Yesterday, Mets broadcaster and long-time MLB hurler Ron Darling announced on his personal Twitter account that he has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Thankfully, the outlook seems to be good. Darling says he hopes to be back in the booth in around a month’s time, which is certainly quite promising to hear. I’ll be among the many fans looking forward to Darling’s return to action. He’s an attentive, thoughtful, and honest broadcaster and I always enjoy tuning in. MLBTR extends its very best wishes to Darling and his family for a speedy recovery.
- Veteran lefty Dallas Keuchel discussed his never-ending free agency with Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports in an interesting interview. Keuchel says he is anxious to sign but won’t just settle for the lowball offers he has received to this point. He acknowledges that he may need to wait until after this summer’s draft, at which time teams will no longer need to give up draft compensation to add him. Keuchel says he wasn’t looking for this sort of standoff and wasn’t unrealistic in his asking price, noting that “it’s not just the front offices who have all these numbers” when it comes to understanding market value. He says he’d rather be pitching; agent Scott Boras has even advised him to settle and get back on the field. So why is Keuchel still available? “I told [Boras] no on numerous deals because it’s about principle. It’s about fair market value. And I wasn’t getting that.”
- Another Boras client, slugger Pedro Alvarez, is also still on the open market — albeit under quite different circumstances. The left-handed power-hitter opted out of his minor-league deal with the Marlins late in camp and is now nursing an Achilles injury. But the 32-year-old isn’t calling it quits just yet. Alvarez turned in a middling showing at the plate in limited MLB opportunities last year. But he has long been an above-average performer at the plate (when limited to facing right-handed pitching, at least) and had a torrid showing in Cactus League action this spring.
- Former MLB hurler Chris Young is thriving in his new career in the league offices, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. It’s an interesting look at the end of an uncommon playing career and the start of what could be an important new run in a management capacity. Young was hired as MLB’s vice president of on-field operations, initiatives and strategy — a new role that deputy commissioner Dan Halem says was “expanded” to match Young’s skillset. The story is particularly interesting because it touches upon the changing labor dynamics in the game. Young says he only took the job after explaining that he “view[s] this as a partnership between the players, owners and fans” and emphasizing that he “want[s] what is best for the game.” Halem says that Young has brought “strong opinions on what is good and what we may have to change” and has been “really good at explaining the players’ viewpoint on things.” It seems that Young is operating more on the rules side at at the moment, but it’ll be interesting to see whether and how his presence ultimately impacts the league’s approach to the thorny collective bargaining issues that have arisen in the past several seasons.