A few brief words of update on the Angels. Billy Eppler said during a press conference call that the team is considering various options for Shohei Ohtani this season, including “delaying him a little bit”, relays Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register (link). We’ve already heard that the club plans to keep him on an NPB-esque pitching schedule this season as he continues to work back from Tommy John surgery, but it’s uncertain if “delay” in this case means he’ll be held out of action late into Spring Training, or further.
Meanwhile, Maria Torres of the LA Times reports, from that same call, that Eppler acknowledged that the team “can add” to its already “strong” group of pitchers (link). That’s not a definitive statement, and the club’s opportunities to add might be dwindling now that one more arm is off the open market as of Saturday evening. Torres also reports that 26-year-old prospect Jose Rojas will receive an invite to big league camp this spring after a Triple-A season in which he hit .293/.362/.577 with 31 home runs.
More from around the game…
- Declining attendance be damned—MLB’s revenue streams are flowing fine. According to a Saturday piece from Forbes, gross revenues for the league were a record $10.7 billion for 2019, up from $10.3 billion last year, according to industry sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity. And the upward slant should continue in future years; as noted by Forbes, the league’s deal with Fox television kicks in during the 2022 season and that deal alone has a reported value of $5.1 billion. For those wondering, MLB player payroll and benefits came in at $4.7 billion last year—leaving plenty of pie to go around for administrators, front-office types and ownership figures. The league has seen adjusted revenue growth of 386% since 1992.
- ESPN’s Sam Miller took a closer look at the forthcoming thee-batter rule, including its real-life implications for several veteran LOOGYs. Miller coins the term “Ollies” (in honor of Indians journeyman Oliver Perez) to represent any appearance that is set to be outlawed under the new rules–which require that pitchers face three batters or get the final out of an inning before being replaced. Perez led the league with 22 such “Ollies” in 2019, while Andrew Chafin, Alex Claudio and Adam Kolarek all logged 15 or more such appearances. Of course, the forthcoming change didn’t stop the Brewers from re-signing Claudio earlier this offseason, so we can all rest assured that left-handed specialists aren’t going anywhere for the time being.