Ask the Magic Baseball: Week of Feb 21, 2022

Major league predictions from the mystical magical baseball!

Gather ’round the amazing mystical magic baseball, an all-knowing oracle providing answers to the most burning questing facing Major League Baseball today. The process is simple, ask a yes or no question, consult the magic baseball, and await answers from the baseball gods. Some have called it clairvoyance, others would rather consult their ouija board, but the magic baseball is an otherworldly and powerful force not to be ignored.

 

Will the Regular Season Start on Time? 

 

It’s not looking good. The owners locked the players out in early December as the collective bargaining agreement expired and very little progress has been made on reaching a new CBA. Commissioner Rob Manfred is on record saying missing regular-season games would be “disastrous”.

Both Manfred and the injury data support a spring training length of at least 28 days, which means a deal would have to be made almost immediately. February 28th was being reported as the date the league believed an agreement needed to be reached in order for the season to start on time, but with Spring Training officially being delayed an on-time Opening Day is not likely to happen.

Offseason negotiations between the MLBPA and the owners have made little progress. After waiting six weeks to even begin the proceedings, underwhelming the players with their proposal, and not delivering a promised counterproposal the owners and the League have been accused of not displaying a good-faith effort to this point. With the increasingly likely threat of losing regular-season games, the frequency of meetings has increased, though some have only lasted a matter of minutes.

The core economics are at the heart of these negotiations and neither side is going to give up without a fight. Unfortunately for the fans, the tortoise-like pace of these negotiations will cost us the start of the regular season. Following last week’s announcement delaying spring training to March 5th, the odds the season starts on time are slim to none, but that doesn’t have to mean a total loss to the season.

A 154-game season could buy another week of negotiation time and an Opening Day in April. It wouldn’t be totally unprecedented either, MLB played 154-game seasons up until the early ’60s and proposed a 154-game season last year before the Covid-19 lockdowns. At this point, our best hope to see baseball on March 31st will be a Grapefruit or Cactus League matchup.

The Magic Baseball says: No, don’t count on it

 

Will the League Institute a Universal DH in 2022?

 

Whether it’s moving the pitcher’s mound back or juicing the baseballs, the league has demonstrated a desire to increase the offensive aspect of the game. For National League teams, there is no better way to make an offensive line-up stronger than adding a designated hitter and removing a pitcher from the batting order. With few exceptions (i.e., Shohei Ohtani), pitching and hitting are two very different skill sets and we just don’t see that many players that are competitive at both in the big league.

The universal DH has been on the horizon for a while now and was recently enacted during the 60-game 2020 season. After pitchers hit, or at least tried to, for the final time in 2021, 2022 will see the DH enacted in the National League for good. The universal DH was one of the most congenial issues facing the ongoing CBA negotiations and it was announced on February 10th that the two sides had agreed to implement the universal DH.

Knowing the DH is officially coming gives the front offices of the World Series hopefuls a chance to make adjustments to their lineup accordingly. Expect plenty of pandemonium once the lockout ends and teams can make transactions and sign free agents because the addition of the DH just adds to the chaos.

The Magic Baseball says: Yes, it is decidedly so

 

Will Carlos Correa re-sign with the Astros?

 

Carlos Correa was reportedly offered a 10-year $275 million contract to reunite with former Astros manager A.J. Hinch and become a Detroit Tiger before the lockout began. He declined and soon thereafter changed representation to the Boras Corporation, who just negotiated a 10-year $325 million deal on behalf of a slightly older Corey Seager and the Texas Rangers.

Under Jim Crane’s ownership, the Astros have never signed a player to a deal longer than five years. The current longest contract given out during Crane’s tenure is a 5-year $151 million extension signed by Jose Altuve in 2018. Prior to the lockout, the best offer the Astros had made to Correa was a 5-year $160 million deal. Now that he is represented by one of baseball’s most highly regarded agencies expect Correa to receive top dollar to play shortstop for his next team.

The deep pockets of the Dodgers or Yankees may sign Correa to a massive deal, or Detroit could try to top their previous offer and pair Correa with Javier Báez in the middle infield. With what is sure to be a chaotic signing period once the lockout is over, a surprise suitor may emerge and sign Correa. The only thing that is for sure is that there are too many variables that could still influence the eventual landing spot of the star shortstop.

The Magic Baseball says: Reply hazy, try again later

 

If you have questions you’d like answered by the magic baseball, leave them in the comment section below and you could see them answered by the oracle in next week’s edition of Ask the Magic Baseball.

Featured image by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Alex Lester

Alex is a baseball fan since birth, even using baseball cards to learn to read as a youngster (how about those Sea-tittle Marine-ers). When not writing about baseball Alex can be found in the kitchen, on the ski-slopes, or cozied up in a coffee shop listening to jazz.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Account / Login