Baseball season is starting to loom large on the horizon. Catchers and pitchers are already going at it in training camps in Florida and Arizona in preparation for what we all hope will be a successful and robust MLB season. As everything gets going, there’s a lot of activity taking place across the league, with much more to come.
Empty Stadiums Likely To Endure
The season should include fans in the stands and concerns about pandemics behind us. However, with the COVID-19 crisis showing no signs of letting up yet and vaccinations already falling behind schedule, it looks like we will be listening to piped-in crowd noises for a while longer.
This is also the time when MLB front offices across the country are wheeling and dealing to get their final roster pieces in place before the season gets underway. Quite a few good baseball players are not quite sure as yet just where they are going to end up for the season.
Tatis Sets MLB Record
In one of their biggest offseason moves ever, the San Diego Padres have contracted super-star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. to a 14-year contract worth a reported $340 million. Tatis joins Manny Machado as one of the Padres big-time, long-term investments in the future in their stated quest to keep up with, and even surpass, the rival LA Dodgers.
Despite having had a terrible year in 2020, New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone declined to put Gary Sanchez on the trading block. He is now looking to split duties behind the plate between Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka, who was looking very much like Gerrit Cole’s preference as a catcher in 2020. Such is the Yankees’ faith in Sanchez that they even gave him a pay raise up to $6.35 million for the 2021 season.
Blue Jays Fly South
As yet another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Toronto Blue Jays will be playing their home games down in Dunedin, FL, until the path is cleared for the required international travel that the team must endure each year. The Toronto Raptors of the NBA are in a similar situation, now locating themselves temporarily out of Tampa.
In a bitter-sweet announcement, former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow is hanging up his cleats and leaving MLB for good.
The New York Mets are once again showing renewed interest in pitcher Taijuan Walker. Although the two sides have as yet to come to any terms, they have engaged in extensive discussions.
Posey Posts A Giants Comeback
Buster Posey has been the face of the San Francisco Giants for over ten years now. He sat out the 2020 season due to family concerns, but has announced that he will be back on the Giants roster for perhaps his last season in professional baseball in 2021.
The Giants have also announced the signing of former Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez to a $4-million deal that could amount to as much as $6.5 million.
La Russa’s HOF Spot Safe
When legendary MLB manager Tony La Russa accepted the position of new manager for the Chicago White Sox during the offseason, it surprised a lot of people. Even more surprising was the one condition that he laid down before accepting the job. La Russa first had to check with the guys at the National Baseball Hall of Fame to confirm that his status as an inductee would not be revoked if he returned to managing. It won’t.
Nolan Arenado’s deal, when he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals from the Colorado Rockies, included two different opt-out clauses, just in case. Now, the All-Star third baseman seems to have found a new home in St. Louis and has announced that he is very unlikely to be leaving the Cards anytime soon.