““So what’s next for the Diamondbacks? The owner and the CEO are the same. Will they stay old school? Will they go outside-the-box? Will they hire someone who’s got a series of impressive degrees and worked in a baseball front office? Will they go purely sabermetric? Or will they stay where they are and augment La Russa with someone he knows and trusts, like Walt Jocketty?
Any guesses about their future might be accurate because the Diamondbacks have tried just about everything. There’s no reason to believe they’ll make any alterations to that haphazard arrangement now and, judging by their somewhat bizarre history, it’s liable to work.”“
While his teammates celebrated Friday’s 3-1 victory over the White Sox on Friday night, veteran left fielder Norichika Aoki quietly dealt with Mariners officials and then made some phone calls after being informed he was being optioned back to Triple-A Tacoma.
Aoki will be one of several roster moves announced by the Mariners on Saturday as they look to shore up a bullpen that was already running a man short and now is dealing with a sore back by Tom Wilhelmsen as well.
Erin Blank, the owner of Keystone Mascots and a former Detroit Tigers and Washington Capitals mascot, added, “We wouldn’t be doing what we do today if it wasn’t for him.”
Giannoulas’s business model was always to go where a laugh was appreciated. For years, he pursued them relentlessly, spending up to 260 days on the road.
These days, thanks to the unpredictability of travel and a desire to enjoy life in San Diego, Giannoulas stays still — or what, for him, passes for still. He hit 11 ballparks in July and August.
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He looks uncertainly to the future, unsure about appointing a successor or retiring the character that has been his alone for decades. But he does know one thing.
“It’s not the end,” he said before the tour, “but I can see it from here.”
“When you’re out there trying to get your first win and you get a couple of runs early, it maybe settles you down a little,” Gyorko said. “And he definitely got in a groove and was pounding the strike zone. I got a pitch I was kind of looking for. I was looking for that changeup and I put a good swing on it.”
After wrapping up the previous night’s loss with a solo homer in the ninth inning, Gyorko put a jolt into his 22nd of the season, driving it 423 feet onto the grass in center.
It left him one short of his career high of 23 homers, which he hit during his rookie season in 2013 in San Diego. Those came in 486 at-bats. Gyorko’s 22 this season have come in 289 at-bats and he is now a regular in the lineup, the only question being which infield spot he’ll occupy.
Joe Hardy, Roy Hobbs, and just maybe Gary Sanchez?
Sanchez continued his torrid month on Friday with the 10th home run of his young career, part of a three-hit, four-RBI performance as the Yankees routed the Orioles, 14-4. Sanchez’s fifth-inning blast off Vance Worley was celebrated with loud chants of his name from an announced crowd of 38,423 at Yankee Stadium.
. . .
Summoned to New York for an Aug. 3 contest against the Mets, Sanchez has enjoyed an all-out assault on both big league pitching and the record books. In 85 plate appearances, he has compiled a robust .403/.459/.883 split line, with seven doubles and 20 RBIs, including a two-run double in the second inning of Friday’s win.
. . .
Sanchez is just the third player to hit 10 homers in his first 22 career games; the Rockies’ Trevor Story did it this year, and Boston’s George Scott enjoyed a similar run back in 1966. Yet perhaps Sanchez’s most impressive company resides in Monument Park.
Joe DiMaggio (39) is the only Yankee to have more hits than Sanchez (31) through 22 career games. The Yankee Clipper is also the only man to have more extra-base hits in pinstripes (18 for DiMaggio, 17 for Sanchez). Sanchez’s 20 RBIs are third behind DiMaggio (22) and Hideki Matsui (21) through 22 games.
Pretty good company there. Elias is also reporting that Sanchez is the first rookie to hit 10 HRs and have 20 RBI in his first 20 games of a season.
“There were some instances where you saw Youppi! on the pocket schedule or the media guide as opposed to some of the players.”
With that in mind, the Canadiens bought the rights to Youppi! from MLB, creating a permanent link between the NHL’s most storied franchise and its bygone MLB neighbor. After 96 seasons without a mascot, the Habs handed Youppi! a hockey sweater and introduced him as an official team representative at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2005.
A month later, Youppi! performed on skates for the first time as part of a pregame ceremony, and former Expos stars Gary Carter and Andre Dawson raised a banner honoring the departed baseball team at Bell Centre. The banner identifies the four players whose jerseys were retired by the club—Carter, Dawson, Tim Raines and Rusty Staub. Fans who attended the game received a glossy program tracing the history of the Expos.
A pair of recent media reports suggested Hahn trade-deadline strategy clashed with that of executive vice president Ken Williams and Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, with Hahn favoring a rebuild. Those reports from Chicago radio and TV host David Kaplan and MLB reporter Jon Heyman again fueled the frequent speculation about how the front-office dynamic works between Hahn and Williams.
Hahn said the talk was “tired news and repetitive and there’s nothing there” and stressed there is “an open dialogue and exchange of ideas” between the trio before decisions are made as a group.
“The frustrating thing is it seems like every few months we need to have this same conversation,” Hahn said, noting he has been with the Sox for 16 years. “I have no idea where an unnamed, random report of any discord at the deadline came from. It’s simply untrue. There was no trade or direction vetoed, so to speak, at the deadline. We are of a similar mindset as to how best to proceed.”
[The Giants] have not been making many runs. Until they tied the score in the ninth inning of yesterday’s game at Forbes Field, the McGraw tribe had crossed the plate but once in 54 consecutive innings—and that score was made in Thursday’s game here.
I don’t have any idea how you’d measure this, but the 1916 Giants just have to be the single streakiest team in MLB history.
“I was striking out a tremendous amount,” he said. “I was striking out far too much and to me that was not going to stand the test of time. Again, I looked at Willie, I looked at Stan and I looked at Derek. Willie and Derek stood out to me the most. Both of them struck out during the first two months almost the same amount they struck out the last four months. That means they struck out so much that they said, ‘OK, I’m not doing that any more’ and their seasons ended up being pretty standard for them. They didn’t speak to me directly, but they spoke to me through their Baseball-Reference page, through their game logs and their game experience. And I’m grateful for that and hope that in the future I get to do that for a younger player.”
But Bregman’s performance - after a 1-for-34 start, he has raised his batting average to .231 - already has begun to force the front office’s hand, first evident when Gurriel appeared in left field during a minor league stint in which he had been expected to play only third base and DH. A month after his celebrated debut, Bregman has yet to start a big league game in left field, appearing in the outfield only once as part of an in-game substitution.
The question, then, is where to play Gurriel, a 15-year veteran of professional baseball in Cuba and Japan who has played third and second base almost exclusively. There is no doubt DH will be a part of his future, but limiting him to that wastes his ability to play the field.
Perhaps a left field/DH combo will be Gurriel’s positional landing spot. First base is another option, but what then of A.J. Reed? Reed has struggled in the majors this season, but 101 at-bats is too small a sample size to write off a player who came into this season regarded as the industry’s best minor league prospect at his position.
Miller can’t complain. Well, he can, but I wouldn’t be sympathetic.
With Shelby Miller scheduled to make at least one more start with Triple-A Reno, it appears the Diamondbacks, whether they intended to or not, will gain an extra year of club control over the right-hander.
Miller, according to sources, has three years, 133 days of major-league service time. Assuming he isn’t promoted to the big leagues Thursday, the most days he could accrue the rest of the season is 38. That would bring him to three years, 171 days, which would be just one short of the number needed to be credited with a full year of service.
In that event, it would mean the soonest Miller could become eligible for free agency is after 2019; he would be eligible for arbitration in each of the next three seasons, assuming he spends the requisite time on the major-league roster in those years.
From Frenchy’s perspective, it’s just about a best-case scenario: You’ve gone from a hopeless, helpless last-place team to one in the thick of a wild card chase; you’ve been traded not only within your division, but you’re staying in the same time zone and avoiding major travel disruptions. It’s easy to see why he’s excited.
But that data isn’t always easy to analyze. Front office analysts I spoke with said that Statcast’s radars frequently lose track of batted balls on atypical trajectories — for example, with extremely high (popup) or low (chopper) angles. In 2015, Statcast failed to provide data on 13.4 percent of all batted balls; it’s gotten a bit better as time has progressed, dropping to 12.5 percent in the first half of 2016 to only 11.2 percent since July.
Without a complete track of the batted ball, the computers must extrapolate, and sometimes they fail to report any data on the trajectory or give implausible readings (exit velocities of zero, or improbable home run distances). They can also spit out velocity readings that are just plain inaccurate. These kinds of errors require extensive manual checking and correction for use by front offices, but for public use, such ambiguous batted balls are sometimes discarded.
The Dodgers have acquired catcher Carlos Ruiz from the Phillies in exchange for catcher A.J. Ellis, Minor League pitcher Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named later or cash considerations, the clubs announced on Thursday.
Heyman’s weekly notes column. He likes the Dodgers’ process (but doesn’t like the Astros) because, essentially, he’s a front-runner.
But while the rotation turns (like a soap opera), the bullpen Friedman formed is reminiscent of his high-achieving, no-name Rays pens, filled with unsung heroes, while the lineup has come together spectacularly. The pen comprised of star closer Kenley Jansen, unknowns (Casey Fien, Adam Liberatore) and reclamation projects (Joe Blanton comes to mind) has been the best in the N.L., and the lineup has produced the most runs in the second half, despite the loss of Andre Ethier and others. The team that last October looked overly dependent on Adrian Gonzalez and utility-man-turned-star Justin Turner now has the deepest, most relentless lineup in the league.
The fourth installment of the World Baseball Classic takes place next spring and, as expected, three of the host ballparks will come from Major League Baseball. MLB revealed Thursday that WBC games will take place in Dodger Stadium, Marlins Park and Petco Park.
Dodger Stadium gets the top billing here, as it will host the semifinals and finals March 20-22. It previously held those two rounds in 2009.
The A’s announced this morning that LHP Marc Rzepczynski (1-0, 3.00) was traded to the Nationals, along with cash, for minor league 2B Max Schrock. Max Schrock, age 21 and taken out of South Carolina in the 13th round last year, seems like a weirdly excellent pickup. He’s the Nationals’ #17 prospect according to MLB.com, which sounds about right for a reliever trade in late August, but he’s having an incredible debut season.
Across A and High-A this year, he’s hit a combined .333/.378/.456 with 9 homers and 22 stolen bases over 543 PAs.
Into this vacuum slipped a muscle-bound former baseball outfielder who exposed baseball’s rampant steroid use and nearly blew off his middle finger with a handgun. Jose Canseco, who slugged his way through the major leagues, has now developed a cult following after some of his contrarian predictions about financial markets came true.
“He’s been pretty much spot on with the macro picture,” said James Mark II. The San Antonio-based stock and commodities trader first noticed Mr. Canseco’s tweets in February, after the ballplayer correctly predicted a rally in gold when many analysts were bearish.
“I read it and I was like ‘Hmm, we agree’ ” Mr. Mark added. Now he checks Mr. Canseco’s Twitter page regularly to view the latest prognostications.