NL Ratings: Giants, Chipper, Freeman, Cactus League
With the implementation of a Universal DH increasingly likely, NBC Sports’ Alex Pavlovic took a look to how Gabe Kapler’s Giants might handle the new position after the lockout. Pavlovic extrapolates from the team’s use of the DH position in interleague play and in 2020 that the team would rather use the DH position as a chance to bolster the roster attack, not give a quasi-off day to a player in a regular position. As a result, the resurgence Darin Ruf could see his playing time increase as his defensive limitations have prevented him from being a true mainstay in Kapler’s starting card.
With lots of payroll flexibility and a few Kris Bryant and Buster Posey-sized holes in the lineup, however, the possibility remains that the Giants splurge on a big bat to take the lion’s share of DH reps. Pavlovic speculates that free agents Kyle Schwarber Where Joc Pederson could fill the new position, due to their generally high numbers with the advantage of the peloton and connections to the team’s senior executives. If the team passes on either left-handed batter, as well as their Seiya Suzuki pursuit or a Bryant reunion, a right-handed power bat could be signed to claim the DH spot. Nelson Cruz and Nick Castellanos remain open market options for a team looking to maintain their strong offensive performance in 2021, with the advantage of the DH position eliminating the need for either to adapt in Oracle’s vast outfield Park.
Some baseball news from across the league…
- Braves Hall of Fame third baseman and site friend chipper jones appeared on the Dukes & Bell podcast to offer some commentary on the other brave Freddie Freemanextended stay in the free agent market. Jones posits that Freeman is “probably a little frustrated [an extension wasn’t reached] at spring training last year” and acknowledges (correctly) that non-Atlanta teams also court the first baseman. Of note, however, for Atlanta fans is Chipper’s comment that he and Freeman often talked about the latter’s place in Atlanta history and how his potentially retired number would slip between the Atlanta icons. Dale Murphy and Bobby Cox.
- Count Arizona city managers as another group taking issue with baseball’s delayed start to spring training. Bill Shakin of the Los Angeles Times documents how the MLB lockdown has negatively impacted Cactus League baseball host cities, which are already reeling from limited tourism revenue in recent years due to the pandemic. Sites like Camelback Ranch, the Dodgers’ $300 million spring training stadium in Glendale, are leased to MLB teams for $1 a year on the understanding that the teams will boost tourism in the area. However, due to the clauses of the lease contracts signed by the teams, a certain number of home games must be played during spring training without incurring a legal penalty. The wording of these clauses meant that the pandemic and other ‘force majeure’ events have spared teams any legal action taken by host cities in recent years, but teams not reaching this threshold of play due to the lockdown. league-induced avoidable may not offer the same protection. It seems unlikely that the Dodgers and a handful of other teams will be kicked out of their Cactus League homes, but a lawsuit by Arizona towns seeking to recover lost funds from the hospitality industry could soon be the next scenario. legal thing to follow for baseball fans.