In case you missed it, Major League Baseball has instituted a plethora of pinatas rule changes this winter, from the consolidation to one July trade deadline to expanding rosters to 26 players, some of which go into effect immediately. One such change is that the DL - the disabled list - is no longer the DL...it’s the IL now, as in Injured List.
That’s the kind of procedural change that won’t stick in my head until I’m forced to use it repeatedly. Unfortunately, I’m getting the first real taste of it today, as it seems that new Cincinnati Reds starter Alex Wood is destined to begin the 2019 season on the 10-day IL, according to The Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale, with an early to mid-April target date for his return. That latter nugget comes from a David Bell quote, which pretty well affirms that the tight back that Wood has been dealing with all spring will cost him 2-3 starts before he makes his official Reds debut.
It’s a bummer on the surface, to be sure, but it also helps highlight how solidly founded this 2019 Reds mini-splurge was in design. Tyler Mahle is still around with great promise despite having been bumped down the pecking order of starters, and he’s expected to fill in for Wood for the time being. And while Wood will surely be disappointed to spend time on the IL in this, his final season before reaching free agency, he’s still on-target to return with ample time to top 150 IP the way he has in each of the last two seasons.
In other news, this is an awful #taek:
From the Angels perpective, these franchise player mega-extensions often look great on press conference day but ultimately don't age well for team and fans. See Joe Mauer, Joey Votto, David Wright, Felix Hernandez— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) March 19, 2019
Over at Reds.com, Mark Sheldon caught up with the red-hot Phil Ervin to talk about his excellent Cactus League performance to date and where he falls in the crowded OF mix. Of particular note is Ervin’s mention of new hitting coach Turner Ward and how a slight tweak in his swing has helped unlock some of the impressive power we’ve seen on display from him in camp so far. Man, imagine if that little tweak is what it takes to finally unlock the talent that made Ervin a 1st round pick in the first place...
ESPN’s Jeff Passan is reporting that there is some talk of MLB finally, finally compensating minor league players at a more acceptable rate, which is an incredibly positive development (assuming something actually comes of it).
Passan has been rather busy today, considering he also broke that the Los Angeles Angels are on the verge of inking superstar Mike Trout to a deal that could total some $430 million before it’s over. Somehow, that still seems like a bargain for the best baseball player of this generation. Several generations, actually.
Finally, I answered some questions for Cards Conclave’s season preview of the Reds, and that went live earlier today. Several others chimed in with their thoughts on the upcoming season, and I hope it gives you an entertaining read.