If nothing else, the Seattle Mariners’ early arrival for spring training will give them a little more meet-and-greet time.
With Mariners pitchers and catchers scheduled to report Monday in Peoria, Ariz., here are five things to watch this spring.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says management is focused on pace-of-game changes for 2019 and bolder ideas proposed by players such as expanding the designated hitter to the National League are too complicated to be put in place for this season. Manfred is encouraged the players’ association responded to management’s proposal for a pitch clock and a three-batter minimum for a relief pitcher unless an inning ends.
Frank Robinson, the only player to earn the MVP award in both leagues, died Thursday at 83. He had been in failing health and in hospice care at his home in Bel Air, California. Major League Baseball said he was with family and friends at the time.
Major League Baseball and its players are discussing bold changes to spark the sport. They include a three-batter minimum before a pitching change except at the start of an inning, a single trade deadline set before the All-Star break and expanded rosters. The union renewed its push to extend the designated hitter to the National League. It also suggested amateur draft incentives for winning records and penalties for losing records and proposed a change in service-time rules.
Major League Baseball says its independent investigation found no credible evidence to support claims of disparaging comments and discriminatory treatment by members of the Seattle Mariners front office. MLB released a statement saying the investigation found the Mariners did not violate baseball’s “workplace code of conduct, or applicable anti-discrimination law,” in the treatment of Lorena Martin or in her termination by the club.
Didi Gregorius isn’t willing to estimate when he will return to the field for the New York Yankees. The shortstop is recovering from surgery last October to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. New York added DJ LeMahieu and Troy Tulowitzki to shore up its infield during Gregorius’ absence.
After missing postseason play for the past three seasons, the St. Louis Cardinals believe they’ve struck gold with Paul Goldschmidt in their quest to play into October. St. Louis acquired the slugging first baseman from the Arizona Diamondbacks in December for pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, minor league infielder Andy Young and a 2019 draft pick.
Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa and Tampa Bay outfielder Tommy Pham have won their salary arbitration cases. The decisions gave players a 3-1 lead over teams in cases this winter. Correa was awarded a $5 million salary, rather than the $4.25 million offered by the Astros. Pham will get $4.1 million instead of the $3.5 million offered by the Rays.
Pitcher Danny Farquhar has agreed to a minor league contract with the New York Yankees after recovering from a ruptured aneurysm and brain hemorrhage sustained while pitching for the Chicago White Sox last April. A right-hander who turns 32 on Feb. 17, Farquhar collapsed in the White Sox dugout last April 20 after pitching in the sixth inning against Houston. He had surgery the next day and was hospitalized until May 7. Doctors said they expected him to make a full recovery.
Thursday marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jackie Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier, and this is how media covered Jackie Robinson’s debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.
Nolan Arenado and the Colorado Rockies have agreed to a $26 million deal to avoid arbitration, the largest one-year salary for an arbitration-eligible player. Josh Donaldson set the previous mark with a $23 million salary with Toronto last season. The 27-year-old Arenado was set to pass that record even if he went to arbitration. Arenado asked for $30 million earlier this month, while the Rockies offered $24 million.
The Texas Rangers will use specially designed synthetic playing surface rather than grass in their new retractable-roof stadium that opens in 2020. Texas’ decision will make the Rangers the fourth of the 30 major league teams to use artificial turf. Toronto’s Rogers Centre and Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field have had artificial turf since they opened, and Arizona’s Chase Field is switching from grass to turf this season. MLB has a high of 10 artificial surfaces, in 1977-78 and again from 1982-94.
Edgar Martinez finally got to celebrate his Hall of Fame election in the place he called home for his entire career. Martinez spent last week being honored on the East Coast with a whirlwind of commitments. The Mariners couldn’t wait to revel with Martinez in the Pacific Northwest. Martinez was back in Seattle on Tuesday, walking into T-Mobile Park on a red carpet to be feted by the only franchise he ever played for.
Relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia, allowed back into baseball after a lifetime ban caused by three positive drug tests, has agreed to a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox. If added to the 40-man roster, the 29-year-old Dominican right-hander would receive a one-year contract at a rate of $625,000 while in the major leagues. Mejia will report to Boston’s minor league spring training camp. Boston closer Craig Kimbrel became a free agent and the Red Sox are reorganizing their bullpen.
Reliever Hunter Strickland and the Seattle Mariners have finalized a $1.3 million, one-year contract.
Mike Mussina will not have a team logo on the cap of his Hall of Fame plaque. The Hall announced the decision three days after Mussina was elected. Mussina spent his first 10 seasons with Baltimore and his last eight with the New York Yankees. The Hall says the decision was made after consultation with Mussina and his family.
The swoosh is expected to be on the front of Major League Baseball uniforms starting in 2020. Nike will take over from Majestic Athletic as Major League Baseball’s uniform supplier for the 2020 season. The swoosh logo likely will move to a more prominent position on jersey fronts. The Majestic logo is currently on the sleeve. The 10-year deal replaces an agreement announced in 2016 for Under Armour to succeed Majestic.
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto and director of player development Andy McKay have strongly denied allegations from the team’s former high performance director that they disparaged Latino players. Dipoto and McKay reiterated the team’s stance that Lorena Martin is fabricating claims against members of the front office. Major League Baseball is investigating the accusations, which included a post on social media that stated Dipoto and McKay had called Latino players “stupid.”
Free-agent outfielder A.J. Pollock and the Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to a $55 million, four-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The 31-year-old outfielder hit .257 last year with 21 home runs, 65 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 113 games for NL West rival Arizona. He will fill a void created when the Dodgers traded outfielders and right-handed hitters Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to Cincinnati for a pair of prospects in December.
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