"If you guys see young fast guys out there, get them a baseball glove for Christmas.''That's how Bud Black ended his response to a question about a perceived diminishing significance of speed in modern baseball.The Rockies' manager had been asked about power hitting, not stolen bases and manufactured runs, emerging
"If you guys see young fast guys out there, get them a baseball glove for Christmas.''
That's how Bud Black ended his response to a question about a perceived diminishing significance of speed in modern baseball.
The Rockies' manager had been asked about power hitting, not stolen bases and manufactured runs, emerging to stop the decline in scoring. He gave a thoughtful answer, citing the trend of athletes in all sports to get bigger and stronger and learning how to use their strength.
"It's just common sense to me that power is coming into the game because you can build it as a young player, as an amateur,'' Black said. "You can't build speed. So for speed to stay in our game or increase in our game, we need fast guys to be playing as kids. So let's do that. Let's get them off the soccer field, get them off the lacrosse field. Let's get them on a baseball diamond.''
Black was seated before reporters in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., fulfilling his scheduled come-one, come-all availability at the Winter Meetings. These interviews often ramble all over the place, with interesting answers on a variety of topics.
Among some others on Monday:
• Brewers manager Craig Counsell saying he sees no need to have more than 25 players on his roster just because so many teams are getting more work from their relief pitchers and less from starting pitchers.
"Just because we want to use more relievers, doesn't mean we should get more players,'' Counsell said. "I think our challenge is how to be effective with them, how to keep them healthy, how to keep them effective. That's part of the challenge of this question. It should be a challenge. The value of the great starting pitcher, it still should be there. If you start, to me, adding to rosters, it takes away the value of that guy, because the great starting pitcher still is the best pitcher and he should be.''
I couldn't agree more. Managing a bullpen is, and should be, one of the great challenges to the game. It will be a little bit easier in 2018, as schedules include an additional four off-days for each team.
• Rays manager Kevin Cash, a former catcher who had always worked to get his starting pitchers into the late innings, was asked when he bought into the idea of going to the bullpen quicker.
"When I was hired and [Rays president of baseball operations] Matt [Silverman] told me, 'This is what we're going to do,'" Cash said.
Bonus points for honesty.
• New Nationals manager Dave Martinez spoke about how what he learned about handling pressure as an understudy to Joe Maddon with the Cubs and the Rays.
"You said it: Embrace it,'' Martinez said. "We don't permit the pressure to exceed the pleasures of the game. We try to teach our players, 'Hey, just have fun.' They have been doing it since they were kids. Just go out there, be yourself and have fun doing it.''
The Nats remain a championship team waiting to be unleashed on October. If he's truly an extension of Maddon, Martinez just might help to make that happen.
• Yankees manager Aaron Boone was asked about hitting Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez together in the middle of the order, given that all three sluggers bat right-handed.
"Well, Didi [Gregorius] tweeted me that he's No. 4,'' said Boone, who was hired last week as the Yankees' manager.
Boone added that he "absolutely'' could hit Judge, Stanton and Sanchez next to each other. Gregorius was being funny, but the left-handed-hitting shortstop could be another huge beneficiary of the Stanton trade. He quietly hit .287 with 25 homers and 87 RBIs last season.
Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com.