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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Jake Arrieta Jacks Longest-Ever Measured Dinger By A Pitcher

Jake Arrieta stepped up to the plate for the first time at spring training this afternoon and he promptly picked up where he left off last year, smashing a Zack Greinke pitch 465 feet off into the stands. This is the longest dinger by a pitcher in the Statcast-era. It would have been one of the 25 longest shots of the 2016 MLB season. Look at this dang dong.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2017 at 10:14 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dongs, jake arrieta

Yadier Molina demands apology for Adam Jones’ comments about WBC party plans

Team captain Yadier Molina wants United States outfielder Adam Jones to apologize to Puerto Rico’s players for saying they were planning a postgame party in San Juan before the World Baseball Classic championship game was even played.

Molina made his comments to ESPN’s Marly Rivera during Thursday’s parade in San Juan, less than a day after Jones told MLB Network that Puerto Rico’s postgame plans sounded a little premature and inspired the United States’ dominating 8-0 victory.

Players for Team USA said reports of a planned celebration for Puerto Rico’s team gave them motivation for the WBC final, but Puerto Rico said the celebration would have occurred, win or lose.
“Adam Jones ... is talking about things he doesn’t know about,” Molina told ESPN. “He really has to get informed because he shouldn’t have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2017 at 10:10 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: adam jones, world baseball classic, yadier molina

Fortune magazine crowns Theo Epstein ‘world’s greatest leader’

Theo Epstein is the world’s greatest leader.

So said Fortune magazine, which published its annual list on Thursday morning.

The Chicago Cubs’ president of baseball operations finished in the top spot, ahead of Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Pope Francis at No. 3, Melinda Gates at No. 4 and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos rounded out the top five.

In a text to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Epstein said, “Um, I can’t even get my dog to stop peeing in the house. That is ridiculous. The whole thing is patently ridiculous. It’s baseball—a pastime involving a lot of chance. If [Ben] Zobrist’s ball is three inches farther off the line, I’m on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. And I’m not even the best leader in our organization; our players are.”

How many championship rings does Pope Francis have?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2017 at 03:18 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, theo epstein

In ratings, buzz, attendance and baseball, the 2017 World Baseball Classic was a huge success

Twenty-four hours later, the U.S. was in the final, facing an undefeated and deeply enjoyable Puerto Rico team. The game wasn’t nearly as close as on Tuesday—Team USA won 8-0—but Marcus Stroman’s six-inning no hitter gave Americans reason to pay attention, and it’s safe to assume the ratings were even better. (UPDATE: MLB Network announced that 2.3 million people watched the final, making it the second most viewed telecast in the network’s history.)

Those two near-perfect nights capped a World Baseball Classic that must be considered a rousing success for MLB Network and for Major League Baseball. We don’t yet have full ratings data, but what we do have suggests viewership sky-rocketed from the previous WBC in 2013. That year, the most watched game attracted 883,000 viewers, about 40 percent below what Tuesday’s USA-Japan semifinal drew. And according to Sports Media Watch, Monday’s semifinal between Puerto Rico and the Netherlands was up 34 percent from the comparable semifinal in 2013, between Puerto Rico and Japan.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2017 at 02:56 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: television ratings, world baseball classic

Ian Kinsler Performs Damage Control After Racially-Infused Comments

Ian Kinsler came under fire on social media on Wednesday for some suggestive comments he made before the championship game of the World Baseball Classic.

(The United States, led by Kinsler, would go on to beat Puerto Rico, 8-0.)

“I hope kids watching the WBC can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays,” Kinsler told the New York Times. “That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.”

After the game, Kinsler clarified that he has nothing against Latino players or the exuberant manner in which they play.

“What I said was that American kids can watch American players play, Puerto Rican kids can watch Puerto Rican players play, Venezuelan kids can watch Venezuelan guys play, and that’s who they emulate. That’s who they watch. That’s who they want to be like,” he told ESPN. “There’s nothing wrong with an American kid watching a Puerto Rican player and wanting to be like them, or a Puerto Rican kid watching an American player and wanting to play that way.


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-23-2017

Pittsburgh Press, March 23, 1917:

Manager Robinson has a hard time getting his Brooklyn players to train enough. Yesterday he hit upon a new plan and gave them an “Irishman’s Ride.” What’s that? Well, he invited them all to take a motor ride into the country. Then he made them walk back.

This seems like something that would work once. Once.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 23, 2017 at 10:53 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Phillies using new drill to help baserunners | MLB.com

Interesting drill. Will the work pay off?

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2017 at 08:38 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, technology

USA beats Puerto Rico for first Classic title | MLB.com

Congrats to the U.S. team. It would have been nice to see the finish live.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2017 at 06:35 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: puerto rico, usa, wbc

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Straight From The Heart: The Signing Of Ted Lilly

An inside look at a pair of now-forgotten news items from 10 years ago: the signing of Ted Lilly and Jim Hendry’s hospitalization from ACS.

And to think … the agreement to get his target pitcher took place while Hendry was undergoing an EKG.

“To this day, the story obviously has been embellished in some ways by the fact that a couple hours later I was going to have a heart procedure – but the fact is that Larry O’Brien called me when I was on the gurney,” Hendry said.

“Jim Hendry was a joy to meet and to negotiate with,” O’Brien said. “He was very clear and upfront with me that he wanted Ted Lilly, and if Ted Lilly wanted to be a Cub, then he was going to make that happen. So the negotiation was pretty easy.

“Looking back, this guy was on his death bed – and to have the energy and the stick–to–itiveness and persistence to get this done was pretty amazing.”

ajnrules Posted: March 22, 2017 at 06:37 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: chicago cubs, jim hendry, lou piniella, ted lilly, winter meetings 2006

Dallas Green, first Phillies manager to win the World Series, dies at 82

Dallas Green, the bearish, blustering, boom box-throated manager who in 1980 whipped a talented but complacent Phillies team to the franchise’s first world championship, died Wednesday at 82, a team official confirmed.

Mr. Green spent most of his long baseball career with a Phillies organization that signed him as a Delaware high schooler in 1955. Over the subsequent 61 years, with notable interruptions in New York and Chicago, he would pitch, coach, manage, scout, and fill a number of front-office positions for the team.

A commanding physical presence at 6-foot-5, with a thick mane of silver hair and a voice that could penetrate concrete walls, Mr. Green seemed born to lead.

As a spot-starter and reliever with the Phillies, Mets and Senators, he was a hard-throwing righthander who never mastered his control or his temper. Mr. Green compiled a 20-22 record and a 4.26 ERA in his playing career from 1960-67.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 22, 2017 at 04:52 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dallas green, mets, obituary, phillies, senators

White Sox patiently dangling Jose Quintana

Over the last few days, the buzz around camps in Florida and Arizona converged on the same player: Jose Quintana. Scouts ran their information up the chain – Chicago White Sox scouts are everywhere – and the game of telephone ended with general managers across the game wondering: Are they finally going to deal Quintana?

The answer, major league sources familiar with the talks told Yahoo Sports, is the same it’s been since the White Sox committed to rebuild and started the dismantling of their core: Yes … but only for the right price. And even as the White Sox have dispatched more scouts than usual to those back fields, sources said, no deal has materialized.

This is not to say one couldn’t come together within weeks, days, even hours. Multiple teams, including the Atlanta Braves, have shown continued interest, according to sources. Others known to have been involved at points this spring are the Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates. Stewarded by general manager Rick Hahn, who has gotten industry-wide plaudits for his hauls in the Chris Sale and Adam Eaton trades, the White Sox find themselves capable of asking for the moon due to a number of reasons.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 22, 2017 at 02:28 PM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, braves, jose quintana, trade rumors, white sox

World Baseball Classic needs serious commitment—or just get rid of it

As it stands, there are just too many folks who are just half-in. Every four years, a primary WBC storyline is which stars are skipping the event, mostly for the U.S. team. There is perpetual conversation about how MLB needs to better market its stars, but in this case, some of the biggest stars are declining the opportunity to participate.

Some of the teams cope with the WBC passive-aggressively, sending mixed messages to some players that they aren’t necessarily wild about their participation, with club staffers stewing about how their best players are in somebody else’s camps. Some players believe that Major League Baseball needs to step up its commitment to give the participants the necessary support they have grown to expect during the regular season and postseason.

“It’s like they’re running a high school baseball tournament, instead of something special,” one player said.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 22, 2017 at 02:27 PM | 146 comment(s)
  Beats: world baseball classic

Tough times paid off for Bucs’ Jameson Taillon | MLB.com

“But I had an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and say, ‘Well, I’m going to be here, I might as well make my time worthwhile. What can I do to make my mechanics better? What can I do to make my grips better? What can I do to make my arm stronger, to get stronger? What can I do to eat healthier? How do I transition all this to in-season?’

“I had so much time away with no pressure, no hype on me. I wasn’t pitching for a boxscore. I was just committed to the process.I got to hone up and clean up and go forward with it. I asked friends, family, teammates. I was confiding with guys who’d had Tommy John surgery, confiding with guys who’d lost some weight. How guys cooked. What worked for them.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 22, 2017 at 12:00 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jameson taillon, pirates

Yankees’ Didi Gregorius will miss Opening Day | MLB.com

Not good news for the Yankees.

Didi Gregorius is expected to miss the first month of the regular season with a strained subscapularis muscle in his throwing shoulder, the Yankees said on Tuesday.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 22, 2017 at 11:54 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: didi gregorius, injuries, wbc, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-22-2017

Washington Herald, March 22, 1917:

Dispatches received [in Detroit yesterday] from the training camp of the Detroit Americans at Waxahachie, Texas, state that the Detroit ball players are in sympathy with a movement started by fellow athletes to abandon the military drills they now are receiving. It is understood that the Cleveland club already has taken such action.

Several Detroit players claim that the drills have caused severe strain upon muscles not brought into play on the baseball diamond and that the work has hindered more than it has helped their playing.

Truth be told, I’m surprised that it took this long for the players to express displeasure at mandatory military training.

Elsewhere on the same page, it still looks likely that the Yankees will relocate to Long Island City.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 22, 2017 at 10:17 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Prospects impressing in Spring Training | MLB.com

This spring’s small sample size heroes.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 22, 2017 at 09:44 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects

Team USA defeats Japan to reach Classic final | MLB.com

“It means a heck of a lot,” outfielder Andrew McCutchen said of Team USA finally clearing the semifinal hurdle. “We’ve got a great group of guys on this team who have dedicated this time to be able to try and win some ballgames. Sacrifices had to be made, and there are no egos when that door opens.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 22, 2017 at 06:32 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: japan, usa, wbc

MLB Has a Massive Diversity Problem in the Local Broadcast Booth

The numbers here would be even worse if it weren’t for what the Twins did this off-season. The Twins became only the second organization with two people of color on the air when they added Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins to their rotation of TV color commentators. They are not the main analysts, that job goes to Bert Blyleven, but they will be in the group of people regularly joining the play-by-play announcer, Dick Bremer, for the roughly 70 games Blyleven doesn’t call.

The only other team with more than one person of color on the air is the Angels. Victor Rojas is starting his eighth season as the team’s TV play-by-play guy, and Jose Mota is the radio color commentator. No other team has two people of color in the broadcast booth….

It’s no secret that baseball’s fan base is not as diverse as the cities where the game is played, let alone the country as a whole. All it takes is sitting in the seats at the stadium and looking around. Usually it’s a sea of white people. Nielsen stats for TV viewership show the problem isn’t just at games, but also who’s watching at home. Baseball’s TV watchers are 83% white and 70% male, with 50% aged 55 or older. In other words, old white men watch baseball.

This is not a smart plan for building the future of the game. And one way that MLB can counteract this problem is diversifying the broadcast booth. It not only is the fair and non-discriminatory thing to do, but it’s also the only way to try to expand the base of fans who listen and watch games in the future.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 22, 2017 at 12:35 AM | 104 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, racial diversity

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

2017 MLB Trade Value player rankings, Part I: Introduction, honorable mentions, just missed

Missing The Cut

Before we get to this year’s list, here’s a quick rundown of the players we ranked in the top 50 before last season (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) but who fell off this year’s list….

Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners (35)

He hasn’t been an elite pitcher in three years, and last season was the worst showing of his 12-year career. Hurling 2,415 2/3 innings can take a nasty toll on a pitcher’s arm. Mariners fans would gladly sit through an even heavier workload if it would mean reaching the playoffs for the first time in King Felix’s fantastic career…..

Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins (28)

The biggest contract in baseball history might also be on the verge of becoming untradeable. Stanton is owed $91.5 million over the next four seasons and can either opt out after the 2020 season or make another $218 million guaranteed after that. That’s a hefty deal for a player who’s topped 123 games played just once in the past five years.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 21, 2017 at 02:50 PM | 64 comment(s)
  Beats: trade value

Report: Former Bulls GM Jerry Krause dies at 77

Krause was known to have a rocky relationship with then-Bulls head coach Phil Jackson, with Jackson leaving after the 1998 season and the Bulls’ sixth title. Jordan also retired after that season, although he would later briefly return to play for the Wizards.

He retired as Bulls general manager in 2003, with an official explanation pertaining to his health, and amid a struggling Bulls rebuild around young players.

Prior to working for the Bulls, Krause, a Chicago native, scouted for a handful of NBA teams and also in baseball for the Chicago White Sox, also the property of Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Krause returned to baseball scouting after leaving basketball, working for the Yankees, Mets and most recently the Diamondbacks in scouting capacities.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 21, 2017 at 02:49 PM | 55 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, jerry krause, mets, white sox, yankees

Sport Illustrated MLB preview: Dodgers will beat Indians in the World Series

A number of teams could win it all this year if things break right for them. But L.A. is the one best positioned to win even when things go wrong.

Here are SI’s complete postseason predictions:

AL wild-card game: Mariners over Rangers
NL wild-card game: Mets over Giants

AL Division Series: Indians over Mariners; Red Sox over Astros
NL Division Series: Cubs over Mets; Dodgers over Nationals

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 21, 2017 at 02:30 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, indians, sports illustrated

Do the unthinkable, Yankees: Give Gleyber Torres a shot | New York Post

No, no, no. Give the *kid* some time in AA. If he does well, move him up to AAA. If he does well there, then, and only then, add him to the 40-Man Roster and bring him up to the big league club. If he plays well, he still makes his debut at age 20. (He was born on December 13th.)

Jim Furtado Posted: March 21, 2017 at 10:49 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: gleyber torres, prospects, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-21-2017

Pittsburgh Press, March 21, 1917:

Manager Mathewson is a great believer in speeding up the play during the games. He allows no loafing, and is constantly urging the players to keep on the move. Nothing annoys him so much as a game that lasts over two hours.

If time travel were a thing, I’d pay to see what would happen if Christy Mathewson watched Steve Trachsel pitch to Mike Hargrove.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 21, 2017 at 10:24 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, pace of the game

White Sox sign shortstop Tim Anderson to six-year, $25 million contract

The Chicago White Sox signed shortstop Tim Anderson to a six-year, $25 million contract extension Tuesday morning, a high-ranking executive with direct knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports.

The executive spoke on the condition of anonymity since the deal isn’t scheduled to be announced until Tuesday afternoon.

The deal is the most lucrative contract given to a player with less than one year’s service in baseball history.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 21, 2017 at 09:08 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: tim anderson, white sox

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