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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Nats have tough decision to make on Uggla

Is it ableist to keep the good players and unload a few Ugglas?

[Dan] Uggla’s disastrous 2014 with the Braves (and briefly the Giants) left him in this position, forced to accept a minor-league contract with the Nationals and nothing more than an opportunity to compete for a spot on the big-league roster.

Thing is, Uggla’s performance this spring suggests he is worthy of making a big-league club. An 0-for-3 showing Saturday in Port St. Lucie dropped his batting average from .303 to .278, but he still sports a .422 on-base percentage, .922 OPS, only seven strikeouts in 36 at-bats and renewed confidence after undergoing a breakthrough vision treatment program…

What, then, do the Nationals do with Uggla?...

the 35-year-old admitted he wouldn’t be real comfortable in a reserve role.

“I’d have to say no,” he said. “I’ve never done it before. It’s not where I feel like I’m at in my career. That’s not what I’m looking to do.”

That puts the Nationals in a tough spot. They’ve probably seen enough this spring to be convinced Uggla can help them, but how exactly would he fit on their roster? And given that he has an opt-out in his contract, according to sources familiar with the deal, he won’t remain in the organization unless he makes the Opening Day roster.

The District Attorney Posted: March 29, 2015 at 01:20 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dan uggla, nationals

Spring training is horribly, utterly broken; here’s how it can be fixed

We talkin’ bout practice????

The schedule isn’t going to shrink back to the 25-game range of the mid-80s because all the municipalities that agreed to build the mega two-team complexes now in vogue demand 30 spring dates out of their stadiums to pay the bills.

Fine. Make the front end of spring training all about top prospects. Reverse the reporting dates now in existence. Have a manageable number of minor leaguers - lord knows they could all use the instruction from and interaction with the major league staff – and the non-roster veterans fighting for a spot report at the current reporting date. Let them play the first week of games. Have veterans show up 10 days later and begin playing the second week of games. Most players are bored to tears by mid-March anyway.

If veterans want to show up early, that’s fine, but don’t allow them to play for the first week of exhibitions. Make them work more gradually into baseball condition, limiting the risk of muscle strains. One thing the Rangers did this year was reduce the work schedule because they felt players went too hard too early, which led to those muscle strains. In Japan, for example, there is almost a month of conditioning in a slow build up; there are only about two weeks of exhibitions.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 29, 2015 at 12:40 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: injuries, spring training

Posnanski: A Baseball Story

Then there was Bobby Bragan, who would confess that he was willing to give up his career to make this stand. In later years, he explained: He saw blacks as inferior to whites. He did not know how to tell his family and friends that he was playing baseball with a black person. He did not see this as hateful or even objectionable; it was simply his view of the world. Bragan asked to be traded.

The Dodgers didn’t need him. He was a backup catcher who was only good for a few dozen at-bats. He was popular in the clubhouse, and he was one of those players who makes the season more enjoyable for everyone. Such players are not exactly disposable. But they certainly are not essential. There seemed no reason for Rickey to deal with Bragan’s mutiny.

Branch Rickey was many things, some of them admirable, some of them less so. But, above all, he was shrewd. And that day, he saw something in Bobby Bragan that Bragan did not see in himself.

“If Jackie Robinson can play the position better than another player,” Rickey said after summoning Bragan, “then regardless of the color of his skin Jackie Robinson is going to play. You understand that Bobby?”

“Yes sir,” Bragan said.

“And how do you feel about this?”

“If it’s all the same with you, Mr. Rickey, I’d like to be traded to another team,” Bragan said.

And then, Bragan would remember, Branch Rickey leaned back. Maybe he puffed on his cigar. Maybe he didn’t. He asked Bobby Bragan a question.

“If we call Jackie Robinson up,” Rickey asked, “will you change the way you play for me?”

And here, at last, Bobby Bragan was forced to confront what kind of man he was.

“No sir,” Bragan said. “I’d still play my best.”

That was what Rickey wanted and needed to hear. He dismissed Bragan and made a note in his mind: Bobby Bragan would be OK. Bobby Bragan had it in him to change.

Of course, Bragan didn’t think so. He went into the season bitter. But he began to watch Robinson from a distance. There wasn’t an overnight conversion.”I learned,” Bragan would say. “Not fast. But I learned.” The more he watched Robinson, the more he felt — despite himself — something like grudging respect. The guy could play ball; Bragan thought he was the Dodgers’ best player more or less from his first day. Robinson kept his head down. He did not try to engage teammates in conversation. He ignored the persistent taunts from the crowds and the opposing benches. Bragan at fired avoid Robinson on the train, but soon he found himself drawn as if magnetized. He would sit two rows away. He would sit one row away.

And then he sat next to Jackie Robinson. They didn’t talk much, and they didn’t talk about anything, in particular — just baseball stuff. Something about a pitcher. Something about a play. Maybe Bragan told a little joke. Maybe Robinson smiled. Maybe Bragan — again, in spite of himself — felt good that he could break Robinson’s hard exterior.

Then, they would sit next to each other again on the train. And again. Robinson joined a card game Bragan was playing. Few things can connect people quite like playing cards. Bragan would find himself sitting next to Robinson in the dugout, and they would talk, and when Bragan heard his family and friends and others discount Jackie Robinson, heard them call him less than a man, Bragan found dissent welling up inside him. “Wait a minute,” he would think. “You don’t know him.” And, to his surprise, he found himself saying that out loud.


Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson banners removed from Angel Stadium entrance

With that in mind, MLB.com points out that this season’s Angels banners have undergone some major changes despite the team making few significant changes during the offseason. Of the six banners, only Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Jered Weaver remain from last season. Basic math tells us that means three banners were removed and three new banners were put up in their place. As for those removed, according to MLB.com, those would be Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson and Howie Kendrick.

Win Big Stein's Money Posted: March 29, 2015 at 10:30 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, c.j. wilson, josh hamilton

Will Mets unseat king Yankees? These matchups will decide | New York Post

Joel Sherman compares the Mets and Yankees.

Supremacy in New York could come down to who gets the best results in a few areas in which the teams have similarities such as:

Jim Furtado Posted: March 29, 2015 at 09:54 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, new york, yankees

Masahiro Tanaka can avoid surgery and still be dominant, says Adam Wainwright - Newsday

Here’s some real hope for Yankees fans.

Still, Wainwright has no regrets about going with the nonsurgical option. He felt even better about it once he did have to go through the whole Tommy John ordeal.

“What I always tell people is, if you have a great chance to come back successfully, then you should not have the surgery,” Wainwright said. “People and parents don’t really understand the Tommy John procedure and how hard the rehab is. Even though they have great numbers to verify why you should have it, there’s still a percentage of people that don’t come back healthy.”

Wainwright said he’s often approached by parents asking if their son should have Tommy John—almost as if it’s an elective surgery—with the thought being that he’ll return with increased velocity.

Wainwright usually responds, “Well, does he have a blown-out ligament?”

If not, he recommends building up strength instead—in the shoulders, forearms and hands—to guard against injuries.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 29, 2015 at 09:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: adam wainwright, masahiro tanaka, tommy john surgery, yankees

Feeling left arm fatigue, Garcia unlikely for Opening Day | cardinals.com

Just as the Cardinals began to allow themselves to get excited about what a healthy Jaime Garcia could add to their rotation, the lefty suffered another medical setback that will almost certainly preclude him from making the Opening Day roster.

Manager Mike Matheny announced after the club’s 4-3 loss to the Tigers that Garcia was scratched from his scheduled start on Sunday after he alerted the team’s medical staff on Saturday afternoon that “he’s feeling something that isn’t right.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 29, 2015 at 09:48 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, jaime garcia

With major defections, early rotation woes, could Rays be in for long year? - CBSSports.com

Jon Heyman doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the 2015 Rays fortunes.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 29, 2015 at 09:13 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Defiant CC Sabathia doesn’t give a ‘f–k’ about poor spring outings | New York Post

I haven’t seen any of his starts. How bad has he looked?

A reporter asked the veteran lefty how much stock anyone should put in the results we’ve seen so far.

“I don’t give a [expletive] what stock they put in it,” Sabathia said, as the Yankees were losing a 10-2 game to the Orioles at Steinbrenner Field. “It is what it is. I’ve had spring trainings where I’ve given up a lot of runs and went out and had a good season. I’ve had spring trainings like last year where I didn’t give up [any] runs and I gave up [six] in the first game [April 1 at Houston]. So you all can put stock in whatever you want. I’m not really worried about it.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 29, 2015 at 08:58 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: c.c. sabathia, yankees

U.S. union stands behind minor-league baseball players | Toronto Star

$800 a month isn’t a lot of money.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 29, 2015 at 08:50 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leaguers

Did David Ortiz admit to more than he realized with his Players’ Tribune editorial?

Interesting speculation on the Ortiz piece from Calcaterra.

So let’s go back to David Ortiz. He claims he’s been tested 80 times in the decade or so there has been drug testing. That’s an awful lot of testing, especially when you consider that the blood testing just started last year. And that, until last year, the number of in-season random tests was less than half of what it is now. Given that a player not “in the program” gets, at most, four tests a year and more likely 2-3 (less before last year), what possible basis could there be for Ortiz to be tested as often as he claims he has been other than a previous positive test?

rufus was here Posted: March 29, 2015 at 08:36 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: david ortiz, peds, red sox

Sunday Notes: Perkins & Varvaro, Travis in Toronto, Dozier Ducks, much more

David Lauria’s latest.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 29, 2015 at 08:06 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: sunday notes

Mariners Prospect Victor Sanchez Dies - BaseballAmerica.com

Victor Sanchez has passed away.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 29, 2015 at 12:13 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, prospects

Hanigan is bummed out about injury to Vazquez | redsox.com

This doesn’t sound too promising.

“When you find out what the deal is, all you can do is feel for the kid,” said Hanigan. “He was pumped up, excited, ready to go. It’s just a tough thing, but he’ll be back.”

All the Red Sox have said for sure is that they found “something” in the MRI conducted on Vazquez.

If that something includes ligament damage, Vazquez would face the possibility of Tommy John surgery, a fate that Orioles catcher Matt Wieters faced last year.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 29, 2015 at 12:08 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: christian vazquez, red sox, ryan hanigan

5 trades that make sense before Opening Day | MLB.com

Jim Duquette makes a few suggestions.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 29, 2015 at 12:04 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: trades

Saturday, March 28, 2015

NY Post: Sherman: Commish, Boras And Cubs: Shut Up About Hopeless Phenom Debate

It’s time for everyone involved in the current Kris Bryant saga to shut up. For the good of the kid and — more vitally — the good of the game.

Everyone has had their say now, even the new commissioner. Everyone has staked their position. This should be the feel-good story of the spring. Instead, the rarest commodity in the sport — a young position player with the talent and charisma to attract fans — has been soiled.

It would be worthwhile if this were a debate in which the outcome could be swayed. But that just is not the case.

The Cubs say they still have not made a decision whether they are sending Bryant down. Stop. If Bryant is sent to the minors for even just 12 days, Chicago can — by rule — control him for seven years before free agency rather than six. It is a no-brainer and anyone who has been around the Cubs executives would not describe that intelligent lot as brainless.

bobm Posted: March 28, 2015 at 10:24 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kris bryant, scott boras, theo epstein

Chicago Cubs Kris Bryant and the service-time game | FOX Sports

As you may have noticed, there are a few Kris Bryant discussions on the site. One area of some contention is how the CBA actually works. I’ve seen one poster unequivocally state that keeping Bryant down won’t give the Cubs another year of Bryant’s play, even going so far as to say “I am so ####### tired of reading this. It is not about what years the Cubs have Bryant it is about how much they pay him in those years.” Debating such topics without factual information only makes the discussions more difficult and more acrimonious than they need to be. Luckily, CJ Nitkowski’s timely and informative article popped up in my Google search. FYI.

In an average year there are 183 service days in a major-league season, 162 games and 21 off days. If you accrue 172 days in any season, it is considered a full year. Six full years gets you to free agency. Five years and 170 days—like Rick Porcello currently has—does not.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 28, 2015 at 08:24 AM | 64 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kris bryant

Sadly, We’ve Lost Another Primate

With a heavy heart we regret to inform you of the untimely death of longtime Primate Joel Schuster, known on the site as either Jack Vincennes or Bunny Vincennes. Although I didn’t interact directly with Joel often over the years, he will be missed by all as he was always a force to be reckoned with,whether in a contentious Cubs thread or is a heated Lounge thread. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends, especially to his many,many friends on the site.

In lieu of flowers, the Dane County Humane Society or the YWCA - organizations that were important to Joel. Messages may be left with http://www.butzinmarchant.com

A gathering to remember Joel and celebrate his love of baseball will be held on Sunday, April 12th from 2-6 p.m. at Genna’s cocktail lounge at 105 W. Main, Madison, WI 53703. All who knew Joel are welcome to watch the Cubs play the Rockies, follow the final round of the Master’s, share stories and sing, “Take me out to the ballgame!”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 28, 2015 at 07:56 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: obituary

Astros to introduce drool-inducing Chicken & Waffle Cone

The Houston Astros understand that sweet and salty, like Biggio and Bagwell, are one of the best combinations of all time. That’s why they’ve decided to take crazy to a new level with the Chicken & Waffle Cone. Your eyes do not deceive you. That’s chicken in a waffle cone, served with mashed potatoes and a honey mustard sauce.

Win Big Stein's Money Posted: March 28, 2015 at 02:08 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, fatass, pablo sandoval

Jonathan Lucroy’s bat is literally on fire

In a recent promotional shoot, Lucroy decided to take the phrase literally.

Win Big Stein's Money Posted: March 28, 2015 at 01:48 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, jonathan lucroy

Friday, March 27, 2015

BBTF 2015 Shooty Memorial Softball Meet-up!

Hope everybody is recovered from last year, because it’s time to schedule this year’s Amazing Athletic Extravaganza!  Let’s decide on a date this week that works for the most people possible.  Let me know which of these work for you:

June 6, 13, 20, 27
July 11, 18
August 1, 8, 15

Anybody who’s in contact with Primates who haven’t been around lately, please let ‘em know.

Hysterical & Useless Posted: March 27, 2015 at 06:49 PM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: softball

The Dome: 15 years ago Seattle blew up a giant, concrete eyesore full of memories.

Its hosted an All-Star Game, a Pro Bowl, an NBA All-Star, and a Final Four. Thank god its gone.

It was an albatross. Only fifteen years after its spectacular demolition was King County able to pay off the bonds still tied to it. The Kingdome was only slightly older than Safeco Field is now before its two main tenants began grousing about its inadequacy as a modern sporting venue. The moment that Camden Yards opened in 1993 and began printing money for the Orioles the last 30+ years of ballpark construction was rendered obsolete.

3) It was permanent. Anything that pre-dates your memory is. Anything that large isn’t designed to be so fungible. Part of the point of massive buildings is to impart upon you your own smallness. This massive thing laughs at your size, your fragility, your temporal nature. The Kingdome was 5 years old when I was born but it may as well have been 100. I still feel strange walking around Sodo in between Century Link and Safeco.
 
4) After you took your seat in it you were struck by two things. One was the sheer enormity of it. This was emphasized by the fact that typically the place was only 1/4 full at most. It felt like you could fit Rainier itself in there. Two was the way sound worked. This was apparent to us way before Seahawks games made it famous and 95 made it legendary. On a typical game day you could easily have a conversation with someone two section over as though they were sitting next to you. The Kingdome used sound to compress the space between us. The Kingdome gave us a power we’ve been using ever since.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2015 at 06:11 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: defunct stadiums, kingdome, mariners

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 | 48 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 | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: al central, indians, royals, tigers, twins, white sox

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