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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Angel Hernandez seriously ejected Astros manager A.J. Hinch in a spring training game

The baseball season hasn’t even started yet, and Angel Hernandez is already trending for the wrong reasons.

Hernandez, the home plate umpire during a spring training game on Friday between the Astros and Cardinals, tossed Astros manager A.J. Hinch one pitch into the bottom of the first inning.

Hinch grew irritated after a 1-2 pitch by Astros starter Forrest Whitley to the Cardinals’ Harrison Bader in the top of the first was called a ball. Bader later reached on an error.

So, how long before one or the other starts beating up marshmallow salesmen in their spare time?

QLE Posted: March 16, 2019 at 08:24 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: a.j. hinch, angel hernandez, ejection, spring training

Giants pitcher Jeff Samardzija wants ties in MLB

Giants pitcher Jeff Samardzija has an idea and he knows some people are going to find it weird.

He wants MLB games to end in ties.

“I don’t think we need to play extra-inning games,” he said, via the Mercury News. “End them in a tie, everyone gets one point like the Premier League. A win gets three points. Just end it at nine. We’re playing 162 games. Over that course of games, you should be able to tell who the best team is.”

If we’re going to be inundated with bad ideas as for rule changes, why not bad ideas from the players?

 

QLE Posted: March 16, 2019 at 08:24 AM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: extra innings, jeff samardzija, manfred is thinking about it, rule changes, ties

Friday, March 15, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-15-2019

The Fairmont West Virginian weighs in on the future of air travel in baseball, March 15, 1919:

Traveling by planes instead of railroad trains will have its advantages. There would be no necessity of open dates in the schedules as the long jumps could be made in hours less time than it takes to make them by train. World series could be played on alternate days even if the participating teams were as far apart as New York and Chicago. Circuits could be widened to take in greater territory than at present.

Well done, 1919 people, though players do still occasionally need a day off. There’s a limit to what greenies can accomplish.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 15, 2019 at 10:12 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history


Rays not worried about MLB rule changes: ‘We have a lot of pitchers’

Limit pitching staffs to a max of 11 pitchers. By doing that, the three batter minimum wouldn’t be needed.

One, going into effect for 2020, would limit their matchup maneuvering by requiring pitchers to face a minimum of three batters (or to finish an inning).
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Another reduces their flexibility in shuttling fresh arms to the bullpen by extending the time pitchers optioned to the minors (or placed on the injured list) have to stay from a minimum of 10 days to 15, although it could still be tweaked.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 15, 2019 at 08:29 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, rule changes

Ken Giles throws accountability bomb at Blue Jays camp - Sportsnet.ca

It was in one of general manager Ross Atkins’ media availabilities at the winter meetings that the topic turned to the importance of veteran leadership, which is normally a sign the serious sports questions have stopped and we’re into bad amateur sports reporter psycho-babble. I mean, you know when you’ve stepped into that puddle that the dreaded ‘chemistry’ pit is beckoning.

But Atkins’ answer was interesting. Veteran leadership can be a factor, he said, when a team is going into the post-season and can rely on somebody who has been there. But in the regular season, for where the Blue Jays are now, performance and the ability to contribute on the field is more of a separator. For this re-tooling to work, the Blue Jays need to ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 15, 2019 at 07:27 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, ken giles, team chemistry

Baseball: Yankees v Red Sox game in London a best-seller: StubHub

(Reuters) - Major League Baseball’s first-ever game in London featuring world champion Boston Red Sox and rival New York Yankees is the best-selling game of the 2019 regular season, ticket seller StubHub said on Thursday.

Following matchups in Mexico and Japan in recent years, the league is making its first foray into Europe with hopes of expanding its international reach with the help of its two most-storied franchises.

“The appeal of MLB to a global audience continues to grow, and the overwhelming response for the rivalry match-up between the Yankees and Red Sox in London certainly proves that the sport has fans worldwide,” said Jill Krimmel, a general manager at StubHub.

Mind you, a test of who the real fans are would have ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: March 15, 2019 at 07:24 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: neutral site games, tickets

Starlin Castro among few veterans on young Marlins

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Starlin Castro remains a veteran on a Miami Marlins’ team that has gone with youth.

“I don’t try to put it in my mind because that’s one thing I can’t control,” Castro said. “The thing that I can control is being here every day and doing my job.”

Acquired in the December 2017 trade that sent Giancarlo Stanton, Castro hit .278 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs last season.

Strange- given that he had one of the best years of his career last year, you’d think they would have traded him for some magic beans by now….

 


Farhan Zaidi believes Giants bullpen can be one of baseball’s best

SAN FRANCISCO—The belief throughout much of the offseason was that Farhan Zaidi would trade his best relievers in order to get pieces that could help the Giants win in future years. Recently, Zaidi put his own twist on that plan when asked if he could still swing deals centered around bullpen arms.

“It definitely is a position of depth for us,” he said. “We’ll kind of continue to listen because I think it’s a relative position of depth, but I think for us to be successful with the composition of this club, we’ll have to have one of the best bullpens in baseball.”

The Giants are not on anybody’s list of contenders, and they haven’t significantly upgraded a club that’s lost 187 games the past two seasons. But that also doesn’t mean ...

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QLE Posted: March 15, 2019 at 07:24 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: bullpens, farhan zaidi, giants

Fulmer won’t pitch in near future, to work on mechanics

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Detroit Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer will not pitch in games in the near future, focusing on lower-body mechanics.

“He took a step back to refine his lower-body mechanics,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said after Thursday’s 4-4 tie with Boston. “We have no timetable when he’s going to get back on the mound.”

Something new to add to my collection of euphemisms….

QLE Posted: March 15, 2019 at 07:24 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: mechanics, michael fulmer, tigers

The Tao of Yasiel Puig: The Reds’ New Star Riffs on Bat Flips, Life and His Rocky End With the Dodgers

Some key lines:

Yet the Yasiel Puig Story, as full of fun as it’s been, remains frustratingly incomplete. He’s struggled to match the hype of his thrilling 2013 arrival that launched him into superstardom. He’s clashed repeatedly with managers, coaches and teammates over the years and earned scorn—often unfairly, sometimes deservedly—over his behavior on and off the field. His time in Los Angeles featured six straight division titles and back-to-back trips to the World Series in 2017 and ‘18, yet a championship eluded both him and a team that hasn’t captured one since two years before he was born. “It’s nice, but we haven’t won,” the 28-year-old Puig says in Spanish of his frequent trips to the postseason. “The ...

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QLE Posted: March 15, 2019 at 07:24 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bat flips, dodgers, reds, trades, yasiel puig

MLB players are focused on what impact the new rule changes won’t have

Baseball’s current collective bargaining agreement doesn’t expire until December 2021, but the league’s long-reigning labor peace is at risk as tensions rise over free agency stagnation and disagreements about what has caused a recent downturn in the sport’s popularity. And so, with players speaking up about their frustration more than ever and some even openly dropping the S-word, the two sides came to the table this offseason to see what changes could be agreed upon now — before a work stoppage becomes a real threat.

Now, after weeks of negotiations, Major League Baseball and the players’ association have reached a consensus Thursday on a number of rule changes as well as the creation of a joint committee to discuss ongoing ...

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QLE Posted: March 15, 2019 at 07:24 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mlbpa, rule changes

MLB announces new rules for trade deadline, All-Star voting, Home Run Derby

Some stuff on the list that wasn’t in the article I uploaded yesterday:

As per usual, fans will be allowed to vote for the All-Star game starters online. The top three vote-getters will then be involved in a one-day election to determine who ultimately gets the honor. It’s a recipe for fun.

MLB is hoping to bring more of its top talent into the annual Home Run Derby by raising the stakes. Starting in 2019, the prize for the content will be $1 million. While that’s not earth-shattering money for some players, it’s quite a bit for others, including people who could win it. Aaron Judge, for instance, will make $684,300 in 2019, so winning the derby is certainly in his best interest.

We’ve heard a lot about a proposed three-batter ...

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Adnan Virk joining DAZN as host of new baseball highlights show, per reports

Former ESPN anchor Adnan Virk has apparently resolved his abrupt departure from the network and found the next stop in his broadcasting career.

Shortly after signing a multiyear contract extension, Virk was fired in January for allegedly leaking company information about ESPN’s negotiations with Major League Baseball.

Although Virk continues to maintain he did nothing wrong, he and the network have agreed not to litigate their differences, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post.

As a side note, another streaming service to add to the list- I wonder how long before consolidation happens….

 

QLE Posted: March 15, 2019 at 07:24 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasting, dazn

Thursday, March 14, 2019

In the war between science and aesthetics, trying to save baseball teams from themselves

At the SABR Analytics conference.

“The war in baseball is between science and aesthetics,” [John] Thorn said, “and the people in there don’t give a (crap) about aesthetics.”

Perry Posted: March 14, 2019 at 12:55 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Top 39 Prospects: Houston Astros | FanGraphs Baseball

I’ve mentioned this before but keeping their farm system so productive will require them to continue to churn through their prospects. As they reach the 40-Man bottleneck they will need to trade some of their excess AAA-ish prospects for other teams’ lower level prospects. This effort will only get more difficult as their front office people move around the league and more teams start valuing players similarly. It will be interesting to watch things play out over the next 5-10 years. How long will they be able to keep their competitive window open?

This is a good farm system even though there are some clear potential long-term pitfalls from having narrow criteria for the players the org targets. For one, the types of pitchers Houston seems ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 14, 2019 at 11:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, prospects

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-14-2019

El Paso Herald, March 14, 1919:

[Connie] Mack has come forth now with the announcement that he is through—absolutely through—selling star players. He is going to keep his stars henceforth, he says, and he means to give Philadelphia fans the best brands of baseball they have seen since the days of the old champions—as soon as he can. Mack has a lot of promising young players and a few old-timers, and his club as it shapes up today is not to be sneezed at.

The 1919 Phiadelphia Athletics went 36-104. Sneeze away.

Connie indeed dismantled a dynasty and sold his star players again, in December 1933. After Mack sold Lefty Grove and Mickey Cochrane, the Athletics went 36 years and two relocations before finishing less than ten games out of first. ...Read More...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 14, 2019 at 10:27 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Robinson Cano thinks Amed Rosario could be Mets’ next ‘superstar’

Rosario has really looked good this spring. He’s been less passive and more aggressive on strikes.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 14, 2019 at 09:38 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: amed rosario, mets, robinson cano

Alonso’s status an issue for union watching service time

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Pete Alonso is hitting .406 at spring training and leads the Mets with three home runs. Yet, if New York keeps him in the minor leagues for the first 15 days of the season, his eligibility for free agency would be pushed back a year until after the 2025 season.

“Seeing what players are going through where their service time is being manipulated, on the front end and/or in the middle, is a concern, has been a concern and will continue to be a concern,” union head Tony Clark said after meeting with the Mets.

Alonso nearly homered again Wednesday, but wind knocked down his fourth-inning drive off Houston’s Gerrit Cole. Alonso had 36 homers and 119 RBIs at Double-A and Triple-A last season.

Another to add to ...

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QLE Posted: March 14, 2019 at 06:08 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: mets being mets, pete alonso, service time

This year, Gabe Kapler using his gut to set Phillies’ lineup — here’s what that means

TAMPA, Fla. — With the Phillies’ lineup as deep and as talented as it’s been in a decade, fans can’t get enough of lineup chatter.

Who should lead off?

Is the two-hole still reserved for the Phils’ best hitter, as Gabe Kapler laid it out in 2018?

Usually, when my gut does the thinking for me, it means that I either already am violently ill or that I’m going to be…

 

QLE Posted: March 14, 2019 at 06:08 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: gabe kapler, guts, lineups, phillies

Athletics excited about starting season in Japan next week

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Oakland Athletics pitcher Liam Hendriks wants to taste soy sauce ice cream. Teammate Marco Estrada is hoping to spend a day at Tokyo Disneyland. Athletics manager Bob Melvin just needs to pack.

Melvin and the Athletics head to Japan on Thursday for the major league opening series against the Seattle Mariners at the Toyko Dome on March 20-21. The A’s and Mariners also faced each other in the last opening series in Tokyo, splitting two games in 2012. The Chicago Cubs and New York Mets played there in 2000, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2004, and the Boston Red Sox and Oakland in 2008.

Oakland went on to win the AL West seven years ago and reach the Division Series.

Billy Beane, meanwhile, is ...

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QLE Posted: March 14, 2019 at 06:08 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, japan, neutral site games, opening day

A preview of the new procedural changes coming to MLB in 2020

We’re already discussing the changes to the trade deadline- some other changes that will be coming:

The players’ union and MLB are expected to announce they have agreed, in 2020, to:

Roster expansion by one to 26, including a maximum 13 pitchers, in the regular and postseasons. After Aug. 31, rosters may grow to as many as 28, with a maximum of 14 pitchers. Previously, September rosters were allowed 40 players. The larger roster creates 30 major league jobs.

Increasing the injured list and option-recall duration for pitchers from 10 to 15 days.

The shortening of between-inning breaks at Major League Baseball’s discretion.

Extra innings of the All-Star Game would begin with a runner at second base.

Three-batter rule has been ...

Read More...

Rochester Red Wings will honor city’s deaf culture with ASL uniforms

It’s not uncommon in Rochester, New York, to begin speaking to a stranger and have them reply in American Sign Language (ASL).

The city has been referred to as having the nation’s highest per capita deaf population, backed up in 2012 with data by the Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT/NTID). The school estimated 3.7 percent of the city is deaf or hard-of-hearing.

That’s why the Rochester Red Wings, long-time Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, are teaming up with RIT/NTID for Deaf Culture Day on Sunday, April 28 at Frontier Field.

An interesting consideration of the various forms that promotions can take in the minor leagues.

 

QLE Posted: March 14, 2019 at 06:08 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: deaf, minor leagues, promotions, rochester

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

MLB will now have only one trade deadline: July 31. What will that mean?

Trades like that will become a thing of the past, starting this year, per Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic:

The switch to a single non-waiver deadline on July 31, which according to sources will be among the rules changes Major League Baseball and the players’ union adopt this season, will eliminate the indecipherable trade waivers in August, baseball’s version of the U.S. tax code.

The idea, first proposed by the union, is to protect the competitive integrity of the 162-game regular season, create more certainty for players and force teams to decide earlier whether they are buyers or sellers.

Sure, changing to one deadline on July 31 will do that — force teams to get into buyer or seller mode earlier. It’ll change the August ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:38 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: trade deadline

White Sox Option Eloy Jimenez To Triple-A - MLB Trade Rumors

What happens when the next ballyhooed prospect busts? We all assume the very top prospects will reach their potential. That’s not always the case though. Unfortunately, until the MLBPA and owners resolve this issue, a cloud of suspicion will hover over every decision to option a top prospect on the cusp of playing in the majors. Although this could wait until the current CBA expires, there is nothing that prevents both parties from resolving it sooner.

For the time being, Jimenez will be asked to continue honing his skills in the minors. Perhaps the Sox will opt not to call him up on the very first day on which he’d fall a year shy of big league service, using the delay as a means of further claiming that the move was a developmental ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 06:30 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: eloy jimenez, prospects, white sox

The Houston Astros Still Have More Pitchers Than Your Favorite Team - The Ringer

The Astros front office has set themselves up for a sustained run. It’s not easy to stock your farm system while winning. As difficult as that is, the toughest thing to do, however, is being disciplined enough not to trade your top prospects to maximize your chances to win **this year**. Of course, getting your championship out the way early reduces the pressure. The Dodgers have a similar vision as the Astros. Without sealing the deal, though, the pressure for the Dodgers to “go for it this year” will keep on building.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 02:59 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Stark: Everybody’s out to get 30-something baseball players these days — even Alexa – The Athletic

Wonderful article by Jayson Stark.

So is that true, that no one really knows? Here’s the tricky part of this: No one knows for sure when any individual player will peak and decline, because, from Hank Aaron to Tom Brady to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the world of sports has always been filled with freaks of nature who defy their age and defy the averages.

But in an era in which front offices are consumed by the goal of minimizing risk, they know exactly when most players will peak and decline. And it’s those judgments that are wreaking havoc on the free-agent market – and ratcheting up the pressure on even star players, because sooner or later, that gong will be sounding for them.

“I think your leash is way shorter,” said Matt ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 02:57 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: aging, free agency, pay site

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-13-2019

Washington Times, March 13, 1919:

Fred Harveycutter, a Washington fan, accompanies the Griffmen to Augusta [for Spring Training]. Fred is a great buttermilk fiend and admits that Augusta provides the best buttermilk in the United States. When not loading up on his favorite article of liquid food, he will advise the athletes at Sally Park.

1919 was truly a different time. This seemed like a typesetter playing a joke on an unwitting public, but I think it’s true. There really was a Fred Harveycutter living in DC around this time. He appears to have had a serious accident in 1916 but recovered well enough to chug buttermilk and watch baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 13, 2019 at 09:44 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Mariners’ Felix Hernandez has reason to be upset, but he also has an opportunity | The Seattle Times

When will they just release him?

These weren’t scorched-earth reactions that will drive an immediate wedge between Hernandez, his teammates and Servais. Regardless of the $27 million Felix will receive in this final year of his contract, everyone understands that regression still hurts.

In the past five years, Hernandez’s ERA has ballooned from 2.14, to 3.53, to 3.82, to 4.36 to 5.55. Throw in the seven earned runs he allowed in three innings Sunday, and a 2019 resurgence seems closer to impossible than it does improbable.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 09:26 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: felix hernandez, mariners

Jacob deGrom optimistic contract extension with Mets can be reached before season | Newsday

The Mets’ ace said he remains optimistic that he and the team can work out a long-term deal by the start of the regular season, which is about two weeks away. Instead of getting personally involved in those negotiations, though, deGrom said he has let his agent, Jeff Berry of CAA, “do his thing.”

“I try to eliminate as many things as I can and just focus on getting guys out,” deGrom said Tuesday. “Being a part of the future is definitely something I would like to be. That was a goal of mine. I think we’re hopeful, so we’ll just see what happens.”

Said general manager Brodie Van Wagenen: “I’m not going to put a label on it. [There have been] discussions. There’s been open dialogue, and I think that’s ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 09:17 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: jacob degrom, mets

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