Due to scheduling conflicts, the Thursday Thoughts segment is now being moved to Monday and it is now called Monday Musings. I know you are probably hoping to give me a big round of applause for such a clever title, but please, hold the applause! As always, please tweet ideas and questions @ThomasStHilaire.
1. Globalizing Baseball
The announcement that the Yankees may play a game in London in 2019 got me thinking about the international reach of baseball. I also thought about the possibility of MLB bringing more teams to Canada.
Montreal would seem like the obvious choice. The Expos left in 2004 for a multitude of reasons, but primarily because of their inability to obtain funds for a new ballpark. The problem will always be the ballpark. Murray Brown, who writes about business and baseball for Forbes said, “Montreal as an international market makes sense… The biggest issue will always be the stadium. Right now, if somebody walked up and said we’ve got $500 million or $700 million to commit to a ballpark, I would imagine that something would happen.”
Imagine if the Oakland Athletics or the Tampa Bay Rays relocated to Montreal. That is something that I would be a strong supporter of. Both teams need a new ballpark anyways, and both teams constantly face financial constraints in their respective markets. There is also a case for the teams to be added through expansion, something that the commissioner seems to support. This is all hypothetical, but still interesting to think about. If investors came together though to build a stadium, I would 100 percent be on board.
2. Future Spending
The Manny Machado and Aaron Judge drama also got me thinking about next offseason. I know that I am in the minority on this, but I do not think the Yankees should go out and spend a crazy amount of money unless the signings present true upgrades at positions of weakness. I do not subscribe to the idea of “sign a bunch of talent and figure it out later.”
My first reason is that the Yankees have players who are going to get expensive. Keeping Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, and others will require a certain level of financial flexibility. It would be one thing if the Yankees had already extended these players, but that is not the case. Secondly, like all free agent signings, you are still paying for much of the work that they have done in the past. Machado and Bryce Harper are obviously a bit different since they are so young.
With that being said, I think Machado may be the only free agent I would really be interested in. Depending on how Miguel Andujar, Brandon Drury, and Didi Gregorious perform this year, signing someone like Machado could make sense. Players like Clayton Kershaw though? Those signings are tempting, but a lot less enticing.
3. Opening Day
I am extremely excited for opening day. It will be refreshing to watch the newly constructed lineup play some meaningful baseball. What I am not excited about is Greg Bird’s right foot injury. It seems unlikely that he will play on opening day.
I love Greg Bird as a player, but I am growing more and more concerned with his inability to remain healthy. Between last year’s ankle injury and the 2016 shoulder surgery, Bird has only played in 94 games since his MLB debut in 2015. Bird can undoubtedly hit when healthy, but his inability to stay on the field is hampering his ability to give the Yankees production and certainty. Wasn’t this the spring that Bird was supposed to finally be healthy?
With that being said, the Neil Walker signing looks amazing now. I am a lot more confident in Walker as the backup than I ever was in Chris Carter. This will also give Tyler Wade more of an opportunity to prove himself at the MLB level. Remember two weeks ago when I wrote about the depth that the Yankees have? The depth will be tested from the very beginning.
Opening day is on Thursday, March 29, and the game is scheduled to start at 3:37 pm. The Yankees play their last spring training game tonight at 7:35 pm, and it is MLB’s free game of the day. It can be accessed online and on the mobile app.