Things are very quiet with labor issues hanging over MLB. So lets start a new area for covering any oddball topics as they are bleeding into the prospects.
With Labor issues things are at a standstill as owners and players wait to see who blinks. What I personally would like but won't happen...
- Age based free agency instead of experience - age 28 or something like that. If signed as a teen you get it a year earlier. Removes all incentive to hold a guy down for a minute longer than needed
- Partial luxury tax exemption for guys who are developed by a team (IE: players who were with your organization from the day they reached the majors are only counted 50% towards luxury tax) to encourage teams to keep guys longer. We all love to see players stick with an organization for most of their careers.
- Restricted free agency at a younger age, 3 years earlier than full free agency (so age 25 for example) with stiff penalties if signed and right of first refusal for the original team. IE: 5 draft picks (top 2 for 2 years, top year 3) and 10% of the contract value paid to the team losing a player (on top of the salary the player gets). That way young stars get paid quicker, but a team that loses them (Oakland/Tampa) get a great boost to their farm in exchange.
- International draft instead of free agency for non-US/Canadian players. Start at age 17 instead of 16.
- Reverse draft - top team out of play offs gets #1 pick, down to worst team getting to pick just before playoff teams do for rounds 1-3. Kills the incentive to lose in order to stock the farm, rewards teams that try to compete even if they can't win.
- Have a pool to help small markets keep their stars (up to 50% covered by central fund for top 2 salaries for guys developed by an organization if your team is in a 'small market').
- Expanded playoffs to 14 teams (gotta give the owners something they really want)
- Universal DH - as much as I used to like watching pitchers hit it can be limited to Ohtani and the oddball 'oops' case where a team needs to use their DH in the field
- Assorted rule changes - bigger bases (increase stolen bases hopefully), limit to pick off throws (I think 2 or 3 max was proposed with any past that to a runner being an automatic base unless you get him), a universal sticky tack that is allowed, all others banned, roboumps for ball-strikes, expanded challenges as TV catches almost everything now, more microphones on the field for fun for TV (could be very embarrassing for some but I love it when it happens as you often get great TV out of it). Wouldn't mind a deader/heavier ball to cut home runs and increase balls in play (heavier to reduce the speed it is thrown at thus making contact easier).
I think that covers a lot of core issues. I'm sure many will disagree with these, but it is fun to discuss. My goal is a more fun game (more balls in play, more stolen bases) with players staying with their home team longer. I loved Molitor as a Jay back in '93 but he was a Brewer and should've stayed that way IMO. For current players - I hope Mike Trout never leaves Anaheim, Kershaw belongs in LA, Votto with the Reds, Freeman with Atlanta, Longoria being with someone other than Tampa still seems wrong to me.
Hall of Fame....
To be announced on January 25th - only 4 guys have any real shot - via 2022 BBHOF Tracker
- Oritz at 83.8%, Bonds 77.5%, Clemens 76.3, Rolen 69.4%. Two ex-Jays, but few really think of them that way I suspect.
Note: Curt Schilling (drove us nuts in the1993 World Series) dropped badly from over 70% last year to 60.1% so far this year - he asked to be removed from Hall of Fame ballot
but was denied. Seems a lot of writers (23 so far) decided 'fine, he can wait then'. Another noteworthy one is ex-Jay Omar Vizquel who also has a drastic drop - from 46.4% last year to 11% right now - he has lost 43 votes so far (guys who voted for him last time who didn't this time) without a single gain. Only 2 other returning players didn't gain a single voter - Andy Pettitte (down 8), and Tori Hunter (down 4). Everyone returning lost at least one voter from their total, adding the most is a tie at 15 for Billy Wagner (up to 48%) and 15 for Andruw Jones (up to 49.1%) - both also lost voters though or they'd be over 50%. Right now I'd bet on Ortiz getting in, but no one else. A-Rod btw is at 41% (skip PED's and he'd be at 90%+ I suspect).
Jays on the ballot: Clemens 76.3% (final year), Rolen 69.4%, Buhrle 5.2%, Kent 30.6%, Vizquel 11%. Canadian: Justin Morneau 1 vote, Child of ex-Jay: Prince Fielder 0 votes (feeling a bit old - I remember his dad coming up to the Jays in '85).
Jays hire a woman as a hitting coach in minors...
Jaime Vieira was hired to be a hitting coach - most likely in Dunedin. The Athletic has a nice article about it
. As a teen in Georgetown she had to get spinal surgery which killed her softball career so she went into coaching and found she loved it. Earned a degree in Sports Science with her key being a project analyzing swings and what muscles were used for the strongest swings. She joined the Jays as an intern at first - always gotta start at the bottom - and as it was ending she applied for this job and got it. I love the deep analysis she has done in muscles and how they work to improve ones swing. Hopefully we see some good things in Dunedin this year.
MLB in Montreal...
MLB has said no to having Montreal get a chunk of Tampa's games - Rays owner: MLB nixing Montreal plan 'deflating'
. Sigh. Hopefully the other rumor, that Montreal & Nashville are the favorites for expansion teams via Bob Nightengale
, is true and why this was killed. Ideally a new labor agreement would include expansion and realignment so the Jays & Expos could be in a division with teams like Detroit instead of sharing with the Yankees/Red Sox/Tampa. One can dream.
I'm sure there is other baseball news out there. Lets see everyone's opinions on this stuff and more.