The MLB season may be over after a surprise World Series victory by the Washington Nationals, but teams aren’t taking much of a break. There has already been movement on the front and back lines and plenty more is coming down the pipe. Things are going to get moving quickly and some creative deal-making is certainly in the cards.
One of the big stories is what the Boston Red Sox plan on doing with J.D. Martinez. He announced yesterday that he won’t opt out of a contract worth $110 million, meaning Boston will have to figure out how to cover him. He stays on with three years remaining on a five-year contract, and $62.5 million still waiting to be delivered to him.
The problem is that the Red Sox back office doesn’t have any money. At least, not the kind of money that would make it easy to keep him in the lineup. They team is being forced to cut its payroll and has other contracts that can’t be broken. This means that the team might have to find a new home for Mookie Betts in some sort of trade deal, or see how much money it could get to trade shortstop Xander Bogaerts. The other option would be to get rid of Martinez, but only if someone approaches the Red Sox with deep enough pockets to afford him.
The St. Louis Cardinals may not have made it to the championship this year, even though they made it to the playoffs, but its back office has decided to keep three executives on board. John Mozeliak, the team’s president of baseball operations, just found out that he will be around for at least three more years, and GM Mike Girsch will be with the team until at least 2022 after he picked up two more years to his current stint, which had been scheduled to end next year. Mike Schildt, the team’s manager, also received the same two-year extension.
The Cards are looking at keeping someone else around, too. Adam Wainwright and the team are reportedly in negotiations to sign a new contract and the pitcher was definitely one of the main reasons Arizona went to the NLDS game. He went 14-10, allowing just 181 hits over 171.2 innings. He stuck out 153 batters across his time on the mound this past season and the Cards could be ready to see him repeat his performance next year.
Being a talented free agent usually comes with a hefty price tag. Being one who was named the MVP of the World Series increases that amount exponentially. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals was chosen as the MLB championship series MVP and he announced that he was moving into free agency this past Saturday. However, the Nationals aren’t quite ready to let him go and are said to be working on a deal that would increase the expected $25 million a year to something more substantial.
The MLB is moving toward an artificial game. While there isn’t anything wrong with using the latest technology to enhance the sports experience, letting artificial intelligence run the show makes it a completely different ball game. However, that seems to be the direction the league is headed, as it has announced that automated strike zones are coming to some minor league ballparks next year. That’s only a step toward ultimately seeing robots in place of umps in the big leagues. After that, expect virtual reality bats and balls.