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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Baseball’s Anti-Trust Exemption: Its Uncertain Scope

While many fans are aware that baseball is generally exempt from antitrust law, fewer realize that courts have adopted widely divergent views regarding the extent to which MLB’s operations are actually shielded from the law. For instance, just because MLB is generally immune from antitrust law does not mean that a court would necessarily give the league free reign to engage in anti-competitive practices in areas completely unrelated to professional baseball (such as if, for example, MLB Advanced Media — the league’s digital content distribution company — were to enter into a price-fixing scheme with other non-sports-related, Internet-streaming-video service providers).

Courts have traditionally disagreed regarding where to draw the line between MLB’s exempt and non-exempt conduct, and thus are deeply divided over the extent to which they will allow antitrust lawsuits to proceed against MLB. As a practical matter, then, anyone wishing to sue MLB under antitrust law may be able to do so – despite the league’s antitrust exemption – so long as they file their case in the right court…

That having been said, there may be some cases where this sort of forum shopping is not possible. In the San Jose lawsuit against MLB, for instance, the city had to file its case in a local court, even though California judges have traditionally adopted a broad view of baseball’s exemption.

In contrast, the plaintiffs’ lawyer in the recently filed suit challenging MLB’s scout hiring and pay practices wisely elected to file the case in New York, a jurisdiction that has historically viewed the exemption much more narrowly (as reflected in the decisions discussed above involving MLB’s television broadcasting and umpire relations). As a result, it would not be surprising if the New York court allows the antitrust portion of the case to move forward, despite baseball’s exemption.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2015 at 11:17 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: anti-trust exemption, athletics, legal, san jose

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mets give up too much to get Tyler Clippard - Keith Law Blog - ESPN (INSIDER)

Keith Law does not like this deal.

As far as what the A’s got back, Casey Meisner was my sleeper pitching prospect for the Mets this year, and has indeed had a breakout season in Savannah. He would now rank sixth in the Mets’ system, behind Dominic Smith (who ranked No. 40 on my last updated global prospect ranking), Amed Rosario, Gavin Cecchini, Michael Fulmer and Wuilmer Becerra (although you could argue Meisner belongs ahead of Becerra too). The 6-foot-8 right-hander is consistently throwing heat up to 94 mph, complemented with an above-average curveball, and this year has seen his command jump to where it’s consistently above-average as well. He pitched extremely well in Savannah and has been so-so in High-A St. Lucie, with his most recent outing his worst of the year.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 27, 2015 at 08:49 PM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, mets, tyler clippard

Friday, July 24, 2015

Acquiring Kazmir gives players a lift on and off field - Houston Chronicle

“I feel an obligation to support them in a situation where I can do something to help them win,” Luhnow said. “They care as much as anybody, because they’re on the team.

“I think when you don’t make a move, even though sometimes that’s the right thing to do, people can misinterpret it as they’re not being supported. Now I would never make a move … just to make them feel supported, but it’s the right move to make, and it’s in our domain to make it.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 24, 2015 at 06:59 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, athletics, trades

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Astros acquire Scott Kazmir from Oakland for two prospects

And so we begin…

The Astros made a trade Thursday, acquiring left-hander Scott Kazmir from the A’s for two minor leaguers, right-handed pitcher Daniel Mengden and catcher Jacob Nottingham…

The 31-year-old Kazmir, a 2002 Cy Falls graduate, will join the club in Kansas City on Friday. He is 5-5 with a 2.38 ERA this season 18 starts for the A’s this season. Among American League pitchers, Kazmir ranks fourth in opponent batting average (.213) and fifth in ERA. On the season, Kazmir has allowed just three earned runs or fewer in 17 of his 18 starts.

Mengden and Nottingham had been playing for Class A Advanced Lancaster after each began the 2015 season at Class A Quad Cities. Mengden was originally a fourth-round selection in the 2014 draft, while Nottingham was originally taken in the sixth round of the 2013 draft.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 23, 2015 at 01:52 PM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, athletics, scott kazmir, trades

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Oakland Athletics are the unluckiest team in baseball | FOX Sports

If only…

They just haven’t been able to overcome hideous middle relief. Maybe Doolittle can fix that; maybe he can’t. When a team feels an arm short in the bullpen, it usually is two arms short these days. Then again, being an arm (or two) short in the bullpen isn’t supposed to hurt this badly. It’s clear that Beane’s bunch is more like a second-tier contender than a bottom-feeder, in terms of actual ability. Expected runs allowed paint a fairer picture of the A’s than actual runs allowed; they’ve just had too many bad sequences.

Yes, this cut-rate Oakland team could have been a contender, but it’s too late now. Since the advent of divisional play and the League Championship Series, only two 14-25 teams (Oakland’s record before Monday’s win) have ever reached the playoffs: the 1974 Pirates and the 1989 Blue Jays. Call it bad luck, a bad bullpen or the Curse of Josh Donaldson, but the A’s have no angle left to play in 2015. Beane will have to spend his summer wheeling and dealing again, but this time, he’ll be spinning off assets not unlike the ones he collected last July:

Jim Furtado Posted: July 13, 2015 at 08:22 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, trade rumors

Thursday, July 09, 2015

How much have Marcus Semien’s errors hurt the Oakland A’s? - SweetSpot - ESPN

We’ll check out every error he’s made, but here’s a remarkable thing to consider: Baseball Info Solutions has Semien with +1 Defensive Run Saved. In other words, a league-average shortstop, even with all the errors. That’s the same rating that Asdrubal Cabrera has, who has made just two errors. (UZR is more harsh, with Semien at -14 runs, second-worst in the majors to Desmond.)
...
Semien’s 27 errors have led to just nine unearned runs. But you can argue the only error that cost the A’s a game was the April 11 error that allowed Nelson Cruz to bat with two outs in the eighth inning. Cruz’s three-run homer gave the Mariners a 4-2 lead. The A’s tied the game before the Mariners won in 11 innings.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 09, 2015 at 05:07 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, marcus semien

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Angels tried convincing Red Sox to help them trade for Josh Reddick

“C’mon, just helps us. All the cool kids are doing it.”

e Angels could use another bat, as Matt Joyce hasn’t worked out in their outfield and C.J. Cron isn’t getting it done as the designated hitter. According to MLB’s Alden Gonzalez, they wanted to pry Josh Reddick from their division rivals, the Athletics, but didn’t have the resources to do so. Gonzalez reported that the Angels’ (and then-GM Jerry Dipoto’s) solution was to get the Red Sox involved in a three-way trade to make it happen, but Boston had no interest, and as you know, nothing went down.

It makes all the sense in the world that the Red Sox wouldn’t help the Angels out here, and it has nothing to do with the six games separating them in the wild card standings. What, exactly, were the Angels planning to send the Red Sox in return for Reddick? Their farm system is atrocious, and Reddick is still a highly productive outfielder. Reddick can’t hit lefties, sure, but he’s also batting .288/.346/.463 overall, has one of the strongest arms in the game, and has been worth at least a win defensively in each of the last three seasons according to Baseball Reference’s measures.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 07, 2015 at 09:37 AM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, athletics, jerry dipoto, josh reddick, red sox, trade rumors

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Theo Epstein on trade that brought Addison Russell to the Chicago Cubs

Here’s a really interesting article about the Russell deal.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 04, 2015 at 09:06 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: addison russell, athletics, billy beane, cubs, theo epstein

Reddick criticizes A’s front office over his playing time | CSN Bay Area

Maybe he should worry about doing better in the AB he does get against lefties.

“I have no idea. It doesn’t come from anywhere in this clubhouse. Everybody knows what situations our general manager puts up there. I couldn’t tell you what the difference is between me starting against one guy and not starting against another guy. … There’s probably so many numbers they could dig into their computers with and try to find one just to keep me out of the lineup.”

Reddick, who’s hitting .330 in 209 at-bats against right-handers but just .152 in 66 at-bats against left-handers [emphasis added], brought up Tuesday’s game against Colorado as an example. He told Fosse he was originally slated to start against Rockies lefty Jorge De La Rosa, but he received a text message from Melvin in the afternoon saying the idea had been vetoed.

“I know Bob’s in there fighting for me,” Reddick said. “The other day I was supposed to play against De La Rosa, and Bob texts me at around 1:30 and told me he had been ‘trumped,’ was the word he used. I understood right away. I know it’s not Bob. He’s fighting for me to be in there every night. It still frustrates me beyond belief when I don’t play …. I wanna be in there helping my team no matter if a guy’s throwing right-handed, left-handed or center-handed. Whatever you wanna call it, I just want to be in there, be able to compete and help my team win.”

Reddick’s career splits:

Jim Furtado Posted: July 04, 2015 at 08:52 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, josh reddick

Ben Zobrist is the mystery hitter Mets would ‘overpay’ to get | New York Post

Ben Zobrist? Don’t get me wrong, He’s a good player. But he’s the GUY they would overpay for? He is a free agent next year.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 04, 2015 at 08:43 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, ben zobrist, mets, trade rumors

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Billy Beane still weighing A’s options as trade deadline nears | CSN Bay Area

It’s a long season. The Wild Card opens up many possibilities.

“It’s really depending on how you’re playing and where you’re headed,” Beane said. “Just about any deficit can be overtaken if you’re clicking as a club. Case in point, 2012.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 30, 2015 at 06:39 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, billy beane

Friday, June 12, 2015

Video: Must C: Burns’ two great grabs | MLB.com

Not a bad pick up for Jerry Blevins.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 12, 2015 at 09:27 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, billy burns

Monday, June 08, 2015

Red Sox stun A’s with 7-run 8th to cap sweep | redsox.com

This was a good win for the Red Sox. It’s good to see some life for the team.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 08, 2015 at 09:44 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, red sox

Friday, June 05, 2015

Switch-Pitcher Pat Venditte makes Major League debut

Lord take me now, because I will never see anything more awesome than this.

Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte made his big-league debut tonight at Fenway, and pitched a nearly perfect sixth inning—retiring Brock Holt with his left arm, seen above, and then after allowing a single inducing a Mike Napoli double play with his right (which you can watch below).

Three videos at the link, including one of the switch-hitting Blake Swihart having to run back to the dugout to grab his lefty batting helmet when Venditte decides to pitch to him right handed. Venditte went 2 IP and gave up a single while striking out one.


Switch-pitcher placed on path early by dad | MLB.com

There is a new freak in town.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 05, 2015 at 11:17 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Grant Brisbee breaks down each of Oakland’s 15 one-run losses

Getting to this a bit late, this was published on May 28th and since then the A’s have increased the number of one-run wins by 50%... to give them a 3-15 record overall.

4. Astros 7, A’s 6 - April 26

Key moments:
I’m caught between wanting to throw my hands up and say, “You get the idea” and continuing to pile on at the risk of my sanity and yours. I’ve chosen the latter strategy. May we all find peace in this world.

If only there were an image to symbolize this awful game.

OH COME ON.

That’s a fastball above Evan Gattis’s nose, which he hit for a two-run, ninth-inning double. The lead run was on base because Brett Lawrie had a brain fart and threw to second base on a fielder’s choice when the runner was already there. Again, that was a bad baseball play, but of course it happened in the ninth inning of a one-run game.

The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 02, 2015 at 09:41 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, gifs, oakland a's

Monday, June 01, 2015

In flux A’s rounding into form | athletics.com

“When you step back,” said Vogt, “you realize we’re only a third of the way there. We’ve got a lot of season to play.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 01, 2015 at 06:02 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A’s beat: Sean Doolittle returns to disabled list with strained shoulder - SFGate

This has to be frustrating.

This setback involves a different muscle in Doolittle’s shoulder than his previous injury. That offered scant solace as he contemplated at least two weeks of inactivity; only then will Doolittle pick up a baseball again and start another throwing program.

“It’s really frustrating to work your ass off for four months, come all the way back, throw one inning and then I’m back on the shelf,” he said.

The A’s activated Doolittle on Tuesday, after he made four minor-league rehabilitation appearances without a problem. He pitched one scoreless inning Wednesday against Detroit, then felt some discomfort later that night.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 31, 2015 at 08:52 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, sean doolittle

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Slumping Crisp to see neck specialist - San Francisco Chronicle

That’s not ideal.

Crisp said before the season that he believed the neck problem might be a lifelong issue. The fact that it cropped up again just 13 games after he returned from the disabled list makes it a major concern. Crisp changed the way he hit last season to deal with the neck problem, and hit .203 the final two months while dealing with the injury.

Since coming off the DL after arthroscopic elbow surgery, Crisp is batting .044, but has played extremely well defensively, and that’s despite being moved from center to left. That position switch was done largely to keep Crisp healthy. If he goes on the DL again, it will be his sixth trip since the start of the 2010 season.

Crisp, 35, is signed for $22 million over the next two years; he also has a $13 million option for 2017 that vests based on plate appearances and/or games played in 2015 and 2016.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 21, 2015 at 10:14 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, coco crisp

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A’s might turn to Washington to help shore up defense

Is he coming out of retirement to play shortstop?

Jim Furtado Posted: May 20, 2015 at 08:22 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, defense

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ambidextrous Nashville Sounds pitcher Pat Venditte shows rarest of skills

Sorry if this pushes my ambidextrous agenda on you guys.

Now, after serving seven years in the Yankees’ organization, the long man, the innings eater, topping out at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and with winter ball stints in places as far afield as Venezuela, an alien twice over, he’s declared himself a free agent and signed a minor league deal with the angle-shooting, value-seeking A’s.

“I just felt like they wanted me the most,” he says. After a solid first Oakland spring, he has landed with the Nashville Sounds, finally making more than the Triple-A minimum of $2,150 a month. This is the first year he can afford to have Erin join him for the season—they met in college at Creighton—and she’s left her job back in Omaha for the electrical storms of a minor league summer. They are as close to their dreams as they ever have been.

It’s still proving hard for Venditte to snap his farm-system habits, all those years spent living as though on the lam. In the apartment complex’s sunny office, the woman with the keys makes a face when he tries to pay the deposit with wadded-up cash. He confirms that they’ll be on a breakable month-to-month lease before he signs the paperwork. He uses his right hand.

When Venditte tries to write with his left hand, his signature turns into an illegible scrawl. Eating with his left hand is a good way for him to end up with a dry cleaning bill. In any universe other than baseball, he is indisputably right-handed. The golf clubs tell as much. The only thing he can do with his left hand as well as he can with his right is perhaps the hardest thing in the world: pitch. He can throw a fastball, a slider and a changeup with either arm, and there isn’t much between each version. His right-handed fastball is a little harder; his left-handed slider is a little sharper. His delivery—a deceptive, unconventional sidearm—is virtually identical from either side. More than once, Venditte has been mistaken for opposite-handed twins because he’ll warm up before games with one hand with the starting pitchers and with the other hand with the relievers. Every appearance turns into an audition for a new audience of disbelievers and gawkers who have come to see the freak of nature, the carnival geek. Even here, on the cusp of the major leagues, he still isn’t free from his lifelong burden of proof.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 14, 2015 at 05:53 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: ambidextrous, athletics, minor league, pat venditte

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Remarkably Unclutch Oakland A’s | FanGraphs Baseball

If things don’t turn around in the next month, Beane will start selling off, which will mean the talent will match the record.

No team is diverging from their BaseRuns expectations at anything near the rate that the A’s are. Instead of being 12-21, BaseRuns actually expects that the A’s would be 18-15 at this point, a .539 expected winning percentage that would have them as the 11th best team in baseball. No other team in baseball is underperforming their BaseRuns record by more than three wins, and since 2002, no team has underperformed their BaseRuns by more than 11 wins over the course of a full season. At their current pace, the A’s would win 54 fewer games than their BaseRuns total, which, you know, isn’t going to happen.

As is usually the case when teams have massive divergences like this, the first place to look is the bullpen, and the A’s bullpen has been a disaster. Their bullpen’s 5.16 ERA is 28th in MLB, as is their 4.44 FIP; their 4.50 xFIP ranks 30th. But again, those are context-neutral numbers, and BaseRuns is including those struggles in the calculations. But it’s context-specific performances where the A’s pitching staff has really let them down, and this is how you play pretty well overall but still lose 21 of 33 games.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 12, 2015 at 06:30 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, sabermetrics

Monday, May 11, 2015

Olney: Laying out each team’s Mount Rushmore and ranking the quartets

The Mount Rushmore for BTF: Chris Truby, Mike Piazza, Madeline Albright, and Frank Tanana.

And Mike Crudale.

So I picked my own four for each club, and then ranked the 30 sets of four. Here they are, from the best to the fourth-best (in my opinion) for each franchise:

1. Giants: Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Christy Mathewson, Willie McCovey

2. Yankees: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mariano Rivera (see below)

3. Cardinals: Stan Musial, Rogers Hornsby, Albert Pujols, Bob Gibson

4. Red Sox: Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Cy Young, Pedro Martinez

5. Tigers: Ty Cobb, Charlie Gehringer, Miguel Cabrera, Al Kaline

6. Reds: Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson

7. Twins: Walter Johnson, Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett

8. Athletics: Rickey Henderson, Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx, Reggie Jackson

9. Braves: Hank Aaron, Greg Maddux, Warren Spahn, Chipper Jones

10. Dodgers: Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Clayton Kershaw


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