Former MLB righty David Aardsma has announced on his podcast that he’s officially calling it quits as a ballplayer and joining the Blue Jays front office as coordinator of player development. The 36-year-old, a former first-round draft pick, last pitched in the majors in 2015 and spent some time at Triple-A in the following season with the Toronto organization. Over nine years with eight MLB organizations, Aardsma ran a 4.27 ERA over 337 frames. He’ll surely be remembered best for a two-year run with the Mariners in which he closed out 69 games and maintained a 2.90 ERA. MLBTR — which once hosted Aardsma on its own podcast — wishes him the very best in his new pursuit.
Here are a few more stray notes from around the game:
- Lefty Phil Coke is hoping to reinvent himself as a knuckle-baller, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (via Twitter). The 35-year-old, a nine-year MLB veteran, spent some time last year with Japan’s Orix Buffaloes but has had a tough time gaining traction in recent seasons. Coke had long utilized a varied arsenal and shown good velocity from the left side, so he ought to have some interesting potential accompanying tools to go with his new knuckler.
- Of course, looking at the state of the market is just not possible without examining the general lack of action. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic again offers some worthwhile perspective in a subscription piece, chiding both the player and team sides for “bickering” over pace-of-play discussions when what’s needed is a joint commitment to evolving the game — and, no doubt, an effort to deal with the dangerous rise in labor tension. ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, meanwhile, asks whether certain unsigned free agents could actually decide to open their own spring camp. Different players and agents have different takes on the concept; what’s most notable, perhaps, is the fact that it’s even a topic of conversation at all.
- Even if there’s a resolution to the current impasse, it seems there’ll likely be a broader, ongoing conversation about where the game of baseball is headed when it comes to player-team relations. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper argues that the current rules regime creates skewed incentives that do not reward teams that try to contend but come up a bit short. He discusses a few possible ideas, promoting in particular a “tank tax” that docks organizations in the draft if they put together consecutive sub-70-win campaigns. Cooper suggests this kind of mechanism could function similarly to the soccer approach of relegation. Ultimately, the MLBPA may need to begin considering more drastic measures, Nathaniel Grow writes at Fangraphs. He raises the possibility that the union could strategically disband to open the door to an antitrust lawsuit. While that threat might be utilized first as a means to gain leverage in future CBA talks, Grow explains that it could be a realistic option at some point.
- Those interested in getting the full range of opinions on top prospects from around the game will want to check out the latest top-100 lists. The Baseball Prospectus staff and Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel have graded out the game’s best pre-MLB players from their perspectives.