SAN DIEGO – Carlos Rodón’s market could be the next evidence of free agent inflation. Rodón is another version of Robbie Ray from last year. Both were coming out of the 29 age platform seasons with nearly identical numbers in strokes (Ray was more, 191.1-178), ERA (Ray was slightly lower, 2.84 to 2.88), ERA+ (Edge to Ray, 157-140) and WHIP (Rodon by a small margin, 1.03-1.04).
Ray won the AL Cy Young Award. Rodón finished sixth in the voting for the NL award. Both lefties have reinvented themselves with mechanical changes. Ray signed with Seattle for $115 million over five years. Rodón is aiming higher and in this overcharged market and yanks and dodgers interest, now the question is: how much higher are the numbers getting? No free agent has signed a contract for six years or more since 2019. Rodón and Kodai Senga can go there.
Rodón is a different shooter from when he struggled with injuries and mechanics early in his career. The same man who once lived with fastballs and sliders has proven himself to be a top-notch high-speed ball monster in 2022. Rodón threw more fastballs than anyone else in baseball. It kept its heater averaging 3.05 feet above the ground, averaging 95.5 mph with 2,349 spins. With at least 1,000 players, the most extreme fast pitchers for their average height are: Cristian Javier (3.09), Rodón (3.05) and Justin Verlander (3.03). To give Rodón six years or more is to believe the transformation is sustainable.
• The Cubs made the smart move by giving just 27-year-old Cody Bellinger a one-year chance. They plan to play him in midfield. Just as bad as he was last season, Bellinger was one of three players to hit 19 homers and steal 14 bases while playing midfield last season. Others were Rookie of the Year winners Julio Rodríguez of Seattle and Michael Harris of Atlanta. The last time a Cubs midfielder (100 games minimum) made 20 home runs? Corey Patterson in 2004. Only three Cubs midfielders have hit 25 homers: Hack Wilson (four times), Andy Pafko, and Rick Monday, the last time he did so was in 1973. Wrigley Area: .321/.429/.536.
• Brandon Nimmo’s market is strong, but he fits much better from midfield (with the Yankees, for example) to left field (Blue Jays, giants and rocky mountains). Nimmo played the deepest midfielder in baseball last year to increase his defensive metrics. He went seven feet deeper in midfield and 17 feet deeper than he did in 2019. Nimmo played 14 feet deeper than Bellinger, who played the shallowest midfielder.
• Desperate for power, guards He made a smart buy in the free agency market with Josh Bell. But you’re preparing for inconsistency with Bell. Over the last three full seasons, the batting average difference between the halves of their seasons has been 117 points, 32 points and 69 points.
• Major League Baseball is negotiating with the players’ association to close a loophole in the rules of the game: why are infielders allowed to block bases when catchers are not allowed to block home plate? The two sides are exploring whether the infielders’ practice can be thwarted by kneeling to get the bottom of the sliding sled, a tactic that can be particularly dangerous for runners whose hands slide first. They also take one more step towards clarifying the lane rule running up to stage one, which is a regular source of discussion. They don’t intend to remove it.
• MLB also continues to tighten up protocols for rubbing baseballs with mud before games to reduce the slipperiness of the leather. The changes began in the middle of last season and resulted in baseballs in a more uniform condition. Home team workers rub baseballs. Some did this 24 hours before the game and hid them in big bags. Shooters have found that baseballs used late in the game—those from the bottom of the bag—are often the slipperiest balls because they have dried and dusty scraps of mud from other baseballs, or the bag itself has settled on them.
Last year, MLB recorded a video of how each homemaker rubbed baseballs. He found many techniques and results. MLB has found the only technique it believes works best and has identified it as the new template. The league also limited the process to three hours before the game, limited the baseballs stored in each bag to eight dozen, and ordered the bags to be cleaned regularly—limiting the accidental dry, dusty debris that falls on the baseballs. MLB also distributed photos of three rubbed baseballs in different colors (lightly rubbed, medium, and darker) and set the preferred template towards the darker version. Baseball continues to experiment with more tacky leather and a blasted substance, but no solution comes close to being MLB-ready.
• The Yankees continue to double down on their ground ball savers by bringing back Tommy Kahnle (68% ground player in his junior sampling season with the Dodgers). But Kahnle’s risk is always health. Over eight seasons, he averaged just 36 hits, including just 13 2/3 over the past three years.
• the rangers they’ve done an impressive job of building an experienced roster that ensures core young shooters aren’t forced into the big leagues before they’re ready. Jacob deGrom, Jon Gray, Martín Pérez, Jake Odorizzi, and Andrew Heaney all have five pitchers who hit at least 170 hits in a season.
• The catching market is heating up. this cardinals Like Sean Murphy, Oakland would have wanted Alec Burleson on the return package. Rangers asked about James McCann, who caught the new Ranger Jacob deGrom in New York, as well as free-right Chris Bassitt, who got on their radar before getting Andrew Heaney.