— Clint Hurdle isn’t a manager you’d expect to see in a pissing contest with one of his players, or anybody else, really. So it was predictable that he’d respond in a measured, positive manner to Freese’s comments about the Pirates lacking a winning culture.
“David and I had conversations at the end of the season, and I love his perception,” Hurdle said when asked about Freese. “I love all the players’ perceptions. I think that’s one of the best lessons I’ve learned over time is you can’t argue with somebody about their perception. … I’m not going to argue with David’s perception. I see it a little differently, but I’m not in the clubhouse every day, by design. I honor what the men have to say.”
— According to Pirates Prospects (sub. req’d), the Pirates have voided the contract of one of their top international signings due to age and/or identity issues. The player was shortstop Gregori Custodio from the Dominican. He’d signed for $230,000, which was not especially large by many other teams’ standards but was the Pirates’ fifth-largest bonus. They’re still pursuing a well regarded Mexican outfielder named Fabricio Macias. Some other teams are, too, but the Mexican scene is pretty quirky, so who knows how it’ll work out. One of those other teams is Boston, which is where the Pirates’ current international scouting director, Junior Vizcaino, was hired from.
— This is a little old, but Rob Manfred has stated publicly that MLB will implement pace-of-play measures prior to spring training this year. MLB has been negotiating with the union, so far unsuccessfully, but has the right to implement rule changes unilaterally. The changes would probably include a pitch clock, limits on mound visits, and hanging Tony LaRussa in effigy before every game.
— Finally, Miami-Dade County has announced it will sue Jeff Loria and the Marlins over the sale of the team. (I imagine the inclusion of the team and its new ownership is more of a formality than anything.) In case you don’t recall, the city and county, which paid for the Marlins’ new ballpark, were entitled to a percentage of the profits from any sale of the team. Despite selling the team for several times what he paid for it, Loria claimed to have lost money on the deal. If it ever goes to trial, they could probably sell more tickets to that than to a Marlins game. Unfortunately, it’ll be a civil suit so jail time for Loria won’t be a possible outcome.