Right Field

Reveille 1/20/15

Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday Tuesday at the office a bit more bearable:

A year ago, Steinbrenner chose to blow past the $189-million luxury tax threshold after cautioning for months that it was a goal and not a mandate. But the Yankees still failed to make the playoffs, despite handing out nearly $500 million in new contracts, and Steinbrenner insisted Wednesday that the Yankees’ efforts to get younger — with a more flexible payroll — are a necessity moving forward.

“You don’t have to have a $200-million payroll to win,” Steinbrenner said. “Particularly in New York, we do have to have marquee players. Players that people really want to come out to see, that they’re excited about. But you got to have a balance of young talent, too.

“We had a couple bad years in our player development system where we just didn’t have anybody coming to help. Now we do. Now they’re starting to come.”

  • When the Cardinals and Cubs meet at Wrigley Field on the evening of April 5, no fans of either team will sit above the outfield walls. According to Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago, the bleacher renovations won’t be ready by Opening Night, as Cubs management had hoped. The new target date is May 11, when the Mets arrive for a series on the North Side.
  • Jeff Zimmerman of Hardball Times urges new commish Rob Manfred to consider expansion. Among the reasons is the need to boost the currently anemic run-scoring environment:

Run production has dropped from from a steroid-era high of 5.1 runs per game per team in 2000 to 4.1 last season. Pitching is now the dominant force in the game. The last four times the majors expanded, runs increased as the pitching talent was spread thinner. Looking at the two seasons before an expansion of teams and the two seasons after, the average increase in runs scored per game was a third of a run. Without expansion and if things remain static, scoring will likely go even lower as pitching talent becomes more and more concentrated.

The current run environment is not horrible, but what if it gets even lower? Strikeouts are boring. They help to win games, but they make for a horrible viewing experience. Everyone digs the long ball. Maybe MLB will do something like lower the mound again or allow aluminum bats or shrink the out of control strike zone, but the concentration of talent will still exist. It is time to spread baseball out some more.

That’s it. Have a walk-off week.

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