Unrest on the players’ side of the fence in a dismally slow offseason reached the point where player reps in the union asked if whether it was viable for even those who have signed contracts to collectively refuse to report to Spring Training until Feb. 24, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required). That represents the mandatory reporting date, though pitchers and catchers (and some others) will report to camp prior to that date in a given year. The MLBPA informed those representatives that doing so would violate the CBA and constitute an “unlawful strike,” prompting the notion to be dropped. The very thought further illustrates the overall discontent of players, Rosenthal notes, and that general level of frustration doesn’t help matters as the league and union continue to negotiate the implementation of pace-of-play measures.
Some other notes from around the game…
- In addition to Ken Giles, whose arbitration hearing took place yesterday, we should soon learn the results on a pair of arb hearings from the Marlins. FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweeted recently that J.T. Realmuto’s arb hearing was on Jan. 31, while Justin Bour’s was slated for Feb. 1. Giles and the Astros filed at $4.6MM and $4.2MM, respectively. Meanwhile, the Marlins filed at $2.9MM and $3MM for Realmuto and Bour, while that duo countered with respective figures of $3.5MM and $3.4MM (all of which can be seen in MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker). Heyman also noted that Dan Straily’s hearing is set for Feb. 14, and Luke Jones of WSNT.net tweeted recently that Orioles righty Kevin Gausman told him his hearing is also set for the 14th of the month.
- The Nationals have little interest in bringing Jayson Werth back to D.C., writes Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. Werth, though, hopes to play next season and tells Janes that he’s enhanced his workout routine this offseason. “I’m still training,” says Werth. “I’m still doing the same stuff I would do every other year. I’m actually training harder because I know I’m getting older, and the only way to keep up is to work harder, which sucks.” Werth, 38, was sporting a productive .262/.367/.446 batting line in 2017 when he hit the DL in early June due to a foot injury. When he returned in late August, though, he struggled to a .155/.226/.286 slash through the end of the season, and his struggles continued in the postseason.
- Rockies top prospect Brendan Rodgers tells Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that his ultimate goal for the 2018 season is to make his MLB debut. While the team’s director of player development, Zach Wilson, loves the ambition behind that goal, he wouldn’t comment directly on the plausibility of that scenario. “We’ll see what happens, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have those aspirations and those goals this year,” Wilson told Saunders. “But I will also say this: we’ll make sure he is ready for the next step before he takes it.” Wilson adds that Rodgers will see action at both middle infield positions during Cactus League play this spring but will also get in plenty of side work at third base as the team increases his versatility. Rodgers is viewed as a potential cornerstone piece in the infield for the Rox, though with Nolan Arenado at third base, Trevor Story at short and DJ LeMahieu at second base, there’s no immediate opening for him. LeMahieu, though, is a free agent following the 2018 season.