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Monday, March 07, 2016

OTP - 2016 March 7: Obama will take in a baseball game during his visit to Cuba

President Obama’s historic trip to Cuba later this month will include some baseball diplomacy, the White House said Tuesday.

The president will attend a March 22 exhibition baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team during his brief trip to the island nation. The restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba and the reopening of the U.S. Embassy after more than 50 years has been touted by the White House as a key part of Obama’s foreign-policy legacy.

Bitter Mouse, Space Tyrant Posted: March 07, 2016 at 08:41 AM | 2416 comment(s)
  Beats: cuba, politics

Dave McKay’s hopes high for Yasmany Tomas’ defense

It’s nice expressing confidence in a player. I’m sure they will be very happy with close to average.

For outfield coach Dave McKay, the expectations on left fielder Yasmany Tomas’ defense are anything but tepid.

“No, average is out the door,” McKay said. “He’ll be much better than average. I like to say he’s going to be a good outfielder. Not an average outfielder, I’m saying he’s going to be a good outfielder.”

That’s asking a lot for player who rated among the worst ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 07, 2016 at 08:27 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, yasmany tomas

Interview With Former GM and Baseball Lifer Dan Evans

Evan had an opportunity to work alongside former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos for the past few years, Evans spoke about the work ethic of Anthopoulos.

“Alex has as much passion as anyone I have ever worked with, and he has an unrivalled capacity for work. A good friend of mine dubbed me The Energizer Bunny a few years ago, but Alex wins the gold medal in energy. I have immense respect for his character and creativity, and appreciated how he fully immersed himself, reading every report. We ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 07, 2016 at 07:00 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: dan evans, general managers

Bucco Blog | Monday Mop-Up Duty: Are the Pirates taking advantage of Coors Field?

Have the Pirates found an elevation-based market inefficiency?

Regardless of his role, Nicasio has an arm that can play. Ideally, he could be a Joe Blanton 2.0 with better stuff (Horner photo)

Consider that from 2012-14 Nicasio posted three straight ERAs of at least 5.14 with the Rockies. But in 58 innings with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, Nicasio posted a 3.86 ERA, struck out 10.3 batters per nine (career rate is 7.4) and had an elite 15 percent swinging strike rate.

His fastball ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 07, 2016 at 06:49 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: coors field, pirates

White Sox To Sign Austin Jackson - MLB Trade Rumors

Yet still no love for Pedro Alvarez? He’s a flawed player, but I’m shocked he hasn’t caught on with somebody.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 07, 2016 at 06:22 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: austin jackson, white sox

The fastball is back: Rockies refocused on the simplest pitch - The Denver Post

Another year, another theory on what plays in Colorado. How about bringing back the Blake Street Bombers?

Jim Furtado Posted: March 07, 2016 at 06:18 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: fastballs, pitching, rockies

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Pirates rotation seems set, but Glasnow and Taillon are waiting in the wings | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Patience, patience.

Glas­now has a 2.07 ERA and 11.8 strike­outs per nine in­nings in 383⅓ pro­fes­sional in­nings. Watch­ing him throw, it’s easy to see why. His long arms and legs al­low him to re­lease the ball closer to home plate than most pitch­ers; a high-90s fast­ball is hard enough to hit, but when it has a shorter dis­tance to travel, it gets on the bat­ter more quickly. He pairs the fast­ball with a strong curve­ball. The changeup needs work.

“He’s still ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2016 at 12:23 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jameson taillon, pirates, tyler glasnow

Twins’ Miguel Sano discusses death of infant daughter

What an horrific ordeal for anyone to go through. I can’t even imagine the pain of losing a child.

“It was hard,” the Twins right fielder said Sunday morning. “I would cry every day about that. My first baby. She died.”

Angelica Sano, born in late November 2014, was one week old when she died of a heart defect in the Dominican Republic. Sano, rehabbing in Fort Myers after having Tommy John surgery that spring, flew home after his daughter’s birth and had returned to Florida when his ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2016 at 11:17 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: miguel sano, twins

Mets’ hidden strength could be difference in a long season | New York Post

“There are so many players you would like more if you did not have to play them 162 games,” said J.P. Riccciardi, a special assistant to Alderson. “This is a way to keep players healthy and manage the season in a more effective way.”

And the Mets are going to have to manage, not just Cabrera, but more important Wright, who will need regular off time due to his spinal stenosis. Right now, Flores is the backup third baseman. But Alderson admitted the Mets would love to rest Wright ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2016 at 07:36 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Mets have high hopes for this not-so-secret bullpen weapon | New York Post

Is he really a secret?

Now the secret is out: Robles has the potential to become something special.

“He matured an incredible amount,” pitching coach Dan Warthen said. “I don’t know for years to come if he can’t become a possible closer, if necessary. That’s how good I think he has a chance to be.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2016 at 07:12 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: hansel robles, mets

Texas Rangers: The next step in Martin Perez’s path to becoming a top of the rotation starter is a simple one | SportsDay

“He seems to have intent to everything he does right now,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “He is a confident human being. He feels good, trusts his arm and knows he can definitely have an impact on this game.”
“Last year, my focus was probably more on my arm,” Perez acknowledged. “This year, I know where my focus us: We want to win. I want to win. I want to compete. We know that we can do what we want to do: Win the World Series. This is a time for me to focus and be better ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2016 at 07:09 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: martin perez, rangers

Yankees prospect Jorge Mateo continues to impress, learns important lesson | Newsday

Had my first look at him yesterday. He has an impressive skill set.

“I thought I had a home run on Wednesday,” the righthanded- hitting shortstop said through his translator. “I learned to keep on running. Running fast.”

The 20-year-old, signed as an undrafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, typically doesn’t have that issue. He stole a combined 82 bases in the minors last season to lead all minor-leaguers. But in the Yankees’ exhibition opener on Wednesday against ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2016 at 07:02 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jorge mateo, yankees

Hochman: Piscotty impresses Cards with brains, brawn | Benjamin Hochman | stltoday.com

“He’s wicked smart.”

They don’t make ’em like Stephen Piscotty much.

He’s uber-talented, and likely is the heir to the throne that is the No. 3 spot in the St. Louis Cardinals’ batting order. But he’s wicked smart. Fascinated by outer space. Politics. Went to Stanford. Graduated with a degree in atmosphere and energy engineering.

“He’s definitely a different kind of guy,” said fellow outfielder Randal Grichuk, his teammate and spring training roommate. “I told Jim Hayes (from ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2016 at 06:43 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, stephen piscotty

Tom Knight, Brooklyn’s Baseball Sage, Dies at 89 - The New York Times

I bet Tom Knight was an interesting guy to sit next to at a ballgame.

Mr. McGee said that attending a game with Mr. Knight was likely to prompt a flood of information and anecdotes. Reporters seemed to find that as well.

“I always loved the story of Rudy York, who hit 18 home runs in one month for the Tigers in ’37,” Mr. Knight said in an interview with The New York Times shortly after he was appointed to the Brooklyn historian post. “But he liked to drink a little, and once in Boston ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2016 at 06:39 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries

Breaking down Dodgers’ Top 30 Prospects | MLB.com

MLB Pipeline releases the last ten top 30 team prospect lists.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2016 at 06:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: prospect reports

What to do when your window of opportunity is closing (Mar 5, 2016) | FOX Sports

The Blue Jays want to build on last year’s success, while the Detroit Tigers and Washington Nationals hope 2015 was an aberration. All three teams are trying to keep their championship windows open, and it isn’t easy.

‘‘At some point, some teams get into an all-win-now mode because they’re right there,’’ Tigers general manager Al Avila said. ‘‘It’s very hard to get into the playoffs. It’s very hard to get into the World Series, much more even to win it. When you feel you have that chance, ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2016 at 06:09 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, nationals, playoffs, team building, tigers

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Grant Desme gave up baseball to become priest | MLB.com

A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane was driving home from an offseason luncheon with sponsors in late January 2010 when the phone call came. Grant Desme, coming off a breakthrough year and in Beane’s estimation one of the two top prospects in the organization, dropped a bombshell.

Coming off a 30-30 season, followed by earning MVP honors in the Arizona Fall League, Desme was giving up baseball to become a Catholic priest.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 05, 2016 at 08:46 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: human interest story

The connection between Braves’ Hector Olivera and his manager - Jayson Stark Blog- ESPN

“He’s not 23,” Gonzalez said. “He’s 30. And ... how many big leaguers play to the age of 35? Not many. And the guys who do have been playing since the age of 19 or 20 in the big leagues. They’ve had long careers. So shoot, I’m not worried about (what he’ll be at) 35 years old. I’m worried about now.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 05, 2016 at 08:44 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, cuban players, hector olivera

This day in MLBPA history: The first Spring Training tours

On March 5, 1966, Marvin Miller was hired as executive director pending a full vote of the membership, and he set off on the Players Association’s first camp-to-camp tour of Spring Training to meet with players.

bobm Posted: March 05, 2016 at 01:55 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: marvin miller, mlbpa

Tom Knight, Brooklyn’s Baseball Sage, Dies at 89

As decades pass, fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers, perhaps the most fervidly nostalgic partisans in the history of sports, are growing fewer and fewer. The 2016 baseball season, now getting underway, is the 59th since the team decamped to Los Angeles, leaving Brooklyn’s baseball die-hards with pangs of heartsickness for the loss of Gil Hodges, Duke Snider and Pee Wee Reese and venomous animosity for the never-to-be-forgiven betrayal of the team owner, Walter O’Malley, who took them away.

Of ...

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Wahoo Sam Posted: March 05, 2016 at 08:32 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brooklyn dodgers

Yankees Share for Sale: 1% Can Be Yours for About $24 Million - Bloomberg Business

OK, who is breaking open the piggy bank?

A minority owner of the New York Yankees is selling a 1 percent stake in the franchise for about $24 million, according to documents associated with the transaction and reviewed by Bloomberg News. The team as a whole is worth $2.75 billion to $3.25 billion, the documents say.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 05, 2016 at 08:04 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

Friday, March 04, 2016

Brewers’ beloved Hank the Dog not replaced | MLB.com

Well, that’s settled.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 04, 2016 at 06:14 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers

Red Sox reporter Jessica Moran resigns amid questions about manager John Farrell

Jessica Moran, a reporter for Comcast SportsNet who covers the Red Sox, resigned from the network Friday amid questions about the nature of her relationship with the team’s manager, John Farrell.

“I have stepped away from Comcast SportsNet as I thought it was in my best personal and professional interest to do so,” Moran wrote in a text to the Globe. “They have been extremely supportive during my tenure at the network — and with this decision — and I am very appreciative of ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 04, 2016 at 05:58 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: john farrell, journalism, red sox

Kris Bryant, Cubs agree to $652,000 contract

The Chicago Cubs and third baseman Kris Bryant, the 2015 National League Rookie of the Year, agreed to a one-year, $652,000 contract.

Bryant will receive a raise of more than $145,000 - a substantial amount considering he has less than one full year of major league service time. Bryant also will receive $111,000 more than Pittsburgh Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, who will earn $541,000 despite more than two years of service time.

This almost most likely doesn’t help the Cubs sign him in 6 years, ...

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Mariners pitcher Nathan Karns leaves the analysis to others this spring | The Seattle Times

Yes, he’s already 28.

When Karns, 28, was younger he would analyze every pitch and decision, sometimes second-guessing himself and always holding an outing to his highest standard.

“I would be so tough on myself,” he said. “In the past I’d be very critical of every little thing. That just comes with lack of experience.”

Worst of all, he would have wondered how all those little things could affect his chances to make the Mariners’ opening-day roster.

“Now with some experience, I ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 04, 2016 at 10:52 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, nate karns

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-4-2016

Toledo News-Bee, March 4, 1916:

Sixteen thousand baseballs will be used this season. The bombardment already is under way in the training camps. During their sojourns in Dixie the big league troops consume 1,500 pellets. The same number is required by each club in the National and American leagues during the pennant dash.

New York uses more balls at the Polo grounds than any other club. This is because fewer balls are returned from the stands after dropping into the crowds. On the other hand, ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 04, 2016 at 09:51 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, siberian pony leather

How important is Bayes in advanced defensive metrics? | MGL on Baseball

Some good stuff about the problems with defensive metrics. Statcast will fix some of the issues but not all.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 04, 2016 at 08:53 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: defense, sabermetrics

WBC helped MLB build bridges with Cuba | FOX Sports

Some background on Cuba participation in the WBC and the state of MLB’s relationship with Cuba.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 04, 2016 at 08:48 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cuban baseball, world baseball classic

Braves Sean Newcomb takes lessons from start | MLB.com

Still, even though Newcomb has tremendous promise and a high ceiling, he has made just seven starts above the Class A Advanced level. In other words, he had never faced a lineup that included the likes of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez before Thursday.

“It was definitely different looking in and seeing [Cabrera], but that’s what I’m going to have to be dealing with, so I’ve got to get used to it,” Newcomb said. “It’s just simple mechanical stuff that I’ve got to take care. Stuff that I can ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 04, 2016 at 08:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, sean newcomb

Analysis: Dodgers’ gamble on pricey pitchers is a dream deferred due to a slew of injuries - The Orange County Register

Some patience is in order.

“You never want to tap into that depth this early. But this is sort of the benefit of having that sort of depth,” Zaidi said. “As soon as something like this happens, you hope you can backfill and create some more options for yourself. But we’re also in the position where we have a lot of options and don’t have to do that.”

Much of that depth is young and talented, but also unproven and largely untested, even in the minors. Nineteen-year-old Julio Urias ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 04, 2016 at 08:12 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

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