Thursday open thread – 2/7/19

While free agents and owners are at an impasse, dialogue has opened between the players union and the league regarding some potential rule changes. While the merits of curbing the shift, installing a between pitch time clock, limiting September roster sizes and the number of pitchers a team may carry are all up for debate, one big change seems to be inevitable according to many insiders – the National League will eventually adopt the DH. It opens more opportunities for older players and puts owners minds at ease about risking their $30 million ace’s health running the bases. It may not happen this season, but assuming it does, wouldn’t this make the long-term commitment to Robinson Cano just a bit less problematic?

36 comments for “Thursday open thread – 2/7/19

  1. Mike Walczak
    February 7, 2019 at 7:04 am

    I am a National League guy. But after 45 years of having the DH in the American League, I am ready to have it in the NL.

    In the lineup, pitchers are close to an automatic out.

    The DH in the NL would really help the Mets. Cano to DH and insert McNeill.

    It could help Cano, but whether its 500 at bats at DH or at second base, he still has to produce.

  2. February 7, 2019 at 8:29 am

    The newest podcast, with Legend Sports Network’s Mets correspondent Sam Vannozzi, is up and you can listen here:

    • February 7, 2019 at 11:14 am

      I’ll check it out your iTunes podcast page hasn’t updated any Mets360 episodes since January 24th for whatever reason.

      • February 7, 2019 at 11:47 am

        Before I was part of this new network, my podcast host was Cast. I occasionally still do a podcast on Cast and those get pushed through the Cast RSS feed to iTunes and other podcast aggregators. The new network doesn’t push things out in that way, which is why I’m publishing the direct link.

  3. February 7, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Pitchers hitting is embarrassing awful just end it already and bring on the dh. It would be a big help to the Mets this year as Alonso won’t need to play defense and McNeil gets playing time.

    • Name
      February 7, 2019 at 10:50 am

      If you are ok with separating defense and offense, would you like to take it all the way and do it little league style?

      You put 9 players on the field and then you create a whole separate batting order that that don’t have to correspond to the players on the field.

      • Chris F
        February 7, 2019 at 1:02 pm

        Exactly name. Expand rosters to 45 every day. We do it like football. An offensive team, optimized for hitting line up construction and a defensive team to play the field. Naturally a team would carry 20 pitchers for every conceivable count and batter. Furthermore, the roster can change daily without DL considerations. Sounds awesome!!

  4. Michael
    February 7, 2019 at 9:13 am

    I’d rather keep it the way it is. Besides the strategy part I enjoy watching a good hitting pitcher at bat—like Jacob and Syndi. If you’re talking about an ace injuring himself running the bases like NYY Wang, then too bad. Last I looked running is pretty basic in every sport.
    if the DH does come to pass in the NL, Cano would probably do well and would make the last few years of his contract worthwhile. Though it makes me wonder why some AL teams haven’t offered contracts to Machado and Harper.

    • MattyMets
      February 7, 2019 at 9:53 am

      There seems to be a whole lot of 35-year-old outfielders struggling to land contracts. NL DH would open up more jobs and also give teams more flexibility with positional rotations. Hypothetically, if there was a DH in 2019, Cespedes could come back sooner and guys like Ramos and Frazier could keep their bats in the lineup more. And for pitchers who can really hit like Bumgarner or the ones who love it like Syndergaard, they’ll have to hope for pinch hitting chances in blowout games. That will become the next gimic alongside position players pitching.

    • February 7, 2019 at 11:15 am

      You enjoy seeing pitchers kill rallies and coming out of games early?

      • Michael
        February 7, 2019 at 1:18 pm

        Yeah I do, especially when the other team is having the rally. Pitch count is what’s shortening pitchers’ outings.

  5. Chris F
    February 7, 2019 at 9:55 am

    The DH is an embarrassment to the sport. The notion of extending lazy old fat power hitters makes the game look like professional wrestling. I got no time for it. As the game gets more and more granular, Bill James will finally get what he wants: MLB The Show video game, instead of actually playing baseball. The beauty of the the most graceful of all sports is looking less and less watchable every year.

    Some other rules to consider:
    1. Desginated runner to stimulate the speed aspect.
    2. Desginated thrower. Games come to a halt until the ball is transferred to a designated thrower and then it can resume.
    3. Non “true outcome” activity banished. The game would improve if it went entirely to walks, Ks, and HR. In which case, we should recruit Alderson to come back. As a result, any play that involves a player outside Pitcher, Catcher, Batter will be considered as not having had taken place. After 20 pitches with no finality, pitchers and hitters dual at 20 paces with paint guns.

    The DH was a gimmick to begin with…and the song remains the same.

    To steal from the Talking Heads: Lame as it ever was, Lame as it ever was

    • Name
      February 7, 2019 at 10:41 am

      I’m with ya all the way. Bringing the DH to the NL would make me consider wanting to boycott… but then again i already spend little to no money so not sure how much less i can do.

      For me i care about the strategy of the game. DH baseball is straightforward and boring. We saw how badly someone like Callaway – who had no player experience or coaching experience in the non-DH game – struggle with adapting to the more strategic NL game.

    • February 7, 2019 at 11:51 am

      I’m with Chris and Name.

      If you want to watch baseball with the DH, you have that opportunity. Go watch the Yankees or adopt a different AL team. But that’s not my preference at all and this proposal would take the opportunity to watch real baseball away from me.

      • February 8, 2019 at 8:27 am

        Hey Brian! Talking about gimmicks and changes that may be coming to a park near you how about the proposed no shifting allowed? Or a timer on the pitcher? When I was young and we were a player short on our pickup games we would shift the left fielder to right for a lefty and designate LF as an out. A stop watch on the pitchers? But don’t mess around with the 3 minute commercial breaks. Or how about bringing a pitcher to face 3 batters minimum? Talk about a gimmick. I don’t see teams let alone MLBPA agreeing to this. Every pitching change gives you 2 minutes of revenue. As for the DH in the NL the MLPBA would be insane not to accept, Imagine 15 more teams with a 10 million dollar good hitter/no fielder to boost the top 125 player salaries. Adding a 26th man to the roster sounds reasonable but what would the owners want in return?

        • February 8, 2019 at 10:32 am

          As I’ve discussed on the podcast many times – banning the shift is idiotic.

          I’m not a big fan of a timer on the pitcher but of all the ideas tossed about, this one might be the least objectionable. It’s a business, so there are going to be commercials. But the easiest one thing to do is enforce no leaving the batter’s box. You can even combine it with if you wear batting gloves, you’re not allowed to adjust them once you step into the box.

          The 26th man is more important to the union than it is to the owners. The obvious trade is a reduction in the number of players in September.

          • Chris F
            February 8, 2019 at 12:04 pm

            Agree Brian. I dont care if they put every fielder on the mound. Im indifferent to the pitch clock and since its a mainstay of the minors, then most pitchers have or will eventually become used to it.

  6. Brendan Vachris
    February 7, 2019 at 10:38 am

    It seems to me the slowest week in the offseason (and sports in general) is when we discuss the DH in the NL. No free agent is signing, pitchers and catchers haven’t officially reported yet, the Superbowl is over, and basketball and hockey aren’t quite at their playoff pushes. I believe having the DH in the NL would ruin many parts of the National Pastime. It is contrived, gimmicky, and designed to support the most uninspiring part of the game: watching the same old dudes hit a moonshot in maybe 5% of at bats. Every other position from the field enters the batter’s box so why not the pitcher? Yes it’s sometimes an automatic out, but half of a National League manager’s in game job is to avoid that automatic out. It is a strategy. It gives bench players an actual chance to hit with some regularity. And if we are really trying to shorten ball game how would having more home runs help? There is already evidence that the MLB changed the ball in 2015 to result in more home runs, and this talk of introducing the DH in the NL just furthers point that the MLB thinks its fanbase is primitively obsessed with home runs and not at all intrigued by the strategy and focus that goes into “the thinking man’s game.” If I wanted to watch raw strength I’d watch weight lifting, but no one watches weight lifting. It’s boring. Watching Nelson Cruz still have 4 at-bats a game is boring. The NL is one of the few sacred leagues in baseball. Let’s make sure we keep it that way instead of following the lead of the “Junior Circuit.”

  7. Mikeyrad
    February 7, 2019 at 10:39 am

    The universal DH is inevitable. I thought it would be adapted in the NL in 2022, after the new collective bargaining agreement. I’d be shocked if this wasn’t in BVW’s mind when he signed Canó. However, if it’s adapted sooner, the Mets are very well prepared. Who knows, maybe Cespedes can come me back sooner if he doesn’t have to play the field.

    • MattyMets
      February 7, 2019 at 11:05 am

      Chris F – I love your contributions. Part of me agrees with this movement toward a video game simulation. Managers have less control over the game than ever and installing the DH in the NL will continue this trend of leaving the decision making to the front office and their sabermetricians. It will be decided by statisticians and computer game simulations what lineup is best suited to the opposing pitcher, ballpark and weather conditions. I just hope the fun and humanity of the game doesn’t get completely stripped out in my lifetime.

      • Chris F
        February 7, 2019 at 12:54 pm

        I hate to say it Matt, but I think the end of baseball as we knew it is a lot closer than we think. With the next CBA, I think the game will be more memories than active interest. The MLBPA wants all the old guys hanging around.

        Like name said, watching Callaway come into teh NL and be outmanaged by every person on this board tells you he hadn’t seen an NL game in his life. The strategy, plyer deployment, pitching changes, are all real aspects of the game with real consequences, not just for the active game, but for the next few. There is a ton to balance, and watching it be executed professionally is a thing of beauty.

        I’ll tell ya, looking over how hard it is to play this game at the elite level and the number of teams right now that are pretty bad should make the Commissioners office very troubled about proposed expansion as well. Adding more lousy teams will never make the sport look better.

        • February 8, 2019 at 8:39 am

          Chris as others have stated and I agree you need to take away the incentive for losing consecutive years in “rebuilding”. Tampa Bay needs to relocate (San Antonio?). Oakland looks like they may have found their solution. Expanding to 32 teams I ‘m guessing has owners drooling for the expansion fees. Let’s say Vegas and Charlotte? And I’m fairly certain MLPBA would be overjoyed as well. Does MLB then renegotiate their broadcast rights?

  8. February 7, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Pecota projections are out and they have the Mets and Nats in a first place tie

  9. February 7, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Phillies seem close to getting Realmuto but Sixto Sanchez would be a huge asset to give up-I wouldn’t do it if I’m the Phillies

    • MattyMets
      February 7, 2019 at 3:27 pm

      Realmuto has finally been traded. Phillies coughed up a lot to get him

      Meanwhile, the Mets made a smart move and signed Mesoraco to a minor league deal to give us some more catching depth.

  10. TJ
    February 7, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    Agree 100% with Chris, Name, Brian and all others that oppose adulterated baseball or DH for short.

    That said, I do think it is inevitable. I was hoping a roster expansion and some limitations to pitching changes would avoid it, by appeasing the players association and allowing for that Rusty Staub-like veteran PH, but It sounds like that is just California dreaming.

    • Bob P
      February 7, 2019 at 7:42 pm

      I agree as well. It’s not baseball to me. I also realize that it is inevitable as well. What I find odd is that there is consideration to implementing it in the NL now. You would think that teams would want to know something like that prior to making moves in the offseason. I agree that the Mets are probably better positioned than many but I still have a hard time thinking it would go into effect for 2019.

  11. Name
    February 7, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Pretty surprising Mesoraco decided to re-up with the Mets on a minor league deal. Hard to believe someone wasn’t willing to give him a backup job. Doesn’t seem like a good situation for him unless he was given insider info that interest for TDA is strong and has a good chance of being traded.

    • February 7, 2019 at 5:03 pm

      Given how injury prone the Mets top two catchers are Im sure Devin will get playing time

  12. Mike Walczak
    February 7, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    RIP Frank Robinson

    Only player to win an MVP in both leagues.

  13. February 8, 2019 at 12:44 am

    Fascinating that I just had. What if BVW knowing that this change was coming was able to use this in trading for Cano deal to the Wilpons? Exclusive inside knowledge that he had as an agent?

    • MattyMets
      February 8, 2019 at 7:57 am

      Pete, I had the same thought and this might be what made them so starry eyed.

  14. February 8, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    Specific debate on the DH aside, the argument that the NL is playing a Traditional Game that will be unbearably changed by the DH rule is just plain over stated.

    The Game looks almost nothing like the game that was played in the mid and late 60’s, when I became a fan…and the biggest differences have taken place after the dh rule came into place….. I’d say the most massive changes were begun with a changes in “Baseball Game Theory”…first led by Tony LaRussa in his deployment of Dennis Eckersly, beginning in 1987 and 1988. He didn’t invent the reliever, but he began to explore the “specialty” of Closer, questioning many of the assumptions of Pitcher Usage that had been in place for 100 years.

    That was a somewhat controversial move that was not immediately accepted widely—but it imbedded itself in a short period of time. I believe that was the first gigantic analytical hypothesis that became an on field test….. I believe it fostered an avalacned many other “way are we still doing this?” questions…. Bill James and Forward.

    The strategy that you see today, and the Pitching Change Strategy, is not Traditional at all—not in the NL or the AL. It is not the DH that has changed that strategy. Frankly, in 1952, a manager sat mostly alone in the dugout and watched the game without much impact beyond a late Pinch Hitter or reliever choice—just as He did in 1931 and 1969.

    There are more in game baseball decisions being made today than their ever were in “the old days”…frankly, the game is somewhat overwrought with “Manager Moves” and tactics— causing talk of relievers needing to face 3 batters, etc.

    I like the game both ways….. The DH/NonDH is pretty much a settled issue with Fans…from a practical standpoint, I’d prefer the DH.

    Again, with the depth of present in game strategy, the questions of PH/Not PH…dh/non dh are very small issues.

    • TJ
      February 9, 2019 at 7:54 am

      I agree that the game has and will continue to evolve. I appreciate that about sports and life in general.

      That said, there are foundational rules that matter given their standing the test of time. 90 deer to the bases. 3 outs an inning. 4 balls for a walk, 3 for a strikeout. 9 players in the game for each team. Everyone hits in a defined order and everyone plays the field. Once you leave the game you cannot return. Those rules all matter to me…let the game evolve around them. Ultimately, though, it is entertainment and the customers decide.

  15. Eraff
    February 9, 2019 at 8:05 am

    TJ…. nothing has changed the game more than “The Pitching Change”, and the Analytics that support it….before that, the advent of Fences in every park, and better and more frequently changed baseballs, and the opening of the game to all races.

    The Arguments that the “DH Game” is loosing the startegy and tension of a Pitching change decision is most often cited as the reason for keeping Pitchers as active hitters. With or without the DH, we do not lack for pitching changes and in-game strategy and tactics–that’s all increased greatly in the past 50 years, and the past 25 years have been a blur of analytic spurred tactical maneuvers.

    Your argument is a different one, and I respect it—I’m extremely sentimental about most things.

    BTW…game length… Batting Gloves and “The Human Rain Delay”, Mike Hargrove… a true change agent of modern baseball

    • Remember1969
      February 9, 2019 at 8:28 am

      wow. . my exact thought as I was lying in bed last night . .shorten the games up by banning the use of batting gloves … I called it the anti-Nomar Garciaparra rule. .

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