Major League Baseball plans to eliminate home plate collisions
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Talk about change in baseball.
Seattle is spending, adding two-time All-Star Corey Hart and Logan Morrison to go along with Robinson Cano.
The New York Mets also are flashing big bucks, striking a deal with pitcher Bartolo Colon after signing Curtis Granderson.
And, in the biggest news at the winter meetings, Major League Baseball said it plans to ban home plate collisions by 2015 at the latest.
“I just want to try to eliminate any injuries, severe injuries,” San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday. “Whether it’s a concussion or broken ankle, whatever.”
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, chairman of the rules committee, said the change would go into effect for next season if the players’ association approved and in 2015 if it didn’t. Safety and concern over concussions were major factors — fans still cringe at the thought of the season-ending hit Giants catcher Buster Posey absorbed in 2011.
“Ultimately what we want to do is change the culture of acceptance that these plays are ordinary and routine and an accepted part of the game,” Alderson said. “The costs associated in terms of health and injury just no longer warrant the status quo.”
Alderson said wording of the rules change will be presented to owners for approval at their Jan. 16 meeting in Paradise Valley, Ariz.
“We’re going to do fairly extensive review of the types of plays that occur at home plate to determine which we’re going to find acceptable and which are going to be prohibited,” he said.
Away from the formal meetings, the Mariners added a pair of first baseman-outfielders with pop, reaching agreement on a one-year deal with Hart and acquiring Morrison in a trade with the Miami Marlins.
Hart confirmed he had agreed to the deal in a text to The Associated Press. The deal is still pending what should be a closely monitored physical. Hart missed last season following surgery on his right knee.
Morrison was acquired for relief pitcher Carter Capps, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the trade was pending both teams reviewing medical records.
“Knees good as well as the rest of me. Been working hard and glad to be able to get out there with this exciting club,” Hart said in a text message.
Seattle has made adding offence a top priority this off-season, starting with a yet-to-be-finalized agreement with Cano said to be worth $240 million over 10 years.
After giving outfielder Curtis Granderson a $60 million, four-year contract, the Mets reached agreement on a $20 million, two-year deal with the 40-year-old Colon, raising their free-agent spending to more than $87 million this off-season. The contract is pending the completion of a physical for the 18-game winner, a person familiar with the negotiations told the AP.
Pittsburgh agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract with right-hander Edinson Volquez, also pending a physical.
The 30-year-old Volquez went 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA this year while splitting time between San Diego and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Pirates and right-hander Charlie Morton agreed to a $21 million, three-year contract that avoided salary arbitration.
Also at the meetings, Matt Kemp’s agent maintained the Dodgers are not trading the All-Star outfielder — for now.
“For the time being they are not going to move him,” Dave Stewart said after meeting with Los Angeles GM Ned Colletti.
Mike Scioscia, manager of the rival Angels, said he’s counting on a healthy Albert Pujols, limited to 99 games and 64 RBIs by a foot injury that ended his season in mid-August.
“He’s taking batting practice. He feels very strong physically,” Scioscia said. “I think the foot will be a non-issue.”
Detroit finalized a $10 million, two-year contract with outfielder Rajai Davis, Houston acquired right-hander Anthony Bass from San Diego in a deal that also sends a player to be named or cash both ways, and Oakland sent left-hander Jerry Blevins to Washington for minor league outfielder Billy Burns — the Athletics’ fifth trade in 10 days.
Utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. said he is retiring.
MLB executive vice-president Joe Torre said talks on expanded video review next season are continuing with the unions for umpires and players.