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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

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

“Billy Boy”: The Josh Donaldson trade was reportedly sparked by an argument with Billy Beane

Nobody puts Billy Boy in the corner.

Miller said Beane told Donaldson if he couldn’t play he should go on the DL and Donaldson chafed. Then this:

  “Donaldson told the manager he needed a blow, and [Bob] Melvin said, ‘You got it,’ ” the source said. “Then that night’s lineup came out and Billy asked, ‘Where’s Donaldson?’ “

  When told what happened, the source says, an angry Beane demanded that Melvin put Donaldson back into the lineup.
  “They got into it in the coach’s office,” the source says, describing a scene in which Beane lit into Donaldson, with the third baseman reiterating his need for a day off and petulantly calling Beane “Billy Boy.”

  “Nobody talks to Billy that way,” the source said. “It did not surprise me in the least that he got rid of Donaldson.”

Moreover, last night Wendy Thurm linked to a pre-trade series of tweets by Donaldson in which he appeared to be taking issue with the A’s frugal ways too.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 03, 2014 at 11:45 AM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, billy beane, josh donaldson

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Notes: Brewers, Raines, Carpenter, Castro, Cuba, Reds, much more | FanGraphs Baseball

Another interesting David Lauria column. Some good tidbits.

Members of the Red Sox ownership group are reportedly purchasing their Triple-A affiliate from the estate of Ben Mondor. Mondor, who purchased the team in 1977, passed away in 2010. The Pawtucket Red Sox – one of minor league baseball’s most successful franchises – have been run by president Mike Tamburro and vice president/general manager Lou Schwechheimer.

It is unclear if Tamburro and Schwechheimer, who have been with the team since 1977 and 1979, respectively, will retain their positions if the deal is consummated. Many will be disappointed if they depart. Each has worked hard to enhance the fan experience at McCoy Stadium, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a former PawSox player who will complain about how he was treated by management.

Tamburro is a great storyteller. Some of his best yarns involve Win Remmerswaal, who played in Pawtucket from 1977-1980. A native of The Hague, Netherlands, Remmerswaal is legendary in PawSox lore.

According to Tamburro, Remmerswaal was once pulled over for driving his rental car on the wrong side of the road. Another time, he ran out of gas on the Massachusetts Turnpike and had to walk to the nearest town. Instead of purchasing a can of gas, Remmerswaal rented another car and left the first one along side of the road. A week later it was brought to McCoy Stadium. This was at seasons end and Butch Hobson, Pawtucket’s manager at the time, decided to drive it home to Alabama and abandon it in a parking lot.


Peter Gammons: Beane ignites Oakland rebuild with Donaldson trade - GammonsDaily.com

The Donaldson trade from the A’s perspective.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 30, 2014 at 07:18 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, trades

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Beane not afraid to take a chance to make A’s better | MLB.com

I agree. One of the things that separates the best GMs from the mediocre ones is the confidence to trust their talent evaluators and pull the trigger on deals, even risky ones.

Beane doesn’t play scared. He’s unafraid to take a chance, to rework what already seems to be working. There’s a beauty, both in the guts to do it and in the vision to see what others can’t.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 29, 2014 at 09:02 AM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, blue jays, josh donaldson, trades

Making sense of A’s trade of All-Star Donaldson to Blue Jays | FOX Sports

A GM should have no untouchables. Like with Donaldson, a GM might not want to deal a player but once the return gets high enough you have to pull the trigger. If his scouts and his number crunchers like the players, he makes the deal. After making the deal it’s up to the player development people and the major league coaches to get the most out of the acquired players. Granted the A’s are losing five years of Donaldson but they are potentially getting a lot years from the new guys. With the A’s track record, I’d say the chances the Beane will come out looking good on this deal ten years from now are pretty good.

Gold-Glove caliber defenders who offer power and durability rarely become available with this much service time remaining. And truth be told, Donaldson wasn’t available, at least not the first time the Blue Jays asked in October.

But Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos called Beane again last weekend and essentially said, “What if I really made it worth your while?”

Anthopoulos did. And on Friday night, Beane moved Donaldson in what is certain to be one of his most scrutinized deals yet — and yes, that is saying something.

....

I have no idea where Beane is going with all this. I have no idea what kind of team the Athletics will be next season. All I know is that Beane just traded four years of Josh Donaldson. And that at first blush, many will find it difficult to accept this move.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 29, 2014 at 08:51 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, blue jays, brett lawrie, josh donaldson, trades

By trading Josh Donaldson, the A’s were just being themselves - Yahoo Sports

Every trade is a risk.

It’s the sort of risk the A’s always need to take because they’re the A’s. Thriving as a have-not in a sport rife with haves takes not just the gall to make moves like this but the ability to make them work when the future is as certain as the wind. Oakland took a risk by trading Josh Donaldson, the sort of risk they must take, the sort of risk a $150 million team like the Blue Jays needn’t. No one – not even those who run the A’s and love the deal – can say for sure whether it was a good one. The last time Josh Donaldson was traded, remember, it took five years for the deal to even matter.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 29, 2014 at 07:11 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, blue jays, trades

Monday, November 24, 2014

Meet the teenagers who landed a shocking MLB scoop

The latest dose of inside info from the heart of Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s operation this week came from a most unlikely and precocious outlet.

Thirteen-year-old Devan Fink, a middle schooler from Northern Virginia, was the first to report the A’s were close to signing free agent Billy Butler.

Then 18-year-old Robert Murray, a college freshman from Wisconsin and with Fink the co-proprietor of MLBDailyRumors.com, was the first to report the details of Butler’s pact.

“It wasn’t a familial connection,” Fink told MLB Network on Thursday morning, while missing English class. “I just tried to reach out to people who might know things and found someone who did.”

Murray said he received a phone call from a source with the contract details.

The two teenage reporters have never met in person, and say they establish most of their contacts on Twitter. Welcome to 2014.

Win Big Stein's Money Posted: November 24, 2014 at 03:36 PM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, billy butler, rumors

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