Major League baseball finally made a ruling in the Jose Reyes situation four months after he was arrested in an alleged incident in Hawaii back in late October. However, that decision really just keeps him out of a baseball uniform until a real decision is made.
Reyes placed on leave with status in limbo - Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Harding provides the paperwork details and quotes at that link if you want to dig deeper into this mess. The bottom line, however, is that Major League baseball still hasn't taken a true stand, as it seems like Rob Manfred is hoping to get some sort of legal cue from a trial to ultimately determine how long this suspension is going to be for Reyes. The next court date is scheduled for April 4, which also happens to be Opening Day, and at this point it looks like its result may have some bearing on the length of Reyes' suspension.
Manfred has had more than enough time to gather information on MLB's part, and the hammer is likely coming down soon, but if the legal system comes to a conclusion that's unfavorable for Reyes, I'd expect the suspension to be enormous.
Until then however, this move is baseball's best attempt to keep Reyes out of the spotlight. He won't get paid for missing spring training games since those don't count, but once April rolls around, Reyes will start collecting paychecks for sitting on the sideline until a more detailed decision is reached.
At this point, we still can't properly judge Manfred's stance on domestic violence because he still hasn't made a ruling of significance. As long as he eventually comes down hard here (as well as in the Aroldis Chapman and Yasiel Puig cases) and shows he's serious, I think he'll avoid looking like a fool the way Roger Goodell and the NFL did for their embarrassing stance on domesitic violence in their league.
On one hand, Manfred is smart to wait and get more of a signal from the legal side of things so he can make a decision that's both tough on Reyes and won't get overturned. On the other hand, he's lucky this first wave of decisions occurred during the winter months, because I'm not sure this timetable will fly if it unfolds during the regular season. For instance, it's been four months just for us to get this ruling. If the Reyes incident happened in May instead of October, we'd already be in September on that timeline.
Rockies plan? Bridich won't use labels - Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Meanwhile, in real baseball news, Jeff Bridich doesn't want to make a declaration about when the Rockies might contend. I don't mind this because as we've already seen, what Jeff Bridich does is ultimately much more important than what he says. The problem, however, is that in this case his words match his actions of the last eight months. There's no time table on when the Rockies might contend when you mix trading Troy Tulowitzki for prospects, trading four years of Corey Dickerson for two years of Jake McGee, and holding onto assets like Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon.
I don't need Bridich to tell me the Rockies are going to contend by "x" date, but a series of moves that together seem to completely throw time tables out the window is quite troubling, especially since the Rockies had a great opportunity to maximize their fortunes beyond 2016 this winter.
Troy Tulowitzki's New Batting Stance Could Provide More Power - Jen / Tulo fans
Now this is interesting:
Until this Jay Bruce stuff gets figured out, compare Tulo's old swing to his new one. https://t.co/C1mgYkuFYa pic.twitter.com/w6M7zcMH0m— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) February 23, 2016
Tulo has made a major change in his batting stance for the first time since 2009, when he transformed himself into a top five player (and arguably the best player when healthy) in the league.
The biggest thing that jumps out when you first see this new swing is that is has a bunch of Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista in it, so it seems like Tulo has been picking the brain of his new teammates. There's a ton of moving parts here that will make this an ongoing story as he fine tunes his new approach, but the general idea is that it can create more power if each part of his body works in unison.
The high leg kick allows Tulo to vary his foot strike a little more than he could with the toe tap, which should give him a more consistent swinging motion through the strike zone against pitches thrown at all different speeds.
Another aspect of this new stance it that it creates what should translate to more explosive hip movement (something Tulo seemed to lose some of after his hip surgery that ended his 2014 season). With his hands and shoulders lagging further behind when Tulo's hips start to move, it creates a separation in the angle of two of the most important pieces in his kinetic chain. The result should mean more explosive bat speed once his wrists come forward and snap in the strike zone.
It's something you have to nail perfectly for it to work consistently, but if Tulo did lose some of his hip turn that created his power in his old swing, he may have just found a very clever way to get it back. I can't wait to see this used in game action.
Sources: Dexter Fowler, Orioles strike three-year, $35M agreement - ESPN
Let's give another former Rockie some love. Dexter Fowler is now also a member of an AL East team, as the Orioles reportedly inked him to a new deal yesterday. It will cost Baltimore a draft pick, but as much as they already have invested in 2016 with the other signings they made this winter, it's probably worth it.
Fowler should help them in two huge areas. One, he gives them a great option at leadoff. Two, he joins an outfield that only received a .639 OPS out of its left fielders last season. Even if they put him in right (he's not playing center with Adam Jones on the roster), his presence should help soak that up and make their lineup deeper than it was last season. For a team that hasn't been under .500 since 2011 and has to win with this group now, this was a good move in my eyes.
Pujols tops list of MLB's biggest albatrosses (worst contracts) - Dan Szymborski / ESPN
While Pujols' contract is terrible, I wonder if it might start looking better in a few years if he continues to hit home runs. Not just because those are obviously productive, but because he'll start to get within shouting distance of the all time home record. Take a look at this table:
It's crazy how close Pujols and Aaron's totals are here. The next four years are huge as Aaron kept showing off his power through his age 39 season, but you have to figure that if Pujols can get to around 700 bombs by the end of the 2019 season, he might have enough left in the tank to just hang around a break the record. This could be a developing story in the coming years.
Getting back to the albatrosses, each NL West team has one player on the list. Reyes for the Rockies, Matt Cain for the Giants, Yasmany Tomas for the D-Backs, Matt Kemp for the Padres, and Carl Crawford for the Dodgers.