Rob Manfred “doesn’t realize the fight he is picking,” a player told FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal in light of the commissioner’s plan to implement rule changes against the union’s wishes in 2018. The player also suggested Manfred’s actions could lead to serious labor strife when it’s time to negotiate the next collective bargaining agreement in 2021. “Four years from now, he will see absolute wrath if he makes the moves himself,” the player said, also adding that “the union is listening to the players, and the players don’t want the changes.” Unlike Manfred, MLBPA chief Tony Clark doesn’t believe the league has pace-of-play issues. However, Rosenthal points out that the average time of game went up by 4 minutes, 28 seconds last year. At the same time, balls in play hit an all-time low and relief pitcher usage reached an all-time high. Thus, despite the union’s objections, changes are on their way, writes Rosenthal, who opines that they’re “necessary.”
More from around the majors:
- After adding Ian Desmond, Greg Holland and Mike Dunn in free agency, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich expects the club to make a postseason push in 2017, writes Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. “I do feel like we’re ready to take that next step,” said Bridich. “We accomplished that goal of playing meaningful games in August and September (during 2016). It didn’t work out for us in terms of postseason last year, but we accomplished that. It’s time for us go from a talented group to a good team that challenges for the playoffs and truly is a playoff team.” The Rockies haven’t won more than 75 games in a season since an 83-victory 2010 – their latest plus-.500 campaign – and are mired in a seven-year playoff drought. Colorado will have to take enormous steps to meet Bridich’s expectations this year, then, though it undoubtedly possesses some enviable talent.
- Given their underwhelming selection of rotation candidates, the Padres are open to trying a radically different approach with respect to starting pitcher usage this season, per AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. Manager Andy Green could opt to deploy a certain starter once through the order before switching to another one, perhaps based on handedness, Cassavell explains. On why that’s not a popular strategy, Green offered: “My perspective would be it’s a little bit more counter-cultural than anything else. It hasn’t really been done before. But matchups are becoming more and more prevalent.”
- The officially retired Alex Rodriguez doesn’t have any interest in becoming a major league manager, he told Jack Curry of YES Network (Twitter link). Despite his controversial past, Rodriguez’s much-ballyhooed baseball IQ could have made him an interesting candidate down the line. The 41-year-old is currently working with his longtime team, the Yankees, as a spring training instructor – a role he seems to relish, as Billy Witz of the New York Times details. “I think my value for these kids is going to be taking them out to dinner, a three-hour dinner,” he said of mentoring the team’s young players, “and the first hour and a half recognizing that they’ll probably be pretty nervous and pretty tight, and by the second half of that dinner, they’ll start asking real substantial questions. There’s so much that’s expected here in New York, and it’s so difficult to play in New York. And I think as staff mentors, that’s the best thing we can do, is get them ready for what’s expected, because it is a handful.”
- Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez feels “great” and plans to throw for major league scouts in March, tweets Manolo Hernandez Douen. Alvarez, who will turn 27 next month, revealed that seven teams have checked in on him as he attempts to work his way back from two shoulder injury-plagued years. In 2015, the then-Marlin threw just 22 1/3 innings. As an Athletic last year, Alvarez didn’t throw a pitch above the Triple-A level, where he only logged 18 2/3 frames.