1. In a rare moment of vaguely normal treatment of employees, the Kansas City Royals rewarded Salvador Perez for playing a vital role in their company's unparalleled success and tore up the rest of the absurd five-year, $7 million contract they inked him to before he had any real service time or any standing to pass on a guaranteed fortune, and gave him a huge five-year, $52.5 million extension.
With this incredible showing of a team valuing a player as a person, Ken Rosenthal pondered if other underpaid stars might get raises, and suggested Chris Sale.
Chris Sale is definitely a star and underpaid, but a similar groundswell to give him just dessert is unlikely to occur. The Sox are not standing athwart unexpectedly rising revenues like the Royals are, and they sure won't be if they don't fix their outfield. Based on their free agent activity and payroll movement, they cannot afford to give Sale a raise, and their ability to remain competitive is staked to having him produce on bargain rates. Even three years of Sale's market value would be worth enough to give him the biggest contract in franchise history (which is in itself an undermarket bargain), and this is a franchise that is cautious about spending around the discount price ace as is. It's not like Salvador Perez catching 400 nights per year is a picture of sustainability, but if an org is going to up the price of their long-term commitment to a pitcher, it's not the one that only recently got past limiting themselves to three-year deals.
Which gets to the largest stumbling block: philosophy. Jerry Reinsdorf has fought against the rising tide of player revenues for decades. That the franchise is one of a handful of teams to never to eclipse a $70 million deal, or that they lagged behind in draft spending until the rules changed, is the farthest thing from an accident. This is not the club that sees Sale making possibly $47.5 million over the next four seasons and views it as a wrong that needs to be righted.
2. Speaking of fixing the outfield, let the Spring Training optimism train begin!
Of course Avisail went opposite field, but production is production...which is also what I said about him during most of the 2015 first half, and...alas.
Todd Steverson spoke up in Avisail Garcia's defense, which he is understandably obligated to do, and did so including stipulations that "The bottom line is, for a player to take it to the next level, he has to be ready. It's up to him," which is reminiscent of the ultimatums given to Dayan Viciedo.
But some of the defenses make it seem like the pro-Avi and anti-Avi-in-a-win-now season will forever be talking past each other. Of course he hasn't burnt out all his potential, of course he hasn't hit his peak years yet, and of course his swing is not geared for the type of power hitting his body type might suggest. The scrutiny that Steverson laments as obscuring roughly acceptable traditional numbers he's produced at a young age, is what reveals that all of Garcia's problems (swing rate, low contact abilities, gaps in plate coverage, inability to tap into his power, defense and baserunning), are all too dire to reasonably expect sufficient recovery to be a useful player. He could take a leap forward, and some team should give him a chance, but not the one that likely has four Chris Sale years left only to make something of themselves.
3. Aroldis Chapaman was given a 30-game suspension for his role in an incident where he allegedly choked his girlfriend, before firing gunshots in his garage while she hid from him in the nearby bushes. His deal, announced alongside a report that he would not appeal, gives a strong vibe of a negotiated compromise.
Being the first suspension under the new domestic violence policy, there's no previous incidents to weigh the punishment for this incident against. 30 games seems like a more serious blow than previously handed down, but is still pretty mild compared to the PED crackdown, and we're still in frontier territory as far as sports leagues acknowledging domestic abuse as an issue to own on their own. There's no model league with which to compare the MLB's response. The lack of charges against Chapman, primarily due to the victim declining to press on with the case, while understandable, obviously weakens the league's ability to suspend him.
Moreover, there's always going to be a gulf between the standard of proof for a league to take action and suspend someone from work, and what we as informed viewers understand about domestic violence in this country. Reporting rates for domestic violence are such that a single incident making it to the police is likely indicative of several other incidents, and instances of strangulation in particular are often a harbinger of more sinister future acts of violence. But that is more background information that should give concern about this situation in the future than something the league can directly reprimand. Which is why I still reserve my admonishment for the Yankees, who could have so easily been one of the 29 teams who didn't tacitly value Chapman's talent over their disgust for his actions, but instead viewed their ability to hold their nose as advantage to exploit against the rest of league.
4. John Danks is still only 30 years-old, but has been working against the grain and dragging himself through starts with a weakened arsenal, that he can say things like he wants to "go out on top," and no one will bat an eye. That the White Sox have suffered a long-term playoff drought and Danks was on the mound for their last two victories with any playoff significance only further cements his old man status.
Danks is pledging to look at his stats and review his tendencies more this year, which is generally commendable, even if his first idea is to try to steal more strikes with that loopy curveball of his, which thrives on surprise to say the least.
5. Attempts to verify what MC Hammer videos Jimmy Rollins has appeared in reached a frustrating impasses Tuesday.
We wish Dan the best in his pursuit of truth and hopefully, screencaps of a tween-age Rollins' visage peeking out behind waves of Hammer pants.
Relatedly, I can think of no more clear representation of Rollins' age and experience, and how bizarre it is that he can still play a passable short in the major leagues than "HE APPEARED IN MC HAMMER VIDEOS."