To wrap up a quiet day in the transactional world, here are a few interesting links from around the game worth a look:
- Ben Badler of Baseball America provides a breakdown of the recent MLB international amateur showcase. Many of the players on hand already have lined up deals, says Badler, with some even arguing that the event prods players and teams to reach earlier agreements than they would otherwise. In addition to infielder Wander Franco, who the Rays are expected to sign with this year’s biggest July 2 bonus, Badler says that catcher Daniel Flores was highly impressive. Flores has the upside of becoming a top-flight receiver, per the report; the Rangers are expected to land him.
- Shifting remains an intriguing and evolving element of today’s game, but Eno Sarris of Fangraphs analyzes whether it may have reached a saturation point. Hitters have responded with increased lift and more opposite-field groundballs, he says. And there are indications that teams are stretching the concept right to the edge of usefulness. While it’s not quite to a “high-water mark” yet, Sarris posits, that point may be on the horizon.
- As Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes, the league is looking into changes to the game ball that would increase its tackiness. The hope, it seems, is to avoid some of the preparation required to get a baseball ready for action — and to forego the need for pitchers to resort to less-than-authorized means of obtaining their preferred grip.
- Meanwhile, MLB and the player’s association continue to discuss ongoing changes and address the implications of the new CBA. In his latest comments, relayed by Evan Woodberry of MLive.com, MLBPA chief Tony Clark rejects the notion that the new agreement depressed player salaries in free agency this winter, saying it’s far too soon to evaluate. He also offered some thoughts on the arbitration process, noting that the impact of various statistics can change without any real warning or explanation from arb panels (which only decide on a number, without setting for their reasoning). “It’s always an interesting back-and-forth, and in some ways you’re throwing darts with what you think is resonating,” he said. “Introductions of new concepts and ideas always happen. Making a one-year determination as to whether or not you have to blow up the entire system doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. We’ll have to see how things progress moving forward.”