With Opening Day now just three weeks away, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. WBC Update
The World Baseball Classic continues today, with the Czech Republic taking on China this evening at 9pm CT and Cuba taking on Panama at 10:30pm CT. Early tomorrow morning, Korea will face Japan at 4am CT while Italy will take on Chinese Taipei at 5am CT. Cuba vs Panama and Korea vs Japan will both air on FS1, while the Czech Republic vs China and Italy vs Chinese Taipei can be live-streamed on Tubi. Japan has a 1-0 record so far in the WBC, while Panama currently sports a 1-1 record and each of China, Korea, Cuba (pending their ongoing game with Italy), and Chinese Taipei have 0-1 records. The Czech Republic team has yet to participate in a WBC game.
2. Astros extension saga to reach a conclusion
Astros GM Dana Brown has been unusually candid about his efforts to extend both outfielder Kyle Tucker and starting pitcher Framber Valdez this spring, and those negotiations appear set to come to a head later today. Shortly after a report emerged that the club was facing difficulties in extension talks with both players, Brown himself spoke with the media discussing the negotiations. Brown noted that he expects to hear from both agents this afternoon, though he wasn’t willing to describe today as any sort of “deadline” for negotiations, instead simply noting, “It’s just that, for right now, we may decide to wait a little bit.” Both Tucker and Valdez are controlled through the end of the 2025 season, lessening the urgency to complete a deal this spring, though the price on both players only figures to increase the closer they get to free agency.
3. MLBTR Chats Today
A trio of live chats with readers are planned for today, headlined by our chat with former All Star second baseman Jason Kipnis, which is set to begin at 11:30am CT this morning. Kipnis spent almost all of his decade-long major league career in Cleveland, only departing during the shortened 2020 season, the final season of his big league career, to join his hometown Cubs. Kipnis’s best season took place in 2013 with Cleveland, where he .284/.366/.452, good for an wRC+ of 127. That performance earned him his first All-Star appearance and some down-ballot MVP votes. Click here to join the chat with Kipnis.
In addition to Kipnis’s chat, a pair of Offseason in Review chats are set to happen today. MLBTR’s Darragh McDonald will be hosting a Rays-centric chat here at 9:30am CT, while MLBTR’s Anthony Franco will be hosting an Astros-centric chat here in the late afternoon. Keep an eye out throughout the day today for those chats!
I love Tucker and as a human I hope he gets 10 yrs and $300M.
As a fan I want him to play as long in Houston as the team can manage to keep him.
On the other hand, the best way to have a competitive team is to not pay players top salaries into their mid to late 30s.
That means players like Alvarez or Bregman who are willing to sign 5 or 6 year extensions that cover a combinatiin of arb and FA seasons should be prioritized and guys like Tucker who want 8+ years should only be extended if it can be done early and minimize the commitment past 33.
Minimized but not refuse to do it.
The truth is that Tucker still has 3 years of control and 6 of the Astros top 9 prospects are outfielders. They have missed the window on him and should just move on. And that makes me sad
If the Astros don’t extend Tucker this year, they will lose him in 2025. Tucker will be a top 5 MVP candidate this year with the dismissal of the shift.