The sports betting community is focused on March Madness betting and the NHL trade deadline at this moment, but MLB spring training is getting started up and there is already a torrent of news and information about key players coming out of the different camps.
This will prove to be an interesting season for MLB, especially if the developments in spring training are any indication.
New York Yankees
When George Steinbrenner owned the New York Yankees, he would say things to get the players' attention. But when he insulted someone, it was usually his manager.
With son Hank Steinbrenner in charge, things are a bit different. Hank Steinbrenner blames the Yankees playoff loss in 2010 on too much celebrating over the 2009 World Series win. He said that players’ salaries are out of control and that players are more concerned with building mansions than winning games.
That is not exactly the way a team wants to start off spring training. Team captain Derek Jeter was asked about Steinbrenner’s comments and laughed them off. Jeter said that the team performed at its best in 2010, but came up short.
An open battle between the players and ownership can be a severe distraction to any team.
Boston Red Sox
At a time when there is contract uncertainty with big name players, such as CC Sabathia and Albert Pujols, the Boston Red Sox have seemed to avoid any of those spring training distractions.
When the topic of the contract for Red Sox star Adrian Gonzalez was brought up to team president Larry Lucchino on a local Boston radio show, Lucchino indicated that he was confident that Gonzalez would be part of Red Sox Nation for a very long time.
When asked about it in the Red Sox spring training facility, Gonzalez echoed that sentiment.
St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals’ pitching ace Adam Wainwright reported to training camp on time, stepped into the bullpen to start warming up and promptly tore ligaments in his elbow that could end his season and threaten his career.
Wainwright was only three pitches into his first warm-up routine of spring training when the pain started and he had to leave the field.
Wainwright finished second to the Phillies’ Roy Halladay in NL Cy Young voting last season. He finished the year with a 20-11 record and a 2.42 ERA. The Cardinals are calling it a “significant injury” that could lead to a lot of time lost for Wainwright.
Without an ace on the rotation and with no more pitching aces available to be signed, the Cardinals are already behind the eight-ball before spring training even really gets started.
In other Cardinals news, Albert Pujols’ agent has finally publicly announced the number that the slugger is seeking from the Cardinals in order sign a contract extension.
Pujols wants a 10-year contract at an average of $30 million per year. Some general managers have indicated that the cost is way out of line and extremely bad for baseball.
One of the suggestions put forth by White Sox general manager Ken Williams was that if any team signs Pujols for that much money, then it may take shutting down MLB and reworking the league’s pay structure to save the game.