As we wait for the day’s avalanche of transactions to be triggered, let’s take a look at a few stray notes from around the game …
- The MLB plan to dramatically reshape the minor-league landscape has unsurprisingly created strong reactions in localities around the country. Now, there’s a growing push-back on the national level, as Claire Bessette of Connecticut outlet The Day reports. A large group of congressmen has already written a letter of concern, prompting a rejoinder from the league. It’s not clear at this point whether there’s any possibility of concerted federal action, let alone what that might look like, but there appears to be the makings of a coordinated effort by those impacted to pool resources. Those interested in learning more should also check out J.J. Cooper’s take at Baseball America.
- Orlando Magic co-founder Pat Williams announced his intentions to spearhead an Orlando-area MLB franchise. Joe Kepner of WFTV is tracking the story on his Twitter feed. The initial name (Orlando Dreamers) and logo mock-ups are not especially encouraging, to be frank, but it’s only a starting point. There isn’t really much in the way of specifics at the moment and it’s not clear whether this effort will gain any traction. Williams says it’d be premature to consider a location for a ballpark, for instance, so clearly any sustained push is a ways off.
- There are a few current MLB teams that can explain how sticky stadium situations can be (though others have made out just fine). The Angels have had quite a lot of stability for a long period of time but have also been engaged in a sometimes-tense negotiation with the city of Anaheim. Now, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports, there’s an end-of-year deadline for a decision whether to opt out of the remaining decade on the Angel Stadium lease. While there isn’t much time left until that stopping point, however, Shaikin explains that nobody appears to be very concerned. If a mutually agreeable deal hasn’t been finalized, an extension can simply be sorted out. All indications remain that the Halos will stay home.
- Feel like MLB free agency is moving slowly? You’re not alone. Korean fans are also feeling the freeze, as Kang Yoo-Rim wrote recently in the Joongang Daily. It seems there are some KBO-specific factors that are influencing the situation there, including a free agent class full of older players and the restrictive rules regarding signings of other teams’ players. But one also wonders whether the lack of movement from MLB teams is also a factor. Forget about the major free agents; this is about the players seeking the best possible opportunities to earn some money while they are still in their prime. Few such players have secured non-roster invitations or small MLB contracts to this point of the winter, so KBO teams are perhaps not yet sure how best to maximize their money and limited foreign-player roster spots.