MLB 2022: The Return of the Ghost Runner

NPB seems like a lot of fun

Yeah, Japan and Korea are allowed to have fun with the sport. Zis is strictly verboten here.

The best part about Big Boss’ entrance? His team was the road team!

Per multiple sources now, Cardinals are finalizing a 1-year deal with Albert Pujols to be a righthanded DH.

He and Yadi and Waino going to try riding off into the sunset together. We’ll see how this works. I’m imagining all three out for the season with injuries by Flag Day.

The injury thing was basically my speculation while texting with my brothers this morning. As a fan I think it’s great regardless of how much any of them are actually able to contribute to the team this year.

I always like to see guys end out with their primary franchise and with the universal DH I think it’s a fun thing to see. He raked against lefties last year but hadn’t been great against them the previous couple years. Probably doesn’t really move the needle on the field but definitely does for fan enjoyment which is important too.

Anyone else surprised that Michael Conforto hasn’t been signed yet?

Kris Bryant signed a 7 year/$180 million contract and if you look at him vs. Conforto over the last three years, they are basically the same hitter (.266/.360/.845 versus .259/.365/.824). Conforto is a year younger, and now that Bryant will be mostly playing in the outfield, a better fielder.

What am I missing?

Conforto was a ~1 WAR player last year, has a qualifying offer attached, missed time due to injury, and is potentially unvaccinated.

I think those are all possible reasons why he hasn’t signed a long, big-dollar deal. I don’t think they explain why he hasn’t signed at all. Why no 2-year, $15m per year deal with an opt-out or something? Either his agent has convinced him to hold out for a deal that isn’t coming or there’s something else going on. Honestly, I have a hard time believing that his vaccination status is playing a role with many teams.

His vaccination status makes him a tough sell to the AL East and a no-go for Toronto. The QO and loss of draft pick make a short “prove it” deal much less enticing to teams who may otherwise be willing to take a flyer on him.

His agent is Scott Boras so I’m sure this is part of it. Word is he was looking for a long deal pre-lockout and teams seem to agree he isn’t worth it. He’d be a decent fit here in Cleveland (vax views aside) if the Dolans weren’t allergic to spending money.

I honestly thought at first glance that the Pujols deal was one of those “signs for a day so he can retire a Cardinal” deals.

Uh, good luck with that, trig.

Ya the qualifying offer is why he may sit until the season starts. He’s one of those guys that you think will have a breakout season any minute and then gets hurt again… Travis D’arnaud was like that for them too. TD has been somewhat useful for the Braves, but is still injured by a stiff breeze every other week.

If this was the 90s, I would have agreed, but pitchers are a lot more inept now to where pitcher success hitting (non-Ohtani division) is too rare.

Then again, Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz were all good-hitting (relatively) pitchers, and that’s what I grew up with. Watching Soroka tear his Achilles running the bases, or Folty and his .020 batting average changed my mind.

I hate the ghost runner rule, but I’d be fine with ruling games a draw after 12 innings in regular season.

American baseball needs to loosen up, but that will be a tough sell as long as the fanbase and marketing keeps catering to upper-class white folk. The Cobb county stadium was kinda a last straw for me.

My solution to the defensive shift rule, perhaps teams would be allowed to shift, but if a single happens on an infield hit, all runners get an extra base. That would encourage bunting for hits against the shift, and bunts for singles, especially from sluggers, are fun. Brian McCann doing bunt singles as one of the slowest guys in baseball was hilarious.

I’m pretty convinced that, like Trevor Story, Conforto would get vaccinated (if he’s not already) pretty quick if someone met his asking price.

Up until recently, it looked like a problem for anyone playing in NY and that just resolved. Traveling to play the Blue Jays is still an issue. Not a huge one but narrows down his best fit because you’re losing him for 9 games in the AL East.

He turned down 18.4M for this year and he supposedly turned down something over $100M in the past (these reports are hard to completely trust but it seems likely he turned down a deal he now would want to have). I think a lot of times when guys really misjudge the market they hang around for a long time hoping that something better materializes. I’m sure he’s been given offers by teams but hasn’t liked one so far.

Bryant had a much better 2021, can play an acceptable 3B, and generally has been a better batter across his career, so I don’t think he’s much of a comp.

Eh, he’s strictly a DH versus lefties, and we’ll see if he can even do that.

I’d imagine that as needed, Albert will develop “muscle spasms” in his back and go on extended DL trips for most of the summer and then take a few token ABs in September before calling it quits with a .140 average.

That sounds about right. Just a nice way to send him off on his old team. Watching him try to run to first base may be one of the most painful things in sports, but there’s zero risk in this move.

As opposed to striking out or hitting a weak grounder, yes.

Some content from new Mariners. First, Jesse Winker (the second voice is play-by-play announcer Aaron Goldsmith)

Second, probably one of the better athlete interviews I’ve ever seen. It’s 19 minutes but worth the time. I’m a huge Sergio Romo fan now, notwithstanding the fact that he’s one of the few players within a decade of my age.

It goes through the signing, his mindset, quite a bit about his past with the Giants for you SF fans, and his relationship with a young Mexican fireballer on the Mariners, Andres Munoz. Context for the latter half of the interview: Robbie Ray “bought” Anthony Misciewicz’s number after he signed, and Romo did the same with Munoz.