants to show up with something new. I’m already getting calls. I’m already preparing cars.” For example, Rohan notes that Pablo Sandoval recently entered the shop hoping to buy a 2016 Rolls Royce Ghost; he left behind a customized Porsche that he had bought just two years before, only driving it for just over 15,000 miles. The quiz accompanying the article — in which the reader is asked to match the car to the star who bought it — is amusing. Here’s more from around the league.
- This offseason has seen the proliferation of opt-out clauses in long-term contracts, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes. Opt-out clauses were so rare in the past that the industry doesn’t have much concrete experience with what their results will be (although, I’ll note, it would be easy to study how opt-outs might have worked in past contracts by imagining what players might have done had they had opt-outs after, say, a year, or two years). The obvious conclusion is that opt-outs are a lose-lose for teams, who should theoretically lose productive players as they opt out while being stuck with the ones who don’t produce. But it might not be so simple, as Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski points out. “There may be other cases where somebody opts out and after a year — I’m not going to say this is going to happen but I’ll use it as an example — after a year something happens to him and he’s not pitching as well, and [a team says], ’See? That was a benefit to us,'” he says. “So we really haven’t reached that second step yet.”
- It’s looking more and more likely that the designated hitter will be implemented in the NL as well as in the AL, Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes. The players’ association has long supported the change, and taking bats out of pitchers’ hands will help create more runs in an increasingly offense-starved playing environment. Also, Diamond points out that pitchers are hitting even worse than they used to, posting four of their five lowest season OPS marks since 1974 in the last four years.