Storylines: MLB releases 2015 regular season schedule
In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @AndrewIBI.
Here are the stories from Monday, Sept. 8.
- Major League Baseball released the schedules for the 2015 season on Monday. The Tribe will open the season in Houston, with three games against the Astros on April 6, 8 and 9, and have no chance of delays thanks to that Minute Maid Park roof. The home opener set for Friday, April 10, against the American League Central-rival Tigers.
- The Tribe will be also playing the entire NL slate against the NL Central. That means home games against the Cardinals, Reds, Cubs, and Brewers. Those Reds games are notable, because it will mark the first time since 2011 that the Cleveland portion of the Ohio Cup is played on a weekend, giving more fans the opportunity to make the trek up Interstate 71. The Interleague schedule will also bring the Indians to Wrigley Field to play the Cubs for the first time since 2009, and to PNC Park to play the Pirates for the first time since '10. They'll also travel to Cincinnati and Milwaukee. All told, the Indians will make just two 10-game trips, and they are sure to rank low on the "miles traveled" list in 2015. The Tribe will have just nine home games against 12 road games in April. May, June and July will provide proper balance of the home and road dates, while August (11 home, 16 road) skews one way and September/October (18 home, 14 road) the other. The Indians will play 18 of their last 24 at home, including the final series of the regular season -- Oct. 2-4 against the Red Sox.
News and Notes:
- It's been a tiring season for David Ortiz, as the Red Sox slugger told ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald that "it wears you out more than when you know you're going to the playoffs — believe it or not. It wears you out more than when you know you have more games to play." Ortiz isn't sure how much longer he'll play beyond 2015 (the end of his current contract), though when he does he hang it up, he said he'll do it in the offseason rather than announce his retirement a year in advance like Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera.
- Melky Cabrera has been scouted by at least one NL team for the last three weeks, Sportsnet's Jeff Blair reported. One of those scouts told Blair that his team could be willing to offer Cabrera something in the neighborhood of a four-year, $53 million contract in free agency this winter, a deal akin to what Jhonny Peralta received from the Cardinals last offseason. Peralta's deal was front-loaded, and Blair opined that a similarly-structured deal could await Cabrera given that both players have a PED suspension on their records.
- The Commissioner's Office and the MLBPA have been working on "clarification" of the rule preventing collisions at home plate, sources told ESPN's Jayson Stark. The two sides hope any uncertainty concerning how catchers can block the plate can be cleared up before any pennant races or postseason games are impacted, though rulings in several games earlier this year have already left many managers and players confused.
- A veteran player suggested to ESPN's Buster Olney that players who fail two PED tests should be limited to one-year contracts for the remainder of their career. This would be a deterrent against players with one suspension on their record potentially using PEDs again in the hopes of scoring a big multiyear deal. As the veteran put it, "If I was someone who had been suspended before, why wouldn't I use again? If you've robbed a bank before and you see that you could again and still walk away with millions, why wouldn't you?"
- Evan Gattis has been a big part of the Braves' lineup, but the catcher's defensive limitations could see the club trade him to an AL team, Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote. Gattis could be better served by a regular DH role, while the Braves could trade him for a long-term outfield solution given that Justin Upton and Jason Heyward are both only signed through 2015.
- Miguel Gonzalez's name was mentioned in trade rumors this summer (most notably as part of a possible Jon Lester package) and yet as MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko pointed out, Gonzalez's recent success could be another example of "how sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make." The Orioles right-hander has a 2.00 ERA over his last nine starts, including a complete game shutout of the Reds last Wednesday. Gonzalez has been a solid piece of the O's rotation for the last three years and has a 3.38 ERA over 136 IP this season, which could earn him a nice salary bump this winter when he is arbitration-eligible for the first time.
- Also from Kubatko, the Orioles are "hesitant" about making a long-term commitment to Nelson Cruz. Though the O's have recently had some light negotiations with Cruz's representation about a new contract, it isn't hard to see why the club would be wary of guaranteeing multiple years to a 34-year-old who is a defensive liability and has a PED history. Of course, Cruz's bat looks as potent as ever, given his .862 OPS and a league-high 39 homers this season. As you would expect, a one-year "qualifying offer appeals to the Orioles," Kubatko wrote, though surely Cruz feels his production merits a longer deal.
- It doesn't seem likely that the 2015 Cubs rotation will feature both Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood, ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers wrote. The Cubs may be stuck with Jackson due to his contract, though Wood is only on a one-year, $3.9 million deal (with two years of arbitration eligibility left). Wood has a 5.15 ERA in 162 2/3 IP this season and could be a non-tender candidate, though he still has some value as an innings-eater.
- The Pirates released right-hander Ernesto Frieri, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reported. Frieri had been designated for assignment and then outrighted to Triple-A by the Bucs in August.
- The Royals will place right-hander Blake Wood on waivers today, MLBTR's Zach Links reported. Wood was designated for assignment last week.
Travis Wood be an interesting BOR arm if he's non-tendered. I'm sure he'd get a lot of traffic.