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Friday, March 22, 2019

Don’t expect Mookie Betts to become the next MLB star to sign a huge extension

Signing extensions has become the latest trend in Major League Baseball. Over the past couple weeks, some of the game’s biggest stars — both current and future — inked mega deals to remain with their teams.

With the extension trend seemingly at its peak, one of the best players in baseball is pushing back against the idea.

Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts is almost certainly paying attention to the massive deals being handed out to his colleagues, but it doesn’t sound like he has a lot of interest in becoming the next young, talented player to sign an extension.

Note to self: Check two years from now to see if this held.

 

 

QLE Posted: March 22, 2019 at 07:20 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: contract extensions, mookie betts, red sox

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Rays lock down Snell with five-year, $50 million deal

The Rays agreed to a five-year, $50 million deal with reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, the club announced Thursday. The deal extends through the 2023 season and the left-hander could make an additional $2 million in incentives.

sotapop Posted: March 21, 2019 at 06:25 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: blake snell, rays

Goldschmidt, Cards near long-term deal (sources)

The star first baseman is close to an extension with St. Louis that would be worth around $130 million, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported on Thursday. The club hasn’t confirmed the news of the deal, which will cover at least five years, sources told MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.

Perry Posted: March 21, 2019 at 06:25 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, paul goldschmidt

Marty Noble On His Relationship with Tom Seaver

“Seated next to him on the Mets’ team bus in June, 1977 in Montreal, I mentioned that the 10th anniversary of the release of Beatles’ ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ was the following day. He asked if I’d still love him when he turned 64. It was a break through. I thought, when we discussed the album. We had something in common. It was getting better all the time.”

There’s so much more in this piece.

djordan Posted: March 21, 2019 at 11:19 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, tom seaver

Ichiro announces retirement after emotional finale

TOKYO—Ichiro Suzuki bid farewell to baseball and his Japanese fans in fashion on Thursday in a touching tribute that brought goosebumps to an entire nation and tears to the 45-year-old’s eyes.

Mariners manager Scott Servais sent the legendary right fielder out to his position in the bottom of the eighth inning of Seattle’s 5-4, 12-inning victory over the A’s in the Opening Series at the Tokyo Dome, then pulled the rest of his defenders off the field to allow Ichiro to come off on his own as he was replaced by rookie Braden Bishop.

ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 21, 2019 at 10:44 AM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: ichiro, mariners

Ichiro Forever

It’s hard to picture baseball without Ichiro. Every MLB season since 2001, from the moment he arrived in Seattle having already become a star with seven NPB all-star seasons under his belt, there he was. Already half-out of the batter’s box, as he connected with his inimitable slap swing. Wildly rounding third as he went first-to-home on a double. In right field, making the frozen-rope throw to third that never stopped catching runners by surprise, no matter how many times they’d seen it. That, at least never, deserted him.

It’s telling that in this, his final game, even as it remained tied, the Mariners were never tempted to remove Ichiro for defensive purposes. He was still the best right fielder they have. Again, he is 45.

For ...

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Astros set to contend for another title

HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros entered last season looking to defend the title after winning their first World Series in 2017.

Being eliminated in the ALCS by the Boston Red Sox has done nothing to shake their confidence as the 2019 season arrives.

“I don’t think the feeling’s any different,” manager AJ Hinch said. “I think the way people talk about things is a little different ... there’s an expectation of winning here and there should be. We have a good team.”

The Astros won their second AL West crown last year after setting a franchise record with 103 wins. They swept the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS before injuries to stars Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa contributed to a 4-1 series loss to the Red Sox in the next round.

And, ...

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QLE Posted: March 21, 2019 at 08:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, world series

Twins start fresh with rookie manager Baldelli in dugout

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins hired the youngest manager in the major leagues. They remade the right side of the infield. There will be a new closer, too, should rookie skipper Rocco Baldelli decide to designate a particular reliever for ninth-inning duty.

Starting fresh doesn’t necessarily mean starting over, though.

The Twins have quietly built a roster that, if their most important under-28 players either continue to progress or rebound from rough seasons, has the capability of at least pushing the defending AL Central champion Cleveland Indians for the division title. They made the playoffs just two years ago, after all.

That, and the fact that the Indians are inexplicably trying to somehow tank and win the divisional ...

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QLE Posted: March 21, 2019 at 08:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rocco baldelli, twins

Joey Bart joining Giants in 2019 halted by farm director Kyle Haines

Giants top prospect Joey Bart looks like a franchise cornerstone, and he’s proving it in his first big league camp with the Giants.

The No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft is batting .368 with a home run, two doubles and seven RBI in 14 games. He’s been so impressive, teammates awarded him the Barney Nugent Award, which is given annually to the player who performs best in his first big league camp.

One anonymous scout is so high on Bart he believes the catcher can join the Giants by midseason. But, Giants farm director Kyle Haines is here to halt the hype.

“A lot of people want to see him in San Francisco sooner rather than later, but we want to make sure we put him in a position to best grow in the minors,” Haines said to MLB.com.

On ...

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QLE Posted: March 21, 2019 at 08:22 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, joey bart, service time

Reds mourn Chuck Harmon, team’s first African-American player

CINCINNATI — Chuck Harmon not only blazed a trail as the first African-American Reds player, he did it with dignity and grace and earned the highest admiration in the ranks of pro baseball’s first and oldest franchise.

“The entire Reds family is saddened to lose one of its great ambassadors. The first African American to play for the Reds, Chuck Harmon was much more than a ballplayer. He represents a pivot point in Reds history,” Reds Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini said of Harmon’s death this week.

“Chuck’s positive attitude and disposition helped diffuse the adversity he faced, and set the tone for those following in his footsteps. He was beloved by his teammates during his career and remained a treasure to this franchise ...

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QLE Posted: March 21, 2019 at 08:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: chuck harmon, integration, reds, rip

Ransom Jackson, hit last home run for Brooklyn Dodgers, dies at 93

Ransom Joseph ‘Randy’ Jackson Jr., an all-star third baseman with the Chicago Cubs in the mid-1950s and the last Brooklyn Dodger to hit a home run, died at home in Athens Wednesday after a brief illness, according to a family friend. He was 93 years old.

Nicknamed “Handsome Ransom,” Jackson played for the Cubs from 1950-55 and in 1959. He also spent two-plus years with the Dodgers in Brooklyn and Los Angeles and parts of 1958 and 1959 with the Cleveland Indians. Over 10 big-league seasons, the third baseman batted .261 with 103 home runs. He was the oldest living Los Angeles Dodger at the time of his death.

Jackson was selected to the National League All-Star team in 1954 and 1955 but his best year was 1953 when he hit .285 with ...

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QLE Posted: March 21, 2019 at 08:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brooklyn dodgers, randy jackson, rip

Red Sox affiliate will celebrate A-Rod, JLo engagement by trolling the heck out of them

An unlikely source has decided to have a celebration in honor of Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez getting engaged. The Pawtucket Red Sox will celebrate A-Rod and JLo by trolling the heck out of both of them.

You didn’t think a Boston Red Sox affiliate was actually going to go easy on A-Rod, did you?

On April 12, the team will go all out to make sure A-Rod and JLo absolutely do not appear at the game. The Pawtucket Red Sox will accomplish this by playing footage of one of Rodriguez’s lowest moments against the Boston Red Sox. That would be his dustup with catcher Jason Varitek, which was spurred by Rodriguez getting hit by a pitch from Bronson Arroyo.

Everyone else seems to have devolved into a troll- why not minor league baseball ...

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QLE Posted: March 21, 2019 at 08:22 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: arod, pawtucket red sox, trolling

Mariners beat A’s 9-7 with help from homers, a bat flip, and endless love for Ichiro

The first pitch of the 2019 MLB season was thrown at 5:36 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, or 6:36 p.m. local time in Tokyo. Ladies and gentlemen, we have baseball.

There were a lot more 2019 firsts on the way to the Seattle Mariners’ 9-7 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday morning. A’s starting pitcher Mike Fiers threw the season’s first strike. Seattle’s Jay Bruce got the season’s first hit. Fiers’ teammate Stephen Piscotty scored the season’s first run and hit 2019’s first home run at the same time.

We’ll have to wait for our first pitcher’s duel, though. The crowd at the Tokyo Dome was treated to a bash fest, with 16 hits and five home runs between both teams. Seattle’s starter Marco Gonzales had a rough ...

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QLE Posted: March 21, 2019 at 08:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, japan, mariners, neutral site games, opening day

Phillies to induct Bobby Abreu to Wall of Fame

The Phillies announced on Wednesday that former outfielder Bobby Abreu will be inducted into the team’s Wall of Fame this summer. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, August 3 as part of the club’s alumni weekend festivities.

Abreu, 45, went to the Phillies in a November 18, 1997 trade with the then-Devil Rays that sent shortstop Kevin Stocker to Tampa. Abreu somehow only made two All-Star teams while in Philly. Overall, he hit .303/.416/.513 with 195 homers, 814 RBI, 891 runs scored, and 254 stolen bases in 1,353 games with the Phillies. Abreu ranks sixth all-time among Phillies in career Wins Above Replacement (47.2), fourth in on-base percentage (.416), seventh in slugging percentage (.513), second in OPS (.928), 10th in runs ...

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QLE Posted: March 21, 2019 at 08:22 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: bobby abreu, phillies, wall of fame

Carl Edwards Jr. admits to throwing at Austin Nola on purpose

Cubs sluggers Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras were both hit by pitches during Tuesday afternoon’s Cactus League game against the Mariners. Bryant was hit by Nabil Crismatt in the bottom of the third inning and Contreras was hit by Wyatt Mills in the fifth.

Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. got the final out of the top of the fifth and came back out for the start of the sixth inning. He allowed a leadoff home run to Kyle Lewis, then got Tim Lopes to fly out, bringing up Austin Nola. Edwards hit Nola with a pitch and was promptly taken out of the game.

On Wednesday, Edwards admitted to defending his teammates by hitting Nola with a pitch. Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Edwards said, “Yeah, I did. It’s just, honestly, it’s like the ...

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QLE Posted: March 21, 2019 at 08:22 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: austin nola, carl edwards jr., head-hunting

Yankees’ Lee Mazzilli Hospitalized After Being Hit in Head by Baseball at Batting Practice

TAMPA, Fla. — New York Yankees guest instructor Lee Mazzilli was struck in the head by a ball in batting practice Wednesday and taken to a local hospital.

Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said in an email that Mazzilli “will spend the night at the hospital for observation.”

Yankees players not on the travel roster for Wednesday’s road game against the Houston Astros in West Palm Beach worked out at New York’s spring training complex at Steinbrenner Field.

Best wishes.

 

QLE Posted: March 21, 2019 at 08:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: batting practice, head injuries, lee mazzilli

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Eight Myths Out: The Black Sox Scandal

Outstanding work by SABR’s chair of the Black Sox Scandal Committee, Jacob Pomrenke, exposing myths about the 1919 World Series.

SABRJoe Posted: March 20, 2019 at 08:04 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: black sox, sabr, white sox

FanGraphs Pitch Framing

In 2008, when Dan Turkenkopf was the first to quantify the value of pitch framing, he noted that it appeared to be alarmingly important. Bill Letson was similarly astounded when he calculated the size of the effect in 2010. Max Marchi and Mike Fast each took a turn in 2011, finding large and highly correlated catcher values despite using different methods. Other sabermetric luminaries have contributed sophisticated methods and sanity checks, some of which I’ll touch on below. And yet, this terrifically important, seemingly well-established, and impressively repeatable defensive skill has been left out when calculating FanGraphs player WAR and ignored when Steamer forecasts pitchers and catchers. . . until now…..

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 20, 2019 at 06:35 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: pitch framing

Reframing WAR at Fangraphs

Update: An earlier bug that impacted updated pitcher WAR has now been resolved. The pitcher tables below have been updated to reflect that. Thanks to everyone who pointed out the issue!

I’m very pleased to announce that FanGraphs has finally added catcher framing data to the site, with full thanks to Jared Cross, who you may know as the co-creator of the Steamer projections. We’ve also incorporated catcher framing into WAR.

Including catcher framing in WAR has been a topic of internal debate at FanGraphs for the past half-decade. The problem has never been with the inclusion of framing numbers on the catcher side of things. That’s a fairly simple addition. The problem has always been what to do with the pitchers. For instance, the ...

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Bote Man Posted: March 20, 2019 at 03:17 PM | 184 comment(s)
  Beats: fangraphs, framing, pitch framing, war

The First Grand Slam

There is no bronze plaque or anything to designate that herein lies the spot where Roger Connor became the first player to hit a grand slam in Major League Baseball history on Sept. 10, 1881, for the National League Troy Trojans in a game against the Worcester Ruby Legs.

“Connor’s grand slam was the first in MLB history,” John Thorn, official historian of Major League Baseball, confirmed in an email.

deadpilgrims Posted: March 20, 2019 at 12:06 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-20-2019

Pittsburgh Press, March 20, 1919:

Cy Williams, once one of the popular outfielders on the Cub team, has decided to retire from baseball. He owns a farm in Northern Wisconsin, and has learned that tilling the soil is more profitable than traveling around the National league circuit with the Phillies.
...
“I am sure Williams will not play ball with the Phillies this year,” said Mike Prendergast, Phillie twirler, who is responsible for the report that Cy has retired from the national pastime…“He had a wonderful potato crop last fall that convinced him he could do better on the farm than by playing ball.”

As Dave Bresnahan showed us, there’s no need to choose between baseball and potatoes.

Also in the Pittsburgh Press 100 years ago, Edward E. ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 20, 2019 at 11:02 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, farm system, history

MLB ’19: Longtime baseball voices going, going, almost gone

Steve Blass spent his boyhood afternoons in Connecticut flinging a rubber ball against the side of a half-barn, fantasizing that he was pitching in the majors. Come evening, the 10-year-old would get his radio and tune into a game, delighted when Mel Allen’s voice crackled from the transistor.

“When I thought ‘baseball,’ I thought about Mel Allen,” said Blass, now a Pittsburgh Pirates announcer. “When I thought ‘Mel Allen,’ I thought about baseball.”

More than in any other sport, baseball broadcasters become an inseparable part of the game they describe. Their voices are the backdrop to all those warm summer nights. Their distinctive calls are part of the game’s lore. Fans visualize the action through their stories ...

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QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: announcing, retirement, steve blass

Wright, now an adviser with Mets, points to team chemistry

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Former captain David Wright showed up at Mets spring training camp Monday and spoke to reporters before New York’s game against the Washington Nationals, repeatedly referring fondly to “Al and Johnny.”

It’s that kind of attitude and personal touch, a sort of chumminess that develops within a clubhouse and organization, that Wright thinks can be essential to a winning team.

“Al and Johnny” are Al Leiter and John Franco, former Mets pitchers who were added to the front office two weeks ago in advisory positions.

Wright said the topic of close bonds and friendships that are forged during successful seasons was brought up in a morning meeting with them and new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who ...

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QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: advisor, david wright, mets

Could Red Sox prospect Durbin Feltman help bullpen in 2019? Early results are promising

Durbin Feltman is quickly becoming one of the most intriguing prospects in the Boston Red Sox farm system, and you might be hearing a lot more from him later in the year.

The Red Sox bullpen took a hit this offseason when Joe Kelly left to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers in free agency and the team decided not to bring back free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel. Matt Barnes is one option to be the next closer, but he hasn’t proven to be the undisputed candidate in spring training so far. As a result, there’s still no clear-cut candidate for the closer role, so it’s possible the dreaded bullpen-by-committee approach could be the strategy to open the 2019 season.

If the bullpen struggles or lacks certain elements throughout the year, it’s ...

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QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: durbin feltman, prospects, red sox

Machado brings Manny Mania to rebuilding Padres

SAN DIEGO (AP) — When word of Manny Machado’s $300 million, 10-year contract with the San Diego Padres broke early in spring training, team officials wouldn’t immediately confirm the deal because the All-Star slugger still had to pass a physical.

But that didn’t keep general partner Peter Seidler, a nephew of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Pete O’Malley, from expressing what a monumental move it was for a franchise that had mostly stumbled and bumbled through its 50-year history.

While executive chairman Ron Fowler played the straight man at an impromptu news conference, Seidler couldn’t keep from smiling. He then essentially confirmed that yes, the rebuilding Padres had actually pulled off the splashiest move in their ...

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QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: manny machado, padres

Dodgers Again Loaded in Chase for Elusive World Series Title

The Los Angeles Dodgers are once again loaded in their chase for an elusive World Series title.

A rock-solid starting rotation. Hitters who can produce offensively and defend multiple positions. Overall depth that allows for aggressive platooning.

Manager Dave Roberts received a contract extension through 2022 during the winter. He’s guided the team to 287 victories in his first three years at the helm, tied for fourth-most among mangers during that span. The team has averaged 94 wins a season during its run of six straight NL West championships.

Off the record, Dodgers upper management claimed someone named Robert Denby was at fault.

 

QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, world series

Yelich, Brewers look for another playoff season

Christian Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers think the best way to duplicate their success from last season is to forget it happened altogether.

Milwaukee won the NL Central last year for the first time since 2011 and made it all the way to the NL Championship Series before losing to the more experienced Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games. Yelich earned his first NL MVP award after nearly winning the Triple Crown, and Josh Hader and Jesus Aguilar each had a breakout performance.

Barreling toward a season with considerable expectations, Yelich and Co. have little interest in revisiting the past.

A sentiment I suspect the Cubs fans here will agree with, albeit for very different reasons….

 

QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, christian yelich

MLB lifts restrictions on Arizona Fall League players

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball is lifting restrictions on which players can be sent to the Arizona Fall League for prospects and moving up the season by nearly a month.

The commissioner’s office said Tuesday that a team can send any player to the AFL. Previously, a player had to be at Double-A or Triple-A by Aug. 1, with one player from a lower level allowed per organization. In addition, players with one year of major league service as of Aug. 31 were excluded, with the exception of one player per organization who had been selected in the most recent winter meeting draft of unprotected players. There also was a limit on foreign players.

*Imagines how the Arizona Fall League would look if any player showed up- then realizes ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona fall league, rule changes

MLB rumors: Brewers talking to former Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel

We’re just over one week away from Opening Day, and Craig Kimbrel somehow remains unsigned.

But finally, there appears to be a team showing interest in the former Red Sox closer. That team is the Brewers, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The hot stove that never ends marches on!

QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, craig kimbrel, hot stove

MLB concerned at number of strikeouts, says Torre

TOKYO (Reuters) - Major League Baseball is concerned at strikeouts surpassing the number of hits and needs more balls in play to arrest the dip in popularity, the league’s chief baseball officer Joe Torre said on Wednesday.

Last season was the first in the league’s history to feature more strikeouts than hits, leading to calls for changes to increase interest.

Average attendance for regular season games in 2018 fell four percent from the previous year to 28,830 per game, according to MLB, while the total number of fans who showed up at the ballpark fell below 70 million for the first time since 2003.

So, do you have a solution for fixing this, Joe, or are you like Manfred?

 

QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 113 comment(s)
  Beats: joe torre, mlb, strikeouts

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