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Thursday, May 26, 2016

MLB: Vin Scully recites the speech about baseball from “Field of Dreams”.

People will come, Vin.

Vin Scully recites the most iconic speech from a baseball film ever. #HallofFameTour

Random Transaction Generator Posted: May 26, 2016 at 08:29 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: heaven, iowa, vin scully

Twins suspend pitching coach Neil Allen after DWI arrest

Twins pitching coach Neil Allen has been suspended by the Twins after being arrested early Thursday morning under suspicion of driving while intoxicated.


Minor league pitching coordinator Eric Rasmussen will take over as major league pitching coach for the time being.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2016 at 05:53 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dui, neil allen, twins

Miklasz: Cards Blow a Chance to Beat Cubs: Another Reason to Despise the Sac Bunt

Old-school Bernie sounds more like Brian Kenny here…

But there’s a bigger picture here.

You have only 27 outs in a nine-inning game.

Every out is precious.

So don’t squander them on unnecessary sac bunts.

And never do it when you have a runner on second base with no outs — and three chances to get him home.

Matheny absolutely adores the sac bunt and I don’t know why.

The Cardinals have been among the most aggressive sac-bunter teams in the majors since Matheny took over as manager in 2012. In his first four seasons, the Cardinals ranked among the top seven teams for most sac-bunt attempts three times. And in the other year, 2015, they ranked 14th among the 30 teams.  This season only four teams have tried more sac bunts than Matheny’s Cardinals.

And for all of Matheny’s serial sac bunting — or as I call it, “Death By Bunting” — here’s where the Cardinals have ranked among the 30 teams in sac-bunt success rate each season:

2012 — tied for 17th.

2013 — 25th

2014 — 11th.

2015 — 20th

2016 — 22nd

Matheny remains undeterred. Despite reams of easily accessible data and that give current managers more information than ever to make educated and beneficial strategy decisions, Matheny manages like it’s 1957 or something.

All of the studies have produced or reaffirmed the same conclusion: sac bunts just aren’t a smart percentage play — and that’s especially true when you have runners on first and second and in possession of all three of your outs.

JEe (Jason) Posted: May 26, 2016 at 05:24 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: bernie miklasz, bunts, cardinals, mike matheny, yadier molina

Hector Olivera suspended 82 games for domestic violence incident

Braves outfielder Hector Olivera has been suspended 82 games under the league’s domestic violence policy, MLB announced Thursday. The suspension is retroactive to April 30 and will end August 1. Olivera agreed not to appeal.

“My office has completed its investigation into the allegation that Hector Olivera violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy on April 13, 2016,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. Olivera violated the Policy and should be subject to discipline in the form of an unpaid suspension that will expire on August 1st. Mr. Olivera has also agreed to make a significant charitable contribution to one or more charitable organizations focused on preventing and treating survivors of domestic violence.”

The suspension stems from an incident at the team hotel last month. Olivera has been charged with misdemeanor assault and battery after a woman alleged she had been assaulted. MLB placed Olivera on administrative leave shortly thereafter.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2016 at 05:20 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, domestic abuse, hector olivera, suspensions

Mike Moustakas out with ACL tear

The Royals announced that they have placed third baseman Mike Moustakas on the 15-day disabled list with a tear in his right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and have called up outfielder Brett Eibner from AAA Omaha. Moustakas injured himself in a collision with outfielder Alex Gordon on a foul pop up in Sunday’s game against Chicago. Gordon was placed on the disabled list earlier this week. Moustakas finished the game on Sunday, but missed all three games since then. Moustakas was hitting .240/.301/.500 with 7 HR 13 RBI in 27 games. He has already served a stint on the disabled list this year for an injured thumb.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2016 at 04:58 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: acl, injuries, mike moustakas, royals

List Of MLB Players With Fantex Deals

Who wants a piece of Jonathan Schoop?

Earlier this season, Fantex, Inc. announced that it had reached agreements with five new Major League players. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Fantex offers players an up-front sum of money in exchange for a percentage of their future earnings — typically 10 percent. Fantex essentially then treats the athletes as “stocks,” selling shares of the player to investors that stand to turn a profit if the player in whom they’ve invested ultimately earns enough in their career both on and off the field.

At first glance, a player who sells 10 percent of his future earnings for $4MM, for instance, would become profitable for the investors upon reaching $40MM in career earnings. Of course, there’s quite a bit more to it than that, as it remains unclear how taxes, Fantex fees, and yet other considerations are accounted for. All said, there’s quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding what is a fairly new concept; I took a look at some of the potential far-reaching impacts of Fantex deals when the last wave of deals was announced.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2016 at 02:52 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: fantex, stock

Tigers sign former prospect to contract 62 years after he declined $26,000 offer

The Tigers keep signing these old guys to contracts.

Each year, the Detroit Tigers sign several players to new contracts, as every team does. But 62 years ago, one man turned down an offer, one that would have netted him $26,000.

Earl Robinette was a Tigers prospect with a big outfield arm and switch-hitting ability. He was also a part of a family that owned a farm, which played a huge role in his decision to decline the contract.

Since that day in 1954, Robinette has regretted the choice, but the 80-year-old got a do-over Wednesday. According to the Detroit Free Press, Robinette was offered a one-day contract by the Tigers, which he signed at the very table that hundreds of players have sat at before.

“We had to dust off a contract that’s been sitting around for 50 years, for crying out loud,” Tigers vice president John Westhoff said. “Have a seat. You need to sign something.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2016 at 02:48 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers

Tony LaRussa invades booth to argue with Pirates braodcaster

Despite not being division rivals, the Pirates and Diamondbacks have a bit of bad blood dating back to 2014, when Andrew McCutchen and Paul Goldschmidt were at the center of a hit-by-pitch war. McCutchen suffered a rib fracture as a result of being hit.
Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, the two teams again traded hit-by-pitches. Pirates righty Arquimedes Caminero hit both Jean Segura and Nick Ahmed with pitches up around the head, which is always scary. D-Backs righty Evan Marshall responded by hitting David Freese.

spanx for the memories Posted: May 26, 2016 at 02:37 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona diamondbacks, pittsburgh pirates

Mangan: Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard Have Been The Best 1-2 Punch in Baseball

Also, Scott and Lassus Have Been The Best 1-2 Punch on the Self-Immolation Thread…

The Mets lead in K-BB%, GB%, FIP and xFIP. They trail only the Cubs in ERA and only the Nationals in strikeouts per nine innings. They place 4th in this group in WAR, although that is primarily a function of the fact that they have the fewest innings of the bunch — the Mets have 17 starts from this duo while the other couplings have 19 or 20. This is owing to the fact that Syndergaard has yet to make his tenth start and Matz missed one turn in the rotation.

This is just a snapshot of the present, not a promise of the future, but it is easy to see the Mets duo continuing on this torrid pace, while some of these other pairs are outperforming what we might expect of them. For instance, Cueto and Strasburg are each veterans beating their career ERAs by about one run. Even though Strasburg’s emergence looks sustainable, it’s likely that Cueto is more of a 3.25 ERA pitcher than a 2.38 ERA pitcher. Other pitchers are wildly outperforming their peripherals, most notably Quintana who has a 0.14 HR/9 and is beating his xFIP by over a run, and Hammel who has a 2.17 ERA despite a K-BB% which is actually worse than league average. Even Arrieta, as great as he is, is probably closer to his FIP (2.71) than his ERA (1.72).

As for the young Mets, Syndergaard alone has staked a claim to “best pitcher, non-Kershaw division” by playing 2nd in FIP, 2nd in K-BB%, and 3rd in WAR in this group. Matz, for his part, has pitched to a microscopic 1.13 ERA/2.15 FIP with a sterling 23.2 K-BB% since his one disaster inning in his first start on April 11th.

There is a good argument to be made for most of these duos, although I would probably rank the Dodgers (Kershaw/Maeda), Mets (Syndergaard/Matz) and White Sox (Sale/Quintana) a little ahead of the rest, with the Nationals (Strasburg/Scherzer) as potential spoilers if Scherzer gets back on track.

Nonetheless, you’ve got to be impressed with Syndergaard and Matz, who lead in two other categories I forgot to mention: average fastball velocity (their average of 95.8 mph is more than 2 mph faster than the Cubs) and lowest salaries.

JEe (Jason) Posted: May 26, 2016 at 02:35 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, noah syndergaard, pitching, rankings, steven matz

Uncompetitive Minor League Wages Might Be Deterring Talent

For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume that there are two types of amateur prospects: You have the elite ones who ultimately get big signing bonuses. Then you have the non-elite ones who aren’t good enough to get big signing bonuses. If you are in the first group, you’re certainly going to go pro regardless of your socioeconomic status. You get a big signing bonus and get to play baseball for a living. That’s a win-win.

Now let’s say you’re a player in this second group. You’re good enough to go pro, but not good enough to command more than a few thousand in signing bonus. Let’s split this group into sub-groups.

If you’re rich, you probably go pro since the money isn’t a huge factor for you. You probably have some money in savings and/or a family willing to support you. But, since you were a fringy prospect to begin with, you probably don’t make it to the majors. This drives down the overall success rate for the rich.

If you’re poor, the decision is a tougher one. While the idea of playing baseball for a living sounds great, you also need to put food on the table. You may have very little savings, and your family may not have the means to support you. As a result, an outsized share of the poor group are the guys who got big bonuses (who are also likely to play in the majors). In other words, the low wages are basically weeding out the fringy low-income prospects, which drives up the major league success rate for the poor.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2016 at 02:13 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: minor league, salaries

Dodgers Call Up Julio Urias for Friday Start

The Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to usher in the big-league career of their top prospect Friday when left-hander Julio Urias makes his major-league debut in New York against the Mets.

The club is expected to purchase the contract of the 19-year-old Urias, adding him to both the 40-man and the 25-man active roster. Friday’s expected starter, Alex Wood, will miss his outing with triceps soreness, but the Dodgers are expecting him to return to action Monday at Chicago against the Cubs.

Here’s hoping he fares better than Berrios.

Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: May 26, 2016 at 01:04 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, prospects

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-26-2016

Pittsburgh Press, May 26, 1916:

Ohio State university baseball team boasts a one-armed pitcher in Herman F. Recker, freshman agricultural student. University baseball coaches say he has the smoke and stuff to give many a western conference heavy hitter the shivers.
...
“It takes just one arm to throw the ball—and I’ve got one,” Recker says. He has no place to wear a glove, but is a wizard at spearing hot liners barehanded.

He’s got a point. It only takes one arm.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 26, 2016 at 10:56 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Stew Thornley’s macabre adventure: Visiting every dead baseball Hall of Famer’s grave

I’d have to admire his tenacity. The most I’ve ever done is visit the graves of the deceased 300-game winners, and visit them again with a small figurine.

In the shorthand parlance of men and women who collect graveyard experiences, Thornley is what’s known as a “graver.” While his search for the plots of long gone standouts, such as Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown in Terre Haute, Indiana, or Rube Waddell in San Antonio, is nominally about allowing him to cross another name off his list, it’s about more than that.

“It’s really about the adventure,” Thornley said. “A lot of people think I do all this work, I go traveling around, I get there and I’m standing at this grave and I get some kind of cosmic connection like, ‘I never saw this guy play. But here I am!’

ajnrules Posted: May 26, 2016 at 10:52 AM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: deaths in baseball, general, hall of fame

Derek Jeter: I want to own a MLB team to bring baseball back

Where did baseball go?

Former New York Yankees great Derek Jeter told CNBC on Wednesday his “ultimate goal” is to own a Major League Baseball team.
“In my mind, this is the greatest sport in the world,” Jeter told “Squawk Box,” saying a key motivation for owning a team would be help the game grow.

“I think baseball is taking somewhat of a back seat to some of the other sports,” said the ex-Yankees captain and shortstop, who retired in 2014 after a 20-year career with the team. “Some of the other sports are the sexy sports.”

“I think kids, nowadays they look at players playing in college and the next year they’re in the NFL or the NBA,” he said. “Baseball, you sort of get lost, because you have to play in the minor leagues for a little bit. Kids in this generation are into instant gratification.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2016 at 09:39 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: derek jeter, ownership

Poz: Switch Your Style Up

Just one game (perhaps one inning) to shrug off ... or a sign of what’s to come?

The results have been striking. Batters are not swinging and missing Sale’s pitches in the same way — his swing and miss rate is all the way down to 9.2 percent. Hitters are not chasing his pitches out of the strike zone like they did. And even when they do chase, they’re connecting a lot more often. For the first time in his career, Sale is not striking out at least one batter per inning.

And the overall result? Well, for the first nine starts of the year, Sale was impossibly efficient. He started the year 9-0, completed three of those games (he threw a 99-pitch complete game) and posted a 1.58 ERA. The league was hitting .163 against him.

In the 10th game against Cleveland, though, he only lasted 3 1/3 innings and gave up seven hits and six earned runs. Cleveland went 7-for-17, a .411 average if you are scoring at home.

Of course, every pitcher will have a bad game now and again, and that might be the only thing that happened Tuesday. But here’s the question: Was Sale’s bad game INEVITABLE? Here’s what I mean: Sale’s shift in pitching tactics is based on a very simple premise. He wants hitters to make more contact. Sure, he still wants to get some strikeouts (he has 69 Ks in 71 2/3 innings, so we’re not talking about slow-pitch softball here) but strikeouts are hard on the arm, they require a lot of pitches, they are not always cost-effective. Sale wants, instead, for hitters to make light contact — ground balls, pop-ups, soft line drives — and for the White Sox defense to get the outs.

For nine games, this worked in a historic way. Nine games in, opponents’ batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was .197. How amazing is that? No pitcher in the record books has EVER held hitters a sub-.200 BABIP for a full season. When hitters put the ball in play, they will hit around .300; it has been that way for 20-plus years. One of the more prominent theories in baseball right now is that starting pitchers, no matter how good, do not have much control over BABIP.  After bat meets ball, this theory goes, it is up to the team’s defense and the hands of destiny to determine whether it becomes a hit.

JEe (Jason) Posted: May 26, 2016 at 08:02 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: chris sale, small sample size, strikeouts, white sox

From internment camp to Dodgers and Cubs clubhouses, these brothers became part of baseball history

The Kawano brothers seem to be listening. They occasionally smile or nod their heads but do not speak, so it is hard to guess what they are thinking.

On a bright Saturday morning, Yosh and Nobe sit near the window in a day room at their nursing home, the sunlight etching fine shadows across their wrinkled faces. Family has gathered around to tell stories from the old days.

Like the one about Sandy Koufax and the trash can. Or the boat out to Catalina Island, where the Chicago Cubs used to hold spring training before the war.

“Baseball was everything to them,” says Frank Kawano, who is Nobe’s son. “They loved the game.”

The brothers were never professional ballplayers. Yosh spent five decades in the major leagues as clubhouse manager for the Cubs, and Nobe held the same job for almost as long with the Dodgers.


OMNICHATTER 5-26-16

“The CHATTER Must Go On” OMNICHATTER

Gamingboy Posted: May 26, 2016 at 12:53 AM | 108 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, omnichatter

Jeurys Familia sets Mets record for consecutive saves

Yes, it was interrupted by three blown saves in the World Series. But New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia now owns sole possession of the franchise record for consecutive regular-season saves.

Zach Posted: May 26, 2016 at 12:25 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: jeurys familia, mets

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Twins player confronted play-by-play announcer Dick Bremer about his calls

Losing has a way of grating on you, though, and with the Twins a MLB-worst 11-34 heading into Wednesday’s game against Kansas City, there’s been plenty of losing to go around. That may have been what led to the incident Bremer described to Fargo, North Dakota radio host (on 970 AM WDAY) Mike McFeely last week:

Surprisingly, Bremer said one player has confronted him this season about being too critical of the team. Bremer wouldn’t name the player.

“I make it a practice to go in the clubhouse every day and go down on the field, so if a player has a complaint about something I’ve said on television they have that opportunity,” Bremer said. “I was confronted in the clubhouse in the last homestand. I didn’t say what I wanted to say, which was, ‘Well, play better and the commentary will be more positive.’ You can’t mask the fact this team is a quarter of the way through the season with 10 wins.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 25, 2016 at 05:05 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: dick bremer, twins

Clickhole: An Oral History Of The 1998 Major League Baseball Home Run Chase

Wow, what an inspiring story.

Bud Selig: It was a tight race. Every time McGwire hit a home run, Sosa would hit one right back.

Tony La Russa: Sometimes, McGwire would hit a home run, and when he finished rounding the bases, a fist would punch through his stomach, and the crowd would scream in horror as Sammy Sosa clawed his way out of Mark McGwire’s body and revealed that the home run had just been hit by Sosa in a clever disguise. Then, the real Mark McGwire would come out of the dugout and wave, and everyone would have a good laugh. Then, a fist would punch through Sosa’s stomach and a second McGwire would claw his way out of Sosa’s body, and the two McGwires would keep laughing while the rest of the crowd stared in silence.

Kerry Wood: On more than one occasion, Sosa would hit a home run, but then the umpire would smell the ball and it would smell like Mark McGwire, and so the home run would count for McGwire instead. They were in a tight race the whole year.

Bud Selig: At first, fans only cared about McGwire, but once Sosa also became a contender, all America cared about was seeing Mark and Sammy together. One day at a press conference, a reporter yelled, “McGwire and Sosa are married!” and I said, “They’re actually not,” and the reporter said, “Then what’s the point of even being alive?” People loved their friendly rivalry.


Texas Rangers: Grant: How can Rangers ensure Yu Darvish is still pitching in October? | SportsDay

Bubble wrap and a large protective glass case?

Jim Furtado Posted: May 25, 2016 at 10:58 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers, yu darvish

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-25-2016

Pittsburgh Press, May 25, 1916:

Manager Lee Fohl of the Cleveland Indians does not agree with Clark Griffith that cigarets are bad for professional ball players.

Griffith is deadly opposed to cigarets and his players know it, for any member of the local club caught smoking a cigaret is fined $10.
...
Fohl said: “You’ve got to show me where cigarets ever harmed a ball player. I will admit that perhaps they would be better off without smoking, but I don’t believe it hurts them much…In the first place, you can’t stop an inveterate cigaret smoker by threatening to fine him. He is going to smoke—that’s all there is to it. I have placed no ban on cigaret smoking—all I ask for is that my men play good ball; if they don’t I’m through with them.”

*Jim Leyland nods in agreement*

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 25, 2016 at 10:20 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, tobacco

Dexter Fowler exemplifies why MLB’s free agent system is broken

Fowler has been one of the premier leadoff hitters in baseball, hitting .314 with a .435 on-base percentage, including five homers and 21 RBI. He has the third-highest WAR among NL position players, and the Cubs, not coincidentally, are 29-14.

Yet, he was available 10 days into spring training when the Cubs signed him to a one-year, $13 million contract, because teams were so intent on retaining the first-round draft pick they would have forfeited to sign Fowler, one of 16 players who rejected a $15.8 million qualifying offer…

You can go on and on. It was no different for shortstop Ian Desmond, who had to switch positions and go to the Texas Rangers as an outfielder on a one-year contract. The only offer second baseman Howie Kendrick received all winter was a two-year deal from the Los Angeles Dodgers, who merely brought him back. Outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton had to wait almost the entire winter to find jobs, with Cespedes likely to opt out and test the market again next winter.

This at best is incomplete analysis, especially for a guy who quotes Fowler’s WAR; at worse, it’s just bad.

We don’t know what Fowler was asking for.  For his career, he’s about a 2 win player; $13M is a decent deal, but $13M + a pick isn’t.  There’s no way I’d pay him more, or for more years.  The same could be said for Desmond.

Kendrick wasn’t any good last year, and is a middle infielder in his 30s.  Buyer beware.

But the worst is lumping in Cespedes and Upton.  According to USA Today, Cespedes is the 7th highest paid player in MLB this year, and Upton is #20.  In no way were they hurt financially by the rules.

TDF, situational idiot Posted: May 25, 2016 at 09:35 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: free agent compensation

Silent Matt Harvey confirms he’s the phony Mets have enabled | New York Post

There is no greater transgression to the press than a player leaving the clubhouse before talking to waiting reporters. As this article shows, the vilifying begins immediately.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 25, 2016 at 08:58 AM | 64 comment(s)
  Beats: matt harvey, mets

Mariners Leonys Martin hits walk-off home run | MLB.com

Martin isn’t putting up M.V.P. numbers but if he can keep this up, he’s a valuable contributor.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 25, 2016 at 07:06 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: leonys martin, mariners

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