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Thursday, March 14, 2019

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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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

Blue Jays front office will turn the other cheek to Marcus Stroman as team rebuilds with youth | The Star

I would agree with this a little more if they didn’t keep Guerrero down last year. You are not speeding up a player’s development by keeping him in the minors longer than he needs to play there.

“Whenever you’re thinking about trying to rebuild with a sense of urgency, you’re trying to accelerate time frames, you’re trying to move it as fast as you can, there is an opportunity cost,” Shapiro says. “If you’re not committing to playing young players, two things don’t happen: One, you don’t find out about them, are they capable of being core players that you’re going to build around in the future? And two, you’re delaying their ability to transition and then develop into major-league players.

“The reality is, for us to ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 09:11 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, marcus stroman

Miller Park sales tax could end next year

I guess it’s time for a new park!

The five-county sales tax that financed the construction and operation of Miller Park is set to end a year from now.

Members of the board that oversees the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District voted Tuesday to proceed with plans to end the Miller Park stadium tax by March 2020.

The 0.1 percent tax, paid by residents and visitors in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha and Racine counties, has been in effect since 1996.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:59 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers

Mets’ Tim Tebow improving, will be major leaguer: scouts, Cano

Scouts have noticed improvement in a scout’s way.

“I will say this, he’s gotten a lot better on the offensive side,’’ said one scout at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, where the Mets were bashed 8-1 by the Marlins. “His defense is still too much like a football player in left field.”

Another scout added: “You know what, I was rooting against him at the start three years ago, but I have to say he has improved and just as importantly, he has said all the right things and done the right things. As an extra guy he might be the kind of good because he is not a negative force.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:57 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, tim tebow

Now with D-backs, Adam Jones eager for fresh start

“It was very humbling,” Jones said of the support. “I’ve played a lot of major league baseball games and against a lot of guys and the lasting relationships I’ve had throughout the game and the All-Star teams, it’s great that guys have my back. I’ve been a formidable force in the game. I know last year wasn’t the greatest year but it happened and I’m just glad to turn the page. I’ve got a new opportunity here so let me go try and maximize my opportunity.”

Jones batted .281 with 24 home runs and 93 RBIs in 145 games with the Orioles last season and his defensive statistics showed a decline. Was his value hurt because he didn’t grade well with the analytics folks?

“I don’t know,” Jones said. “All I know is ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:55 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: adam jones, diamondbacks

The 2019 Orioles Are One Of The Most Anonymous Teams In MLB History

The 2018 Baltimore Orioles were so bad that we questioned whether they belonged in the major leagues at all. They were our runaway pick for worst pro team of the year, going far beyond the many wannabe Astros and Cubs who’ve jumped on the tanking fad in recent seasons.

Amazingly, things might get even worse this year. Since the middle of last season, Baltimore has traded away established veterans Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman, Darren O’Day and Brad Brach, and watched as others such as Tim Beckham, Caleb Joseph and Adam Jones departed in free agency as well. Now there are only three remaining members of the Orioles’ lineup with even two years of MLB service time heading into 2019: Jonathan Villar, Trey ...

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QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles

Pirates’ Dickerson proud about his defensive improvement

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Corey Dickerson came to the Pittsburgh Pirates with the reputation of being a good hitter and poor defender.

The starting designated hitter for the AL in the 2017 All-Star Game while with Tampa Bay, Dickerson was used in the outfield in only 93 games last year.

Traded to the Pirates, he committed one error in 266 total chances last year and won a Gold Glove award for his play in left field.

 

QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: corey dickerson, defense, pirates

Rickey Henderson, Ken Griffey Jr. in A’s-Mariners first-pitch ceremonies

The A’s are opening up the 2019 season on the road. Not in Seattle. Not in Texas. Not in the United States. Not even in Toronto.

Once again, the A’s season starts in Japan. Oakland will play two exhibition games against professional Japanese teams before their first regular-season game is scheduled for March 20, a week before the rest of the league, against the Mariners in Tokyo.

And when the games begin, two greats will be in the batter’s box. A’s Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson will step in during the ceremonial first pitch before Game 1, followed by Mariners legend Ken Griffey Jr. in the next game.

Rickey has to prepare- there’s a greater-than-zero chance he’ll play for the Marlins by the end of the season.

  ...Read More...

QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: first pitch, ken griffey jr., rickey henderson

Preseason 2019 MLB Power Rankings

Spring Training is underway, and you know what that means.

It’s time for preseason power rankings!

As we take a look around Major League Baseball to try to take stock of where everyone stands, one thing immediately jumps out.

The top three teams in baseball likely reside in the American League. After that group? Eight of the next nine are in the wide-open National League.

Link to the power rankings in the article- but I must warn you that it is in slideshow form.

 

QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: power rankings

Red Sox relief prospect Durbin Feltman compared to All-Star closer by American League scout

If 21-year-old relief prospect Durbin Feltman lives up to expectations, the bullpen won’t be an area of concern much longer for the Red Sox.

Boston’s third-round pick of last June’s MLB draft has turned heads at camp this spring. In fact, one American League scout even compared Feltman to a three-time All-Star closer after watching him take the mound in a minor-league game Monday.

“He was 94 [mph] with plus downer curveball,” the AL scout said, per WEEI. “Good aggressiveness. Arm action not the same, more effort, but the fastball and curveball shape remind me of a young [Mark] Melancon.”

Of course, this would mean more if there weren’t so many relievers in the All-Star Game.

 

QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: durbin feltman, mark melancon, prospects, red sox, relief pitching

Alex Bregman still remembers the one ball that didn’t drop

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Yes, yes, yes, that ball drops and maybe everything’s different.

That ball drops and maybe the cold and drizzly morning in December is unchallenged, and the last rep goes undone, and then in the middle of March when everybody else has had enough swings he doesn’t ask for five more pitches. And then five more. And doesn’t hit that last one to the horizon.

That ball drops and when he wakes up from surgery maybe he doesn’t shout “Goggins!” into the phone, Goggins being David, the Navy SEAL who writes about “taking souls” and being “willing to suffer,” the guy on the other end of the phone being the bemused Houston Astros trainer.

Worse still, the ball doesn’t remember him at all….

  ...Read More...

QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, spring training, the one that got away

Astros pitcher Francis Martes, recovering from Tommy John surgery, suspended 80 games for PEDs

Astros pitcher Francis Martes – currently recovering from Tommy John surgery – was given an 80-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy.

Martes tested positive for clomiphene, a performance-enhancing substance, Major League Baseball said in a release Tuesday.

The 23-year-old didn’t pitch in the majors in 2018, but made 32 appearances (four starts) for Houston in 2017. Martes underwent Tommy John surgery in August and wasn’t expected to return to game action until late in the year, if he returned at all this season.

He’s not trying to become pregnant, is he?

 

QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, francis martes, peds

Rebuilding Royals embark on The Process 2.0: ‘We’re going to change the game again’

The Process 2.0 is similar in leadership, and also in philosophy. The Royals got away from this for a few years, most notably when they chased power with Brandon Moss. But here they are, back to speed and athleticism, with a few important updates.

Primarily: The baseball operations department believes it can, will and must do a better job of developing starting pitchers. They covered that with a rocket-ship bullpen the last time, but now the rest of baseball has copied that part of the plan. The specifics change, but the broader charge remains: Do what others aren’t.

“Dayton changed the game four or five years ago when he decided spending money on starting pitching was not going to be productive for our situation,” Yost said. “So ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza ([most of] March 2019)

Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among 50 people charged in a $25 million college entrance exam cheating scheme, according to court documents unsealed in Boston on Tuesday.

The alleged scam focused on getting students admitted to elite universities as recruited athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities, and helping potential students cheat on their college exams, according to the indictment.


2019 March Madness thread

I estimate only 6-8 Primates care about March Madness, but with their own thread they won’t detract from what this site is really about:  the 10-12 Primates who care about the NBA.

(Link is to a Yahoo bracket group)

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, college basketball, ncaa, off-topic

A’s unfazed by slow springs for Matt Chapman, Khris Davis - SFChronicle.com

You don’t read about players working themselves into baseball shape during Spring Training often these days.

In addition, Chapman just plain needs to get back into baseball condition.

“I’m late to the party because I didn’t get to work out and train like these guys did all offseason,” he said. “So I’m kind of getting my body back in shape, get my baseball skills back where they need to be. But I feel like I’m getting stronger. My shoulder is better for sure, some of the scar tissue in my thumb is breaking up. I’m feeling more and more normal. My legs are starting to feel more like they’re under me.

“Everything’s coming together that I was a little nervous about a month ago. The trainers kept telling me, ‘Don’t ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:46 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, matt chapman

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Mets’ Tim Tebow sent to minor league camp, politely declines swing advice from Jose Canseco - CBSSports.com

“I appreciate it, anybody wanting to work with me is humbling, he’s a great one at it. But we have a lot of great coaches here,” said Tebow to reporters, including Tim Healey of Newsday, when asked about Canseco’s offer Tuesday. He expertly defused the situation. Well done.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 11:46 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: jose canseco, mets, tim tebow

Texas Rangers: ‘Mimic’ Maid Park? Here’s why Rangers’ new ballpark doesn’t look like Astros’ stadium in Houston | SportsDay

It’s still shocking to me a new ballpark is coming for the Rangers.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 11:34 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers

Fantasy Sports, Respect for the Game, and the Real Value of Fake Teams – Pitcher List

I like to win. The competition isn’t my only motivation but it’s a pretty big part of why I play. Playing in keeper simulation leagues for the past 41 years has pushed me to better understand how good and championship teams are built; it has been the fuel that drives my quest for knowledge about baseball.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 10:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball, simulations

Ranking the Accuracy of Last Year’s Projections [2019 Edition] - Mr. Cheatsheet - Fantasy Baseball Draft Tools and Research

A projection system can be best overall by his method but still not be the best system for a fantasy player to use to pick his players. When I play fantasy, although I use conservative projections to help with the overall valuation of players, what makes my team a winner is picking more guys who beat their projections/expectations than my opponents do. The outliers and differences between systems help me to identify those undervalued players who put my team in the money.

Once again, the Pod projections came in and stole Steamer’s glory. When it comes to non-combined projections, it seems that Pod validates itself as one of the best choices out there. Steamer, of course, is no slacker here because they were the best at projecting both ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 10:20 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: projections

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-12-2019

El Paso Herald, March 12, 1919:

Earl seems to be a favorite name for ball players nowadays, though the name once was coupled with boys who wore long yellow curls and all that. Pittsburg has Earl Hamilton, the Browns Earl Smith. The Giants also have an Earl Smith and the Yankees have Earl Baldwin. The White Sox have Earl Kiser and Cincennati [sic] has Earl Neale.

I couldn’t think of a recent Earl, so I looked it up. The most recent big league Earl was Earl Snyder, a corner infielder who had a cup of coffee with the Indians in 2002 and four AB with the ‘04 Red Sox.

The most recent Earl to play 100+ MLB games was Earl Williams, who played from 1970-1977. Earl Wilson (1959-1970) and Earl Stephenson (1971-1978, 54 career games) are the ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 12, 2019 at 10:00 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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