USA Today’s Bob Nightengale spoke to a number of active players that voiced extreme displeasure for many of the proposed rule changes that have been mentioned in news and rumors this winter. Brandon Moss, Jonathan Lucroy, Cole Hamels, Chris Young, Peter Moylan, Jason Grilli and Jimmy Rollins were among those to weigh in, with none sounding the slightest bit enthused by the notion of changes such as pitch clocks and automatic intentional walks. Young took a level-headed approach to the topics and suggested that while commissioner Rob Manfred’s “mind is in the right place” — keeping an open mind about progressive ways to improve the game — the players need to be more involved in talks. “It can’t be just unilateral that we’re going to implement this,” Young said to Nightengale. “…The game’s a partnership between the players and the owners. We can’t just mandate that every team has a $200 million payroll. They can’t mandate that the rules are going to be changed without our consent, either. I think there are definite ways to improve the game, but let’s do this together.”
Those who have been following the proposed rule changes this winter will absolutely want to read Nightengale’s column in full, as it’s stuffed with impassioned quotes from the game’s current wave of players. Here are a few more notes from around the league…
- Former big league closer Matt Capps is set to work out for MLB clubs this coming Sunday (Feb. 26) in Marietta, Ga. The right-hander, now 33 years of age, hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2012, when he posted a 3.68 ERA with 18 strikeouts against four walks in 29 1/3 innings with Minnesota. Shoulder injuries limited his workload that season and plagued him for several years thereafter, as he attempted comebacks with the Indians and Braves. Capps spent the 2016 season in the Diamondbacks organization, and while he didn’t generate positive results in Triple-A Reno — 5.15 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 — he did manage to stay healthy, logging 50 2/3 innings. Prior to his injury troubles, Capps logged a 3.52 ERA in 439 2/3 Major League innings from 2005-12, compensating for a lack of strikeouts (career 6.5 K/9) by demonstrating stellar control (1.7 BB/9).
- The Twins claimed Ehire Adrianza off waivers from the Giants based on his defensive prowess, writes Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the 27-year-old’s glove is already drawing attention early in camp. Twins third base coach/infield coach Gene Glynn lauded Adrianza’s instincts and defensive tools, while manager Paul Molitor noted that the report he received on Adrianza was that “he’s going to be the best defensive shortstop on the field when he’s out there.” Adrianza will compete with Eduardo Escobar for a utility role, Miller notes, and his glove could seemingly give him a viable chance of making the roster. Adrianza is just a career .220/.292/.313 hitter, though Molitor offered some optimism about being able to help him improve at the dish.
- Prior to Chase Utley’s agreement to return to the Dodgers, the Cubs briefly spoke to the veteran infielder about a bench/pinch-hitting role, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports recently tweeted. The talks never became serious, however, and a formal offer was never made to Utley’s camp. The Cubs clearly value depth, though it’s tough to imagine how Utley would receive any semblance of regular playing time with the reigning World Series champs. Javier Baez’s emergence may have already pushed Ben Zobrist into a crowded outfield, and the team also has Tommy La Stella on the roster as an additional infield option on the bench.