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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


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Monday, February 24, 2014

Harris: The Worst Trade In Cubs History Was Much Worse Than You Thought

A prevailing view of how far baseball fans were willing to go with integration was identified by a sportswriter named John Lardner in the 1950s. The view was described in Roger Kahn’s 1955 article “Ten Years of Jackie Robinson.” Kahn described Lardner’s view of a “50 percent color line.”

As long as a team fielded at least five white players, Lardner observed, it would remain predominantly white. That was a line that even progressive owners like Rickey preferred not to cross.

With ...

Repoz Posted: February 24, 2014 at 07:11 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, history

Angels’ Albert Pujols prepared to ‘shut a lot of mouths’ this season

Albert productions: The basics.

As a three-time MVP, a .321 career hitter with 492 home runs and a certain Hall of Famer when he retires, Albert Pujols has no need to listen to critics, especially those ripping on his huge contract.

Oh, but how he would love to silence them.

Pujols, who is trying to bounce back from the two worst seasons of his career, said he avoids reading stories about himself and doesn’t have time to indulge those who say he’s an old 34 and will never reach his previous ...

Repoz Posted: February 24, 2014 at 06:58 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: angels

Rosecrans: A newly open Joey Votto is in his ‘sweet spot’

Joey Votto, changing the constitution one wRC+ point at a time.

Becoming the face of baseball’s new metrics

And on some level, Votto’s WLW fireside chats have been something of a lecture, as well. He’s the tenured professor, educating and exposing people to new ideas.

At one point Votto explained wRC+, or Weighted Run Created Plus, sending a flood of traffic from southeastern Ohio to the servers at

Votto’s become the face of a certain argument between new-school and ...

Repoz Posted: February 24, 2014 at 06:41 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: reds, sabermetrics

Sunday, February 23, 2014

LeBreton: Ron Washington squares up to defend his bunting

Or as David Ben Ogilvy once said…“Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of baseball immortals.”

Baseball’s new analytics — and a Greek chorus of bunt-loathing fans and media — will tell you that the sacrifice bunt is the most self-defeating tradition in baseball.

In fact, a member of the spring training media tried to tell Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington just that Sunday morning. Washington wasn’t angered by the question. But as often is the case with Wash, a ...

Repoz Posted: February 23, 2014 at 11:36 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers, sabermetrics

Yankees, Brett Gardner agree to deal

The Yankees announced Sunday that they had signed Gardner, 30, to a four-year contract extension worth $50 million, with a club option for a fifth year.

A $2 million buyout clause if the Yankees decide not to exercise the option brings the total value of the deal to $52 million. Gardner does not have a no-trade clause, but the Yankees are obligated to pay him an additional bonus of $1 million in the event they do trade him.

So with big commitments to Ellsbury, Beltran and now Gardner, does ...

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: February 23, 2014 at 06:58 PM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

Baer: According to one St. Louis writer, Sabermetrics hate Lance Lynn

Strauss auto pilot…

“The church of advanced metrics” actually has good things to say about Lynn. Though, unfortunately, they don’t quite put him in the same echelon as Wainwright and Kershaw. According to xFIP, an ERA retrodictor that uses the league average home run rate, Lynn has finished at 3.60 and 3.66 in 2012 and ’13, respectively. Both marks fell below his ERA, 3.78 and 3.97, respectively.

FanGraphs puts Lynn at six WAR over the past two seasons, an average of three per season. ...

Repoz Posted: February 23, 2014 at 05:22 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cards, sabermetrics

Source: Angels, Mike Trout talking monster extension

Supposedly the Angels are haggling for 6 years, low $140-million range, and Trout wants a little more.

If I were the Angels I would stop haggling immediately, agree to whatever Trout wants and throw in a new car, and then send the entire organization on a celebratory trip to Bermuda for a week.

Tuque Posted: February 23, 2014 at 04:25 PM | 103 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, contract extensions, contracts, mike trout

Rosenthal: Questions about Jays’ rotation won’t be answered right away

As recently as late January, Anthopoulos referenced four starters who were still free agents — Santana, Jimenez, Bronson Arroyo and A.J. Burnett — and said that they could “all be a significant improvement” for the Jays.

Well, Santana is the only one still on the market, and he could go to the Mariners, the injury-depleted Rangers or some other club. At that point, the Jays seemingly would have little choice but to rely on returning starters R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, ...

Repoz Posted: February 23, 2014 at 12:48 PM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays

Margalus: Steve Stone: White Sox broadcasts will feature more sabermetrics

NEHRU: Numbers Eventually Hawk Renders Useless

Steve Stone, by way of the Boers and Bernstein Show on 670 The Score, dropped a doozy on everybody by announcing that he and Hawk Harrelson will be taking White Sox broadcasts into forbidden territory.

It starts at 28:30, but this is the key exchange:

  Stone: I just want to mention one thing that you’ll be really interested in. I have actually been studying up, and will continue to, because we’re going to kind of introduce—we might not call ...

Repoz Posted: February 23, 2014 at 12:03 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: media, sabermetrics

Kernan: Hey, Mets: Don’t hold back Amazin’ talent

Freedom for the stallion Matt Harvey…toussain’t smart.

Free Matt Harvey.

The worst thing the Mets can do is to pull back the reins on their young star pitcher, who underwent Tommy John surgery four months ago.

Sure, they must follow Dr. James Andrews’ rehab plan to the letter — don’t be stupid — but if Harvey is Harvey and makes Amazin’ progress, run with it.

That’s what being Matt Harvey is all about.

Harvey is not your average pitcher — never has been, never will be. Harvey ...

Repoz Posted: February 23, 2014 at 11:57 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Matheny wants pitchers to cut down strikeouts — at bat

Call it the Dennis Austerity (0 fer 2 ~ 2 K’s) act.

But the strikeouts concern manager Mike Matheny — when his pitchers are hitting. Cardinals pitchers batted just .126 last year, with 139 strikeouts — one off the league high. They walked only 10 times.

Matheny said he wants his staff not only to improve its bunting but its ability to move runners or even start rallies with hits. And while there was a short workout Saturday because of an autograph session for Roger Dean Stadium ticket ...

Repoz Posted: February 23, 2014 at 11:45 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, dh now

Bill Madden: Baseball buzzing as Atlanta Braves lock up their top talent

Taking a break from his letharchaic Al Kavelin and his Cascading Chords box set, Madden spews on…

The bigger picture here for baseball is the vanishing 25-30 homer hitter and the accompanying law of supply and demand. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there were only 30 hitters in baseball last year with 25 or more home runs, which was the lowest total since 1992. There were 65 in 2001, the height of the steroids era, and 55 as recently as 2009, three years after baseball began testing ...

Repoz Posted: February 23, 2014 at 11:30 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Zack Greinke not fan of Australia games

Coorey sez…Thaks, Zakary!

Opening their season in Australia more than a week ahead of 28 other teams is causing the Los Angeles Dodgers some headaches, particularly when they try to line up their pitching.

Zack Greinke, who likely would pitch the second of two games at the Sydney Cricket Ground against the Arizona Diamondbacks, is far from enthused at the prospect.

“I would say there is absolutely zero excitement for it,” Greinke told “There just isn’t any excitement to ...

Repoz Posted: February 23, 2014 at 12:42 AM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Barry Bonds will be spring training Giants instructor

I fully expected Barry Lockridge to come back to Giant land before Barry Bonds!

Barry Bonds is scheduled to return to the Giants from March 9-17, serving as a special instructor for the organization’s young hitters. Bonds has long wanted to take on a more active role with the organization, but the two sides have not been connected in an official capacity since 2007, Bonds’ last season in Major League Baseball.

The years since have been filled with performance-enhancing drug allegations, a ...

Repoz Posted: February 22, 2014 at 08:01 PM | 92 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, history

Howard Bryant: Why have only some players linked to PEDs been banished from baseball?

Howard Bryant: “selective justice means no justice at all.” Free Humberto Cota!

But who survives the steroids era in retirement—who is allowed a future in the game—has been the most subjective and troubling remnant of those dishonest decades. Thus far, the determining factors of redemption have been race, power and personality. The top-level nonwhite players associated with PEDs—Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro—are out of baseball. The white players—Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, ...

Repoz Posted: February 22, 2014 at 04:18 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: history, steroids

Ricketts’ answers don’t explain Cubs’ lower payroll spending - Chicago Sun-Times

With all the young talent on the way, doesn’t it make sense to not spend money for the sake of spending money until the group is ready?

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts adamantly denied Wednesday that Ricketts family ownership is taking profits at the expense of spending on the baseball operation.

‘‘Profit-taking? I’m not even sure what that means,’’ he said during his annual spring training media conference. ‘‘Of course not. Absolutely not. That’s ridiculous.’’

Jim Furtado Posted: February 22, 2014 at 03:30 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Bryan Stow Attackers Plead Guilty

Another chapter in this sad story. Steve Dilbeck opinion piece says they plea bargained.

Marvin Norwood, 30, pleaded guilty to one courtof assault likely to produce great bodily injury and Louie Sanchez, 31, pleaded guilty to one coumt of mayhem. Stow, a paramedic in Northern California, suffered serious head trauma and will require care for the rest of his life from a permanent disability. He has a pending civil lawsuit against the Dodgers and former owner Frank McCourt.

Also a more newsy ...

Knock on any Iorg Posted: February 22, 2014 at 03:28 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, fans, giants

Rosenthal: Arruebarrena’s deal with #Dodgers: 5 yrs, $25M. Includes $7.5M signing bonus.

Sorry to have to link to Twitter. I can’t find an actual article anywhere.

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: February 22, 2014 at 03:24 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

DJ Short: Report: Orioles closing in on a deal with Nelson Cruz

No word yet on the terms involved and Heyman writes that a couple of issues still need to be resolved, but a deal is seen as “extremely likely.” The Orioles would surrender their second-round pick (and the corresponding draft pool money) in order to sign Cruz, as they already gave up their first-rounder for Jimenez. It’s unclear whether signing Cruz officially takes the Orioles out of the mix for Ervin Santana, but it’s safe to say that they fully intend to contend this season.

The ...

JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 22, 2014 at 10:19 AM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: designated hitters, jon heyman, orioles

Castrovince: Bucs live by defensive analysis

More to the point, the 2013 season, at large, proved the merits of moving guys around. No Major League team, according to Baseball Info Solutions, used defensive shifts more than the Pirates last season, and, ergo, the Buccos’ internal data suggests that they completed more plays “out of position” than anybody and were one of the most efficient defensive teams in the league.

This was the method by which the Pirates maximized the impact of their pitching staff and overcame an offense that, ...

Repoz Posted: February 22, 2014 at 10:15 AM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, sabermetrics

La Russa: Bagwell, Biggio belong in Hall of Fame

Maybe it’s because I have a swell ball of phlegm in my head or been listening to too much Exocomet, but I’m confuded… “La Russa said he doesn’t understand the criteria members of the BBWAA use to vote for the Hall of Fame.

“Otherwise, Jack Morris would be in the Hall of Fame,” La Russa said. “The new metrics have a real important place, just don’t exaggerate them, and I think they get exaggerated at times. Like with Jack Morris, and maybe Bagwell.”

La Russa has an immense amount of respect ...

Repoz Posted: February 22, 2014 at 09:31 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: hof, sabermetrics

Friday, February 21, 2014

Lucchino exchanges barbs with Yankee president Levine

Lucchino’s Luck: Cold war effort.

The rivarly between the players on the field—save for an occasional Ryan Dempster target practice at A-Rod—has cooled. But as long as Larry Lucchino and Randy Levine are around, the Red Sox and Yankees will always be the Hatfields and the McCoys.

In his annual spring-training meeting with the media on Friday, Lucchino seemed to take more than a little satisfaction in watching the Yankees spend more than a half-billion
dollars this winter on free agents Brian ...

Repoz Posted: February 21, 2014 at 07:51 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, yankees

Sandy Koufax hit in head by foul ball

Show him the Koufax!

Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax was struck in the head by a foul ball as the Los Angeles Dodgers were taking batting practice at their spring training complex on Friday.

Koufax was standing in foul ground next to the bullpen, watching pitching prospect Ross Stripling throw, when Andre Ethier hit a low liner toward the area. Players yelled, “Heads up!” but before Koufax could react, the ball hit him on the left side of the head.

Koufax was smiling as he walked toward a ...

Repoz Posted: February 21, 2014 at 05:13 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

Fangraphs (Cameron)—Best and Worst Transactions of the 2014 Offseason

Worst Transactions of the 2014 Offseason.

Best transaction:

1. The Nationals acquire Doug Fister.
Cost: Robbie Ray, Steve Lombardozzi, and Ian Krol.

You probably knew this was coming. I’m going to guess that this move will show up at the top of every best-transactions-of-2014 list, as the Nationals basically stole Doug Fister from the Tigers in a trade that no one still understands very well. When you look at the prices being commanded for quality starting pitchers, getting Fister — who ...

Esoteric Posted: February 21, 2014 at 12:40 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: hot stove

Detroit News: Venezuelan Tigers show support for protesters in home country

Magglio Ordonez and Joe Kennedy were unavailable for comment.

In a rare, but unified display of national politics in a major-league clubhouse, the Tigers who are native Venezuelans demonstrated their support for the protesters in their country on Friday by posing together with banners, flags and slogans.

The group of 12 included Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers’ two-time most valuable player; Victor Martinez, coach Omar Vizquel and pitcher Anibal Sanchez.

Some of the players held flags on which ...

JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 21, 2014 at 12:37 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: socialism, tigers, venezuela

Fox Sports: Tigers might get short end of Fister trade, but they thought it through

Well that’s a relief.  Here I was thinking that Dombrowski had just been on a bender the entire offseason:

Because it helps explain a trade by the Tigers that left many of us baffled—right-hander Doug Fister to the Nationals for a modest pitching prospect, left-hander Robbie Ray, and two complementary parts, left-handed reliever Ian Krol and utility man Steve Lombardozzi.

My initial reaction—and the initial reaction of many in the industry—was that Tigers general manager David ...

Esoteric Posted: February 21, 2014 at 12:22 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: detroit tigers, regrets, i've had a few, washington nationals

Divish: GM Jack Zduriencik has “no expectations” for Jesus Montero

After each season, players meet with training and medical staff to set up their offseason. Each player is given a target weight they are expected to come in at for the following season. According to sources,  Montero has never once met that target weight since joining the Mariners. This year he came in 40 pounds over the weight the Mariners wanted him to come in at.

It’s led to frustration within the organization. General manager Jack Zduriencik was particularly critical of Montero and his ...

Good cripple hitter Posted: February 21, 2014 at 11:07 AM | 82 comment(s)
  Beats: best shape of his life, jesus montero, mariners

Alfonso Soriano ponders retirement after season

Jeterivera Tour Lines laughs at this…

Alfonso Soriano could join Derek Jeter in retirement following the end of the upcoming baseball season.

“It depends on how I feel,’’ Soriano said when asked by The Post if he wants to continue playing. “If I am healthy I will play [in 2015]. If not, I will let it go. It depends how I feel.’’

Soriano will be 39 in July and this will be his 14th big league season. Between the Cubs and Yankees last year, Soriano hit 34 homers and drove in 101 ...

Repoz Posted: February 21, 2014 at 10:02 AM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-21-2014

Spring Training 1914

Hugh Fullerton in the Pittsburgh Press, February 21, 1914:

The spring training trips of major league ball clubs are the annual joke of the game, and they are largely responsible for the poorer quality of baseball dished out to the fans.
In 20 years of going south with major league baseball teams I never have seen a team that was not in better condition at the end of two weeks of training than it was when it started the season. A seasoned player…at the end of 10 days or two weeks will be in ...


Ferkovich: Cobb almost lost his third .400 season due to a scorekeeping controversy

“Eureka! Who ####### cares?”

Only three players have hit over .400 in a season three times: Rogers Hornsby, Ed Delahanty, and Ty Cobb. The Georgia Peach hit .420 in 1911, .409 in 1912, and .401 in 1922.

That last one, however, almost didn’t happen, and was the subject of controversy at the time.

Rewind back to May 15, 1922, at a rainy Polo Grounds in New York. The Detroit Tigers were playing the New York Yankees. Cobb hit a ground ball to shortstop Everett Scott. According to one newspaper ...

Repoz Posted: February 21, 2014 at 08:04 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: history, tigers

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