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Friday, February 22, 2019

Marwin Gonzalez, Twins

Versatile Marwin Gonzalez has agreed to a two-year, $21 million deal with the Minnesota Twins, league sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Friday.

The deal, which is worth $12 million this season and $9 million in 2020, is pending a physical.

Gonzalez, who played every position for the Houston Astros in 2018 except pitcher and catcher, was an invaluable sparkplug during the Astros’ rise to success, with manager A.J. Hinch calling him “my Swiss Army knife.”

The switch-hitting Venezuelan played ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 22, 2019 at 02:01 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: marwin gonzalez, twins

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-22-2019

Pittsburgh Press, February 22, 1919:

Under Charley Herzog and Christy Mathewson, the Cincinnati Reds used the “hit and run” system of play extensively, even though it failed to bring results.
Now comes Pat Moran, who says that he does not care very much for the play, and who will use it only when it is plain that it should not be set aside. Pat says it’s a great play when you have the men you can make it, but when you haven’t that kind of players, what’s the use?

Coincidentally (or not), the ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 22, 2019 at 01:13 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Texas Rangers: Brady Feigl not related to Brady Feigl after all | Fort Worth Star-Telegram

We are all Brady Feigl today.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 22, 2019 at 09:44 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, more Giants will have different look at plate

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—After 10 days of watching him take batting practice and do catching drills, the Giants fully expect Buster Posey to be in the lineup on March 28 in San Diego. When he digs into the box, you’ll see a different look from Posey, now in his 11th big league season.

Posey is one of a dozen Giants wearing a batting helmet with a flap this spring. Last year, the Giants had just one player on their active roster—backup catcher Aramis Garcia—with a flap protecting his jaw. Posey said ...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2019 at 06:43 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: buster posey, giants, helmets, pablo sandoval

Ex-Phillies star Howard joins ESPN’s ‘Baseball Tonight’ crew

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — Former Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard has joined ESPN as an analyst on “Baseball Tonight.”

The network said Thursday that Howard will start in early March. He also will appear on other television and radio formats at ESPN.

Well, this confirms just how much ESPN holds the sport of baseball in contempt.


QLE Posted: February 22, 2019 at 06:43 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: espn, ryan howard

Cubs have sixth-best 2019 World Series odds, according to Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook

Las Vegas’ oddsmakers are high on the Cubs’ chances of having a successful 2019 season.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook released its over/under win total, World Series, pennant, division and playoff odds for each MLB team for the 2019 season. In comparison to the rest of MLB, the Cubs have the sixth-best odds to win the World Series (second-best in the National League).

When did Dave Cameron become a bookie?

QLE Posted: February 22, 2019 at 06:43 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, las vegas, odds

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens.

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base ...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2019 at 06:43 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, stolen bases, trea turner

Reds having Michael Lorenzen prepare as a two-way player

For decades, a legitimate “two-way player” — a player who functions as both a pitcher and as a position player — was nothing but a fantasy. The skill sets required for both are too distinct and require too much prep work, it was thought. The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani shattered that illusion in 2018, posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances as a hitter while posting a 3.31 ERA in 51 2/3 innings as a pitcher.

Since then, several more players have been considered in two-way roles. The ...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2019 at 06:43 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: michael lorenzen, reds, two-way players

Brewers’ Braun aiming to build off strong finish last season

PHOENIX (AP) — Those days of playing every day, they’re done for Ryan Braun. Most important for the longtime Milwaukee Brewers star these days is making the most of the time he’s in the lineup.

Now 35, Braun is inching closer to the downside of his career. And while he is still capable of being a game-changing presence, staying healthy and on the field on a regular basis is not nearly as easy as it was when he was 28 and just hitting his prime.

Managing Braun’s playing time to keep ...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2019 at 06:43 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, ryan braun

Bryce Harper not expected to receive offer from White Sox

As the Bryce Harper sweepstakes rolls into the final week of February, one potential suitor is reportedly backing out of the race.

According to Bruce Levine of 670 The Score in Chicago, the White Sox will not be making a bid to sign the free-agent outfielder.

The White Sox are still reeling after missing out on their primary target, Manny Machado. But Levine’s sources say that won’t be enough to motivate Chicago’s front office to up the ante on Harper. He cited the team’s confidence ...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2019 at 06:43 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, white sox

Report: Manny Machado will accommodate Padres’ top prospect with move back to third base

Manny Machado just signed the biggest free agent contract in the history of North American sports. And yet, he likely won’t ever be playing his favored position again if the San Diego Padres’ plan works out.

After spending a full year playing shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers, the Padres’ new $300 million man has agreed to move back to third base for his San Diego tenure. The reason why: Fernando Tatis Jr., widely considered the top shortstop prospect in ...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2019 at 06:43 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: fernando tatis jr., manny machado, padres, third basemen

Thursday, February 21, 2019

538: Foul Balls Are The Pace-Of-Play Problem Nobody’s Talking About

The number of foul balls has increased by 11.98 percent from 1998, when baseball expanded to 30 teams, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis of data. There were almost 14,000 more foul balls last season than there were 20 seasons earlier. In 1998, 26.5 percent of all strikes were foul balls. That share increased to a record 27.9 percent of strikes in 2017 and 27.8 percent last season, the top rates since pitch-level data was first recorded in 1988.
For the first ...

Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: February 21, 2019 at 05:18 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: foul balls, pace of play

Boston Globe Red Sox reporter Nick Cafardo dies after suffering apparent embolism at spring training

Long-time Boston Globe columnist Nick Cafardo died Thursday at the Red Sox spring training facility after suffering an apparent embolism, the newspaper announced.

Cafardo, 62, worked for the Globe since 1989 and was at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida, as part of The Globe’s Red Sox coverage. According to The Globe, members of the Red Sox medical team attempted to revive Cafardo when he collapsed. Cafardo chose to report to the team facility on his day off, compelled by his “love of ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2019 at 04:48 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: nick cafardo

Is It 2019 or 1919? Baseball Is One of America’s Hottest Sports

The number of people who played baseball in the U.S. surged 21% last year from 2014, to nearly 15.9 million, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. That includes everyone from a 6-year-old swinging a bat in the backyard to a starter in the College World Series.

Most of the gain has been in casual players, those who play the game between 1 and 12 times in a year. The ranks of those dabblers grew 53%, or by nearly 2.3 million people, from 2014 to 2018.

The growth of more ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2019 at 03:12 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: youth baseball

No one has been hit harder by the analytics movement than pro and advance scouts

For all the talk of what analytics has done to free-agent baseball players in two straight sluggish offseasons, no group of people in the game has been impacted more than scouts. They once filled press-box dining rooms and clustered in the expensive seats behind home plate toting their radar guns. Nowadays, you might run into one or two at a game, but only if you know where to look.

Is it just a matter of teams cutting costs, tasking computers with the jobs humans used to do? Many veterans in ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2019 at 10:52 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: scouting

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-21-2019

New York Sun, February 21, 1919:

Sweden wants baseball. In fact, the Swedes want baseball so badly that in the invitation they extended the American soccer players to visit Sweden next June they inserted the proviso that every player brought along must also be able to play baseball. Hence the American soccer invasion of Sweden next summer turns into a baseball invasion as well.

The number of Swedish-born players to make it to the major leagues in the last 100 years is…zero. They must not have ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 21, 2019 at 10:26 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Mets P Noah Syndergaard wants to ‘bet’ on himself in free agency

He’d better get healthier.

In speaking to the press on Wednesday, including The Athletic’s Tim Britton, Syndergaard said that he’s willing to play out the final three years of team control without an extension and hit free agency in 2021.

“I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did,” Syndergaard said. “But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2019 at 07:03 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, noah syndergaard

The Rays gave up a lot to get Yandy Diaz. He risked a lot more to get here.

It will be interesting to see what Diaz does with his opportunity.

Rays officials saw the potential for Diaz to be an impactful addition to their lineup — an “absolute beast” in the words of one — after incorporating some small adjustments they expect to produce more home runs. (More being relative as he’s hit only one in 265 big-league at-bats.)

And they paid heavily, giving up not only promising first baseman Jake Bauers but also $5 million (more than they’ll pay all but two ...

Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2019 at 06:57 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, yandy diaz

Santoli: Blame quant funds for baseballs soft free agent market

Saw the interview about this article yesterday.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2019 at 06:54 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Mariners’ baserunning and situational hitting game offers a glimpse at the talent of two top prospects | The Seattle Times

Just call him Mr. Glass.

There was an injury on the first play of the base running/situational hitting game. Mariners prospect Kyle Lewis, who has been more than unlucky with injury issues, suffered a dislocated right pinkie finger on a slide into second base. Lewis, who is rated as the Mariners’ No. 8 prospect by Baseball America, dove headfirst into second, jammed his hand against the base and felt the pain. He stood up after being called safe, shook his hand and then looked down and saw his ...

Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2019 at 06:47 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, prospects

The reality of the Pirates business model: ‘We’re always going to have limitations’ – The Athletic

A lot of the criticisms by players about teams not paying veterans is a lot of hogwash. Regarding the Pirates payroll history, I can’t believe ownership is really committed to winning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they want to win. They just don’t want to spend money to actually help do it.

Could the declining attendance stem from a perception that the front office and ownership are not committed to doing whatever it takes to win?

I don’t want to guess or speculate for someone else, for what ...

Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2019 at 06:42 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

After veteran salaries drop, baseball players want change

When these are your best examples, you need to rethink your premise.

Neil Walker’s salary dropped from $17.2 million to $2 million in two years. Greg Holland was cut from $14 million to $2 million this season. Daniel Murphy fell from $17.5 million to $10 million.

While Manny Machado agreed to a pending $300 million, 10-year contract with San Diego and Bryce Harper is likely to top Giancarlo Stanton’s record $325 million, 13-year deal, many less-than-superstar veterans have been routed on ...

Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2019 at 06:36 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

How and why Padres went after Manny Machado - The San Diego Union-Tribune

If the Padres were projected to lose money before signing Machado, they are either lying or terrible with budgets.

Asked last month whether that player and that time could align this offseason, Fowler seemed dubious. He was comfortable with an internal projection that the Padres’ financial losses this season would amount to about $8 million to $9 million “unless A.J. gets somebody we really, really think is a good idea.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2019 at 05:46 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: padres

Everything Went Right For The 2018 Red Sox. Are The Champs Destined To Regress?

It’s hard to imagine things going more right for the Boston Red Sox than they did last season. Boston jumped out to a scorching 17-2 start, was 38 games over .500 by the All-Star break, posted the most regular-season wins (108) by an MLB team in 17 years, and then steamrolled through the playoffs with an 11-3 postseason record en route to a World Series title. Statistically, it was probably the most impressive performance any major team had in 2018.1

But now the calendar has flipped to 2019, ...

QLE Posted: February 21, 2019 at 04:40 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, regression to the mean

At 33, Braves’ Donaldson trying to prove he can stay healthy

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Finding a job was pretty easy for Josh Donaldson. Proving he can keep it will be the tough part.

The former AL MVP didn’t have to wait long for a new opportunity, signing a one-year, $23 million contract with the Atlanta Braves less than a month after the World Series ended.

“I didn’t expect it to go that quickly,” Donaldson said Wednesday, the day before his first organized workout with the NL East champions. “It was my first time in free agency so I ...

QLE Posted: February 21, 2019 at 04:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, health, josh donaldson

Mets’ infielder Jed Lowrie to have MRI of left knee

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — The New York Mets uttered that dreaded three-letter acronym for the first time in spring training, and it involved Jed Lowrie: MRI.

Starting a $20 million, two-year contract, the infielder noticed the back of his left knee started to hurt last weekend after he was running, an issue he never felt before. He will go for a scan on Thursday.

“It’s just one of those things we’ve got to get checked out,” the 34-year-old said Wednesday. “It started when I ...

QLE Posted: February 21, 2019 at 04:28 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: jed lowrie, knees, mets being mets, mri

Nutting: pricey free agent would imbalance Pirates payroll

Having watched the San Diego Padres reach a $300 million, 10-year deal with Manny Machado, Pirates owner Bob Nutting doesn’t think it makes sense Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington to add a pricey free agent.

A huge salary could cause the portion paid to one player to be “overweight.”

“You get an imbalanced payroll, that you have much more challenging team dynamic, much more challenging clubhouse dynamic, much more limitation in crafting an overall roster that can bring a ...

QLE Posted: February 21, 2019 at 04:26 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: bob nutting, cheapskate, pirates

McCutchen ready to boost Phillies in all sorts of ways

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Andrew McCutchen is ready to boost the Philadelphia Phillies with his bat, glove and brain.

Signed to a $50 million, three-year contract, McCutchen said he enjoys his role as the veteran in the outfield and likes what he’s seen from his younger teammates.

The 32-year-old McCutchen is set to start in left. He returns to the National League after finishing up last season with the New York Yankees — he spent his first nine seasons in Pittsburgh, joined San Francisco ...

QLE Posted: February 21, 2019 at 04:20 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, phillies

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