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NEW YORK — The Major League Baseball Players Association is keeping media out of its free-agent training camp at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Union spokesman Chris Dahl said Monday that reporters and photographers will not be allowed to enter the facility, which is open to the approximately 100 players who exercised the right to become free agents in November and remain unsigned. Players are allowed to report Tuesday, a day ahead of the first workout.

Union head Tony Clark declined comment.

Media was allowed at the union’s previous free-agent training camp, in Homestead, Florida, in April 1995 following a 7-plus-month strike.

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Jason Castro, Houston Astros reach agreement on one-year contract, source says

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The Houston Astros have agreed to a one-year contract with catcher Jason Castro, a source confirmed to ESPN.

The deal brings Castro back to Houston, where he spent his first six major league seasons and was an All-Star in 2013.

Castro finished the 2020 season with the San Diego Padres following a trade by the Los Angeles Angels in August. The 33-year-old appeared in 27 games between the two teams during the shortened season, hitting .188 with two home runs and nine RBIs.

He has been a below-average hitter throughout his career, with a .230 batting average, but has been lauded for his pitch-framing and blocking skills.

The Athletic first reported on the agreement.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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What pitching every fourth day would mean for Trevor Bauer and the team that signs him

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So often, when you reference the big numbers of a pitcher from baseball’s past, you are dealing with results that have no modern relevance. They certainly have little use as a signpost for what some present-day hurler might do. Things have changed too much.

There are some obvious examples of that which come up in a records-never-to-be-broken debate, like Cy Young’s 511 wins or 749 complete games, figures compiled during baseball’s mythical-sounding past. You don’t even have to go back that far. The post-World War II record for innings pitched in a season was set less than 50 years ago: Wilbur Wood threw 376⅔ innings in 1972, edging out the 376 mark set the season before by Mickey Lolich.

What makes those kind of numbers seem so fantastical now is how impossible it feels that we’ll ever see anything like them again. And that’s not necessarily because a pitcher couldn’t do it. It’s more because through endless iterations of team-building strategies over the years — a process that has sped up exponentially over the past couple of decades because of technological innovation — organizations have realized it’s not smart to have pitchers even try for numbers like that. It’s not smart for exacting maximum value from the pitcher, and it’s not smart for winning games.

Enter Trevor Bauer: “Allowing me to pitch every fourth game is priority No. 1. Unfortunately I can’t accept less money for that because it affects future players and markets as a whole.”

That tweet, from Bauer to a fan, is more than two years old. It wasn’t the earliest incidence of him proclaiming his desire to become an every-fourth-day pitcher and it wasn’t the last. The idea on the surface of it seems like a lark. After all, such workhorses are long extinct in the big leagues and to revive them would entail the wealth-infused madness of a real-life John Hammond, of “Jurassic Park” fame. Right?



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Mike Sadek, former San Francisco Giants catcher, dies at 74 after illness

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SAN FRANCISCO — – Mike Sadek, a popular backup catcher who played all eight of his major league seasons with the San Francisco Giants, has died. He was 74.

The team announced Sadek died Wednesday in San Andreas, California, following a short illness.

Sadek was a .226 career hitter with five home runs and 74 RBIs in 383 big league games from 1973-81.

San Francisco selected Sadek in the 12th round of the 1966 amateur draft, but he opted to return to the University of Minnesota. The Twins then chose him in the fifth round the following year before the Giants picked him in the December 1969 Rule 5 Draft.

At age 26, he made his major league debut on April 13, 1973, and spent parts of eight seasons with San Francisco. His 64 games in 1980 were a career high.

Sadek went on to work in the club’s community relations department from 1981-99 before retiring.

“Mike was a Forever Giant in every sense of the term,” Giants CEO Larry Baer said in a statement. “He spent nearly 30 years in the Giants organization between his time as a player and his role as a member of the front office. He had a genuine love for the game and was known for getting a laugh out of his teammates when they needed it the most. Our condolences go out to the Sadek family for their loss and we extend our thoughts to his teammates and friends.”

Sadek was born May 30, 1946, in Minneapolis.

He is survived by his son, Mike Jr., daughter-in-law, Melanie, and grandchildren Jackson, Nicholas and Maxwell. Sadek was preceded in death by his daughter, Nicole.

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