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Quick Hits: Carpenter, Pirates, Tsutsugo, Braves

Matt Carpenter has heard from a few teams about a potential contract, but he is “super prepared for an extremely slow free-agency pace here,” the former Cardinals All-Star told The Athletic’s Katie Woo.  “I totally understand that I’m not necessarily a highly sought-after free agent and that there are a lot of unknowns going forward.”  Even without the uncertainty of labor talks and a potential transactions freeze looming this offseason, Carpenter likely would have faced a thin market anyway considering his lack of production over the last three seasons.

However, Carpenter sees possible changes to the sport as helpful to his chances of landing a new job.  Should the DH come to the National League, for instance, or “the potential of banning and limiting shifts” becomes a reality, Carpenter might draw more interest.  Within a week of his 36th birthday, Carpenter reiterated that he wants to continue his career into a 12th big league season, but seemed at peace with whatever the offseason will bring.  “If I play, no matter where, I’ll be perfectly happy with that,” Carpenter said.  “And if I don’t, and if I’m staying home and going to be a dad and I finished my career with one and only one organization, I’ll be perfectly happy with that as well.”

More from around baseball…

  • The Pirates are still “hopeful” of re-signing Yoshi Tsutsugo, GM Ben Cherington told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Kevin Gorman and other reporters.  The two sides were in talks before free agency opened, though Cherington didn’t give any hints about any possible progress towards a deal.  Tsutsugo started games at first base and both corner outfield positions for the Pirates in 2021, and while that versatility would still be factored into Pittsburgh’s plans for next season, Cherington did note that “most of our conversations have been around first base.”  That doesn’t seem to bode well for Colin Moran, who is currently penciled in as the Pirates’ first baseman for next year, and is (like Tsutsugo) a left-handed hitter.  For what it’s worth, Tsutsugo has shown reverse-splits tendencies during his two MLB seasons, though that amounts to only 447 total plate appearances.
  • The Braves have six seasons remaining on their current TV contract with Bally Sports, and the team will soon receive an increase in their annual revenues from that deal, Tim Tucker of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.  Beginning in 2023, the Braves will receive over $100MM per year, and that number will rise to close to $120MM by 2027.  It isn’t known if this increase will directly impact payroll, but Atlanta president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos has said the Braves have more available to spend in 2022.  The TV contract and other details about the team’s business were revealed in a Liberty Media (the Braves’ parent corporation) investors conference this past Thursday, which included Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei saying that there weren’t any plans to sell the Braves.  Given all the positive information presented to investors, it isn’t surprising that Liberty Media would want to keep the team, as revenues generally continued to rebound both in the wake of the pandemic, and with the Braves’ World Series run adding even more of a benefit.  As Maffei simply put it, “it has been a pretty good run” for Liberty Media since buying the club in 2007.

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