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Friday, March 27, 2015

Cleveland Indians demote Salazar; McAllister, House, Tomlin compete for 2 rotation spots

ZIPS projects Salazar for 2.7 WAR, but what do stats know?

The Indians have optioned struggling right-hander Danny Salazar to Class AAA Columbus.

In doing so they have reduced the competition for the fourth and fifth spots in the starting rotation to Zach McAllister, T.J. House and Josh Tomlin. McAllister is out of options so he’s guaranteed a spot on the staff regardless it’s as a starter or reliever. House and Tomlin have options.

The Reds hit Salazar hard Thursday at Goodyear Ballpark in a 13-2 victory. He allowed seven runs, six earned, on six hits in 3 1/3 innings. Two of the hits were home runs.

Salazar struck out six, but after his 83-pitch performance he was not happy with himself.

“I pitched like bleep,” he told reporters.

Salazar said his fastball was up, his change up was in the middle of the plate and that he continually pitched from behind in the count.

“That’s not good,” he said.

Perhaps Salazar knew the consequences of his performance.

This spring Salazar is 1-2 with a 8.18 ERA in four Cactus League starts. He allowed 14 hits and 10 earned runs in 11 innings.


Jason Heyward’s Ability Seems Boundless. Soon, So May His Contract.

If he wants the biggest contract, he has to put up some bigger numbers than he has put up the last few years. Even if he doesn’t, he’ll be a very wealthy young man at the end of season.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2015 at 11:34 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, free agents

Grantland (Keri): 2015 AL Central Preview

3. Chicago White Sox

...

Worst Offseason Move: None. Seriously, the Pale Hose didn’t put a foot wrong this winter. Although, when we spoke a few weeks ago, Hahn getting fired up about a minor league deal for 36-year-old Brad Penny might’ve been a bit much.

I think it would have been fair to place the David Robertson deal here.

Eddo Posted: March 27, 2015 at 11:30 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: al central, indians, royals, tigers, twins, white sox

Jeff Samardzija ready for future - Chicago Tribune

If he’s not looking for top dollar, I’m sure he will have plenty of teams lined up not to give it to him.

“I’m not looking for top dollar,” Samardzija said. ”For me, it’s good to see those guys are compensated. But I think if you look at maybe outside of Shields, who maybe didn’t get his first choice, you look at Jon and Max and couple other guys, the big thing for them is they went somewhere they wanted to go to, and they were excited about where they were going to.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2015 at 11:18 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: jeff samardzija, white sox

Fastball-changeup interplay featuring Jacob deGrom - Beyond the Box Score

Putting Jacob DeGrom under the microscope.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2015 at 11:13 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jacob degrom, mets, sabermetrics

Red Sox catcher Vazquez to have MRI on elbow | Comcast SportsNet - CSNNE.com

Vazquez hasn’t caught in a major league game in two weeks after experiencing some discomfort in the elbow in a game against the New York Yankees. Subsequently, Vazquez experienced some pain in his triceps after altering his throwing motion somewhat to compensate for the elbow soreness.

He threw to bases Thursday, but did so at less than full intensity - per the Red Sox’ request.

“There’s a little bit [of restriction] there,’’ said Vazquez of the discomfort he experiences with his elbow. “I’ve got more in the tank. But I want to be 100 percent to help the team. I need to be ready to help the team win. That’s my Be ready and healthy. Because this is my first time hurt. I’m a little said with myself.’‘

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2015 at 11:06 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: christian vazquez, red sox

At Least All These Tommy John Surgeries Aren’t Rotator Cuff Surgeries | FiveThirtyEight

Shoulder injuries really suck. Fortunately, conditioning methods have improved.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2015 at 11:02 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pitcher injuries, tommy john surgery

For Mookie Betts, milestone marks changed approach - Sports - The Boston Globe

There is a reason the Red Sox won’t include Betts in a deal for Hamels. He a very smart *and* physically-gifted player.  He understands that taking walks should never be the goal. They should be a byproduct of a batter not getting pitches to hit. He also understands that the game is about constant adjustments. Not every gifted players gets that. (See Javier Baez for comparison.)

“[Big league] pitchers are just around the zone more. I feel like you have to swing a little more. You can’t go up there taking,” said Betts. “I kind of learned last year that you can’t go up there taking. You’ve got to be ready to swing it. That’s how [Derek] Jeter got 3,000 hits. He wasn’t up there taking. That’s kind of why my approach is a little more aggressive than it used to be, which is all right. I feel like it works both ways – it cuts down on strikeouts and it may cut down on walks, but that’s OK. I’ll take [walks] when they come, like today. I feel like I didn’t really get a good pitch to hit, especially with guys on second and third, and ended up working a walk from there

“I think [the more aggressive approach] just kind of just developed over last year, especially against [big league] pitchers. They’re kind of in the zone with everything. I feel like if you go up there taking, you’ll be 0-2 in the blink of an eye,” he added. “It’s not something that I think about. It’s just something that’s naturally been an adjustment, the same way I always say – I feel like I just make natural adjustments.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2015 at 10:54 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mookie betts, red sox

David Ortiz writes The Dirt

Big Papi wants to know if you’re taking steroids.

I’m buying an over-the-f***ing-counter supplement in the United States of America. I’m buying this stuff in line next to doctors and lawyers. Now all of a sudden MLB comes out and says there’s some ingredient in GNC pills that have a form of steroid in them. I don’t know anything about it.

If you think I’m full of it, go to your kitchen cabinet right now and read the back of a supplement bottle and honestly tell me you know what all of that stuff is. I’m not driving across the border to Mexico buying some shady pills from a drug dealer. I’m in a strip mall across from the Dunkin’ Donuts, bro.

bbmck Posted: March 27, 2015 at 08:53 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, ortiz, peds, red sox, testing

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-27-2015

Pittsburgh Press, March 27, 1915:

Here’s the funny thing about [Bud] Davis, the rookie twirler from Virginia who has been showing so well with the Athletics this season. For four years Davis always threw left-handed. Now he is a right-handed pitcher.

That’s weird.

In fact, nearly everything about Davis as a ballplayer was weird. He put up a 98 ERA+ at age 19 in his only MLB season, then never again appeared in the major leagues. A pretty good season if you just glance at it, but somehow Davis put up that decent ERA despite walking 52 batters and hitting six more in 66.2 innings. Nearly half of the runs he allowed were unearned.

He went from the majors in 1915 all the way down to class C ball in 1916, pitching poorly for Augusta in the Sally League. Eventually Davis decided to forget about pitching and become a first baseman, and it went spectacularly well. In 1924, with Okmulgee in the Western Association, he hit .400 with 51 home runs and 112 extra-base hits. Bud Davis continued to put up huge offensive numbers everywhere he went, even in the highest minors, but he never did make it back to the big leagues.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Boras: Cubs using business, not baseball, if Bryant stays in minors - CBSSports.com

I get that he’s trying to help his client become a free agent sooner but it’s also within the Cubs purview to send him down to the minors to gain another year and use Bryant’s defense as a reason to do so. If Boras really wants to get rid of the contract issue, he can agree to a contract which supersedes this issue. That won’t happen, of course. You don’t squeeze every penny out of a team signing such a contract. In the meantime, Scott, spare us the sanctimonious pontifications about “integrity and brand”.

The opiate of player control cannot supersede the greater importance of MLB’s integrity and brand, which says that this is where the best players play. You can’t have that,” Boras said in a phone interview with CBSSports.com. “Clearly, there’s an obligation to put the best players in the big leagues.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 26, 2015 at 10:20 PM | 98 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kris bryant, scott boras, theo epstein

A Fresh Start | The Players’ Tribune

I guess the Astros concerns were well founded.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 26, 2015 at 09:29 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: brady aiken

Report: Mets cut ballpark security to save money

I know this is shocking, but we have yet another example of the Mets being too cheap. This time around, they’ve drastically cut ballpark security to the point that there are safety concerns.

Jacob Posted: March 26, 2015 at 08:10 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: mets being mets, wilpon

Cubs’ Ricketts reveals Wrigley renovation might take extra year

Wait til next year!

On Wednesday, though, Ricketts said the organization is projecting the $375 million renovation to take longer than originally expected.

“There will be four more years,” Ricketts said Wednesday after speaking at a City Club of Chicago luncheon. “The way we project it now is four more years of construction.”

Dennis Culloton, a spokesman for Ricketts, confirmed Wednesday evening that the project could very well bleed into a fifth offseason, one more than the original plan.

“That could still be the way it works out,” Culloton said of the original four-phase plan. “But it could take longer. Just take this winter for example, and we have found not only the problem with the weather but the water pipes that we had no control over. It could be four years, it could be five. It’s hard to say.”

The original plan for the construction was four offseason phases to be completed before the 2018 season, according to the Cubs’ Restore Wrigley website.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2015 at 05:14 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, ricketts, wrigley field renovation

Former Cardinals player punched at St. Louis County gas station after racial slur

Best Fans in Baseball?

Former Cardinals outfielder Curt Ford said Thursday he may move away from the St. Louis area in disgust after being punched in an allegedly unprovoked, race-related attack at a gas station.

“I’m going to let the authorities handle this situation, but I’ve had enough of St. Louis,” Ford said in a phone interview Thursday. “You hear about this kind of stuff happening, and I always knew it existed because of my previous experience working here in St. Louis, but you try to keep away from it and there is just no way you can do that unless you stay inside like a hermit.

“I just want justice. It’s all I want.”

Ford, 54, said the experience has made him consider moving, even though, “I care a lot about St. Louis and I love the people here.” He added, “The people I have been involved with are all very positive and all they want to do is work and pay bills. There are very nice people here.”

St. Louis County police from the Fenton Precinct arrested James Street, 37, of the 400 block of Saline Road, a white man who allegedly slugged the black former Cardinals player after shouting racial slurs at him and telling him to “go back to Ferguson,” the Post-Dispatch has learned.

“I was sucker-punched, blindsided,” Ford said. “I was walking into the store and hit from my blind side.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2015 at 05:13 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, curt ford, ferguson, race

Nippon Ham ordered to pay ¥41.9 million for failing to shield spectator from foul ball

The woman in her 30s sued the team, Sapporo Dome Co. and Sapporo city for their failure to prevent her from being hit by the foul ball, which resulted in her losing sight in her right eye, while she was in the infield stands during a game at Sapporo Dome in Hokkaido on Aug. 21, 2010.

I feel like there’s a tasteless joke somewhere in here about how ham is a poor substitute for steak in preventing black eyes, but please don’t be tempted to make it. Instead discuss whether this establishes any precedent for other leagues.

 


Tony Massarotti Details Phone ‘Conversation’ With Shane Victorino « CBS Boston

I can’t listen to Felger and Massarotti on the radio. They are the two biggest, factless blowhards on Boston sports radio. When faced with undeniable facts which refute whichever crazy premise they have expressed, the words “I was wrong” have never been expressed.

Felger added: “He’s backtracking today. That’s what I think. That’s my opinion. But it’s only an opinion.”
Mazz said, “I don’t know that he’s backtracking. I think he realizes he said too much. That’s what I think.”

They also have terrible, silly opinions about the Red Sox. If they were in charge of the Red Sox, the Sox would be perennial also-rans.

Felger and Mazz also agreed on one thing: They’d both trade Mookie Betts for Cole Hamels.

Yes, they irritate me.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 26, 2015 at 03:58 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, shane victorino

Giants’ Peavy likes results with new pitch - San Jose Mercury News

The crusty veteran is trying to add a new wrinkle.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 26, 2015 at 03:34 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, jake peavy

Grantland: 2015 AL East Preview

Welcome to Grantland’s 2015 MLB division previews. From now through next week, Jonah Keri and I will analyze each team in each division, focusing on offseason triumphs and failures, roster strengths and weaknesses, telling projections, revealing stats, and off-field story lines, and wrapping up with our over/under verdicts on each team’s projected record. As always, all overly pessimistic opinions should be blamed on the well-known grudge we bear your team, and only your team, because of that thing it did to us that one time that we’re still extremely bitter about.

Win Big Stein's Money Posted: March 26, 2015 at 12:23 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, orioles, rays, red sox, yankees

Callis: Ranking the best farm systems of the past five years

No Phils.

In today’s Pipeline Perspectives, Jonathan and I debate which farm system has been the most productive since the end of the 2009 season. My choice was the Nationals, who have developed three budding superstars in Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon, two more All-Stars in Ian Desmond and Derek Norris, plus a bunch of complementary players and trade fodder….

4. Royals
Kansas City nearly rode its system to a World Series championship last year, building the second-most homegrown playoff team in 2014—behind only St. Louis. The Royals’ in-house highlights included Kelvin Herrera, Greg Holland, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi (the key pieces in the James Shields trade), Salvador Perez and Yordano Ventura.

5. Reds
Cincinnati has harvested a nice combination of blue-chip talent (Aroldis Chapman, Todd Frazier, Billy Hamilton, Devin Mesoraco) and solid contributors (most notably, Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger, Zack Cozart, Didi Gregorius, Yasmani Grandal and Mike Leake), though it has traded most of the latter group.


Bill James Mailbag - 3/24/15 - 3/26/15

I need to see Bill’s high school stat line.

Hey Bill, on the Tommy John surgery boom, a couple of questions: 1) I’m pretty sure you’ve answered this in detail before, but is the proliferation mostly the result of Little League and high school kids throwing curveballs long before they should? And/or: 2) Were there a larger number of early-career burnouts before Tommy John? When I was in Little League (early ‘60s), our best pitcher threw a nasty curve. We dominated the league when he pitched, which was pretty much all the time because we only played a couple times a week. But I remember him asking the coach to take him out of a close game toward the end of the season because his arm was so sore. This may not have anything to do with TJ surgery, but I bring it up just because the curve has been a holy grail for pitchers for a long time.

Well, I’m not any kind of athlete, but I was on a high school baseball team that played for the state championship; I didn’t really play, but anybody who wanted to be was on the team in theory, and the other guys were pretty good. When we played in the state championship, the coach allowed our best pitcher to pitch a 7-inning complete game on Saturday and another on Sunday. Some of the questions you are asking don’t really have answers. In my view the increase in the number of surgeries is driven mostly by the lack of fear of the surgery. People aren’t really afraid of that surgery any more; we figure that almost everybody comes back from it, so if there are indications that there is going to be a problem, we’d rather get it taken care of at the start of a young player’s career, rather than when he is ready to move to the major leagues. There are probably other factors driving the frequency of the surgery as well, but exactly what they are is poorly understood, I think.

... in thinking about Brooks [Robinson] at 3B—or, say, Mariano Rivera at “closer—do you find yourself thinking “was this historically great player played out of position?” Should Brooks, really, have been playing shortstop? And would that have further boosted Brooks’ potential value in an overall historical perspective?...

Regarding Mariano as a starter. . ..one year the Red Sox beat up Mariano pretty badly toward end of the year, and I suggested to Terry Francona that maybe the Yankees had over-exposed him to us, let us see him too many times. Part of what made Mariano magic was that he pitched so few innings every year that he only faced each opposing hitter two to three times per year, on average, if the opponent was a regular. One year he pitched about 10 times against us, and we started to hit him really hard. I suggested to Terry that maybe we just saw him too much, but Terry didn’t buy it at all; he said, “No, we just happened to catch him two or three times when he didn’t have his best stuff.” I was never sure whether that was a “true” reaction or a politically correct-this-is-what-us-professionals-say-about-that type of reaction. . . .Regarding Brooks as a shortstop, Brooks didn’t have quick enough feet to be a shortstop. What made him wondrous was that, like John McDonald, he had that wondrous ability to put his glove in front of the ball in exactly the right position at exactly the right moment; of course, he had other skills that McDonald didn’t have. But his feet weren’t quick enough to have been a shortstop, I don’t think. But your point is a good one; there probably are Hall of Fame players who were sort of miscast. I always though Fisk probably should have played third, and might have been Mike Schmidt if he had.

Topical question: as a fan, it sort of bothers me when a young super-talent is indisputably one of a team’s 25 best for Opening Day, but gets sent down for three weeks to retain an extra year of club control. Is this an ethical issue, in your judgment, or perhaps the rules should be re-written to avoid this annual controversy?...

If the player uses the rules negotiated between the union and MLB to maximize his income, is that unethical? Of course it is not. Why, then, would it be unethical for the team to use those rules so as to maximize their return? It would raise an ethical issue if the young player was being exploited in some way, not given value for his contribution. But a player who has a STARTING salary of $500,000 a year cannot reasonably be seen to be exploited.

Reading about Darrel Evans made me wonder, have any players ever thanked you for what you wrote about them in the old abstracts? I remember for some of them, it seemed like you were the only guy who realised how good someone like Brian Downing, Ken Phelps or Ron Roenicke was, or could be. IF they got a chance.

Yes. . . .actually, a good many times. I have heard from Darrell Evans, not thanking me exactly, but I think he’s aware of what I have written about him; seemed to be. But we definitely hear from athletes who appreciate things that are said about them. . .not only me, but those I work with. One of the players who received a Fielding Bible Award, a lesser-known player, wrote to Baseball Info Solutions in February to thank them for the award.


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-26-2015

March 26, 1915, American pilot Phil Rader, fighting for the French in World War I, writes for United Press:

What Christy Mathewson could do to the Germans near our trenches!

The Germans are masters of new tricks, or of adapring old tricks to new purposes, but their hand-grenade stunt would put them at the mercy of the great American ball players.
...
I used to watch the Germans toss these bombs like schoolgirls or like boys pitching nickels at a crack…Eugene Jacobs, the man who left his butcher shop in Pawtucket to come and fight the Germans because they had destroyed his birthplace in Belgium, saved his life and perhaps several other lives one day by catching one of these bombs, as if it were a baseball. He threw it back, and it exploded in one of the German trenches.

Maybe baseball was good training for soldiers using grenades, but I’d strongly counsel the old-timey people to keep Christy Mathewson as far from the war as possible. I mean it, guys, don’t let him join the military. Trust me on this.


Not so fast, Matthew Lucroy!

Harry Pavlidis
‏@harrypav
About this http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a-bit-outside/baseball-joe/blog/not-so-fast-matthew-lucroy-032515
it makes false claims about or work @robneyer

I don’t know much about Pavlidis. Is he incredibly thin-skinned or something?

Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 26, 2015 at 10:11 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: catching, neyer, sabermetrics

Mets Try New Trick on Defense: Predicting Where Ball Will Be Hit - WSJ

I’m still surprised the Mets didn’t settle on a defensive specialist at shortstop this year.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 26, 2015 at 09:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: daniel murphy, mets, wilmer flores

Unsafe at home: MLB’s Venezuelan stars fleeing country

The situation in Venezuela sounds awful.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 26, 2015 at 08:56 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: venezuela

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