Hello baseball friends and welcome to The Sunday Brief! In this feature, we’ll take you through important news you may have missed from the past week as well as what to look out for in the coming week. It wasn’t a monumentally eventful week, but there’s still plenty for us to talk about. Let’s get to it.
CBA Talks Underway
In case you missed it, the league and the MLBPA have commenced their negotiations for the next CBA which expires at the end of this year – December 1st, to be exact. This upcoming negotiation has been in the back of everyone’s mind for a while now, and given the, uh, chilly relationship between the league and the Players’ Union, the possibility of a work stoppage is not an outlandish idea. We haven’t seen that since way back in 1994, but the deteriorating relationship is alarming, to say the least.
Last year, the two sides were haggling for what seemed like ages over the health and safety protocols for the league as COVID-19 ravaged the world. After a ton of back and forth, the 60 game season was agreed upon and played out with a few hiccups, but the damage was done.
Even without the COVID negotiations, the league is currently in a massive debacle surrounding service time manipulation. For stars like Kris Bryant and more recently Jarred Kelenic, teams have all but admitted (and in Kelenic’s case, they did admit) to delaying their call-ups to the majors to squeeze an extra year of control out of them. For some, this may just fall under “business is business,” but the Union isn’t likely to forget team ownership toying with the livelihoods of the players. I’d love to see some good news come out of this first round of talks, but I think for now the smart money is on us hearing crickets.
Another Blow to Houston
The Astros just can’t seem to catch a break. After a lengthy stay on the COVID IL for multiple starters, the Astros had to remove starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi on Saturday with what’s described as “forearm tightness”. You don’t have to follow baseball very long to learn that those words are rarely ever good. It’s a tough break for Odorizzi, who was looking to break in with the Astros after a late Spring signing. The Astros are also down yet another starting pitcher, already dealing with injuries to Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez. For what it’s worth, manager Dusty Baker did chime in on the subject, saying that Odorizzi “…wasn’t too worried about it.”
Hopefully we can glean something from any tests Odorizzi receives in the next few days, and, if all is well, maybe we’ll see him back on the mound as soon as possible. Let’s hope Dusty is right about this one.
Ke’Bryan’s Wrist Breaks Hearts
We touched on Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes a couple of weeks back after he injured his hand/wrist during a game. To make matters worse, Hayes apparently aggravated the injury while taking swings in his recovery. I am no Pirate fan, but it really stinks to see young guys going down with injuries this early in their career. Not to say this is any kind of doom and gloom prediction for Hayes’ future, but I think we would all rather see him raking than sitting on the IL. Only playing in 2 games so far this season is far from ideal for the rising star.
The Pirates have downplayed the setback, throwing some water on the fire and stating that they will have a better look when they return to Pittsburgh – this upcoming Tuesday. While he still doesn’t have a timetable to return, it will be somewhat enlightening to find out if this setback is going to cost him any more time. I’d give you my wrist if I could, Ke’Bryan.
We Need a Hero
With the New York Yankees doing something resembling baseball in the early going, a ton of blame has fallen on their ice-cold bats and non-Gerrit Cole pitching blunders. While they seemed to turn it on a bit this past weekend, the Yankees still sit at 9-12, four games back of the Division-leading Red Sox, and collectively hitting a paltry .207/.301/.351. For a team that was considered a World Series favorite going into the season, this sputtering start is, as former Yankee manager Joe Girardi would say, “not what you want.”
So what’s missing? What’s the key to unlocking the homer-happy juggernaut to play up to their potential?
Enter Luke Voit.
Voit started the season on the IL after requiring knee surgery, and according to Aaron Boone, Voit may be back within two weeks. If you were not aware, Voit came into his own in a big way last season, leading the league with 22 home runs and hitting a healthy .277/.338/.610 and his bat back in the lineup over the likes of Rougned Odor would be an enormous boon to the beleaguered bombers. While he won’t be making the lineup in the next week, look for Voit to head to the Yankees alternate site to shake off the rust before properly hitting the field.
You Might Want to Get That Looked At
In yet another installment of weird and cryptic Padres injuries, RHP Dinelson Lamet was placed back on the IL after experiencing forearm tightness. Lamet only managed to throw two innings in his season debut before being lifted. If that’s not concerning enough already, Lamet was already recovering from a UCL strain that ended his 2020 season. But just as they did when Shortstop Fernando Tatís Jr. suffered a gnarly shoulder injury while swinging a bat a few weeks ago, the Padres downplayed Lamet’s injury. They even stated they weren’t even sending him for an MRI.
I am no doctor, but I simply don’t understand the harm in just sending the guy in for a few tests. Oh well. The Padres and their laissez-faire attitude seem to be confident that Lamet will be back once his 10 days are up.
Don’t get me wrong, I hope Lamet is good to go and we can experience the Padres superhuman rotation in full (Mike Clevinger notwithstanding) but I also am reminded of another pitcher who didn’t get an MRI for inexplicable reasons and injured himself pitching just days after the initial injury. Yes, sorry Mets fans, I am referring to Noah Syndergaard. And while that situation had a lot more inherent wackiness to it, I can’t help but be trepidatious. The Padres are going to be locked in a bloody battle with the Dodgers this season, and they’re going to need all the help they can get. A healthy Lamet is a huge win for the Padres. Let’s just see if he’s actually well…healthy. Fingers crossed for you Dinelson!
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)