Thearon W. Henderson
Today's B&B looks at the proposed change to the NPB posting system for players, the A's donating a playoff share to charity, Indians President Mark Shapiro telling his fans that they shouldn't come to Progressive Field, some Fort Myers drama involving the Twins, Red Sox, and Nationals, and the amazing coincidence that the winning $580 million Powerball ticket matched the jersey numbers of some famous Kansas City Royals.
The Winter Meetings are nearly here, and with that we can expect to see some more transactions coming for what has been a fairly slow start to the offseason. Well, at least if you're a Twins fan and you're comparing this offseason to last, in which the Twins had already signed Jamey Carroll and Ryan Doumit at this time. However, the Twins are pledging to be aggressive in Nashville, which hopefully means that they'll continue to step out of their comfort zone and find a pitcher that does more than pitch to contact and fail to strike out 6 per 9 innings. (Believe it or not, but Brandon McCarthy actually does pitch to contact and strike out fewer than 6 per 9).
- MLB and Japan's NPB are looking at changing the posting system after the 2013 season. Currently, when an NPB team posts a player to make the move over to America, MLB teams submit blind bids with the NPB team selecting the highest bid. The MLB team that had its bid chosen then gets 2 weeks to exclusively negotiate with the player. However, in this system, most of the money the MLB team spends often goes to the team, and then the player is limited with how much he can earn. The new idea is to make the MLB bids open, so that the teams can see how much everyone is offering. This way, teams won't need to blow their budget on the posting fee, and limit how much they can give the player. Additionally, this change would theoretically increase the chances that the NPB team can keep the posting fee after a successful post, as a player that fails to sign a contract with an MLB team returns to Japan and the NPB team refunds the posting fee.
- After the playoffs, MLB distributed $65 million in postseason shares to the playoff teams, and that included $2.1 million going to the Oakland Athletics. Outfielder Jonny Gomes (now signed with the Boston Red Sox) decided to put one of the A's shares to better use by donating it to charity. The share, worth nearly $35,000, went to 8 charities, including the Hurricane Sandy Relief, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the United Way. To a major league player, that may not seem like much, but that right there is my entire teaching salary, and I'm sure that all of the charities are grateful for the several thousand dollars or more that they just received on behalf of the A's.
- Cleveland Indians President Mark Shapiro said one of the ballsiest things I've ever heard from a team's executive to a fan base: "Don't come." Yep, in response to an email from an annoyed season ticket holder that said he would only renew his tickets if the Indians started winning, Shapiro responded on the radio by saying that the fan might as well not even show up. Shapiro later clarified his statement, but he did not change his story at all, as he added that, "Baseball has to mean more than just being a fan when you win." For as abrasive as Shapiro's attitude may be towards that fan, I'm in full agreement. Even though the Twins have been bad the past 2 years, I've still enjoyed working games and watching them on TV. You can't say that Josh Willingham's 35 HR meant nothing because the Twins didn't have a winning season. Willingham was fun to watch. Trevor Plouffe's explosion in the middle of the year was fun to watch. Sam Deduno, Cole De Vries, and Scott Diamond were fun to watch, and yet the Twins lost 96 games. I really dislike bandwagon fans, and as I said before, I agree with Shapiro.
- The Twins make their spring training home in Fort Myers, FL along with the Red Sox, and there's a possibility that they might have to share the town with another team. The Washington Nationals, who currently reside in Viera on the east coast of Florida during February and March, would like to move into the Red Sox's recently vacated City of Palms Park, which they left prior to last season to move into JetBlue Park. The main reason is that Viera is at least a 75 min. drive away from the nearest spring training homes, and moving to Fort Myers would obviously cut down on travels with the Twins and Red Sox being nearby. This will be something to keep an eye on throughout the next year or so.
- Speaking of Fort Myers, Mayor Randy Henderson regrets helping the Red Sox build JetBlue Park. With Hammond Stadium (Twins), JetBlue Park (Red Sox), and City of Palms Park (vacant), Lee County will be paying over $400 million for the next 32 years to pay off the three complexes. That's a big reason why the city would like the Nationals to move into City of Palms Park, as the added tourism would offset some of the costs the county owes.
- Finally, you may have been aware of the large Powerball jackpot from a couple days ago. Amazingly, the winning numbers all matched the jersey numbers of former Kansas City Royals players, including 5 (George Brett), 16 (Bo Jackson), 22 (Dennis Leonard), 23 (Mark Gubicza), 29 (Dan Quisenberry), and the Powerball of 6 (Willie Wilson). It's not like these are random players either, as all except Bo Jackson are in the Royals Hall of Fame, and at least to me, Jackson's name is far more recognizable than Leonard, Gubicza, and Wilson. Alas, this fantasy is nothing more than a fantasy, as it turns out that the winning ticket's numbers were randomly chosen.