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Not The Real Walter Clarkson Newsbeat

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

MLB scouts provide insight and analysis on all 30 teams

Some gems:

Matt Kemp’s getting out of the Hollywood scene and coming to Atlanta, where he can just focus on baseball, is a great thing for him. He’ll never get back to MVP caliber, but he still has one or two All-Star seasons in him…..Jonathan Schoop is a great defender with great range and a great arm. He’ll be a perennial All-Star…..I heard a lot about Jason Heyward’s adjusted approach this spring, lowering his hands, but I haven’t seen any results yet….. After Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber might be the first guy I’d pick if I were putting together a team…..George Springer is an enigma. The talent is off the charts, but he’s also a 180-strikeout guy. If he cuts down on them, he’s Mike Cameron—a nice power-speed combination…. Eric Hosmer is MVP caliber, a Triple Crown candidate. Last year, with all the club’s injuries, he was trying to carry them, hit three home runs with one swing. His average could jump 65 points…..They gave Eric Thames $16 million to come back from Korea, where he had some historic seasons. But Korea’s not the big leagues. I see a guy who is fooled by off-speed stuff and gets beat inside by a plus fastball….Jacoby Ellsbury has really regressed, and with his injury history, Aaron Hicks could replace him..Brandon Belt is going to have to step up his game. This is a guy they gave $79 million based on what they expected him to do in the future—well, the future is now.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 29, 2017 at 12:47 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: scouts

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Zack Wheeler shows he belongs in Mets’ rotation

A few days ago, this debate was over in our minds. Robert Gsellman had pitched his way into the No. 5 spot, returning WBC hero Seth Lugo was at worst a great bullpen piece and Zack Wheeler would be left behind in Florida for some fine-tuning after a roller-coaster two-year rehab from Tommy John surgery.

Easy, right?

And then the past 24 hours happened, forcing us to rekindle the discussion all over again, exactly one week from Opening Day. Right after Steven Matz wound up in limbo because of elbow tenderness, Wheeler did what very few besides himself expected Monday against the Marlins in Jupiter. All but written off from the April rotation, in his do-or-die moment of spring training, Wheeler stepped up and gave the Mets a serious reason to reconsider.

Facing Miami’s regular lineup, Wheeler allowed two hits in five scoreless innings. He walked two and struck out three. But the most remarkable part? He was surprisingly efficient in needing only 70 pitches.

Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: March 28, 2017 at 05:35 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, position battle

Francisco Lindor is trying to save baseball from itself

In a sport considered America’s national pastime, Lindor’s identifiable, relatable personality somehow makes him an anomaly. It also makes him an appealing star to brands—including New Balance, which lured Lindor from Under Armour with a multiyear endorsement in February. New Balance is trying to promote a fresh young backward hat-wearing star in Lindor, something Major League Baseball hasn’t had since the Ken Griffey Jr. era, when Nike created the Swingman brand for The Kid and released several popular lifestyle sneakers. It’s something Nike’s been unable to replicate with a guy like Trout, who exceeds Griffey’s talent.

“Nobody brags about wearing Trouts like they would wearing Griffeys, which are still cool,” Mintz says. “You feel like you would wear a Trout to dinner with your grandpa. It’s really unfortunate the most dynamic and exciting player since Barry Lamar Bonds has the personality of a desk chair.”

The effort to make Lindor a star beyond the baseball bubble has already started. New Balance digital brand marketing director Pat Cassidy says Lindor will play a role in the company’s lifestyle and apparel lines, with the potential for a signature off-the-field sneaker that the infielder could help design.

“His inherent sense of style and personality goes a long way,” Cassidy says. “There’s the old adage in basketball that big men don’t sell sneakers, and there’s a reason for that. It’s hard to relate to Shaq and Tim Duncan. Francisco is a relatable guy and looks good not only with the on-field product but in all of the lifestyle stuff as well. He’s got good taste.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 04:29 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: francisco lindor, marketing, shoes

Fox Sports hires A.J. Pierzynski to be full-time analyst

Former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski is becoming a full-time analyst with Fox Sports, the network is set to announce Tuesday.

Pierzynski, who contributed to Fox postseason baseball coverage in 2011, ’12, ’13 and ’15 before ending his 19-season major-league career last year, will work games as well as make regular appearances on FS1’s “MLB Whiparound.”

His first assignment will be Yankees vs. Rays on April 5, with Kenny Albert on play-by-play and Ken Rosenthal as reporter.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 01:59 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: a.j. pierzynski, analyst, fox

Scooter Gennett waived by Brewers, picked up by Reds

Gennett was put on waivers by the Brewers despite having a minor-league option available. His contract for the 2017 season was $2.525 million, which will be picked up by the Reds. The transaction opens up a spot on the Brewers’ 40-man major-league roster.

Gennett, a Cincinnati native, was drafted in the 16th round by the Brewers in 2009 and played four seasons in the majors with the ballclub. In 2016, he batted .263 (.317 OBP) with 14 homers and 56 RBI in 137 games.

Brewers general manager David Stearns said the team tried to trade Gennett but nothing materialized.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 01:55 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, reds, scooter gennett

White Sox trade CF Peter Bourjos to Rays for cash

Peter Bourjos, who appeared to be the leading candidate to open the season as the Sox’ center fielder, is headed to the Rays for cash considerations, a major-league source said.

An announcement will be made Tuesday.


The move opens the door for prospect Jacob May to begin the season in center. He’s hitting .339 with an .886 OPS while playing good defense.

Bourjos, 29, owns a lifetime .243/.300/.382 slash line. He batted .313 this spring after coming in as a non-roster invitee.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:57 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: peter bourjos, rays, white sox

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-28-2017

Washington Times, March 28, 1917:

President August Herrmann, of the Cincinnati Nationals, was notified last night that Heinie Groh, infielder, had left the local club at Memphis, Tenn., last night, and was now on a train to Cincinnati. Groh is said to have left a note for Manager Mathewson in which he stated he was “homesick.”

A quote from Groh in the Pittsburgh Press, March 28, 1917:

“Any married man can understand. I was homesick, dead lonesome, and simply had to come home. I feel better already. I will join the team here Friday and keep in physical trim.

These days, it would probably trigger a massive kerfuffle including suspensions, character assassination, and perhaps a trade if a player noped out on Spring Training, left a note, and went home.

I don’t know what the Reds’ reaction was to Groh leaving - I guess we’ll find out together - but he didn’t get suspended or traded. Heinie went on to lead the league in games played, plate appearances, hits, doubles, and on-base percentage. His trip home seems to have worked out well for everyone.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:12 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Braves announcers think Tigers OF JaCoby Jones & former NFL WR Jacoby Jones are the same person

“Is he the Jacoby Jones who played for the Ravens?”

“Believe so.”
Nope. He most certainly is not.

“Wonder why nobody’s talking about him?”

“Unless there’s another Jacoby Jones.”
Yep, that’s what it is.

“Nope, different JaCoby Jones, my bad.”
It happens, but probably shouldn’t.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 09:36 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, chip caray, jacoby jones, joe simpson, tigers

Monday, March 27, 2017

Heyman: Cardinals, Molina Making Big Progress Toward Extension

The St. Louis Cardinals and revered catcher Yadier Molina are making major progress toward a possible contract extension, sources tell FanRag Sports. While the current terms being discussed are unknown, Molina was originally seeking a four-year extension, while the team countered with a two-year offer. A deal now appears to be getting close between the two sides.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 07:23 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, yadier molina

Now hiring: Red Sox on the hunt for a backup Wally mascot

Looking for a career change?

Well, if you’re shorter than 5-foot-8, then you may be in luck. The Red Sox marketing team recently posted a job opening for a backup Wally mascot, who would be responsible for wearing the Green Monster suit at a variety of designated events, including Sox games, school and hospital visits, and charity events.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 06:31 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mascots

Bronson Arroyo: “I’m literally about to pull off the impossible”

Bronson Arroyo feels normal, and that’s pretty abnormal.

It’s been nearly three years since the 40-year-old has thrown a pitch in the major leagues. He’s spent most of that time fighting to come back from shoulder and elbow surgeries, unable to get his aging body to rebound.

But now he feels healthy, with nothing remarkable to report about his preparation for the regular season. Now, he’s on the verge of pitching in a major-league rotation – or in the majors at all – for the first time since 2014.

“I’m literally about to pull off the impossible,” Arroyo said. “That’s the way I see it.”

The Cincinnati Reds signed Arroyo to a minor-league deal just as spring training began, taking the low-risk bet that he was finally healthy. After an injury to Anthony DeSclafani left the rotation short of experience, they’ll be relying on him more than they could have expected.

No one with the Reds has said for certain that Arroyo will join the rotation, not wanting to count on his health before it’s absolutely proven. T

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 05:54 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: bronson arroyo, reds

THE B/R Q&A: ROB MANFRED WANTS MLB TO ‘OWN THE NEXT GENERATION’ OF SPORTS FANS

B/R: You’ve talked about the need to create more action, and certainly the numbers support your desire. In the 2016 regular season, a record 30.2 percent of all plate appearances failed to produce a fair ball, instead ending in a strikeout, walk or hit batter. How much are you alarmed by this and where does adjusting the strike zone up stand?


RM: It’s not about whether or not we should change the game. The game has changed. The question is, should we be more like other professional sports and more actively manage that change to produce the kind of product we want to have out there on the field. Me? I’m one for active management of that change. I think it’s really important for us to look at.

Strike zones, great example of it. Years ago, we thought when the strike zone was higher on the knee that the low pitch wasn’t getting called. We moved it to the hollow of the knee to try to get the umpires to call that. Interesting thing happens: Technology gets laid on top of that, our umpire force starts to turn over, they all get used to being evaluated and all of a sudden, they’re actually calling it where we told them to call it. You can’t blame the umpires on this. They’re doing exactly what we told them, and the technology told them that they were doing what we told them to do. The problem with that pitch is, it’s tough to hit. So the question becomes do you make an adjustment? And honestly, if we moved it from the hollow of the knee up to where it was before, I think modern civilization is going to survive.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 05:16 PM | 140 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, international teams, pace of play, rob manfred

Oakland A’s ‘understand’ Raiders need to move, remind us they need a new stadium

Monday afternoon the NFL announced their owners have approved relocation of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas. The move is at least two years away, but it has been agreed to.  Owners voted 31-1 in favor of the move . 

The Raiders and Athletics have shared the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum since 1995, thought it’s no secret the A’s have been looking for a new ballpark. A few hours after the Raiders move was announced, the A’s released a statement saying they are “focused” and “excited” about staying in Oakland, as long as they get a new stadium.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 05:04 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

Braves urge fans to plan as traffic test looms with exhibition game

Monday’s event offered little new information, but team representatives emphasized that fans should buy tickets and parking ahead of time, or take Uber, an official partner. They also touted a new mobile app with built-in GPS.

Braves’ president of development, Mike Plant said the new stadium had “much more extensive parking” than Turner Field.

“In today’s world, you have to plan early, and planning is the key before you leave your house or place of work,” Plant said. “Buy a ticket early, buy parking online, use Uber and Waze to help you get here, and then that experience is going to be better for you, for everyone.”

The Braves say they have more than 15,000 parking spaces, including private lots that have entered into lease agreements with the team. Some of these scattered lots will be served by a new circulator operated by the county, which will launch on March 31, the same day as the exhibition game.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 05:01 PM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, parking, suntrust park

Jose Canseco is getting back in baseball as a television analyst covering the A’s

According to Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area, Canseco is joining NBC Sports California as an on-air analyst for their pre- and postgame coverage of the Oakland Athletics, one of his former teams. From Stiglich:

“I’ve got quite a bit of experience. I’ve pretty much been there, done all of that whether it’s on or off the field,” Canseco said. “I think the fans can expect the truth — an honest opinion, honest analysis — and hopefully in some shape or form we expand the fan base.” 

He’s enthused about taking on his first role as an analyst, and he joins NBC Sports California at a time of budding excitement surrounding the A’s and the expectation of them building a new ballpark in Oakland. Canseco, the 1986 AL Rookie of the Year, played for the A’s when they were one of the Bay Area’s hottest sports stories.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 04:42 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, jose canseco

Jury sides with Cleveland Indians in suit brought by fan blinded by foul ball

Rawlins took his then-15-year-old daughter to the game against the Baltimore Orioles and sat along the left field line in the stadium’s lower bowl. With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Rawlins claimed the park’s ushers ordered fans to empty the section he was in and several others before a post-game fireworks show.

Rawlins said that he and several other fans stood up and walked up the aisle. As he had his back turned, he heard the crack of a baseball bat connecting with a pitch. He turned toward the field just as a line-drive foul ball struck him in the face.

The impact broke several bones and left him blind in his left eye, court records say. The ball was traveling about 95 miles per hour, according to court records.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 04:20 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: foul balls, indians, legal, protective netting

Tiebreaker, intentional walk rules added to minor league games

What has long been rumored is now true: Minor league games in the Gulf Coast, Arizona and Dominican Summer Leagues will all use international-style tiebreaker rules to eliminate lengthy extra-inning games. Once a game goes into extras, each successive inning will begin with a runner on second base.

That’s true in the 10th inning of regulation games, as well as the eighth inning of minor league doubleheaders, whose games are scheduled for just seven innings apiece. That differs from international-style tiebreaker rules, like those employed in the recent World Baseball Classic, which allow for one normal extra inning before placing runners on base. International rules also call for runners on first and second base, which almost certainly lead to the first batter bunting.

The new rules will not be used in the playoffs, but just in the regular season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 02:30 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, rule changes

Raul Mondesi wins starting second base job for the Royals

On Monday morning, seven days before Opening Day, Royals manager Ned Yost announced that Mondesi would be the club’s starting second baseman when the season begins next week in Minnesota. Once viewed as an afterthought in a four-man competition and likely headed for Class AAA Omaha, Mondesi, 21, delivered a sterling performance all spring, beating out Whit Merrifield, Christian Colon and Cheslor Cuthbert.

“He went from, in our mind, day one of spring training, going back to Class AAA, to outright winning the job,” Yost said….

After making his major-league debut in the 2015 World Series, Mondesi, a former top prospect, made his regular season debut last July, batting .185 with 48 strikeouts and six walks in 149 plate appearances. He often looked overmatched at the plate. His pitch recognition and selection appeared raw. He appeared headed for Omaha in 2017, another assignment to refine his approach at the plate.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 01:38 PM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: raul mondesi, royals

Barry Bonds, Pac-Man and the greatest baseball fun fact of all time

Baseball’s greatest fun fact was born in three stages: on the last day of the first half of the 2004 season, on the last day of the 2004 season and, many years later, when a young man was kicking stones along the river bank and discovered it half-buried by mud and shrubs. It is one part record, one part curiosity and one part magic trick. Fittingly, it concerns Barry Bonds, and as a scholar of Barry Bonds fun facts, it is my opinion that it will never be topped.

Meatwad needs baseball Posted: March 27, 2017 at 01:23 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: barry bonds, ops, pac man

Twins’ attempt to chart fatigue raises concerns with players union

“I think it’s a very dangerous proposition to start taking data that’s generated internally by an individual player,” Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said this spring. “The value of that data, how that data can be used, is a very dangerous, very delicate conversation to have.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 12:51 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: injuries, twins

Is Trevor Story ready to fill Troy Tulowitzki’s big shoes with the Rockies?

Replacing the best shortstop in the history of the franchise isn’t easy.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 10:50 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: rockies, trevor story

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-27-2017

Tacoma Times, March 27, 1917:

[Seattle manager] Bill Leard waxed highly indignant the other day because of a remark by Harry Wolverton of the Seals, quoted in a local newspaper, the tenor of which was that organized baseball might just as well let down the bard to negroes if it is to permit Chinamen to play.

You tell ‘em, Bill! Of course players of all ethnicities should be allowed to play!

“Think of that!” fairly hissed the scrappy Leard. “Think of it. Ayau is an American-born, half-Chinese-half Hawaiian, has attended American schools and speaks English almost as well as I do. And Wolverton has on his San Francisco club Jacinto Calvo, a Cuban who butchers the American lingo.

Oh.

Well, I guess being right for the wrong reason is better than nothing.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 10:13 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: casual ethnic prejudice, dugout, history

Cleveland Indians 2017 opening day roster projections: Paul Hoynes | cleveland.com

Indians roster questions.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 09:37 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: indians

Sandy Alderson on Steven Matz’s latest injury: ‘It’s worrisome’ | Newsday

“It’s worrisome that he continues to be injured off and on,” Sandy Alderson said. “That’s the difficulty. We don’t think it’s serious. On the other hand, we have to be able to, with starting pitchers, to rely on them every five days. We’re not sure exactly where this is going to take us.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 09:17 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, steven matz

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