I’m experimenting with writing writing a column entitled “The Big Three” on this blog every day or once every other day, highlighting the three (or four if I’m in a good mood) stories. These may be interesting opinion articles, Tweets, stories, or anything that I feel is worth your attention. Well, here goes…
Major League Baseball just got a little more popular among NBA fans today, as they signed a five-year labor deal that will give them 21 straight years of labor peace, something none of the other three major sports (if you call hockey a major sport) can say. Some of the highlights include:
- Addition of one Wild Card team per league
- Astros will move to the AL in 2013
- Non-stop interleague play starting in 2013
- No more Type A/ Type B free agents
- Taxes on teams that over-spend in the draft
The changes are very extensive, addressing some “minor” issues like players attending All-Star games and maple bats. However, they also addressed some very important issues, like overspending in the draft. Teams who can spend have gained an unfair advantage by driving up bonuses. They also added value to the division title, which seems to have decreased in the past years, especially in the American League. Now, teams will want to fight until the end for the division to avoid a one-game playoff as a Wild Card team. Overall, I think they could have addressed more, but they got a deal done, and that’s really all that matters right now.
With the Joe Nathan signing last night with the Rangers, the free agent pool got a little bit smaller for the Mets, who are desperately looking for a cheap closer. Last night, I got very frustrated with the Mets over their lack of aggressiveness. At just two-years, $14.5 million, the Mets could have picked up one of the most, if not the most proven closer out there. He may have been just a little too expensive for the Mets, but sometimes you have to overspend a bit to get consistency at a position. I think Sandy made a bad move by not pushing to get Nathan to come to New York. Luckily, he didn’t sign with a rival, so Nathan’s signing with the Rangers won’t directly hurt them.
Lastly, speaking of big free agents, the Mets reportedly signed outfielder Adam Loewen today to a minor league deal. Loewen, once a pitcher, has seen his home run total, batting average, on-base percentage, and doubles improve every year since he was converted into an outfielder, until finally being called up with the Blue Jays last year. Loewen doesn’t have much big league (just 39 career PA), but is a cheap option as a fifth outfielder. The Mets are clearly desperate to catch lightning in a bottle with Loewen. Loewen hit .306 with 17 home runs and 83 RBI last year with Triple-A Las Vega.
What to watch for this week: The Red Sox managerial search ,ay very well end some time this week, and former Met manager Bobby Valentine seems to be a favorite. Valentine managed the Mets to a 536-467 record over parts of seven seasons from 1996-2002. He also led the Rangers to a 581-605 record over parts of eight seasons in the 80s and 90s.