The spring training season has reached the midway point, but that hasn’t stopped the free agent signings. After a long, cold winter for some of MLB’s top players on the market, a couple of veterans got deals done last week to join their teams before Opening Day. While some players got new deals, the league announced a deal of its own, bringing in a new broadcast partner. The headlines weren’t all rosy last week, as the season’s first suspension for PEDs was announced as well. This is the Spring Training Report for Week 3 of the pre-season.
Jake Arrieta Signs With Phillies
Entering the offseason, Arrieta was high up on the list of available starting pitching options for teams to go after. However, once the winter began, the market was surprisingly cool for the 32-year-old veteran. There weren’t many rumors flying around about him, until the last two weeks, when teams like the San Diego Padres, Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies all expressed interest. Over the weekend, Arrieta decided to make the City of Brotherly Love his new home, signing a three-year $75-million deal with the Phillies. Arrieta won the Cy Young award in 2015, and last season posted a 3.53 ERA in 168.1 innings pitched to go with a 14-10 record.
Ichiro Returns To Seattle
The other big-name veteran to sign with a team last week was Ichiro Suzuki. While the 44-year-old may not be a marquee player anymore, he did play in 113 games for the Marlins last season, hitting .255 in spot duty. It’s amazing that he continues to hold up at his age, and it’s a feel-good story to see him return to the franchise he broke into the majors with.
MLB Partners With Facebook To Broadcast Games
MLB has been one of the most forward-thinking sports leagues when it comes to giving fans avenues outside of the traditional TV and radio broadcasts to check in with their teams. They were ahead of the game with their MLB.tv platform that allowed fans to subscribe and stream full games online through MLB.com, or even just stream the audio.
Then they broke out the package further and made it available on a team-by-team basis. Now the league has announced a partnership with Facebook to broadcast 25 weekday afternoon games through the platform on the MLB Live Facebook page. The deal is exclusive to Facebook, so it actually precludes teams from showing those games on their regional networks. It’s an interesting look into what may happen in the future of sports broadcasting.
Royals’ Bonifacio Nabbed For PEDs
24-year-old outfielder Jorge Bonifacio showed well in his debut for the Royals last season, hitting .255 with 17 homers and 40 RBI in 113 games. The organization was excited about the youngster’s potential and expected him to be their starting right fielder on Opening Day. That plan was derailed over the weekend, when Bonifacio received an 80-game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.