Sunday, August 17, 2014
PLEASE, please, please tell me Selig didn’t make people watch him poop.
There is no question Rob Manfred can be a very good commissioner, as Tim Brosnan would have been, and so would Bob Iger had baseball been willing to look outside their house…
Manfred is not going to have the hammer [Bud] Selig held over owners, and utilized like Lyndon Baines Johnson. Which is why, as the storm fronts collide between now and 2016, he needs Bill DeWitt to hold together the center. DeWitt was approached early on about throwing his name in for Commissioner, and he declined. But he now may be the most important owner, successful, decent, rational…
Want people to watch past the sixth inning? Limit rosters to 11 pitchers and eliminate the exhausting, boring tic-tac-toe matchups in the last three innings which, among many things, never allows us to see a David Ortiz or Joey Votto bat against a righthanded pitcher in those final innings. Want to cut back on the replay challenges? Start spending the money to develop umpires (read “As They See ‘Em” by Bruce Weber) to understand why there are so few young umpires coming along. Want some younger demographics? Try Giancarlo Stanton and Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw as the faces of the game and stop talking about the good ole days…
there are issues Tony Clark and the new leadership want addressed, from travel (how ‘bout them getaway night games) to ballpark and even visiting clubhouse health issues in some cities. Both clubs and the union want to re-address the draft and international signing issues. The union does not want the draft in any way tied to free agency. Small markets want better balance between won-lost and revenue standings, so that top five markets like the Astros and Cubs are rewarded for poor performance, while well-run franchises the Rays, Athletics and Indians are punished…
Manfred needs a strong, respected leader like DeWitt to step forward, keep perspective and focus his fellow owners on what they have, not what each owner thinks he should have for his own fiefdom.
[Giancarlo] Stanton, according to [Jeffrey] Loria, isn’t going anywhere… If Loria has to backtrack and Stanton does go elsewhere, it likely will be the final nail in his ownership’s coffin. Jeffrey loves the game, he may well have saved baseball in Miami, and now he has a very difficult task moving it forward in a city easily distracted from one star-laden team at a time.
Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, liked by one evaluator to a Ron Gant who can play center field, will soon sign, for somewhere from $40M to $70M. The Yankees are big players… There are two side issues involved here. One is that MLB is studying how Cuban players get out to Mexico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, etc., and who and what is involved in cases that are likened to human trafficking.
The second is a concern some teams have about the calcium Cubans get in their diets. Both Jorge Soler and Jose Iglesias have been sidelined by stress fractures, and one club official says, “any Cuban player we sign in the future will have his bone structure and diet closely monitored. We worry about milk and all calcium intake.”
The District Attorney
Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:16 PM | 54 comment(s)
Saturday, August 09, 2014
We heard earlier this week that the Marlins were thinking about calling up 36-year-old Brad Penny to fill the rotation spot of 23-year-old Jacob Turner, who was recently designated for assignment and swapped to the Cubs. The speculation is now confirmed, as the team has announced that Penny will start tonight against the Reds.
Penny signed a minor league contract with the Marlins in June before posting a 3.05 ERA and 30/9 K/BB ratio in 38 1/3 innings across five starts between Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in majors since 2012 as a member of the Giants, when he put up an ugly 6.11 ERA over 22 relief appearances.
Friday, August 08, 2014
In one seventh-inning instant, the game became secondary.
The Marlins and Pirates played through a horrific episode that saw lefty reliever Dan Jennings take a Jordy Mercer liner off the left side of his head. The ball went straight up and into the glove of shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
A shocked and disoriented Jennings went down and got up immediately. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia arrived and helped him down to a knee. PNC Park went silent. Jennings’ teammates gathered and Mercer in a catcher’s crouch looked on from the infield grass between first base and the mound.
It sounds like he’s going to be OK, but man, that was scary.
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)
Posted: August 08, 2014 at 07:53 AM | 8 comment(s)
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
The transaction is mildly surprising because of Turner’s age, 23, and his upside. The 6-foot-5 right-hander was the ninth overall pick of the Tigers in 2009. He was pushed through the Minor Leagues quickly, and he made his MLB debut at age 20 in 2011.
Wow. Do the Marlins not believe in BABIP regression? What are the trading rules for DFAs in August? Are they free to trade him to any team within the next 10 days or does he have to pass waivers first?
Joyful Calculus Instructor
Posted: August 05, 2014 at 06:07 PM | 40 comment(s)
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
The Competitive Balance Lottery for the 2015 MLB Draft took place this afternoon. Twelve competitive balance picks are awarded, with the first six taking place after the first round’s conclusion and the next six taking place following conclusion of the second round. Here are the results, per MLB.com (Twitter links)...
Competitive Balance Round A
Competitive Balance Round B
As MLB.com’s Jim Callis explained earlier in the week, teams that have one of the 10 smallest markets or one of the 10 smallest revenue pools are eligible to receive a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds (Round A) or between the second and third rounds (Round B).
Its about time the Cardinals got some help to become more competitive.
Posted: July 23, 2014 at 03:20 PM | 26 comment(s)
competitive balance lottery
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Ozuna fired a laser to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who applied the tag to Nieuwenhuis just before he could touch the plate, ending the game.
The best part? Ozuna had nailed a runner at the plate the inning prior, as well.
Vids in the link. Nailing the tying runs at the plate in the eighth and ninth is something a can’t remember seeing before.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
“I’ve never seen a home run like that. That thing took two seconds to get out of the ballpark. I thought it would be a foul ball and hit the base of the wall or something.
“It was a line drive — I just didn’t think it had 400 feet of carry on it. He’s a strong boy.”
The Andrew Heaney era has begun.
Wednesday, June 04, 2014
I suspect that I stand so brazenly alone in holding this opinion that I fear it places me in the same lunatic fringe as a conspiracy theorist. Nonetheless:
I believe the Miami Marlins have been executing a good team-building strategy.
Posted: June 04, 2014 at 02:09 PM | 13 comment(s)
Sunday, June 01, 2014
Teams can trade draft picks?
The Pittsburgh Pirates announced they have traded relief pitcher Bryan Morris to the Miami Marlins Sunday morning.
According to the team, the Pirates sent Morris to the Marlins for the 39th overall selection (competitive balance A) in this year’s First-Year Player Draft.
Posted: June 01, 2014 at 12:58 PM | 13 comment(s)
Saturday, May 03, 2014
When virtually the same Marlins lineup which struck out 11 times against Aaron Harang last week at Turner Field pounced on him for 10 hits and a career-high nine runs on Wednesday night in Miami, he and the Braves had their suspicions.
Nobody came out and accused the Marlins of relaying signs, but it was safe to say eyebrows were raised. Harang had alluded to the possibility in his postgame comments, saying: “It was baffling, like, where were these guys last week? They were way too comfortable. It seemed like they were all hitting like Ted Williams.”
Posted: May 03, 2014 at 12:22 AM | 18 comment(s)
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Giancarlo of cool is pure pop.
What did materialize was another Giancarlo Stanton laser beam home run, this one into the right-center bullpen at Marlins Park.
Is there a more exciting batter to watch in the game right now? While I’d certainly put guys like Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Freddie Freeman and newcomer Jose Abreu right up there, Stanton combines the prospect of a potential tape-measure home run with every swing along with maybe the most intimidating presence in the game as he digs in. At 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds or so, he’s a tight end playing right field, a 24-year-old who is quickly joining legendary status for his tape-measure home runs. (Is there better term in sports than “tape-measure home run”?)
His home run off Wood was measured at a mere 391 feet—the shortest of the eight he’s hit this season. His 484-foot blast off Eric Stults back on April 4 that landed in Pensacola is the longest in the majors so far this season, but Stanton has also crushed home runs of 469 and 457 feet, according to the ESPN Home Run Tracker. His average distance per home run of 427 feet trails only Mike Morse, who benefited from two long home runs in the thin air of Coors Field back on April 23, and Ian Desmond, who has just four home runs.
Of course, those distance numbers are nothing new for Stanton. He ranked third in 2013 behind only Trout and Justin Upton in average home run distance (minimum 18 home runs), had the longest home run in the majors in 2012 (494 feet) and the second-longest average distance in 2011 behind Upton. Eighteen of his 125 career home runs have been measured at 450-plus feet and he’s done that despite playing half his games in the thick swamp air of Miami.
As an all-around hitter, Stanton may or may not be a finished product. He has 34 strikeouts in 26 games and that strikeout rate may prevent him from becoming a .300 hitter (he did hit .290 in 2012 and is at .269 in 2014). That’s another reason he’s so tantalizing as a hitter: Has he reached his apex, or is there more still to come?
Stanton’s prodigious blasts have to put him on the short list as one of the greatest pure power hitters of all time, right? He’s one of those guys who busts the 80 power rating on the 20-to-80 scouting scale. Based mostly on anecdotal evidence, history books, legends, myths, lies, truths and a personal favorite or two, here are my 10 most powerful home run hitters ever, in no particular order:
Posted: April 30, 2014 at 09:02 AM | 87 comment(s)
Friday, April 04, 2014
Payroll Advice: Five Cents
It’s clear that, by 1967, Jeffrey Loria was manifestly the squarest motherf*cker on planet Earth. He was barely a quarter century old and had already fast-forwarded spiritually to twice that age, becoming the kind of embittered husk who laments the broken legacy bequeathed to The Children. The lessons to be drawn from What’s It All About, Charlie Brown? read like the bilious, reactionary resentments of a pomaded junior Nixon. Woodstock hasn’t happened yet, and, at the time of writing, the Summer of Love probably hadn’t either, but it’s clear that Loria would have hated both as soon as he’d read a tedious finger-wagging Newsweek piece published about them months later. It’s a wonder the dedication wasn’t “To the Straw Man of a Hippie Dropout I’m Beating with Word Truncheons in My Imagination.”
Instead, it’s dedicated to Vincent Price…
What’s It All About, Charlie Brown? explains the Peanuts universe while also somehow asserting that it proffers the statement, “In business and politics honesty and sincerity often have a way of working against you.” It says that one should forget one’s strong feelings to get ahead, to play the game the company way irrespective of what it’s all about. These are the spiritual zero-sum exercises that an alleged adult drew from Peanuts. Insincerity, profit, the muzzling of conscience in favor of advancement—relentlessly f*cking the other guy only until the moment he walks away from the deal. This is Charlie Brown throwing his arms out at his sides, yelling, “Aaaauuuuughhhh!” and, like Atlas, shrugging.
This is what Jeffrey Loria learned from a story about children who love each other, who strive to be loved, who feel misunderstood, and who yearn for understanding. Reading What’s It All About, Charlie Brown? is the literary equivalent of finding a cache of clown paintings by John Wayne Gacy made before he started stowing victims’ bodies in the crawlspace.
Monday, March 17, 2014
So I guess the hits Marisnick, Dietrich, Yelich and Hechavarria got on Saturday didn’t count…
Francisco Cervelli was 3-for-3 Sunday, and got the first hit of the game. Since the Yankees were no-hit Saturday, Cervelli’s hit represented the first by a Major Leaguer since 1947, when the Yankees and MLB visited the country that year. “I’m lucky. I’m going to be in the (record) books,” said Cervelli.
...Derek Jeter said the Yankees didn’t arrive at Rod Carew Stadium Sunday with any chip on their shoulders after getting no-hit by the Marlins 24 hours earlier.
But the Yankees certainly seemed like they were poised to return the favor, taking a no-no into the 7th inning before Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton got a hit off Preston Claiborne, but was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. Jeter blamed Willie Randolph (a Yankee guest instructor who made the trip to Panama) for the failed bid.
“I think Willie Randolph jinxed it on the beach. Right before Stanton came up, he said, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if there was another no-hitter?’ Then (Stanton) got a hit on the next pitch. So (Randolph) blew it for us,” joked Jeter.
Posted: March 17, 2014 at 05:19 AM | 7 comment(s)
Sunday, March 16, 2014
“Sorry We Ruined Your Party” (Frenchmen LP search now under way!)
The celebration of Mariano Rivera took a historic turn of sorts, but not in the way the Yankees had hoped.
Four Marlins pitchers combined to no-hit the Yankees in front of a packed house at Rod Carew National Stadium, beating the Bombers, 5-0.
...“I don’t think it’s what we imagined,” Girardi said. “It wasn’t the historic night that I envisioned.”
...“We hit a few balls hard; they pitched extremely well,” Girardi said. “You see the first baseman make a diving play, you see the right fielder run the ball down; you never want to be no-hit. I don’t care what game it is, what level.”
Posted: March 16, 2014 at 07:24 AM | 1 comment(s)
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Jonah Keri checks in from spring training.
Every team wants to develop its own Mike Trout or Clayton Kershaw. Not every team tries to do that in the same way, however. To better understand baseball’s competing prospect philosophies, we hit the spring training circuit.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
“Mom’s not happy.”
In Monday’s spring training game between the Mets and Marlins, Chris Young laced a ground-rule double into the right-center field gap, and as the ball rolled into a picnic area, one fan let go of a wagon holding his kid and tried to retrieve the ball.
The wagon went rolling down the hill and crashed into the fence. The fan didn’t even come away with the ball, either.
Posted: March 11, 2014 at 07:29 AM | 25 comment(s)
Friday, March 07, 2014
The Red Sox did not send out a great team. The Marlins, however, did send out a much better lineup. With the knowledge that most veterans don’t usually make this type of trip, aren’t the Marlins more culpable?
For the first and only time this spring, “super premium” ticket pricing was in effect for a Miami Marlins’ Grapefruit League home game. Thursday, fans per ticket paid $12 more for field box seats, $11 more for loge and $10 more for bleachers than they would for a weekday game.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Badenhop acknowledges bad hops.
Of all the soundtracks that have greeted a reliever on the commute from the bullpen to the mound, it’s safe to suggest that the Freakonomics podcast has never been employed. Though an unabashed fan of the series, new Red Sox reliever Burke Badenhop is unlikely to buck that trend. Yet in his own way, the right-hander—who graduated magna cum laude with a degree in economics from Bowling Green University—might make an intriguing subject for the series…
Badenhop’s consistency is nothing short of startling.
So how did it happen? The answer is as interesting as the phenomenon itself.
“It’s not something you shoot for. You try to progress. I obviously knew walks were one thing I can control, so I knew my walks, and from there the rest kind of fell in place,” suggested Badenhop, a sinkerballer who has consistently produced some of the highest ground ball rates in the game. “Me throwing the ball over the plate, that’s my job.
... “You can control if you throw a strike, you can control if you have movement and if you’re down in the zone, keeping the ball on the ground. Then once it’s hit, it’s not up to me. It’s my job to put it in the zone,” he continued. ” ...
Because Badenhop is a ground ball pitcher who relies considerably on his defense, he’s very mindful of the significance of the defense behind him and its positioning.
The notion was reinforced in 2011, Badenhop’s final year with the Marlins… “I go back and look through the Rolodex of all my outs for the year, nowadays we have access to some good stuff and I can pull up how many outs the third baseman makes, whether a five-unassisted or 5-3 or 5-4, and I think it was five plays. Our third baseman was positioned where he fielded five ground balls after the fifth month of the year? What’s the point of him being out there? I’d rather him cover some of those dinky balls in the six-hole. He might as well be hitting off the tee getting ready for his next at-bat if he’s fielding one ball a month.
“I know when I brought that up to our infield coach in Miami,” Badenhop conceded, “he wasn’t as receptive as other places I’ve been.” ...
Badenhop… takes considerable pleasure in… embracing a period when the sport where he earns his living is undergoing challenges to its conventional wisdom.
“You can play old school—which is playing hard and playing the right way—but if you don’t embrace new things, embrace change, those people are left behind,” said Badenhop. “I think the game is really starting to catch up. To be in an organization—Milwaukee last year, Tampa the year before, these guys this year—where they do pay attention to that stuff, it’s pretty awesome.”
Thursday, February 27, 2014
RECAP CONTAINS SPOILERS
David is the President of the Marlins, which means that if there’s a challenge that requires salary dumping, he’s going to be hard to top…. After making it clear to his tribe that because his blazer doesn’t match his pants, he’s not wearing a suit, David picks Garrett as Brain’s weakest, saying that he’s making the decision for the end of the game. Is anybody else surprised that the President of the Marlins’ first instinct is to jettison the strongest person on his team? Not anybody who watches baseball! ....
The Vote, No.1. “In the real world, I may hire you, but in this world, not tonight,” David says, writing J’Tia’s name and suggesting the Marlins might be in need of a nuclear engineer. Probst tallies: J’Tia. David. J’Tia. David. David. DAVID. “Unbelievable,” he says. What? The President of the Marlins doesn’t understand how prioritizing long-term hypothetical strategy in a win-now game could backfire? At least he’ll have a Top 5 pick in the next “Survivor” draft. “The tribe just doesn’t have it together or they have it together just against me,” he says.
Posted: February 27, 2014 at 12:13 PM | 22 comment(s)
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
NL pennant is secure!
It has come to this for Figgins. His talent and history in the game will no longer carry him. He has to make the team by performing, starting with that first pitch Wednesday.
He knows it. There is no sulking, no hint of entitlement. The quiet, hustling personality that made him so popular in Anaheim has not changed. His perspective has.
On Jan. 15, he worked out in his hometown of Tampa, Fla., for officials of most of the major league teams. When he finished — “It was like a high school workout. I ran two 60s, threw from home, from shortstop, third, from the outfield” — he told all of them, “What you saw in Seattle is past. Go back, tell your bosses you have a player who played in the big leagues and can still play.”
The Dodgers called the next day.
Posted: February 26, 2014 at 02:22 PM | 0 comment(s)
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Even Pretzels Getzien and his 1.95 ERA don’t see the logic in this!
He delivered his message quiet matter-of-factly, as if he were discussing the everyday, the mundane, the fully expected. With neither fanfare nor a deep breath to preface his quiet announcement, Jose Fernandez calmly said, “My goal this year is to have a 1.95 ERA.” There.
Oh, 1.95? Well, of course? Why not? Why not 1.90?
“I think I can,” Fernandez said with an earnestness that is delightful and disarming. His response to his listener’s somewhat incredulous reaction was an incredulous reaction of his own, as if to say “What, you don’t think I can?”
Clearly, the Marlins’ latest wunderkind considers putting up a 1.95 ERA in 2014—his second season in the big leagues—an achievement well within the parameters of plausibility. He said as much—unsolicited—twice Sunday and confirmed it Monday. No need to explore it. He said it, he expects to do it. He seemed to think a “Really?” was uncalled for.
And why not? When Fernandez pitched effectively enough to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2013, he produced a 2.19 ERA, a 12-6 record and .667 winning percentage in 28 starts for a team that lost 100 games and produced a .383 percentage. Would an improvement of 24 points in his already low ERA be that much more improbable?
“I expect to be a better pitcher than I was,” he said.
Posted: February 25, 2014 at 02:29 PM | 36 comment(s)
for his generous support.
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