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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Deep dive from Ike Davis on Mets’ downfall, hope for future - NY Daily News

I still kinda like Ike.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 28, 2015 at 08:06 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, ike davis, mets

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Donaldson already proving great fit with Blue Jays | MLB.com

“I have a pretty good relationship with [A’s GM] Billy Beane,” Anthopoulos said. “We’ve done a bunch of small deals. The one thing about Billy, he’s always open-minded and you can never offend him; you can ask about anybody at any time to make a deal.

“[Donaldson] is somebody we asked about right at the end of the season. We were adamantly told, ‘He’s not going to be moved.’ Then we asked about him a little later. [Beane] was still adamant that [Donaldson] was not going to be moved. Then I guess, about a week before we did the deal, we asked about him again in a conversation, he again said he wouldn’t move him, but it seemed in passing that one of the issues was they wanted to win this year. They might retool, but they weren’t going to tear it down.

“[Beane] wasn’t going to leave a hole at third base. I’m the one who introduced Lawrie at that point. We weren’t going to trade Lawrie, but I wasn’t getting anywhere with trying to get Donaldson. Once I introduced Lawrie to fill that hole for him, he seemed a little bit more open-minded and we took it from there. That was the only way I think things could get off the ground, because [Beane] still had every intention to win.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 25, 2015 at 05:52 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, blue jays

Friday, February 20, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-20-2015

Pittsburgh Press, February 20, 1915:

One writer suggests that the Cleveland Americans be called the Submarines, because they are always on the bottom. The only objection is that the Cincinnati Reds might dispute this title.

...and elsewhere on the same page:

After being with a second-division team for several years Lajoie has got renewed ambition. He has got something worth while to work for in 1915.
...
“I can hardly wait for the time to go south,” said Lajoie. “It has been several years since I was so eager to get into a baseball uniform as I am now. I want to show that I’ve got a lot of good ball playing yet left in me, and I think the ‘old boy’ will be back there in the .300 class next season.”

The joke was on Nap. The 1915 Athletics lost 109 games, which was the third-worst record in MLB from 1900-1915. The 1916 Athletics were the worst team of baseball’s modern area. They went 36-117 (.235) and finished 54.5 games out of first place. 41-year-old Nap hit .246 with no OBP or SLG to speak of, then retired.

And the Cleveland Submarines? They won a World Series before the Athletics finished above last place.

Willie Horton Hears The Who (Dan Lee) Posted: February 20, 2015 at 08:10 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, dugout, history, indians, nap lajoie

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Zito back with A’s part of Beane’s next movie plot | CSN Bay Area

Here’s your feel good story of the spring.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2015 at 08:34 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, barry zito

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Schoenfield: Ranking the teams: 18 through 13

I’m just the messenger: Just pointing out that Lester had a 4.82 ERA in 2012 and 3.75 in 2013. Yes, big 2014, new league, no DH and more cutters instead of four-seamers and he could be even better. But you never know. He may not be as good as he was last year. And then there’s Jake Arrieta, former faded prospect turned rotation anchor. He looks like the real deal but ... again ... you never know. Hey, I’m trying. I like the Cubs! I have them ranked 13th!

The final word: If I had more guts I’d predict them to win the division, but they have two strong clubs ahead of them and even the Brewers or Reds are capable of 90 wins. The Cubs are still sorting a few things out and waiting for some of the young guys to mature. Sometimes, teams do break through right away; if Bryant and Jorge Soler are 3-4 win players as rookies and Lester and Arrieta throw 400-plus innings of great baseball, the Cubs could be the big surprise of 2015.

Prediction: 84-78

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 12, 2015 at 10:21 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, athletics, cubs, david schoenfield, padres, royals, tigers

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Many new faces but same high expectations at A’s FanFest - San Francisco Chronicle

“I’d like Billy Beane to be able to tell America, ‘Take that!’ when this is all over,” new bench coach Mike Aldrete said during the Q-and-A.

“One thing I’ve always heard around the league is, ‘Billy knows what he’s doing,’” new first baseman Ike Davis said. “I figured he had a plan, just be patient, and now that you look at it, it’s a pretty exciting team.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 08, 2015 at 10:35 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, billy beane

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Billy Beane has re-made the A’s again. Will it work? - MLB - SI.com

Jay Jaffe’s A’s Winter Report Card.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 05, 2015 at 09:01 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Monday, January 19, 2015

Madden: Beane’s A’s good to go, Hart’s Braves gone for year - NY Daily News

Comparing and contrasting John Hart’s and Billy Beane’s off-seasons.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 19, 2015 at 05:36 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, braves

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Zobrist in Oakland | Articles | Bill James Online

Dave Fleming looks at the A’s and Ben Zobrist.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 15, 2015 at 02:40 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, ben zobrist, sabermetrics

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nationals To Acquire Yunel Escobar

Not a Bay Area guy, I guess…

The Nationals have reached an agreement to acquire shortstop Yunel Escobar from the A’s, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). He speculates that a swap of Escobar and Tyler Clippard was a possibility.

Escobar, of course, had only just been acquired by the Athletics this past weekend…

As for the Nationals, the acquisition opens a number of avenues. First and foremost is that Escobar simply supplants Danny Espinosa as the team’s second baseman… However, the possibility of an eventual Desmond trade cannot be outright ignored…

The 32-year-old Escobar, typically a sound defender, had somewhat of a down season on both sides of the ball in 2014. Though he picked things up with the bat late in the season to salvage a .258/.324/.340 batting line (92 OPS+, 95 wRC+), he posted a UZR/150 of -26, and Defensive Runs Saved dinged him equally, rating him at -24 runs. However, Escobar also battled shoulder and knee problems last season and has otherwise always been regarded as an excellent defender, so while some will assume this to be age-related decline, there’s reason to believe that he could rebound in 2015.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Oakland’s Ben Zobrist Deal Erases Any Doubt About Billy Beane’s Strategy «

Ben Lindbergh takes a look at the A’s moves.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 12, 2015 at 04:09 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A look at the A’s deal for Ben Zobrist, Yunel Escobar

Another slow news day and BOOM!

With the additions of Ben Zobrist, who will become Oakland’s primary second baseman, and shortstop Yunel Escobar, the A’s are likely done assembling their 2015 team – and there is little doubt they plan to contend.

Zobrist was hotly pursued by numerous teams this winter, including the Giants, but the fact that Oakland could also find a spot for Escobar probably helped the A’s complete the deal.  The A’s will send catcher John Jaso to the Rays along with two minor-leaguers, top shortstop prospect Daniel Robertson and outfielder Boog Powell.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 10, 2015 at 01:35 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, ben zobrist, boog powell, daniel robertson, john jaso, rays, yunel escobar

Has Josh Donaldson reached his peak? - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

David Schoenfield takes a look.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 10, 2015 at 11:00 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, blue jays, josh donaldson

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Bill James Mailbag - 1/4/15 - 1/6/15

But what does this have to do with… oh.

Bill, I saw an early return on a few (under 100) HOF ballots online, and Smoltz has over 75% needed to get in. Schilling has under 75%. Would it surprise you to see Smoltz get in ahead of Schilling?...

Well, I would certainly vote for Smoltz over Schilling. If you compare them as starting pitchers Schilling is ahead, but he wins by an NBA score. . . .98 to 93, or 102 to 97, something like that. If you put Smoltz’ three seasons of top-shelf relief pitching into the equation, I think he beats Schilling. In overtime.

What are the parameters in estimating improvement in MLB play over decades? For example, in sports that are measured quantitatively (track, swimming, weight-lifting, etc.) we know that runners have not improved their times in the 400 meter dash by 200% over the last few decades but that new records have been set, and we can eyeball what that improvement has been. Can we use a variety of comparative measures, not necessarily from these sports but including them, to estimate the ranges of improvement in MLB, or is it all just guesswork and BS and bias?

It’s not easy. The problem with the “parallel track” assumption is that the time line doesn’t match. The improvements that have taken place in track and field from 1960 to 2010 may have occurred in baseball from 1876 to 1920. (Certainly it is obvious that there was vast improvement in skills in baseball from 1876 to 1920. . .less obvious what the improvements have been since then.) Also, improvement in a complex set of skills is not parallel to improvement in a simple, direct skill such as runnin’ real fast or picking up something heavy. Baseball requires a mix of 100 or more highly refined skills. All of those improve at different speeds, and improvement in one waits on improvement in the others. One cannot learn to hit a 92 MPH breaking pitch until a significant number of people are around who can THROW a 92 MPH breaking pitch in the strike zone. We can work on the problem and gain some insight, but I’m not confident that we can measure improvement in baseball skills relative to other activities.

Bill, I dont remember if youve been asked this before? Do you support the pitch clock for pitchers? I think there should be a 30 second limit from when the pitcher receives the ball. And you?

I don’t know that a CLOCK is necessary. DIscipline is necessary. Stop calling timeout when there is no REASON to call time out. ALlow the umpire to call a “ball” when the pitcher dawdles. Skip the clock; it’s just discipline.

Hey Bill, It’s 1959 and you’re transported back to the Kansas City A’s owner’s office. You have one day to talk with him and the GM to try to impart as much as you can to them with the goal of trying to create a Kansas City A’s dynasty in the 1960s and beyond. Without naming names or saying stuff like “go trade for that young 1st baseman on the Giants”, that is, teaching them how to fish instead of giving them a fish, what are the things you would tell them to look at or to do? What are your priorities to get across to them to turn their club around?

The number one thing, certainly for THAT organization, is to get them to understand that player development is a process that takes time and requires patience. 1959 is a little bit too late to save that franchise. In 1959 they had no farm system to speak of. Connie Mack’s old farm system from Philadelphia, that moved to KC in ‘55, was way behind the time, and didn’t produce anything from 1955 to 1959. There is nothing you can do with nothing; you can’t trade your way to a pennant if you have nothing to start with, so the first thing you have to do is build a farm system. By 1959 that process was underway but slow. By 1963, with the hiring of Hank Peters, their development system started moving, and by 1967, when they left for Oakland, this was producing talent. So if you could move that process forward by 4 years, from 1963 to 1959, that would have helped, and if the organization had shown more patience with young players like Lou Klimchock, Nelson Mathews, Manny Jimenez, Bill Bryan, Fred Norman and others, that would have helped, and if you put those two things together, we could have moved the clock back to where the organization was rolling in 1964, rather than in 1968.

Hey Bill, did Brian Giles just become the best player ever to get zero Hall of Fame votes?

Frank Tanana. It was in the New York Times this morning. Same article mentioned my name. . ..thanks to whoever wrote that.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 Game-Changing MLB Moments

WHAT ABOUT JETER’S WALK OFF?

Among all the moments on this list, none has a higher WPA than Davis’ June 30 grand slam against Oakland. The Tigers had a win expectancy of 20 percent entering the at-bat. (And that presumes each moment occurs in a vacuum. It didn’t take into account that the light-hitting Davis has never hit more than eight home runs in a season and that Davis had never hit a walk-off shot.)

With one smooth swing, Davis crushed a hanging curveball over the left-field wall, one of the most dramatic moments of the ‘14 season. The swing had its aftereffects, too. The A’s, up 5 ½ games in the AL West at the time, lost three straight, and shortly thereafter would lose the division lead with a mediocre month of July and a flat-out dreadful August. The Tigers, meanwhile, established themselves as the team to catch in the AL Central.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 29, 2014 at 02:15 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: alex gordon, angels, athletics, mike trout, rajai davis, royals, tigers, wpa

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fangraphs: How the Teams are Built

Looking at the A’s 40-man roster, 27 players were acquired via trade, the most in the MLB, and five more off waivers. The A’s aren’t like most teams, with regards to their payroll, and so the A’s aren’t like most teams, with regards to how they’re built.

Sean Doolittle is the longest-tenured A’s player, drafted in the first round of the 2007 draft. A.J. Griffin was a 13th-round draft pick in 2010, and Sonny Gray was a first-round pick in 2011. The fourth guy is Renato Nunez, who wasn’t even taken in the June draft, and was instead selected as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela in 2010. That’s it for homegrown players in Oakland.

Compare that to the 27 homegrown players on the New York Mets’ 40-man roster, and the differences in organizational philosophies become readily apparent. The organizational ladder for the Mets dates all the way back to 2001 when franchise-favorite David Wright was drafted in the first round. Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell were both drafted in 2005, Juan Lagares, Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejeda followed in 2006, and a whole host of current 40-manners came in 2007, including starters Jenrry Mejia, Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, Jeurys Familia and Wilmer Flores.

There is still time for the A’s to trade Doolittle and Gray.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 23, 2014 at 09:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: 40 man rosters, athletics, free agents, homegrown, mets, trades

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Padres Acquire Derek Norris – MLB Trade Rumors

The Padres and Athletics have continued their busy offseasons with a multiplayer deal that will send catcher Derek Norris to San Diego, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports (Twitter links).  The full trade is Norris, right-hander Seth Streich and an international signing slot to the Padres with right-handers Jesse Hahn and R.J. Alvarez going to Oakland, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 18, 2014 at 10:20 PM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, derek norris, jesse hahn, padres

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jed Lowrie signing: Looking back at the Astros trade that sent Lowrie to Oakland

A good analysis of a “win-win” trade. Houston is going to end up with more total value from the Lowrie trade, but the A’s got value concentrated in two years when it helped them reach the playoffs.

SoCalDemon Posted: December 16, 2014 at 02:11 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, athletics, transactions

Friday, December 12, 2014

Q&A: David Forst, Assistant General Manager, Oakland Athletics

It’s very difficult to win by accident more than once.

There’s definitely a plan. We certainly spend the first couple of weeks after the year, when the season ends, talking on a macro level about what direction we should go. The specifics of who to trade and who to target don’t necessarily come into focus until a little bit later in the offseason, but certainly the plan is talked about immediately. And frankly, it was probably something we talked about in September, before the season was over.

I think Billy [Beane, General Manager] has articulated in a couple of places that we knew that just bringing back the current team, assuming the losses of [Jon] Lester, and [Luke] Gregerson, and [Jed] Lowrie and some of those guys that we didn’t have an opportunity to sign — bringing back that team wasn’t going to work. The Angels were obviously 11 games better than us and the Mariners were right on our tail, and poised to get better. Just bringing back our group and just supplementing it with little pieces, wasn’t going to give us a chance to compete, and was also going to leave us further down the path of having an older, more injury-prone club, frankly.

We decided very early on that we needed to take a similar route that we did in 2011, in November in December, and work hard on increasing our depth, getting younger and getting healthier.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 12, 2014 at 08:40 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Semien poised to make quickest Majors impact | athletics.com

Jim Callis breaks down the deal.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2014 at 03:27 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, white sox

White Sox reportedly acquire Samardzija from A’s | MLB.com

According to CBSSports.com, the deal sending the right-hander to the South Side was complete as of Monday night, and included infielder Marcus Semien going to Oakland along with two prospects. The San Francisco Chronicle reported right-hander Chris Bassitt to be part of the deal.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2014 at 06:14 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, chris bassitt, jeff samardzija, marcus semien, white sox

Monday, December 08, 2014

CBSSports: Mets, Giants, A’s, other clubs eye top Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang

Kang has consistently put up huge numbers in Korea and posted an amazing .364/.457/.733 slash line in 2014 for the Nexen Heores, hitting 39 home runs in 116 games. The big question is how those numbers translate, which is why he could be viewed as a bargain by some.

Yes, that is the question.  Any speculation on how this fellow’s skills translate?

Arbitol Dijaler Posted: December 08, 2014 at 02:33 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, giants, international, korean baseball, mets

Indians Acquire Brandon Moss

In a widely anticipated swap, the Athletics have officially agreed to ship outfielder/first baseman/DH Brandon Moss to the Indians in exchange for minor league second baseman Joe Wendle.

Moss, 31, is projected by MLBTR/Matt Swartz to earn $7.1MM this year, his second-to-last of arbitration eligibility. He is an accomplished power bat, with a 135 OPS+ and 76 home runs over the last three years…

Wendle, a 24-year-old prospect, did not rate among the Indians’ top ten prospects in the recent estimation of Baseball America but did land at ninth on MLB.com‘s most recent list Wendle’s calling card is his hit tool, with which he combines decent power and solid defense. A broken hamate bone cut the 24-year-old’s season short, but he had put up a .253/.311/.414 line over 370 Double-A plate appearances and owned even an even more robust slash the prior year at High-A.

The District Attorney Posted: December 08, 2014 at 01:27 PM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, brandon moss, indians, joe wendle, trades, transactions

Friday, December 05, 2014

A’s discusssing minor leaguer for Brandon Moss - Oakland Athletics : The Drumbeat

The A’s are in discussions that could net them a minor-league infielder from the Indians in exchange for outfielder Brandon Moss. Among the A’s targets, according to big league sources, is Double-A second baseman Joe Wendle, a strong prospect whose 2014 season was shortened by a broken hamate bone.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 05, 2014 at 07:37 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, brandon moss, indians, trade rumors

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