Spring training is sprung . . .

. . . and what would be a little spring training without a few little controversies, actual or alleged, here and there?

Manfred

Manfred

■ THE CHANGELING—That would be new commissioner Rob Manfred, for whom it seems everything short of shortening the basepaths (oops! don’t give him any ideas!) is on the table, whether it’s outlawing defensive shifting, coming up with new rule adjustments to (it is alleged) speed up the game, or even returning baseball to the 154-game season. (The American League went to 162 games after its first expansion, beginning in 1961; the National League did likewise starting with its first expansion in 1962.)

The girl who would be Pete Rose’s liberator

Pete Rose, talking to CBS Sunday Morning last October---a young fan is now researching 4,256 reasons to reinstate him to baseball. (Photo: CBS.)

Pete Rose, talking to CBS Sunday Morning last October—a young fan is now researching 4,256 reasons to reinstate him to baseball. (Photo: CBS.)

Rob Manfred’s first half month in office as baseball’s new commissioner seems a brief introductory term in which he has enunciated thoughts good, not so good, better, and not so much so. At the minimum he seems to have ideas about putting a little distance between himself and his predecessor, which is good, never mind “how much” remains to be seen in full.

How much bargain IS James Shields for the Padres?

If the Friars accept that Big Game James doesn't live here anymore, if he ever did, Shields should  be a good signing for them.

If the Friars accept that Big Game James doesn’t live here anymore, if he ever did, Shields should be a good signing for them.

James Shields needed just slightly longer to find new employment than Max Scherzer needed. At four years believed in the $75 million total range, the Padres might look to have a bargain on the surface. Look a little deeper, however, and it’s just about what Shields really is worth as compared to what some thought he saw himself as worth.