Greetings from the Blizzard

I’m hunkered down, weathering the second big blizzard to hit OK in 3 days. Hope y’all are safe and warm.

It seems like spring and baseball are many months away, yet players are reporting this week, and the season is still projected to go off on time pandemic or no. Some teams have announced limited fan attendance too, so we’ll see I guess. As a medical person, I was near the front of the line to get the vaccine (Pfizer in my case) but many are still waiting, and I don’t plan to cavalierly put myself into a stadium even a quarter full of people yet.

Still there are some sure signs of spring. Arbitration cases are being heard. The teams are 4-3 vs the players so far. The pandemic is affecting how those run too—the cases are being done via Zoom. There are a lot of minor league and low-cost major league signings going on too, along with some trades—again mostly of the minor variety.

One signing of note: Justin Turner returned to the Dodgers, signing for two years and $34M. He’s 36, so it’s an open question if he’ll be able to sign another multiple year deal…or want to. He’s still productive, hitting.307/.400/.460.

Andrew Benintendi got traded from Boston to Kansas City in a three team deal otherwise involving journeymen and prospects. After being an integral part of their run to the 2018 WS run, he regressed, and he had a bad season last year. He’s still young, so he could turn that around. A good start would be to realize he’s best off as a contact hitter and quit trying to be a slugger, especially with Kaufman being his home field now. Playing in the Midwest less than 250 miles north of where he went to college might be more comfortable for him too.

Cooperstown will not get the financial bonanza from the HoF induction after all. Induction will be done in July, but it will be indoors. Thus no crowd of tens of thousands excited to pay re2pect to Derek Jeter. Only Christmas season rivals induction week for the local economy. Losing out two years in a row has to be rough for them.

ESPN’s minor league rankings are out. The Rays garnered 9 of the top 100 prospects, including #1 Wander Franco. 7 of them were up-the-middle position players, every one a good defender and versatile. The other two were pitchers. The Rays, unsurprisingly, also had the #1 overall farm system. Who knows if that will ever translate to a WS, but don’t expect them to disappear from the top half of the division any time soon.

Tim Tebow was again invited to the Mets big league camp. Tebow, however, is retiring from baseball instead. Many did not think he would get to AAA and clearly wasn’t major league material.

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