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During a Zoom call with reporters, Rockies manager Bud Black suggested the possibility of teams losing their DH upon pulling their starting pitcher from the game, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The rule change’s purpose would be to deter the use of openers, while keeping some National League strategy in the game in the event that MLB decides to keep the universal DH. That said, Black’s idea could be considered even more outside-the-box than the opener itself, and it doesn’t seem likely to gain much traction. Besides, opener deterrence isn’t necessarily all that high up on the league’s to-do list. Limiting shifts, however, does appear to be gaining in popularity, notes Topkin. Forcing teams to keep two players on each side of the second base bag and keeping infielders on the infield dirt are two ways in which the league could decide to stymie current shifting strategies. Elsewhere…

  • The Angels and catcher James McCann did indeed have mutual interest before the Mets inked their backstop of choice to a four-year deal, per’s Rhett Bollinger (via Twitter). The Angels have been one of the more aggressive teams so far this winter. With many holes to fill, it’s no surprise that they would check in on a cheaper catching option than superstar free agent J.T. Realmuto.
  • A few catchers have come off the board already, increasing the likelihood that the Angels enter 2021 with Max Stassi and Anthony Bemboom as their catching tandem. That would be fine as far as manager Joe Maddon is concerned, notes Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times. The veteran Stassi would figure to get the first crack at starter reps after slashing .278/.352/.533 across 105 plate appearances last season. Bemboom had a fine showing in 2020, though the 30-year-old has never received more than 60 plate appearances in a season. The Angels are said to be at least exploring bringing in veteran Kurt Suzuki, who is just a year removed from helming a World-Series-winning staff in Washington.
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