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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Will teams blow White Sox away for Jose Quintana?

Nick Cafardo’s Sunday baseball column.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 26, 2017 at 07:20 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: notes

Gammons: Daniel Bard Is Willing To Endure The Frustration

The Cardinals last spring signed Bard to a two year deal which his agent Mike Milchin thought would give the organization time to see if they could ground him. His initial numbers with Palm Beach in the Florida State League (3 3 8 9 13 1) were not successful, but Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque and his minor league pitching staff decided to have him try a lower arm slot.

“In some ways, it’s a lot like what Andrew did—simply everything,” says Bard. In 2012, when struggling with his delivery, Miller, with the help of pitching coach Bob McClure, tried a delivery that was part slidestep, part of fire-the-ball-at-the-backyard wall step and fire.” Which, as we saw in October, helped him develop into one of the best relievers in the game.

Bard now just loads and fires from his low ¾ slot. On this video, shot by Woodard, one can see him registering 96 on the radar gun.

I’d love to see him return to his top form. Maybe not with the Cardinals…

villageidiom Posted: March 26, 2017 at 05:01 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, comebacks, control issues, cubs, daniel bard, pirates, rangers, red sox

Former Phillies reliever Todd Frohwirth dead at 54

Tragedy struck the baseball world late Sunday morning, as retired nine-year veteran RHP Todd Frohwirth passed away at the age of 54 due to stomach cancer, an illness he had been battling for a “lengthy” period of time, per Dan Connolly.

The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native was drafted in the 13th round of the 1984 amateur draft and spent his first four seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1987 to 1990. In 72 relief appearances with the Phillies, Frohwirth combined to go 3-3 with a 3.95 ERA, 60 strikeouts and 37 walks over 86 2/3 innings. He is remembered and revered for having thrown “submarine style.”

He had recently become a very successful high school girls basketball coach.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2017 at 03:11 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: obituary, todd frohwirth

Wong would rather be traded than platoon at second base

Second baseman Kolten Wong expressed confusion and frustration Sunday about the news that the Cardinals are considering a platoon approach at Wong’s position to start the regular season.

“You know what, that’s out of my control,” Wong said before the Cardinals played the Marlins in a Grapefruit League game at Roger Dean Stadium. “I was told that I was going to be the starting second baseman. If that’s what they want to do, then that’s their decision. The thing with me, and my frustrations is that, I think when you give someone a contract and you expect him to be the guy, you should have belief in that guy. It’s hard when you don’t feel that belief. But it is what it is. If that’s the case, then I’ll be ready to do what I gotta do to help the team win.”...

Wong has not requested a trade but confirmed he would rather depart if he is not going to be a regular starter in St. Louis.

“One hundred percent,” he said. “One hundred percent. I don’t want to be here wasting my time. I know what kind of player I am. If I don’t have the belief here, then I’ll go somewhere else.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2017 at 03:07 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, kolten wong

Tigers release Mark Lowe, who’s still due $5.5M

The Tigers on Sunday unconditionally released the veteran right-handed reliever, whom they still owe $5.5 million.

“It’s never easy when you have to cut players, but Mark Lowe was a particularly tough one for me because I really like the guy,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He was one of the better guys in that clubhouse. He does everything right. We just felt like there were other pitchers at this point who are more deserving.

“It doesn’t mean I don’t wish him well. I like the person and I hope he moves on and continues to do well.”

Lowe, who struggled mightily last season, showed signs of regaining his form this spring until Saturday, when he gave up three runs in an inning to the Pirates in Bradenton. In 8.2 innings, he had a 1.67 WHIP and opponents hit .297 against him.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2017 at 01:12 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: mark lowe, tigers

Mike Trout proposes umpire change

It was during one of those chats with a veteran umpire earlier this spring that Trout offered a thought: As the experienced umpires work their way back into game shape in spring training, just as the players do, why not have them work five or six innings and turn over the last innings to umpires who would normally work minor league games on back fields?

The idea is simple, but has a lot of helpful layers, beyond allowing an older plate umpire a little more time to work into condition in spring to see 350 or so pitches in a given game. It is extraordinarily difficult for young umpires to advance in the industry because there is little annual turnover among umpires in the big leagues. For a young umpire slated for Class A or AA to get a few innings in a major league exhibition—with the packed ballpark and major league players—would be something of a reward, as it is for the minor league players.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2017 at 01:00 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: mike trout, umpires

Tigers will try to convert OF Anthony Gose to pitcher

Sean Doolittle did it. Kenley Jansen and Jason Motte did it.

The Tigers are going to see if Anthony Gose can do it, too.

Gose, the Tigers’ opening day starting center fielder the last two seasons, was re-assigned to minor league camp Sunday. He will still play outfield wherever he lands in the system this season, but he will also take initial steps to convert to pitcher.

“He came back to us with an idea – something that we had talked about internally and the end of last season,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He’s going to throw a couple of bullpens here and there. He was a guy who threw in the mid-90s in high school.

“Try it out and see what happens.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2017 at 12:50 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: anthony gose, pitcher conversions, tigers

Cleveland Indians working on long-term deal with Francisco Lindor, confirms small child

The Cleveland Indians may be working on a seven-year extension for star shortstop Francisco Lindor, a small child confirmed on the team’s live broadcast yesterday.

Ok, that intro sentence sounds a bit off, let me explain. No, I’m not insulting Jordan Bastian by calling him a small — the son of Indians general manager Mike Chernoff joined Tom Hamilton in the booth yesterday and he, uh, well, might have broke some news.

After a few minutes of typical adolescent shyness, young Brody Chernoff was prodded (jokingly) by Hamilton for some kind of news he could tell us about his dad, Mike, making any late night calls to attract a free agent. Given how closed off Brody had been for most of the fun little segment, it made sense that he would probably shake his head no and Tom could laugh it off as “well at least I tried to get a scoop.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2017 at 12:49 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: francisco lindor, indians, kids, mike chernoff, podcast

Mets lefty Steven Matz to skip next start | MLB.com

This isn’t good.

“It’s worrisome that he continues to be injured off and on,” Alderson said, referring to Matz’s checkered medical history. “That’s the difficulty. We don’t think it’s serious. On the other hand, starting pitchers are relied on every five days. I’m not sure exactly where this is going to take us.”

Matz said he began feeling discomfort even before his last outing, in which he gave up five runs in four innings Wednesday against the Marlins. Examining the left-hander following that start, doctors concluded that there is no structural damage in Matz’s elbow. The Mets’ medical team suggested the issue may be related to the season-ending operation Matz had in September to remove a bone spur from his elbow. Matz also underwent Tommy John surgery as a prospect in 2010, and has struggled with elbow, shoulder and other health issues ever since.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 26, 2017 at 12:06 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: injuries, mets, steven matz


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Brockmire’ Trailer: “Sybaritic Love Letter To Baseball” Says Hank Azaria

IFC’s new comedy Brockmire, debuting Wednesday April 5 at 10 PM, is a “sybaritic love letter to baseball,” star Hank Azaria told TV critics today at TCA.

cardsfanboy Posted: March 25, 2017 at 06:20 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball tv show, hank azariahomer simpson

Sources: Rougned Odor expected to sign multi-year extension with Rangers

Two MLB sources said the Rangers were growing increasingly optimistic they would complete a contract extension for Odor before the end of spring training. The expected six-year deal in the $50-52 million range may only be lacking formalities. It comes on the heels of a much smaller deal for Chirinos, who signed a one-year extension with a club option earlier in the week.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, citing his long-held policy of not commenting on contract negotiations, declined to comment. Daniels has maintained the Rangers are in contact with the agents for a number of their players on conversations about the future.
Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the six-year extension for Odor would total $49.5 million with an option for a seventh year.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 25, 2017 at 12:09 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers, roughned odor

Dodgers’ pitchers rate well in Statcast metric | MLB.com

Lowest estimated OPS in 2016
.438—Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
.450—Andrew Miller, Yankees/Indians
.456—Zach Britton, Orioles
.471—Grant Dayton, Dodgers
.487—Aroldis Chapman, Yankees/Cubs
.491—Alex Reyes, Cardinals
.508—Shawn Kelley, Nationals
.515—Dellin Betances, Yankees
.517—Kershaw, Dodgers
.526—Seung Hwan Oh, Cardinals

Jim Furtado Posted: March 25, 2017 at 08:48 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, statcast

Why Travis d’Arnaud should never catch Noah Syndergaard | New York Post

I watched most of yesterday’s day. He’s right; this should never happen again.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 25, 2017 at 08:32 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, noah syndergaard, travis d'arnaud

Twins’ option struggling, ‘overthinking’ J.T. Chargois

Updates on the spring.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 25, 2017 at 08:26 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: twins

Friday, March 24, 2017

Heyman: Nationals leaning toward Koda Glover for closer role

Unknown long shot Koda Glover, who has zero major-league saves, emerged as the favorite to win the coveted Nationals closer job, sources suggest. Glover has impressed Nats people with his fastball and moxie — especially his moxie.

“He doesn’t give a (hoot),” one Nats-connected person said, admiringly.


Nationals people are expected to meet within the next three days to discuss the situation, and perhaps solidify things.

There’s still 10 days to go and things can change, but Nats people don’t believe Glover’s gutsy ways will change, so it appears he has the inside track despite Blake Treinen’s almost flawless statistical spring.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 11:24 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: koda glover, nationals

Sources: Indians finalizing four-year extension with Jose Ramirez

Versatile infielder Jose Ramirez and the Cleveland Indians are finalizing a four-year contract extension that will guarantee him upward of $30 million, sources familiar with the deal told Yahoo Sports.

The deal, which includes two club options, will kick in next season and give the Indians control of Ramirez through the 2023 season. If the Indians exercise the options, it could push the value close to $50 million, according to the sources.

The 24-year-old Ramirez is coming off a breakout year in which he helped the Indians to the World Series and the cusp of a championship. He hit .312/.363/.462 and was a veritable Swiss Army knife around the diamond, playing third base, second base, shortstop and outfield.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 10:53 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, jose ramirez

Detroit Tigers’ J.D. Martinez will be out 3-4 more weeks

Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said rightfielder J.D. Martinez will miss 3-4 weeks of baseball activity, starting from Friday, due to a sprained Lisfranc ligament in his right foot. Ausmus also told reporters Martinez is wearing a cast that will be on for 7-10 days.

Ausmus had previously said he was optimistic about the results of two MRIs. Martinez went to Charlotte on Friday to have a stress CT scan performed by Dr. Robert Anderson. That test was used to determine the severity of the injury and to establish a timeline for how long Martinez would be out.

“It’s longer than I thought it was going to be,” Ausmus said. “But, like I’ve told you many times, I’m not a doctor.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 05:54 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: j.d. martinez

Rays to sign catcher Derek Norris


The Rays are signing free-agent C Derek Norris, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

The deal with Norris, which is pending a physcial, will be for one year, though the Rays could retain control of Norris in 2018 when he’d be eligible for arbitration for a final time. The total value is expected to be worth less than $2-million.

They will have to create space on the 40-man roster once the deal is finalized.

UPDATE, 4:47: The major-league deal is for $1.2-million guaranteed, plus $800,000 in performance bonuses.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 05:52 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: derek norris, rays

Southern hospitality: Braves unveil new SunTrust Park food | FOX Sports

There must be cake.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 24, 2017 at 11:51 AM | 76 comment(s)
  Beats: food

Anderson wins spot in Cubs rotation

The world waits with bated breath to see how many starts Anderson actually makes; the over/under has to be, what—10?  (Also, the notion of Kyle Hendricks being the Cubs’ No. 5 starter is fairly absurd.) 

As long as Anderson can remain in the rotation, it’s probably a good thing for the pen to have Montgomery out there, though I like Montgomery’s chances of making more starts than Anderson this year.


Why DFA is the WTF of baseball and how one player fought back

Over the course of 2½ months this winter, Shaffer’s rights belonged to five teams: the Rays, the Mariners, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Indians. After growing up in Charlotte the star of his youth-league teams, going to Clemson helping lead the Tigers to the College World Series, going 25th overall in the 2012 draft to Tampa Bay and slugging all the way through the minor leagues, the kid who’d never been cut from anything was DFA’d four times in six weeks, told again and again, tacitly, that he wasn’t good enough.

“That was the first time I’d ever been talked about in that light – as a player a team would consider DFA’ing,” Shaffer said. “A year prior to that, I was in the Futures Game. I know it’s a number’s game, but that was a weird sensation. A team was pretty much telling me it was willing to give me away for nothing. It was an ego hit.

“Baseball’s an odd business. The game is pretty simple, but the business is strange. Once you get DFA’d once, there’s almost this perception that you’re a guy who can be DFA’d. Essentially, the next person who picks you up gets you for nothing, so you’re just as expendable to the next team because they got you free.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 11:17 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: jeff passan, richie shaffer

Pirates’ Jung Ho Kang reportedly denied visa to enter U.S. after DUI conviction

He’s a bad hombre!

Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang has reportedly been denied a visa to enter the United States following his DUI conviction in South Korea. The Pirates have not confirmed the news.

Kang, who has been arrested three times for DUI in South Korea over the years, was sentenced to eight months in prison earlier this month , though the sentence was suspended two years. That means Kang could avoid prison time entirely if he stays out of trouble the next two years.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 10:11 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: jung-ho kang

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-24-2017

Topeka State Journal, March 24, 1917:

John Couch, a recruit pitcher with the Detroit Americans doesn’t have to worry about the price of potatoes or whether he makes good in the majors.

Couch and his five brothers own a cattle ranch of 16,000 acres in Montana and he is well fixed with the world’s goods. He has been playing ball in the summer and going to Leland Stanford university in the winter.

Couch was never a star in the big leagues, but he made 147 career appearances with a 91 ERA+. He won 16 games for the 1922 Reds.

I don’t know if or when Couch graduated from Stanford, but he pitched for San Francisco in 1915-1916 and 1919-1921. That could have been convenient for his classwork. If he lived in San Mateo or thereabouts, he’d have been 15 miles from San Francisco and 15 miles from Palo Alto.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 10:01 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Stu Sternberg: Top choices for Rays new stadium are unavailable

What were the Rays’ top five choices for a new stadium — three in Tampa and two in St. Petersburg — are unavailable. That may push the team’s time line for finding a new site from August to the end of 2017.

“We had some ideas on locations that just weren’t available, that I thought would have worked perfectly, but they’re off the table,’’ Sternberg said before the Rays’ game at their spring training site in Port Charlotte. “So we’re sort of moving down our list to Nos. 2, 3 and 4.”....

As a result, Sternberg said the team doesn’t know if it will find what he has previously described as a “pin-perfect” site. Later, he clarified his stance, saying he remained optimistic the team can find a stadium solution in the bay area.

“It’s highly likely there will be a workable site,’’ he told the Tampa Bay Times. “So I’m confident.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 09:25 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, stadium

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