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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


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Monday, November 30, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-30-2015

Pittsburgh Press, November 30, 1915:

While [Cleveland owner Charles] Somers is in Chicago he’ll probably close up the Joe Jackson deal. When the trade was made it was for $31,250 in cash, with the understanding that three players, acceptable to the Cleveland club, would be sent to the Indians later.

Two of those players, Pitcher Klepfer and Outfielder Roth, have been delivered, but the third man is still listed with the missing…Of course, rather than have the Sox try to turn back Jackson, the Cleveland owner would accept Chappell or anyone else, as he figures that the cash alone represents far more than Jackson’s present value.

Yeah, Charlie, take some money instead of one of the greatest players on the planet. Good move. Way to run a ballclub.

Elsewhere in the news 100 years ago today, the players’ fraternity wants to speed up games in part because two and a half hours is too long for a baseball game, Carl Mays says Ty Cobb is the greatest player in the world as well as the dirtiest, a writer in All Outdoors says he saw someone using a baseball glove as early as 1867-68, Cleveland skipper Lee Fohl discusses some of his theories on managing a team, and Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss says there’s absolutely no way the proposed Federal League team in New York could hope to break even because it’s impossible for a club to average 10,000-12,000 fans a game and no club will ever get crowds like that.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 30, 2015 at 08:30 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, dugout, history, indians, shoeless joe jackson

Diamondbacks’ offer to Johnny Cueto rejected |

The D-backs made a six-year, $120 million offer to free-agent right-hander Johnny Cueto earlier this month that was turned down, a baseball source told on Sunday night.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 30, 2015 at 07:35 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, free agents, johnny cueto

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tigers, Zimmermann reportedly reach deal

DETROIT—The Tigers on Sunday have reportedly come to terms with right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, according to FOX Sports said the deal is expected to be for five years and roughly $110 million. The Tigers have not commented.

FOX reported late Saturday night that the two sides were in negotiations, which were believed to have grown serious. A baseball source later confirmed the two sides were in talks, though no deal was believed to have been finalized.

A Pitch is Framed in Diplomacy in Cuba

Mr. Burns, I think we can trust the President of Cuba…..

More than half a century has passed since the Havana Sugar Kings, a Cincinnati Reds affiliate, played in the Class AAA International League. Since the giddy gunfire of followers of the revolutionary Fidel Castro grazed a shortstop and a third-base coach at a game against the Rochester Red Wings. Since Havana won the 1959 Little World Series against the Minneapolis Millers here at home.

The notion of returning to those days, absent the gunfire, may sound like pie in the sky, given the longstanding American embargo against Cuba. But President Obama and the Cuban president, Raúl Castro, announced plans last December to restore full diplomatic ties — a first hesitant step toward normalizing relations — and some see a chance for an exemption from the embargo: a baseball “carve-out.”

What’s more, this group’s enthusiastic leader, a veteran minor league executive named Lou Schwechheimer, has spent the last dozen years preparing for just such a moment.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 29, 2015 at 11:22 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cuba, minor league baseball

Could former Rockies’ slugger help Cleveland Indians offense? Hey, Hoynsie |

Some good Indians stuff in Paul Hoynes’ mailbag.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 29, 2015 at 10:29 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: indians

Young: Reggie’s job is to sell N.Y. on Yankee Stadium - NY Daily News

“The greatest thing I had going for me was New York,” said George Steinbrenner. “Bronfman can have his liquor in Montreal. Kroc can have his hamburgers in San Diego.”

Ray Krock, the McDonald’s man, offered a million more than Steinbrenner did. Charles Bronfman, the Seagram’s man, offered two million more, but if there’s one place on the North American continent that has worse weather than New York, it’s Montreal.

George Steinbrenner is smart. He took Reggie Jackson walking, and he took him in broad daylight. There’s a new kids’ game in New York. It’s called Hit the Old People Over the Head. The junior record was set the other night, a 102-year old woman.

“No mater how people try to demean New York,” said George Steinbrenner, “it’s still the Big Apple. If somebody would just realize that.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 29, 2015 at 10:13 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: reggie jackson, yankees

Bidding for David Price could reach 7 years, $210 million - The Boston Globe

Seven years? I’d rather see some other team make that mistake.

The bidding should reach the seven-year, $210 million range and likely include the Blue Jays, Cardinals, Cubs, Giants, and Dodgers. But other teams on the periphery could become engaged, such as the Nationals, Angels, Rangers, and Astros.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 29, 2015 at 09:52 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: david price, notes, red sox

Sunday Notes: Cecil Fielder, Wagner, Firpo, Ducky, more | FanGraphs Baseball

Dave Stewart was in the process of winning 20-or-more games for the fourth straight season when he gave up Fielder’s roof-clearing shot. Twenty-five years later, he’s the general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team whose pitching staff finished middle of the pack in strikeouts, and tops in Defensive Runs Saved.

Stewart was somewhat ambivalent – and waxed a tad philosophical –when I asked him about the importance of Ks.

“If you can strike a guy out, you want to strike a guy out,” said Stewart. “If you can get 27 weak outs, I’ll take those as well. On a given day, you’re going to get a lot of weak outs and a lot of swings and misses. Of course, there are also days where you’re going to give up line drives and balls that go over the fence. That’s just the way the game works.”


Indians GM Mike Chernoff offered a similar, albeit less Taoist, take on the subject. His club led all teams in strikeouts, and ranked sixth in Defensive Runs Saved.

“We’re looking for guys who can get outs,” Chernoff told me at the GM meetings. “We’re fortunate with our current staff in that we have a group of guys that gets a lot of strikeouts, but I don’t think we’re deliberately building our staff for strikeouts.

“Our defense was pretty good over the course of the year, and it was really good in the second half. That helped our pitching staff, but we’re not looking at it as a balance, where if our defense isn’t good, we have to strike more guys out.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 29, 2015 at 09:23 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cecil fielder, notes, tigers

4 teams that could sign Jason Heyward |

Dan O’Dowd has some interesting ideas on places Jason Heyward could end up.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 29, 2015 at 07:38 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, jason heyward

Saturday, November 28, 2015

New York Mets prospects Dominic Smith and Gavin Cecchini bounced back in big ways in 2015 |

The Mets have a few other players in the pipeline.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 28, 2015 at 09:43 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, prospects

David Price would be right move for Red Sox - The Boston Globe

It will be interesting to ultimately add up the cost of letting Jon Lester go.

The Red Sox botched up their negotiations with Lester in during spring training of 2014, making an initial offer of $70 million that was roughly $40 million short of what it should have been. Talks broke down and Lester was traded in July.

The Sox went downhill, Lester was traded for Yoenis Cespedes and that ultimately became Rick Porcello. Ben Cherington was ousted as GM and Dombrowski was hired.

Think about it. If the Sox had simply signed Lester for, say, $125 million, they would have saved Porcello’s contract ($82.5 million), whatever they’re paying Dombrowski (which, at a minimum, is probably $20 million) and whatever they pay for an ace in free agency, which could be $200 million.

In the end, not signing Lester could cost three times what signing him would have.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 28, 2015 at 09:40 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: david price, notes, red sox

Chris Davis and the ‘hometown discount’ - Baltimore Sun

According to sources, the Orioles ultimately don’t believe they’ll be the highest bidder for Davis, who is 29 and has hit more homers than any other major leaguer in the past four years. One source said that the organization would not be comfortable agreeing to a $150 to $175 million deal with Davis, which seems like it could be the market range.

Yet sources also say the Orioles believe they have a fighting chance to retain Davis—and that’s where the hometown discount will have to come in.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 28, 2015 at 08:46 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: chris davis, free agents, orioles

MLB to investigate Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig for role in reported fight - LA Times

Yasiel Puig will be investigated by the commissioner’s office under Major League Baseball’s new domestic violence policy after an incident at a Miami bar Wednesday night.

The Dodgers’ right fielder was involved in a fight with a bouncer, according to Major Delrish Moss of the Miami Police Department.

Puig sustained injuries to his face, including a swollen left eye, Moss said, and the bouncer suffered a “busted lip” and other minor facial bruises.

The bouncer told police Puig had sucker-punched him. Puig said the bouncer was overly aggressive. Neither said they were interested in pressing charges, and Moss said the police considered the case closed.

The Dodgers declined to comment, as did Puig’s agent.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 28, 2015 at 08:29 AM | 69 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, yasiel puig

Friday, November 27, 2015

Why did Braves trade Andrelton Simmons? | Atlanta Braves blog

This is well worth reading.

Why make the trade now instead of waiting, at least until the Winter Meetings, to drive up the price?

“Take a team like the Angels. They have needs at second base, third base, left field, bullpen. And we felt these were their two best prospects.  If we wanted to wait until the Winter Meetings, there’s a good chance that they are gone and that we don’t get this sort of opportunity again. And that’s just one example. If there’s a good deal….

“We had a shot to trade a player this past season for a guy who’s now ranked as a top-50 prospect in the game, and that player (whom the Braves were going to trade) ended up getting hurt. And by the time we tried to make the trade, that prospect had shot up the charts and they wouldn’t even talk about the player.

“We made a strong run last year with the Yankees at (pitcher) Luis Severino, and we didn’t get the deal done last year, and now he’s off-limits this year. I mean, if you feel like you have a chance to get special talent, you can’t shy away from it. You’ve got to really jump at it and take that plunge. We were not sure that we could get these sorts of players, this was such a good opportunity for us that we wanted to seize it once it was available to us.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 27, 2015 at 11:41 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, general managers, interview, john coppolella


On the current state of the club: “Here’s how it’s been: We did a very, very thorough analysis and where we were going to be if we stayed the course. We could not stay the course. We had to make dramatic and tough decisions. We had big contracts, we had talented players who weren’t going to be able to by themselves bring us a world championship opportunity again. We had a farm system where all the good players we had, had already matriculated in the major leagues. Our system was empty. And we knew that if we just continued to stay the course and tried to balance ourselves with both worlds, it wouldn’t work. Last season we couldn’t fix the big league part, although we did for the first half of the season until (reliever) Jason Grilli suffered the Achilles injury. It was difficult because we’ve been winners, and I keep reminding myself take a long-term view at what the Atlanta Braves have done. Since 1991 only the New York Yankees have won more games than us and the Cardinals are third. It’s hard to swallow for all of us, it’s hard to swallow for the fans, we understand all that.’’

On whether he is involved in player decisions: “Well yeah, I’m the president. I don’t make decisions, but they come to me and if I have a question or an uncertainty about it, I’ll voice it. I’ll listen to what they say, what’s the plan, what’s behind it, what about it makes sense to us. Those are the kind of things I ask them.’’

Jim Furtado Posted: November 27, 2015 at 10:59 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, john schuerholz

What awaits in negotiations for Major League Baseball’s next labor deal?

Jayson Stark runs down some of the issues that owners and players will need to resolve in the next CBA.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 27, 2015 at 10:40 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: cba

Disney’s ‘Bad Dinosaur’: ESPN Loses 7 Mil Subscribers

Cord cutting leads to 2 year subscriber loss of 7 million, and Disney stock takes a hit.

pthomas Posted: November 27, 2015 at 09:36 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cable, espn

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-27-2015

El Paso Herald, November 27, 1915:

Before the documents were signed that made Cyril [Slapnicka] a Brewer, he thought his twirling services were worth so much per season. The club owners thought he valued the power of his arm about $400 too much, and they told him so.
“We will give you a contract calling for the figures we have mentioned. Into this contract we will insert a proviso to the effect that if you win one half of your games we will pay you the extra $400.”
[With a 14-15 record,] Cyril got ready [for the final road trip of the season, but] the manager, he says, spoke to him thusly:

“You ain’t goin’ along, old kid; you’re gonna linger behind. We don’t need you.”

Slapnicka sued for the $400 and won, successfully arguing that the team intentionally prevented him from having a chance to get the bonus. He threw 308.2 IP in 1915, but it was the innings he didn’t throw that won Slap the cash.

Slapnicka may have been a Quad-A pitcher, but he went on to become one of the most successful scouts of all time. He signed Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Roger Maris, Lou Boudreau, Mel Harder, Ken Keltner, Herb Score, Bobby Avila, and Hal Trosky.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 27, 2015 at 08:25 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: cy slapnicka, dugout, history

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Royals: Making Contact and Winning Championships

The genius of the contact-based approach is that, if a pitcher is reliant on making hitters miss as part of his game plan, a contact-based team will have an antidote to his poison. Now it’€™s a negotiation between the pitcher and batter in terms of how good the pitcher is at inducing weak contact and how skilled the batter is at making good contact. If teams are selecting for swing-and-miss stuff and ignoring whether the pitcher is also skilled at inducing weak contact, then teams that emphasize a swing-and-hit approach and can find players who make decent contact will have plenty of guys to pick apart.

If fighting a battle under one set of rules isn’t working, change the rules. These effects aren’€™t the only reason that Royals fans can wear “€œDefending World Champions” shirts next year. I’€™m told by well-placed sources that they had a decent bullpen. It’€™s also not the case that the contact approach is the only way to win baseball games. But smart fans would do well to pay attention to the natural evolution of the game. For a few years, we have worried about the strikeout scourge and the drop in offense. Perhaps this is just the counter-move, and it was thrown into the limelight ... or perhaps the royal blue light by some gentlemen from Kansas City who are now holding a trophy.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 26, 2015 at 11:18 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: contact, royals

Inside Baseball: Dodgers chase stars as cuts may have to wait; more news -

Jon Heyman’s latest.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 26, 2015 at 08:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: notes

All MLB clubs have reasons to be thankful |

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!

Jim Furtado Posted: November 26, 2015 at 07:52 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: holidays

Jed Lowrie rejoins A’s; Brett Lawrie likely to be traded - San Francisco Chronicle

Do the A’s really need to get rid of either Valencia or Lawrie?

Lowrie’s return all but ensures the A’s next will move either second baseman Brett Lawrie or third baseman Danny Valencia. Both are drawing interest from American League teams, according to big-league sources, but Lawrie, obtained in the Josh Donaldson deal with Toronto last winter, is considered the better bet to be traded: He can play second and third well, he has an enormous amount of natural ability and he turns 26 in January.

In either scenario, Lowrie is likely to begin next season at second base, with Marcus Semien remaining at shortstop. Semien made 35 errors in his first full season at shortstop, most in the majors and an Oakland record, but he improved significantly the final month of the season. When asked about Semien’s status at the moment, general manager David Forst responded: “He’s a shortstop.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 26, 2015 at 07:49 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, brett lawrie, danny valencia, jed lowrie

Alex Gordon a Value Buy in Free Agency | FanGraphs Baseball

Gordon isn’t getting seven years. Five years at $90 million is a real possibility.

A seven-year contract for Gordon does not make a lot of sense, but if the FanGraphs crowd is correct and Gordon receives a five-year contract for $90 million or even Dave Cameron’s four year, $92 million prediction, that represent be a decent value. The Royals were in the middle-tier when it came to payroll last season and given attendance and another World Series run, Gordon might fit the team very well moving forward. There is risk in signing any player in his 30s to a long-term contract, and Gordon is no different. However, it is possible that either Gordon’s age or his injury this past season is keeping his price down. In free agency, Gordon looks to be a decent bet to fulfill the obligations of his contract in a manner with which his team will be quite pleased.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 26, 2015 at 07:22 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: alex gordon, free agents, royals

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Braves sign veteran starter Bud Norris

This Bud’s for you.

The Braves signed veteran right-hander Bud Norris to a one-year, $2.5 million contract on Wednesday, again following with their recent strategy of buying low on pitchers coming off injury or disappointing season.

In the case of Norris, it was a bad 2015 season in which he went 3-11 with a 6.72 ERA in 38 games (11 starts) for Baltimore and San Diego.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 25, 2015 at 11:17 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, bud norris

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