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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How Colby Rasmus’ big contract played a role in trading Jed Lowrie - Houston Chronicle

So, it is a salary dump.

“I don’t know because we’re not operating really towards a number,” Luhnow said. “Obviously, I know I’m not going to spend $150, $200 million. But I’m not necessarily trying to hit a number. I’m trying to put together a team. I know it’s going to be in some range, but I’m focused way more on putting together a team that works for us rather than hitting a number.”
“Given that we had a lot of options at third and first, we (thought we) could take those resources and ...

Jim Furtado Posted: November 25, 2015 at 07:08 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Comcast takes shot at Yankees in dispute as cable operator says not many folks watching the games on YES

“... Over 90% of our 900,000 plus customers who receive YES Network didn’t watch the equivalent of even one quarter of those (130) games (on YES) during the season,” Comcast said. “Even while the Yankees were in the hunt for a playoff berth.”

ReggieThomasLives Posted: November 25, 2015 at 06:13 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: evil empire, yankees

Veteran catcher Geovany Soto agrees to one-year deal with Angels

The hot stove is getting lukewarm!

Free-agent catcher Geovany Soto and the Los Angeles Angels have agreed to a one-year, $2.8 million contract.

The team announced the move Tuesday night, one day after losing catcher Chris Iannetta to the Seattle Mariners in free agency.

Soto has played for four teams in 11 major league seasons. The former Chicago Cubs backstop spent last season on the other side of town with the White Sox, batting .219 with nine homers and 21 RBIs in 78 games.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 25, 2015 at 12:55 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, geovany soto

Alex Avila lands with Chicago White Sox

Thanksgiving dinner at the Avilas just got awkward.

Alex Avila is leaving town, but he isn’t traveling far.

The longtime Detroit Tigers catcher this morning signed a one-year deal with the division-rival Chicago White Sox. The deal, according to the Sox, is worth $2.5 million.

Avila, 28, is the oldest son of Tigers general manager Al Avila. He spent seven seasons with the Tigers, hitting .242 with 66 home runs.

He served as the starting catcher for the better part of six seasons, until ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 25, 2015 at 12:54 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: alex avila, tigers, white sox

Oakland A’s acquire Jed Lowrie from Houston Astros for RHP Brendan McCurry

Jed Lowrie? Brett Lawrie? Could Noah Lowry be next?

e Oakland Athletics have reacquired Jed Lowrie from the Houston Astros for right-handed relief pitcher Brendan McCurry, the club has announced. News that the A’s would acquire Lowrie was first reported by Jane Lee of The A’s have 41 players counting against their 40-man roster limit and have not yet announced a corresponding move.

Lowrie, turning 32 next season, has two years and $14 million remaining on the three-year deal he ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 25, 2015 at 12:53 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, athletics, billy beane, brendan mccurry, jed lowrie, trade

The 3-man rotation? It’s coming ... sometime, says Bill James

Suppose that a team used a three-man starting rotation, but limited each pitcher to 80 pitches a start or five innings. (This actually would work with 90 pitches a start, but 80 is more conservative, so I’m going to use 80 as a working premise.) Anyway, a starting pitcher always and absolutely comes out of the game as soon as

1) He has pitched five innings, or

2) He has thrown 80 pitches.

No exceptions. Eighty pitches, it’s the fifth inning, you’re ahead 9-0 and you have two outs and two ...

eddieot Posted: November 25, 2015 at 11:18 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, sabermetrics

Win a Free Copy of THT 2016! | FanGraphs Baseball

OK, I just bought my copy. Here’s a chance to get your copy for free.

Have you heard? The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2016 is now available for sale. You can check out the table of contents and read some excerpts from the book. When you finish that you can purchase it from our independent publishing platform, Createspace, in print form, or from Amazon in print form, and also digitally on Amazon for the Kindle.

But wait, there’s more! Because we’re giving folk, and since it’s the ...

Jim Furtado Posted: November 25, 2015 at 11:07 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: books

Free-agent starters Red Sox may try to sign |

If his medicals look good, Cueto would be a really good fit for the Red Sox.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 25, 2015 at 08:40 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, red sox

One way to help improve the Red Sox pitching in 2016: Keep Jackie Bradley

It’s still weird to see analysis like this in a newspaper.

Across the game, the correlation between outfield defense and runs shaved off a pitching staff’s predicted ERA was significantly higher than the correlation between infield and catcher defense and ERA.

In other words, while it’s possible to make an impact with either an elite infield or an elite outfield, the teams with elite outfields tended to help their pitchers more than teams with elite infields.

That’s where Bradley — ...

Jim Furtado Posted: November 25, 2015 at 08:38 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, sabermetrics

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-25-2015

Not a ton of baseball in the newspapers of Thanksgiving Day 1915.

Topeka State Journal, November 25, 1915:

Arthur (Buck) Weaver, formerly catcher for the Denver and Wichita Western League baseball clubs, was probably fatally injured today in an explosion and fire that damaged the plant of the Mountain Motor Fuel company of which he was superintendent…An electric spark is believed to have caused the explosion.

This is not Black Sox Buck Weaver, but the Browns/Cardinals/Pirates/White Sox catcher ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 25, 2015 at 08:05 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: art weaver, dugout, history

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Muñoz’s path to the Phillies doesn’t often happen

Durso had welcomed Muñoz on to the Homers for Hope baseball team, and into his home. He and his wife, Katie, had taught Muñoz some rudimentary English. He had done all of this under the tyranny of the calendar. Whatever hope Muñoz had of remaining in the United States, restarting his pitching career, and extricating his family from the pull of the Dominican Republic’s poverty would run out come Dec.31, when his visa expired, unless a major-league organization threw him a lifeline.

If one ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 24, 2015 at 04:35 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: jairo munoz, phillies

David Stearns on His Vision for Building the Brewers | FanGraphs Baseball


On the information beast: “I really don’t see a dichotomy between the analytics and scouting departments. I see them both as information sources where we need the absolute best of both. We’re going to build out both until we feel we have the best information we can possibly acquire. We’re always going to want more. That’s the nature of the beast. In this industry, the game is, ‘What is the next frontier in baseball and where can we get the next competitive advantage?’”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 03:23 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, david stearns, general managers

Help Wanted: Job Seeker Journal Writers « Ben’s Biz Blog

Looking for a job at the Winter Meetings is equal parts exhilarating and maddening, as hundreds of seekers vie to land a geographically and economically appropriate position. Some are content with securing an internship — anything to get that proverbial foot in the door — while others have already gone this route and are now intent on full-time employment. Some are just out of (or still in) college, while others are taking a leap of faith by trying to break into baseball after having ...

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 02:39 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: winter meetings

Report: MLB in ‘advanced negotiations’ to play games in London

You’d think Brits might be tired of the Royals by now.

MLB is in “advanced negotiations” with the operators of Olympic Stadium to play games in London, according to a report from Ben Rumsby of The Telegraph. It’s possible games could be played in Europe as soon as 2017.

Olympic Stadium, which was built as the centerpiece of the 2012 London Olympics, is currently undergoing renovations and will re-open in 2016. It will have a seating capacity of 54,000 when renovations are complete.

“That ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 24, 2015 at 12:59 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: international, london

USA Baseball’s senior national team brings home silver from Premier 12 tournament |

On the night Randolph spoke with, his team broke through to a crucial 3-2 win over Korea in 10 innings, pushing the Americans on to the Premier 12 quarterfinals. There they handled former five-time Major League All-Star Andruw Jones and his Kingdom of the Netherlands team in a 6-1 win to earn a trip to Japan.

After a 6-1 semifinal win over an upstart world No. 12 Mexico team, the US ran out of gas in an 8-0 loss at the hands of Korea in the gold medal match. Despite the loss, the US ...

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 11:56 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: tournament, usa baseball

Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada is more muscle than man | For The Win

He is not a little girlie man.


Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 11:52 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, yoan moncada

Mariners GM Dipoto: Cano happy in Seattle |

It’s a good thing he feels this way because he’s not going anywhere. Ever.

“He reached out to let me know that did not come from Robbie and that’s not at all reflective of how he felt,” said Dipoto, who replaced former GM Jack Zduriencik two months ago. “Shortly after the season ended, I sat down with Robinson in my office for two hours and we had a great talk and I think we left with a very clear understanding of who one another might be.

“Since the season ended, we’ve had a couple phone ...

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 11:50 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, robinson cano

Starting pitchers should throw fewer innings |

Mike Petriello spits in starting pitchers’ general direction.

So, rather than looking at the first pitcher as “the starter, who has to get me through seven innings,” teams ought to simply think about 27 outs and how best to get them. If that means the best scenario is that the first pitcher gets just 10 outs, the next comes in for three, and then a third gets eight outs to get through the first seven innings, then so be it. If that reminds you of the way things work in the postseason, it ...

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 11:48 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, statcast

Arizona Fall League Top 20 Prospects |

This year’s group of Arizona Fall League prospects couldn’t match those from 2013 and ‘14, though that’s a nearly impossible standard to live up to. The historic rookie crop that generated so much big league buzz this summer was fueled by several former AFL participants, including Kris Bryant, Francisco Lindor, Roberto Osuna, Joc Pederson, Addison Russell and Corey Seager.

While there weren’t as many elite prospects in the Fall League this time around, there still was plenty of intriguing ...

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 11:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects

BA: 2015 Rule 5 Draft Preview: Names To Remember

Corey Black, rhp, Cubs (24): Black was the Cubs’ No. 16 prospect coming into the 2015 season. There was some expectation that the short (5-foot-11) righthander would end up moving to the bullpen, but the thought was that such a move would help his below-average control and allow his 92-96 mph fastball to play even better. Black did move to the bullpen, but he posted a 7.09 ERA as a reliever last season, his poor walk rate got even worse out of the bullpen, and he fared no better in the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 24, 2015 at 11:27 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rule 5 draft

Rod Carew opens up about his private life and his near-death experience

“We were coming through security at [Los Angeles International Airport],” Devon says, “and the guy there asked Dad if he knew what a ‘Rod Carew’ was on Urban Dictionary.” (It’s a vulgarism that involves going from first base to third base without touching second.) Rod shakes his head in mock dismay upon hearing this, like a put-upon dad in a sitcom, which he often appears to be.

“When he’s getting ornery,” Rhonda says, “we know he’s getting back to normal.”

Wins Above Paul Westerberg Posted: November 24, 2015 at 10:22 AM | 73 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, hall of fame, twins

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-24-2015

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, November 24, 1915:

The motor driven scow in which Dwight F. Mallory, one of the large backers and directors of the Baltimore Federal League club and society man, started out alone in a gale from the Magothy River at noon Friday…was found [yesterday] at Wartons Point, in the Chesapeake Bay by a dozen searching parties…There was no trace of the owner.

Mallory was never found, and his body is presumed to have washed out to sea.

It was one of a number of catastrophic ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 24, 2015 at 08:21 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, federal league, history

Mariners sign free-agent catcher Chris Iannetta to one-year deal | The News Tribune

In signing free-agent catcher Chris Iannetta to a one-year deal Monday, the Mariners didn’t make the move in order to acquire a caddy for one-time franchise cornerstone Mike Zunino.

“Chris is being brought in to be our primary catcher,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “We’ll see where the chips falls once we get into spring and beyond. He’s an experienced player who I feel makes us better.”

So where does that leave Zunino, a former first-round pick who spent two-plus years as the ...

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 06:46 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: chris iannetta, mariners

Tommy Hutton out as Miami Marlins TV analyst after 19 years | Miami Herald

The Marlins and Fox Sports Florida dropped TV analyst Tommy Hutton on Monday, a move that elicited a flood of Marlins-bashing on Twitter.

Hutton — whose lively personality, candor and willingness to criticize made him popular with viewers — was the team’s TV analyst for the past 19 seasons. He said the Marlins and Fox gave him no explanation for why they aren’t renewing his contract.

“All I got was, ‘We’ve made a decision to go in another direction,’ ” he said. “They ...

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 06:42 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasting, marlins, tommy hutton

School of Roch: This, that and the other

A lot of good Orioles info in this article.

Showalter also preached the importance of kids playing more than one sport. He sees no value in sticking only to baseball.

“I had a pitcher who was a high draft pick,” Showalter recalled, “and I said, ‘What did you play when you weren’t pitching? Did you play first base, did you play the outfield? What did you play?’ And he goes, ‘I didn’t play.’ I said, ‘What? You didn’t hit? You didn’t play another position? You didn’t play another sport?’ And it ...

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 06:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles

Top 10 prospects: Cardinals still rich with pitching : Sports

Power “is one of the bigger problems in the system,” Manuel wrote in the chat. “We list (Paul) DeJong (as) ‘best power’ in the system currently.”

I advocated for DeJong to be in the Top 10 for that reason. He’s one of the few in the “best tools” section of the rankings not to crack the Top 10. But that “best tools” also illustrates the Cardinals’ situation with position players why and it’s the free-agent market for them this winter: Nick Plummer, just drafted, is ...

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 06:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, prospects

Angels aren’t ruling out pursuit of Heyward | FOX Sports

They won’t rule him out. With interest like that, I’m just going to put him on their roster.

The Angels aren’t ruling out a pursuit of free agent Jason Heyward, sources tell Ken Rosenthal and me. And if the Angels sign Heyward, they’d likely move Kole Calhoun from right field to left.

It’s important to note the Angels are only in the preliminary stages of their search for an everyday outfielder. But Heyward is among the many possibilities for new general manager Billy Eppler.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 06:17 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, free agents, jason heyward

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ken Johnson, Only Loser of 9-Inning No-Hitter, Dies at 82

His son Kenneth Jr. said that his father had been bedridden with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and that he died after contracting a kidney infection.

For three seasons in the heart of his career, 1965-67, pitching for the Houston Astros and the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves (the franchise moved after the 1965 season), Johnson was an effective starter, going 43-27 with 26 complete games. It was earlier, however, on April 23, 1964, that while pitching for Houston (then known as the ...


Figuring Out What To Pay Ben Zobrist | FanGraphs Baseball

Dave is really stretching it.

And then there’s me. I’m the outlier in the group, putting down an estimate of 4 years, $76 million, almost doubling the total guarantee that the crowd expects. Of the publicly available free agent prognosticators, I was the high man on both the years and the annual average value, which is quite likely informed by the fact that I put more stock in the statistical analysis than most others do. The fact that I’m so far off the consensus likely says more about me ...

Jim Furtado Posted: November 23, 2015 at 03:38 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: ben zobrist, free agents, sabermetrics

Sullivan: Quick Study: The Effect of Defense on a Low-Strikeout Staff

One area I have not seen quantified is the effect a good defense (such as that possessed by the Royals) might have when combined with a low-strikeout pitching staff. Would a good defensive team’s pitchers and defense record more outs and post lower ERAs than FIPs? Probably some, but also how much of difference would it actually make? I decided to perform a quick study to see if there was anything to my little theory.

JE (Jason) Posted: November 23, 2015 at 01:36 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: defense, fip, royals

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