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Monday, January 22, 2018

Is Scott Boras Working on Another End-Around? | FanGraphs Baseball

The greater question might be: how long is this a viable tactic for an agent?

At some point, I suspect, front-office executives will advise their bosses (club owners) — or already have — about this page from the agent playbook and note how it worked out with Fielder, Pujols, and Wieters. But the play might still be working for now, and agents certainly would have a motivation to employ it with so many players still looking for work with less than a month before camps open.

With logic and reason winning out thus far this offseason, it might be time to appeal to emotion and the owner’s suite.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2018 at 01:47 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, padres, scott boras

Puckett’s Toledo number turns up in Maumee basement

The great Toledo baseball mystery has been solved.

Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett indeed wore No. 28 during his time with the Mud Hens, a reader armed with proof confirmed Friday.

The Toledo Mud Hens roster card from an April 29, 1984 game against the Maine Guides at the Lucas County Recreation Center.

With the Hens planning to hold a Puckett bobblehead night this season, the search for Puckett’s number touched off an exhaustive yet inconclusive quest that entangled team officials, historians, and fans.

But for Maumee resident Guy Lammers, the answer proved just a trip to the basement away. Upon reading our column, he found the cardboard box labeled, “Programs and Scorecards,” and unearthed the evidence.

Inside were rosters from Puckett’s cameo here in 1984, along with scorebooks kept by his wife, Linda Marckel. Both verified our numeric suspicions.

“My wife is very organized, and she doesn’t throw away anything,” said Lammers, a 59-year-old research manager for a software company. “Linda knew where the boxes were and went right to it. Didn’t take longer than 10 minutes.”

Some backstory: the club needed to know what number Puckett wore as a Mud Hen and they had no record thereof.  So the public was invoked.

This is perhaps the definition of the trough of the baseball news cycle :-D

BDC Posted: January 22, 2018 at 11:23 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: crowdsourcing, kirby puckett, slow news day, toledo mud hens, trivia, uniforms

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-22-2018

Toledo News-Bee, January 22, 1918:

Second Baseman Del Pratt and Pitcher Eddie Plank of the Browns were traded to the New York Yankees on Tuesday for five players and a cash consideration. The five players are: Catcher Nunamaker, Pitcher Cullop and Shocker, and Infielders Maisel and Gedeon. The cash consideration was not announced.

The cash consideration was eventually reported as $15,000. This was a terrible deal for the Yankees. Pratt was a good ballplayer, a second baseman who played every day and had a bat that was a bit better than league-average. Plank was great, obviously, but he was 42 years old and had retired in 1917. He never pitched another professional game.

In exchange, the Browns got a star-quality 27-year-old pitcher (Shocker), a good backup catcher (Nunamaker), three unremarkable players, and $15,000. According to the Baseball Gauge, Pratt put up 22.9 WAR after the trade. The players headed to St. Louis racked up 61.9 WAR.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 22, 2018 at 10:06 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, trades

Top 100 MLB Prospects 2018 | BaseballAmerica.com

1. Ronald Acuna | OF | Braves
2. Shohei Ohtani | RHP | Angels
3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. | 3B | Blue Jays
4. Eloy Jimenez | OF | White Sox
5. Victor Robles | OF | Nationals
6. Gleyber Torres | SS | Yankees
7. Nick Senzel | 3B | Reds
8. Bo Bichette | SS | Blue Jays
9. Fernando Tatis Jr | SS | Padres
10. Forrest Whitley | RHP | Astros

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2018 at 09:08 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects, prospects rankings, top 100

Top 100 Prospects: Start Of A Ranking Revolution | BaseballAmerica.com

Worth revisiting because today is the day.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2018 at 08:48 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: prospect rankings, prospects, prospects reports, top 100

OTP 22 January 2018: What the Baseball Hall of Fame can teach us about elections

Would ballot-box behavior change if people knew more precisely how their fellow citizens planned to vote?

It’s a question that still haunts Democrats as they continue staring daggers at their friends who went third party in November 2016. But it’s also an experiment being carried out in real time by the Baseball Writers Association of America as members prepare to elect at least three and as many as five retired greats to the Hall of Fame later this

The association’s complicated voting rules work like this: Eligible players need 75 percent of the vote to win election. Those receiving less than 5 percent get kicked off the ballot; those between rejection and enshrinement can stay on the ballot for up to 10 years. And voters can support up to 10 candidates.

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: January 22, 2018 at 08:44 AM | 170 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, politics

Fangraphs: Lars Anderson Discovers Australia

Following on the heels of his foray into Japan, Lars Anderson is now playing in Australia.

The baseball is most certainly different. You might even be surprised that baseball is played in the land Down Under. Many of its own residents certainly are. ‘We have a baseball team?!’ is a common response when someone asks me what I am doing in Australia.

villageidiom Posted: January 22, 2018 at 08:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: australia, australian baseball, lars anderson

Rosenthal roundtable: Five MLB players weigh in on the pace-of-play rules and the need for change – The Athletic

Enforce the 12 second rule. I want the game done in 2.5 hours.

Scherzer: When you get down to the root of it, the clock MLB is proposing with ball-strike penalties, it’s very regimented. There is no leeway within any situations. Say there is a quick game going on. Everyone is doing their job and working at a quick pace. Then something happens and someone takes a little extra time. And we’re going to penalize somebody. That’s what leads to a lot of people being frustrated by having a regimented clock.

We hear MLB. We want the game underneath three hours. The umpires can kind of tell when the game is moving slow and when the game is moving fast. After three innings, if it’s taken two hours, we know we’re behind with the clock, the umpires would have some type of leeway to help pick up the pace of play instead of having consequences attached to it. That’s when players would be more receptive to different enforcements.

The players right now when we hear clock, when we hear balls and strikes, we just want to take our heads and beat them against the wall. It doesn’t make sense because there are too many variables in there. But if there is a conversation about situations when the game is running slow and what we should do, you’re going to have a lot of ideas from different players. There should be some middle ground here.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2018 at 08:32 AM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, rules

Tim Benz: Contend this year? Don’t buy what Pirates are selling | TribLIVE

“Rebuild implies that you’re looking five years out, and you’re going to punt the current season.

“We are not rebuilding,” Huntington said.

So “restock”, “replenish” and “refresh” are totally different from “rebuild.” Ah! Got it, Neal.

I look forward to “Nuance Night” at PNC Park. The first 15,000 fans through the gates get a thesaurus.

Huntington also admitted organizational “projection models” predict the team will be worse than the 75-win team of 2016. Then — in the same response — the GM tried to convince listeners that the team could still be the wild-card Twins or the 86-win Brewers of last year.

Right. So tell me again what were you saying about “hope that may or may not be real?”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2018 at 08:26 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Grichuk to Jays for Leone

Haven’t seen this mentioned around here.

Walt Davis Posted: January 22, 2018 at 12:54 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, cardlinals, dominic leone, randal grichuk

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Gordo: Cardinals’ rush to trade Grichuk seems puzzling

Perhaps some day his statistics will look as spectacular as his hair.

But that day will not come in St. Louis.

salvomania Posted: January 21, 2018 at 04:56 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, cardinals, randal grichuk

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Newly Discovered Wasp Is Named After the True Hit King Ichiro

The newly crowned Diolcogaster ichiroi had been sitting in relative anonymity in the Canadian National Collection of Insects, which contains over 17 million specimens. The specimen was collected about 30 miles from Lake Okeechobee and 145 miles from Marlins Park where last Ichiro played.

From entomologist Jose Fernandez-Triana’s scientific paper officially naming the wasp: “At the time the research for this paper was being conducted, Ichiro was still playing for a Florida team and thus naming a species endemic from Florida after him made complete sense. Unfortunately, the new owners of the Miami Marlins did not keep Ichiro, an unpopular decision not liked by many Marlins fans.”

Fernandez-Triana said there are 3,000 undescribed species of wasps in the family he studies at the Canadian National Collection of Insects alone (though it should be noted this is smaller than Ichiro’s 4,358 hits playing professional baseball).


Ichiro could use his ovipositor to lay eggs on or in host arthropods that ultimately provide nutrition for his larvae if he wanted to.

Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 20, 2018 at 01:47 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: ichiro suzuki

Inside Baseball | Scott Boras Weighs In On Slow Market

Boras has an expensive computer. OK, then, I’m convinced.

Boras doesn’t ever mention the “C” word but rather says there has to be some sort of “interference” that’s caused the market to halt. He speculates it’s about the analytically-driven, like-minded decision-makers who are using numbers to suggest that the longer deals for older players aren’t working. To that, Boras says, come see my computer. He has a very expensive one, and human computers on a near-100-person staff that suggest otherwise.

According to Boras, players who signed a six-year deal from 1998-2013 have averaged nearly 3.0 WAR per year (2.98), while players who signed three- or four-year deals from 2009-15 have averaged less than half that – 1.4 WAR. The players who signed the long deals also have averaged an .845 OPS while the position players on shorter-term deals have averaged a .750 OPS. Slightly different years were used, but you have to go back a little longer on six-year deals since you need longer lengths to get fair averages, and he’s including some non-free agents, which means a few long-term guys in his research were a bit younger (Joey Votto, for example). However, Boras has numbers that suggest over-30 players are still key contributors, as well.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 20, 2018 at 07:50 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: economics, scott boras

Friday, January 19, 2018

NBC Sports Philadelphia: Morphine found in Roy Halladay’s system before fatal plane crash

Not quite José Fernández-level impairment but…

Roy Halladay had morphine in his system when the plane he was piloting crashed and he tragically died in November, according to Halladay’s autopsy report, released Friday.

Zolpidem, the generic name for Ambien, and amphetamines were found in Halladay’s system.

As TMZ points out via the Food and Drug Administration, the amount of Zolpidem found in Halladay’s system (72 ng/ml) is more than enough to impair a driver and increase the risk of an accident.

Halladay had a blood alcohol content of 0.01, according to the autopsy report.


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-19-2018

Chicago Eagle, January 19, 1918:

MATTY TO PITCH IN SEASON OF 1918

Christy Mathewson, manager of the Reds, is coming out of his retirement as a hurler. Big Six will take the mound next season, he announced the other day. As his club will have to get along with six pitchers, he will keep himself in condition and be ready to go on the slab when his services are needed. The veteran hardly can be expected to take his regular turn or pitch many games, but he plans to aid as a relief hurler and pitch full games if necessary.

Matty didn’t pitch in 1918. He managed the first 118 games of the season before enlisting in the army. Unfortunately, his time in the military went almost as poorly as it could have gone.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 19, 2018 at 10:08 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

BenFred: Everybody can find a story about Musial’s magic | Ben Frederickson | stltoday.com

On the five-year anniversary of the day we lost “Baseball’s Perfect Knight,” find a moment to remember what made him so much bigger than the game.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 19, 2018 at 09:34 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, history, stan musial

15 big league prospects to watch in 2018

Honeywell is a great prospect because of his command on most of his repertoire. The screwball is an option for him but it’s a pitch he throws less than a handful of times each game.

Honeywell’s fastball touches 95 mph at times, and he has four other big league-ready pitches. But it’s his changeup—a screwball—that generates a high number of swings and misses.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 19, 2018 at 09:17 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects

Why is J.D. Martinez’s big bat still available

Why should the Red Sox bid against themselves? If there was another team out there willing to bid higher, he would have signed already. Certainly a higher bid could eventually materialize but until that actually happens…

“If you’re Boras, J.D. and the Red Sox, there has to be some creativity involved to get a deal done,” the industry source said. “They’re a perfect match. They’re really the only match.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 19, 2018 at 09:11 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, j.d. martinez, red sox

The 2017-18 Offseason: Trend or Anomaly? - MLB Trade Rumors

There is a lot of misinformation and baseless conjecture out there from people trying to figure out the current market. This includes MLB personnel. Last night I was more than surprised to hear MLB Radio Network’s @CaseyStern saying MLB is blatantly colluding to keep free agent salaries down. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t completely surprised; he says a lot of stupid stuff. To hear an announcer, who is essentially employed by MLB, making the case for collusion so strongly did keep me listening to his show a few more minutes than I normally do. (I usually immediately change the channel when I hear his voice.)

Still, is there legitimacy to teams wanting to dip beneath the line? If so, what does that tell us? Passan says that limboing under the luxury tax for one year and then jumping back to a $246MM payroll would save the Yankees and Dodgers “only $12 million in luxury-tax penalties.” But his approach — simply comparing the hypothetical 2019 tax rate between scenarios in which these organizations do or do not end up over the luxury line in the prior year — seemingly ignores a few other factors. Since the tax rate rises with each consecutive year in which the line is passed, there’s more than one future season of payroll to consider. Plus, the new CBA includes a surcharge on exceeding the tax by more than $20MM (12%) and exceeding it by $40MM or more (a whopping 42.5% plus a loss of ten places in the first-round draft order; 45% on the second consecutive time). As ESPN.com’s Buster Olney notes on Twitter, the Dodgers and Yankees “might have a $100+ [million] incentive to get under” for one year, all things considered.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 19, 2018 at 06:39 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: economics

Thursday, January 18, 2018

MLB’s plan on how they can make baseball games at least 10 minutes shorter

From Jeff Passan:

Major League Baseball plans to implement a pitch clock and stricter rules on mound visits in the 2018 season, according to a memo obtained by Yahoo Sports that outlines the changes, with the MLB Players Association expected to reject an agreement the league offered.

After the MLBPA declined a similar proposal last year, the league threatened to unilaterally impose a timer between pitches, batters and innings, as well severely limit mound visits without the union’s consent, as is its right. The average time of game swelled to a record 3 hours, 8 minutes last season. Officials believe a pitch clock can shave at least 10 minutes off game time.

Lots of details in the article.

Greg Pope Posted: January 18, 2018 at 10:06 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: time of game

Pitch clock likely coming to MLB in 2018 after union rejects latest pace-of-play plan

. A 20-second pitch clock has been used in the minors—pitchers who take too long to throw a pitch are charged with a ball, and hitters who are not in the box in time are charged with a strike—and it has cut down on the overall time of game dramatically.

Calling all Traditionalists and Innovators:  Fight!

Srul Itza Posted: January 18, 2018 at 06:58 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: commissioner, history, mlbpa

Bill James on Baseball, Facts, and the Rules of the Game

Russ Roberts is the John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.  He hosts a podcast called Econtalk.  He had Bill James as a guest.

Dreadful Foie Gras Posted: January 18, 2018 at 12:28 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, podcast

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-18-2018

Tacoma Times, January 18, 1918:

That Bill Killifer, catcher of the famous Alexander-Killifer duo may retire from baseball was the statement [in Los Angeles] today of his brother, Wade Killifer, manager of the Los Angeles club.

Wade declared he believed it likely his brother would not report to the Cubs. “Bill has stock in a manufacturing concern here. With baseball in its uncertain condition he thinks it wise to stop,” Brother Wade said.

So, to recap: About a month ago, the Cubs sent Philadelphia a reported $55,000 and two players for Grover Cleveland Alexander and Bill Killefer. Two days ago, it was reported that Alexander had been drafted for military service. Today, we find out that Killefer might just retire instead of playing for the Cubs.

Things aren’t going terribly well for Charlie Weeghman.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 18, 2018 at 10:56 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

The Current MLB Free Agent Market - Perception vs Reality? | Jays From The Couch

A very interesting take on 2018 free agency.

Remember last year when the market for power bats collapsed and shocked many – including the Blue Jays front office? That was preceded by a couple of years where “lower quality” aging veterans had already been relegated to 1 year deals or even minor league contracts. Last winter it was more middle of the road players which were hit hard, and higher quality players like Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista were impacted. The contract Jay Bruce just signed (3 years and $39 million) continues this trend. Remember in early November when Jay Bruce’s agent appeared to be “demanding” 5 years and $80-$90 million? Kind of like a real estate agent setting the price of a home based upon recent comps regardless of where the market has actually moved. The result of such a mis-judgement of a market? Inventories pile up until prices drop to the point where the market clears, and/or sellers begin to panic and start making the dreaded “bid wanted” calls.

In financial markets, there are times when liquidity literally evaporates. There are legendary stories from the crashes of 1906, 1929, 1987 and even the relatively recent global financial crisis in 2008. Owners of assets need to sell due to financial obligations and/or panic, and there is a rush of people in search for buyers and liquidity. By definition, by the end of a long bull market, most market participants are already similarly extended and not in positions of strength to offer the required liquidity. This is a particular problem when asset prices are driven to levels well above actual value, as the combination of overvalued assets and low liquidity, means that prices can drop rapidly – like from the 5 years and $150 million that Bautista reportedly demanded prior to the 2016 season, to the 1 year $19 million deal he ended up with. There have been times when an asset owner makes a call to get a price on their asset (think mortgage bonds in 2008) and the price quoted is 50% below the last trade, or literally no one picks up the phone on the other side!

Jim Furtado Posted: January 18, 2018 at 08:36 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: economics, free agents

Francisco Mejia leads top catching prospects

The Top 10
1. Francisco Mejia, Indians
2. Carson Kelly, Cardinals
3. Keibert Ruiz, Dodgers
4. Sean Murphy, Athletics
5. Jake Rogers, Tigers
6. Jorge Alfaro, Phillies
7. Chance Sisco, Orioles
8. Danny Jansen, Blue Jays
9. Zack Collins, White Sox
10. Victor Caratini, Cubs

Jim Furtado Posted: January 18, 2018 at 08:29 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects

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