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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Cubs Newsbeat

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-23-2014

[Keokuk, Iowa] Daily Gate City, April 23, 1914:

Chilly atmosphere that threatened to cut the bleacher attendance, was dished up today for the opening of the new Chicago Federal park, when the Kansas City Packers meet [sic] the Chifeds. Despite interference by the weather man, Owner Weeghman predicted a crowd of 20,000, the reserve seat section having been sold out three weeks ago. Corporation Counsel Sexton was to hurl the first ball.

Weeghman Park firsts:
First batter: Chet Chadbourne
First pitch in an actual game: Claude Hendrix
First home run: Art Wilson, solo shot off of Ben Harris
First world championship:

(I’m an Indians fan. I kid because I acutely feel your pain, Cubs fans.)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Design Room: Top 10 Logos in MLB History.

The Montreal Expos (French: Expos de Montréal) team started in 1969 and never changed their logo.  For almost 40 years the team held on to this awesome mark because it was smart and looked great. Expos de Montreal Baseball. That is the secret behind this logo. Interwoven script pieces all come together to abbreviate the full name of the team. This logo is a little dated looking, but I can imagine this being modernized and still looking amazing without significant change. That is how you know this is a good logo. The line work is smooth, it is creative and clever and I commend the designer for coming up with a mark that doesn’t rely on a baseball to remind the viewer that it is a team logo. This is easily one of the smartest logos in baseball history.

I literally went, “Oh wow,” when I read this bit. I’d never understood this about the Expos logo.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Crash Course in Finance Explains Why Cubs Will Suck Until 2020; But Not Tom Ricketts Dishonesty

Ballgame over! Cubs lose! Theeeeeee Cubs lose!

The Cubs suck.  Sad, but true.  Even worse, there is a reason for it that has no cure until the 2020 season, and it has nothing to do with profiteering by the Ricketts.  Whether you prefer to be pissed off by it, or tolerate it, the Cubs being noncompetitive is not going to change.

My process with understanding sports management operates in the following order – dissatisfaction, impatience, outrage, education, and finally acceptance.  It might be less emotionally taxing to start with education and skip the preliminaries, but what fun would that be?

...A Cubs blogger named Evan Altman recommended I read an exhaustively researched piece about the financial restrictions that came as part of the terms of sale when the Cubs were spun from the Tribune Company to the Ricketts in 2009.

I read and read and read.  The piece was 9,000 words, and was filled with the specifics that told the backstory of why the Cubs are terrible, and will remain so – not until 2016 as supposedly candid Cubs officials assert – but until 2020.  Then I sought more information about the ownership terms, and now I can add another entry to the continuum of my understanding sports management, which now is dissatisfaction, impatience, outrage, education, acceptance, and finally despondence.

Here is what the Cubs don’t tell us very often – that the Ricketts Family does not actually own the team.  In order to skirt paying the IRS taxes due for the revenue generated by the sale, the Tribune Company and Ricketts Family formed a partnership that acquired the team.  That partnership will last through the 2019 season, and comes with a lot of strings attached.

...The development of the kiddie corps will help, but Javy Baez, Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, Albert Almora, and Arismendy Alcantara don’t pitch.  Arms aren’t cheap, and neither is filling holes that are created by injury and defection.

The lingering question for me is why the Ricketts don’t just come out and tell the truth.  It’s been 107 1/2 years since Frank Chance led the Cubs to a World Series title, so another six years isn’t difficult to handle.  At least the honesty would make fans part of the process and relieve the deranged Cubs fans (very close to the definition of redundant terminology) of the absurd notion of hope that creeps into their psyche every spring.

A few beers at the ballpark celebrating its 100th anniversary of a baseball cathedral filled with the ghosts of players both great and terrible, along with the memories of first games with dads, moms, brothers, and sons isn’t such a bad way to spend a spring or summer day.

I just don’t want to feel like the Ricketts are stealing from us.  The truth would help curb that uneasiness.

Repoz Posted: April 08, 2014 at 07:01 AM | 66 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, history

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Cubs outfielder plays first inning in wrong uniform

At least the Mets all know to wear the same uniform.

The same can’t be said for the woeful Cubbies, whose left fielder Junior Lake played the first inning of Chicago’s game in Pittsburgh Thursday wearing the team’s wrong road uniform.

bobm Posted: April 03, 2014 at 10:10 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, uniforms

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cubs taking a different psychological tack

Cubs team psychologist no longer has a locker. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then it’s a quack, quack, quack!

KT's Pot Arb Posted: March 19, 2014 at 02:08 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Monday, March 17, 2014

Apples and Oranges, Bambinos and Billy Goats «

Although you should still read the article, if you are pressed for time, I will condense Rany’s message to Cubs fans to two words….be patient.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 17, 2014 at 06:15 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Friday, March 14, 2014

AZ Republic: Mesa Riverview center bends on parking for Cubs games

At least three times already this year, crowds at the new Chicago Cubs stadium have smashed all-time Cactus League attendance records. But not everyone seemed eager at the outset to cash in on those fans and their money.

Kimco Realty, which owns the tax-subsidized Riverview shopping center across from the stadium on Dobson Road, created some bad vibes among baseball fans and Riverview Park patrons by initially banning non-customer parking at the center. At the same time, a competing center in Tempe offers free parking and game-day shuttle service.

Mesa businesses, never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:32 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: business, chicago cubs, cubs, spring training

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hardball Times: Learning the Language of the Clubhouse

What I’d been looking for was some insight into the ideal ground-ball rate for a hitter. The Royals were hitting the most ground balls in the league, and I thought it might be affecting their power. Since I knew Eric Hosmer was the one behind me laughing at me, I thought I’d be the adult. I asked Butler about ground balls, but I motioned at Hosmer (I see you there): “I was asking Eric about this, but are ground balls and fly balls something you think about when you get up to the plate?”

“I think about putting the barrel on the ball.”

The peanut gallery exploded. “He gets paid to put the barrel on the ball, you guys get paid to think about fly balls and ground balls,” offers Hosmer clearly on the tape. Which wouldn’t be so bad, he’s right. But as I finished up the interview — Butler was great, he admitted that he looked for the low ball, since the pitcher was trying to throw it there anyway, something I found very interesting in terms of game theory — there was a hum behind me that threatened to take away my concentration.

I didn’t know who exactly was talking, but the tone of the stream and the intent was clear: “we get paid to put barrels on balls man, what the f— is this guy talking about, walk rates, ground-ball rates, barrels dude, barrels, what’s up with this hair, must be because he’s Greek, yeah or blind, these are some stupid questions, man, I’ve never heard anything like this, dude needs to shut up, bothering us about ground-ball rates man, barrels, dude, barrels, nut sacks more like.” The interview with Butler had been getting better, but there was one last emphatic statement from the trio behind me before they exited: “This guy’s the f—ing worst.”

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Perry: It’s time for Cubs to lock up Jeff Samardzija

And life after lock up to follow…

For his career, the 29-year-old has pitched to a 97 ERA+ in 189 games, 66 of which have been starts. Since becoming a full-time member of the rotation prior to the 2012 season, Samardzija has logged an ERA of 4.10 in 388 1/3 innings, and he’s recorded more than three times as many strikeouts as unintentional walks.

Beyond that, Samardzija last season showed signs of skills growth. To wit, he maintained strong strikeout percentages while also cutting down on fly balls, showing stronger ground-ball tendencies and also increasing his rate of infield po-ups. In other words, Samardzija is beginning to do what aces do: miss bats while also skewing toward “benign” contact when they don’t miss bats. His 4.34 ERA from last season was largely a consequence of spotty defense behind him and simple bad luck. That is, the peripherals—and, by implication, his abilities—are much stronger than his ERA would suggest. It says here that the 2014 season will prove that.

All of this is no accident, as Samardzija boasts a mid-90s fastball and sinker, a hard slider and a splitter that functions as his change-of-pace offering. In other words, he has the full starter’s repertoire, his fastball is a weapon, and his slider is a true out pitch. To boot, Samardzija has been a thoroughly clean injury history, seemingly despite his halting transition from reliever to starter, which is a usage pattern that’s put many a young hurler under the scalpel. In a related matter, Samardzija last season also flashed the ability to handle a number-one starter’s workload.

...So why not trade him? If some team offers the Cubs an undeniably generous return package, then of course they should accept. However, the Cubs could probably stand to curry some favor with the fan base. Rank-and-file fans certainly underestimate how long it takes to see a deep rebuild through from start to finish, but their impatience matters, being as they are paying customers. The Cubs almost certainly aren’t going to contend before 2016, but Samardzija can still be a very valuable contributor by the time the team is ready to matter. Signing the organizational lifer—and native of Northwest Indiana and Notre Dame product—to a long-term extension would be a “dog whistle” of sorts to restless Cubs partisans that says, yes, the Ricketts family is now readying the team to challenge for the NL Central flag in the reasonably near future. It would also suggest that the team’s caretakers are invested in making that happen.

Sure, it’s possible that Samardzija’s demands will out-strip the Cubs’ valuations of his future, but, as Heyman has reported, there’s will and willingness on both sides.

Repoz Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:57 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Bill Buckner retires from baseball

about 28 years too late.

Bill Buckner was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1968. He made his major-league debut the next season. For many of the past 44 summers, Buckner has been in uniform — playing, managing or coaching.

Not this summer.

Buckner, 64, announced Monday he is retiring from baseball after two summers as the Hawks hitting coach.

“Just too much time away,” he told the Idaho Statesman. “My wife has put up with it for 30-something years.”

Buckner said he kicked around the idea for several weeks before making his decision. Buckner and his wife, Jody, have lived in Boise and surrounding areas since he retired from playing in 1990.

“I know that Jody would want me to be home. It was just the right thing to do,” he said. “I’ve been doing it a long time, and it’s been great.”

The Hawks reached the postseason in both years with Buckner on staff. Boise also broke several offensive team records.

“I will miss it. I enjoyed it,” he said of his time with the Hawks. “I enjoyed working with the kids. Some of them I worked with the last couple years are getting at-bats in spring training now. That’s fun to watch.”

Repoz Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:45 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Monday, March 03, 2014

Edwin Jackson eager to put 18-loss season behind him

Kill the Edwin–loss record.

It’s hard to imagine a Cubs player more irritated by Saturday’s two rained-out exhibition games than pitcher Edwin Jackson, whose spring debut got postponed to Sunday.

“When you have a [expletive] season, naturally, as an athlete and a competitor, you want to come back and play the way you know how to play,” Jackson said.

The sooner the better.

“Clearly, I don’t think I’m an 18-game-losing pitcher,” said Jackson, who was among the worst starting pitchers in baseball last year in several categories, including that major-league-high loss total. “You get the itch a little faster when you have a season like that. That offseason goes way quicker just because you’re ready to get out there.”

...For all the talk about Anthony Rizzo’s and Starlin Castro’s potential rebound seasons this year, nobody has more potential to make a bigger difference for the club based on how they finished in 2013 than Jackson.

“You take away 18 losses, and that makes last year’s record a lot better,” he said. “At the same time, you can’t try to overdo it. You can’t try to go out and be Superman if you’re not Superman.”

Repoz Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:28 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Monday, February 24, 2014

Harris: The Worst Trade In Cubs History Was Much Worse Than You Thought

A prevailing view of how far baseball fans were willing to go with integration was identified by a sportswriter named John Lardner in the 1950s. The view was described in Roger Kahn’s 1955 article “Ten Years of Jackie Robinson.” Kahn described Lardner’s view of a “50 percent color line.”

As long as a team fielded at least five white players, Lardner observed, it would remain predominantly white. That was a line that even progressive owners like Rickey preferred not to cross.

With that in mind, we can look at the racial history of the Cubs. It should not be a surprise that the team that pioneered the segregation of baseball in the 19th century (and you can google Cap Anson and/or George Stovey to find out how) was not among the first ones to integrate. In fact, it was not until late in the 1953 season that Ernie Banks became the first African American to wear Cubs blue.

The Cubs came up hard against John Lardner’s 50-percent color line during the 1956 season. In addition to Banks, the Cubs also had Sam Jones in their starting rotation, Monte Irvin in left field, and Solly Drake as a part-time centerfielder. After the season ended, though, the Cubs traded Jones to the Cardinals, sent Drake to the minors for the entire 1957 season, and did not re-sign Monte Irvin. Banks was once again the sole African American on the Cubs roster, until a little-used outfielder named Lou Jackson appeared during the 1958 season.

...Trading a future Hall-of-Famer for a broken-down pitcher is a nice narrative, particularly because it reinforces an image of ineptitude by the front office at Clark and Addison Streets. But the Cubs were more than inept; they were weak-willed, giving in to a handful of racist fans that thought their beloved team was too black.

In a long history of bad moves, this surely ranks among the most despicable the Cubs ever made.

The events described here had very real implications for the players involved, as well as for Cubs fans of all ages. There’s no way of knowing whether Brock would have helped lead the Cubs to a World Series, the way that he did in St. Louis. However, the Cubs teams that were managed by Leo Durocher—and the 1969 team, in particular—certainly could have used the boost that Lou Brock would have provided.

Fifty years without a single World Series game played at Wrigley Field is proof that karma is real, and the Cubs have plenty of it. And I don’t mean the good kind.

Thanks to Los.

Repoz Posted: February 24, 2014 at 07:11 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, history

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ricketts’ answers don’t explain Cubs’ lower payroll spending - Chicago Sun-Times

With all the young talent on the way, doesn’t it make sense to not spend money for the sake of spending money until the group is ready?

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts adamantly denied Wednesday that Ricketts family ownership is taking profits at the expense of spending on the baseball operation.

‘‘Profit-taking? I’m not even sure what that means,’’ he said during his annual spring training media conference. ‘‘Of course not. Absolutely not. That’s ridiculous.’’

Jim Furtado Posted: February 22, 2014 at 03:30 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Friday, February 21, 2014

Theo Epstein promises to stick with Cubs through thick or thin

If that World Series pennant leaves the ground and you’re not with it, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life!

But not even Theo Epstein is claiming his baseball plan can be achieved by waiting until the kids get here to start spending on big-league players.

“We’re not saying that you can build a championship team through the minor-league system alone,” he said Thursday. “That would be extremely challenging, if not impossible.”

Is there a fear that if the business plan doesn’t come together quicker, there won’t be a strong-enough support system at the big-league level for the Javy Baezes and Kris Bryants?

“That’s something we talk about all the time,” Epstein said. “We need to make sure that when the next wave of prospects comes up, they don’t take too much of a burden. We hope to have strong players around them, hopefully an impact player or two around them on the club so that they can break in the right way. You don’t want your prospects breaking in carrying too much responsibility. You don’t want them hitting in the middle of the order. You don’t want them having to carry a club or playing an instrumental role on the club.

“That’s important and that’s something that we’ve thought about, and we’re going to have to act on it.”

...“I have faith that our situation is going to change,” Epstein said. “As the team plays better, and most significantly when the TV deal happens, we’re going to be in a position to hopefully overpower the other teams in our division financially. And if we have a strong-enough foundation built up by then, it could be really special and really sustainable.

“We’re trying to take advantage of this period in the meantime to build up as strong as possible foundation that we can.”

Repoz Posted: February 21, 2014 at 06:43 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2014 Baseball America Top 100 Prospects

The definitive list of baseball’s up and coming talent celebrates its 25th edition this year.

1. Byron Buxton
2. Xander Bogaerts
3. Oscar Taveras
4. Masahiro Tanaka
5. Javier Baez

JJ1986 Posted: February 19, 2014 at 11:09 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: byron buxton, cubs, minors, prospects, twins

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Cubs agree to terms with Jason Hammel on 1-year, $6 million deal

Exciting times in Wrigleyville….’s Jon Heyman confirms that the Cubs have agreed to a deal with right-hander Jason Hammel. Heyman adds that the one-year contract will pay Hammel $6 million for 2014 with the opportunity to make another $1 million in incentives.

Hammel, 31, pitched to a 4.97 ERA (85 ERA+) and 2.00 K/BB ratio in 139 1/3 innings for the Orioles last season. Of his 26 appearances, 23 were starts. He missed more than a month because of an elbow strain. For his career, Hammel owns an ERA+ of 94 across parts of eight major-league seasons.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 01, 2014 at 01:28 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, free agents, jason hammel

Friday, January 31, 2014

Charitybuzz: Watch a Chicago Cubs Game With Team President Theo Epstein in his Suite

Of all the ball parks, in all the towns, in all the world…

This is the year!

You and 3 very lucky Cubs fan will spend a couple of innings with team President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein for a 2014 Chicago Cubs regular season home game in Theo’s Baseball Operations Suite, including food and drinks. You will also visit the TV broadcast booth to meet WGN sportscaster Len Kasper. The remainder of the game will be watched from 4 premium seats.

Donated By: Theo Epstein and Len Kasper

Thanks to Gammo.


Repoz Posted: January 31, 2014 at 10:12 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Derespina: Masahiro Tanaka derby: Reading the tea leaves

Masaography at its finest.

Here’s what we officially know about the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes: Very little.

Five teams have reportedly submitted formal offers for the highly-coveted Japanese righthander. The Yankees and Dodgers are viewed as the front runners in that group with the Cubs, Diamondbacks and White Sox bringing up the rear (likely in that order).

Now let’s get into the tea leaf reading:

(1) Living near a large Japanese community is apparently important to Tanaka (or at least his wife) according to multiple reports.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, New York City tops the list of the ten places with the largest number of Asians, coming in at 1,134,919. Los Angeles is second with 483,585 and Chicago is seventh with 166,770. No city in Arizona makes the list.

Seattle, by the way, is 11th with 100,727. That’s important because the Mariners are viewed as a potential dark horse candidate to land Tanaka.

(2) Some have speculated that Tanaka may want to go to a team where he would be the lone Japanese star.

The Yankees currently have starter Hiroki Kuroda and outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (who could be traded) on the roster. Reliever Kyuji Fujikawa is on the Cubs’ roster, though it’s difficult to see him challenging for serious attention.

The White Sox, Diamondbacks and Dodgers don’t have any Japanese players on their 40-man roster (LA’s Hyun-Jin Ryu is Korean).

Repoz Posted: January 21, 2014 at 10:19 AM | 71 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, d-backs, dodgers, white sox, yankees

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cubs’ Epstein defends Ricketts

The Chicago Cubs’ thrifty offseason doesn’t mean that President Theo Epstein has lost faith in the ownership of the Ricketts’ family, which hopes to make more progress with the rooftop owners that will enable them to move forward on improvements at Wrigley Field and increase funds.

“They know they’re doing the right things to lay the foundation to get this right, to turn this into a franchise they can be proud of for generations and generations,” Epstein told a group of fans Saturday morning at Cubs Convention. “I’m more proud of them for their willingness to take that heat and stick to their plan than I would be if they panicked the first time their name was dragged through the mud publicly and said, ‘we can’t do this. We need to put lipstick on this and we need to find some quick fixes just to keep the fans at immediate bay.’

“They’re dragging the Ricketts’ name through the mud. They are in this for the long haul and because of that, they’re giving us the ability to lay the foundation.

“The Ricketts’ vision is a long-term one, and our job is to implement it.”

Thanks to Edd.

Repoz Posted: January 19, 2014 at 09:53 AM | 145 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Kent Sterling: Cubs – Reason for Bidding on Masahiro Tanaka Even More Nefarious Than I Thought

Sterling…blowing harder than Lester Sterling.

The Chicago Cubs are supposedly putting their best foot and checkbook forward in trying to lure Japanese hurler Masahiro Tanaka to ply his wares on Chicago’s North Side, but there is no chance at all that he accepts – and the Cubs know it.

On its face, the bidding is idiotic.  The Cubs have no chance to win in 2014 and 2015 – zero.  Why would the Cubs spend $20+ million per year for a pitcher who might help them win 73 games instead of 64?

After purging tens of millions from a payroll loaded with expensive mediocrity, the Cubs now boast a roster filled with cheap mediocrity, and that’s the way owner Tom Ricketts likes it.

...Tanaka will sign with a team that consistently demonstrates a desire to win, and the Cubs take a backseat to no one in their aversion to onfield success.  The Cubs will publicly lament their loss, but privately celebrate another offseason of reducing payroll under the guise of building the farm system.

Fans will pay outrageous ticket prices to drink beer at Wrigley Field, sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, and then roll out to the Cubby Bear or Harry Caray’s for more beer.  The Cubs will lose many more games than they win, but no one will care because Javy Baez and Kris Bryant are only a year or two away, and are tearing the cover off the ball for the West Tennessee Smokies.

Hope sells in Chicago.

Brighter days are ahead for the Cubs, or so Rickett and Cubs president Theo Epstein say.  How could they not be?

The brightest days belong to the vastly overpaid Epstein and Ricketts, who will host 81 great parties that occur simultaneous to a bad baseball game being played.

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2014 at 10:02 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cubs introduce new mascot

The Twitter is not promising, but let’s be fair: it’s still an improvement.

The Cubs will introduce the team’s first official mascot in modern history as young “Clark” makes his debut Monday night during a visit with children at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s pediatric developmental center…

The new mascot was created as a response to survey feedback and fan interviews, the team said in a statement. People wanted more Cubs-related family-friendly entertainment at Wrigley Field, and Clark will interact in the community, engage with young fans, and be respectful of the game. Clark is named after Clark and Addison, the intersection where Wrigley Field is located…

The Cubs say the mascot will not be on top of the dugout between innings, tossing T-shirts or hot dogs into the stands, and it won’t disrupt the game. Instead, Clark will greet fans as they enter Wrigley Field, and also stop by the ballpark’s “First Timers Booth” to welcome new guests. On family Sundays, the mascot will help kids run the bases after the game.

Most of the time, Clark will welcome fans to his own clubhouse at Wrigley Field, where families can visit. Fans also will be able to interact with Clark on Twitter and Facebook...

According to the Cubs, Clark’s great-grandbear, Joa, was the team’s original live bear mascot back in 1916. When Joa retired to the Lincoln Park Zoo, he delighted the young bears with amazing stories.

With the arrival of Clark, there are now three Major League teams that do not have a mascot—the Angels, Dodgers, and Yankees. The Angels do have the Rally Monkey.

The District Attorney Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:33 PM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: business, cubs, mascots

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Calcaterra: Dontrelle “Rasputin” Willis to sign minor league deal with Giants

Some guys never get a shot at the big leagues. Or if they do, it’s far too short a shot and they are overlooked for the rest of their careers, exiled to Triple-A or worse. You gotta make the best of that shot. You may never get another one.

Unless you’re Dontrelle Willis, of course, in which case you seemingly get a couple dozen shots and will until you just don’t fell like trying anymore:

I heard Dontrelle Willis will be signing a minor-league contract with the #sfgiants

— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) January 10, 2014

... Since [Willis] left Florida following the 2007 season he’s 4-15 with a 6.15 ERA while walking 7.1 hitters per nine and allowing 9.3 hits per nine. And… he hasn’t even gotten a significant MINOR league look since 2011.

I know he’s a lefty and lefties are supposed to live forever, and by all accounts he’s a great guy to have around (at least if you don’t ask the Orioles). But there has been nothing — literally nothing — positive to be seen in his pitching in a decade. No indication whatsoever that he can help a ball club. How does he still get chances when so many other pitchers don’t?

Probably like this:

Dontrelle Willis turns 32 Sunday. In prime years. If he’s in good shape and figured out control issues, he could be great story. #sfgiants

— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) January 10, 2014

A nice thought. But people have been having that same thought for years. It never pans out.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

AZ Republic: Welcome the perfect anti-Steroid Hall of Fame class

Forget the column’s clickbait headline. This anecdote is why I submitted it:

When they played together on the Cubs, Mark Grace once noticed Maddux walking around the pitching mound in a very strained, uncomfortable manner.  Fearing his teammate was hurt, Grace approached the mound, only to find Maddux in an state of obvious physical excitement, the kind normally reserved for passionate endeavors.

“Man, you really do love to pitch,” Grace marveled.

Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: January 08, 2014 at 08:03 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: chicago cubs, cubs, greg maddux, hall of fame

MLB’s Five Positive Regression Candidates

Jonah Keri has the audacity to not write about the Hall of Fame or steroids!

The biggest reason for Boston’s worst-to-first season, however, was that the players who failed miserably in 2012 were amazing in 2013. David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and John Lackey went from off years, lousy years, or entirely missed years to huge performances during the team’s ride to rings. Everything that could have gone wrong two years ago did, but then everything that could have gone right last year did, too…

From 2010 to 2012, Castro’s first three big league seasons, only five other shortstops (Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Derek Jeter) were more productive offensively on a park-adjusted basis. Castro was just 22 at the time, and he’d posted a .297/.336/.425 line over his first three seasons. While not all players develop at the same rate, Castro looked poised to improve over the course of the deal if he joined the majority of baseball players who peak in their mid-to-late twenties.

That’s what makes me doubt that Castro’s disastrous 2013 season has much predictive value

Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 08, 2014 at 12:48 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: 2014, angels, blue jays, brewers, cubs, nationals

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