1) Tribe items
MLB.com has released its new top 20 Indians prospects. Francisco Lindor tops the list, followed by Clint Frazier. No surprises there. Carlos Moncrief, a favorite of many LGT readers, comes in at #10. Jim Callis, MLB.com's top prospect guy, also has an extended write up on the Tribe's prospects, which includes a brief Q&A with Frazier.
Paul Hoynes' Friday notes include an item on Jason Giambi's golden thong, and also the news that while Michael Bourn is eligible to return from the DL on April 5, he almost certainly won't, as the team wants him to be totally healthy before he takes the field, in hopes that they can avoid this being a recurring problem all season long.
2) Good tidings of Kipnis
At FanGraphs, 31 different writers have made their American League predictions. 8 of them are picking the Indians to win the Central, which is more than I would have expected. 3 other pick the Tribe for a Wild Card spot. Jason Kipnis is also the MVP pick of two of the writers.
Speaking of Kipnis, he made the cut on Michael Baumann's All-MLB.TV Team, which lists the players most worth checking in on when you've got access to every game.
3) Trout gets his
The Angels have locked up Mike Trout on a 6-year, $144.5 million deal. It begins with the 2015 season, and covers all three of Trout's arbitration years, as well as his first three years of free agency. That means he's locked up through 2020, which will be his age-28 season. So, he'll still be young enough to go for another massive payday if he continues to play anywhere near as well as he has the last two seasons. The AAV of this contract (~$24M) has been topped by a few players, but no one who hadn't yet reached arbitration has ever gotten anything close to this kind of money. Because he's so young, there's a reasonable chance this works out for well for the Angels, as his first 3 years of free agency (as crazy as it may sound) might have cost ~$120 million on the open market.
4) Speaking of big contracts...
Dave Cameron runs through the reasons the new extension for Miguel Cabrera is both terrible and understandable. Cameron makes an interesting observation: Star players rarely re-sign once they hit free agency. Of the last 30 contracts handed out for $50M+, only Derek Jeter was a re-signing. As Cameron puts it, "deciding not to extend is a decision not to re-sign."
The Tigers are buying high and buying two seasons before Miguel Cabrera would have been a free agent, and I'm confident the last few years of the deal will look very bad, but I don't imagine MIke Ilitch much cares about the state of the team's 2023 payroll.
Says Terry Francona, "It's not going to change the way we pitch him."
5) New drug-testing penalties for MLB
At the request of the MLBPA, a new, stricter drug-testing agreement has been reached. Players will now be subject to more-frequent testing. Additionally, first-time offenders will now face an 80-game suspension (up from 50) and second-time offenders will now face a full-season suspension (up for 100 games). Additionally, any player who is suspended (for a failed drug test) during the season will now be ineligible for the postseason (even if his suspension already ended). There's also a new system in place to provide players clearer access to non-banned enhancers, and the appeals process has been somewhat reworked. If the players wanted harsher penalties, more power to them, though I'm not sure how much this will actually do to change whatever level of banned PED use exists.
6) This week's off-topic topic
I got home late Friday night from spending the week in and around New Orleans. It was a great trip, highlighted by food, music, and a visit to Carcosa. In honor of spending time in the Pelican State, I give you my favorite movies set primarily in Louisiana:
6) Dead Man Walking
5) A Streetcar Named Desire
4) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2) Beasts of the Southern Wild
1) 12 Years a Slave
That list is not as impressive a collection as I expected. Am I missing something big? If you include TV series, you get True Detective and Treme, both of which were on in the last few months, which maybe explains why I think of the state as being so well represented on film.