Major League Baseball News & Notes

February 18, 2020

Mark Cuban
Photo: Getty Image

On Tuesday morning, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tweeted out that “Baseball is a mess right now and they have zero vision to see them out of it. I’m thankful they didn’t let me buy a team.”

Mark Cuban and now Houston Astros owner Jim Crane attempted to buy the Texas Rangers in 2010 with a bid of $581.2 million, but they would lose to the group led by Chuck Greenburg and Nolan Ryan.

“We thought we were very close,” Cuban said. “We thought we had it until Major League Baseball intervened and kind of put the kibosh on us and started playing games in court.”

The 2020 Major League Baseball season will be a very interesting one for the Houston Astros. In the wake of the cheating scandal that has rocked the sport, many have been turned off by the fact that none of the players got suspended and the franchise got to keep their 201 World Series Title.

Fans have called for opposing players to throw pitches at the players, even though Rob Manfred is trying to prevent teams from intentionally throwing at hitters.

The Houston Astros are going to get hit, which is why is allowing bettors to place bets on how many times they do get hit.

The Houston Astros (and Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred) just flat-out cannot get out of their own way when it comes to dealing with the fallout of their sign-stealing scandal.

From the disaster of a press conference given by Astros owner Jim Crane, new manager Dusty Baker, and players Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve to hypocritical interviews given by players like Justin Verlander the reactions from fans and some pretty big name players on other teams have been rightfully visceral.

Now comes word from new Houston Astros general manager James Click that employees tied to the “Codebreaker” program used to illegally steal signs are still with the team, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle.

Standing alongside the podium, backed by the 2020 version of the Atlanta Braves and a newly unveiled street sign that reads “Hank Aaron Way,” the greatest player ever to wear an Atlanta Braves uniform was gracious and humble as he addressed the crowd on Tuesday morning.

“I just want to say thanks to all of you,” said Aaron, who turned 86 on Feb. 5. “All of you that have come from so far away, to see this, it makes me feel wonderful.

“My wife would be here today, but she has some sickness in her family, so she couldn’t be here,” he continued. “But I am extremely proud, extremely proud that I am here in fact with my family when I say my family, I’m talking about the Braves.

“Thank you very much.”

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred apologized Tuesday for describing the World Series trophy as “a piece of metal” during an on-camera interview with ESPN, a description that drew pointed criticism from Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner and Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester.


The San Diego Padres General Manager A.J. Preller did make significant upgrades all around the roster, he continues to work the phones in an almost frenetic manner in a quest to add a player (or players) he believes can truly vault the Padres into contention in a seemingly stacked National League.

On the front burner of Preller’s extended hot stove cooking is a continued attempt to move outfielder Wil Myers. Sources said in the past two days that talks between the Padres and Boston Red Sox are ongoing, and a deal seems contingent on the Red Sox assuming about half of the $61 million owed Myers over the next three years. The Red Sox are interested in pitcher Cal Quantrill, as well as highly touted prospects Luis Campusano and Gabriel Arias, though the Padres are unlikely to part with all three. Quantrill is a central piece in the talks.

The Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants are pushing ahead with pay raises for minor league players this season, days after Major League Baseball mandated salary bumps beginning in 2021.

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer and Giants baseball executive Farhan Zaidi confirmed the wage hikes Tuesday.

MLB informed teams on Friday that it would be raising minimum salaries for minor leaguers in 2021, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press. Those increases, ranging from 38% to 72% depending on the level, mean players will earn from $4,800 in rookie ball to $14,000 at Triple-A.

Mookie Betts flits in and out of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ spring training clubhouse, a former MVP in constant motion displaying some of the speed that makes him such a threat on the basepaths.

On the other side of the clubhouse, David Price shares some of the wisdom accumulated over a 12-year career highlighted not only by a Cy Young Award and five All-Star Game nods.

The two newcomers to Los Angeles, acquired in a trade with the Boston Red Sox that was completed last week after fits and starts, are regarded as the final pieces of a championship puzzle that has gone unsolved for more than three decades despite close calls.

Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said he doesn’t feel an urgency to clear the air with third baseman Nolan Arenado.

Bridich displayed no worries about his relationship with his best player Tuesday night when he spoke at the Cactus League media day.

The executive said he’ll have a conversation at some point with Nolan Arenado, who recently said he felt “disrespect” from Bridich and disappointment in the Rockies’ direction.

Commissioner Rob Manfred warned Grapefruit League managers Sunday night against acts of vigilante justice pitchers targeting the Houston Astros with beanballs because of their illicit sign-stealing and Manfred was expected to impart the same message to Cactus League managers Tuesday night.

Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio claims his team “had an operating loss” in 2019 but that isn’t why the club’s projected payroll has dropped nearly $30 million.

Attanasio says the Brewers are down from last season’s franchise-record $132.6 million payroll because president of baseball operations David Stearns didn’t find any splashy free-agent fits, instead preferring to rely on depth, versatility and manager Craig Counsell’s knack for balancing options.

Clayton Kershaw is pleased practically everybody in the sport seized the opportunity to tee off on the cheating Houston Astros and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s handling of the scandal over the past several days. The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ veteran ace also believes it’s time for baseball to go back to work.

Jeter Downs may be named after Major League Baseball legend Derek Jeter (surprise!) but his favorite athlete growing up played a different sport.

Downs is just one of countless young people that looked up to Kobe Bryant during their youth. Bryant has served as inspiration for Downs for years, and Downs has taken away plenty of life lessons as a result.

“Just his mindset and how he went about everything,” Downs said of Bryant, per MassLive’s Christopher Smith.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James on Tuesday weighed in on the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal and Rob Manfred’s handling of the situation, urging Major League Baseball’s commissioner to “fix this for the sake of sports.”

“Listen I know I don’t play baseball, but I am in Sports and I know if someone cheated me out of winning the title and I found out about it I would be f—ing irate! I mean like uncontrollable about what I would/could do!” James wrote on Twitter. “Listen here baseball commissioner listen to your players speaking today about how disgusted, mad, hurt, broken, etc etc about this.

The fallout from the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal that sent shockwaves through baseball and impacted multiple careers apparently even hurt New York Mets outfielder Tim Tebow. Tebow, who wore the No. 15 with the Florida Gators and during his NFL and MiLB career, had to give up the number when he reported to spring training this offseason. The Mets had Tebow change numbers to avoid any awkwardness given the history of the No. 15 in the organization.

Aaron Judge did not mince words when addressing the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, saying the team should vacate the title and that players should have been punished.

“I just don’t think it holds any value with me. You cheated and you didn’t earn it,” the New York Yankees outfielder said of the 2017 World Series championship won by the Astros. “It wasn’t earned the way of playing the game right and fighting to the end. The biggest thing about competition is laying it all out on the line, and whoever’s the better player, better person, comes out on top. And to know that another team had an advantage nothing that you can really guard against I just don’t feel like that’s earned.”

Aaron Judge, the superstar right fielder for the New York Yankees, is known as one of the biggest power threats in the MLB today. Judge averages 45 HR, 27 doubles and 101 RBI per 162 games, all elite numbers. However, Judge was not always this effective, and the words of the late John Altobelli helped guide him to the player he’s become.

Houston Astros players “needs a beating.” Braves’ Markakis unloads on cheating scandal.

Ben Affleck defends his Red Sox and reacts to the Astros’ sign-stealing controversy | First Take

Angels’ Mike Trout rips Astros for cheating

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