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Thursday, May 05, 2016

The 1981 Split Season Still Speaks to Us

In the end, as we know, Kuhn’s misperception of his own role and the owners’ general misreading of the players’ solidarity contributed to Miller winning, in his words, the “complete and unconditional surrender” of the owners. The owners provoked the strike by implementing a system of direct compensation, and ended up negotiating a system in which teams could lose a player without signing a free agent. (This system was abolished in 1985). It was a give-back by the players, but one that was, as Gussie Busch of the Cardinals management saw, a Pyrrhic victory: “If the Cubs lose a player to the Phillies through free agency, then possibly I have the honor of giving the Cubs my twenty-seventh-best player—marvelous compensation.”

On the cover of its May 30, 1981 issue, The Sporting News published a cover with images of Miller, Kuhn and Ray Grebey (the owners’ negotiator) on a baseball diamond that asked: “Will They Kill Baseball… Or Save It?” As Katz sees it, the strike saved baseball. It solidified the free agent system that has made players “partners, in a very real sense, with management,” in which owners can no longer make unilateral decisions over the business of baseball or players’ salaries. In the long run, he argues, the vision of Marvin Miller has won out.

But, in a telling conclusion, Katz also notes that insofar as the “players association is every bit as interested in keeping the status quo as the owners,” Bowie Kuhn has won, too. While relative labor peace has prevailed in baseball for the past two decades, the next negotiations will open with Rob Manfred as commissioner rather than Bud Selig and Tony Clark the executive director of the MLBPA rather than Michael Weiner. Moreover, there have been suggestions of player discontent with the current qualifying offer system, and, most importantly, player salaries have declined relative to league revenues.



Minor-league Phillies put on the healthy feedbag

Within walking distance of the Sleep Inn and Suites in Hagerstown, Md., is a Waffle House, Wendy’s, Cracker Barrel, Burger King, McDonald’s and a 7-Eleven tucked behind a gas station. This is where the single-A Lakewood BlueClaws stay three times a season, when they pile into a bus for a South Atlantic League road trip.

Shane Watson, a former first-round pick back at Lakewood after shoulder surgery, prefers the Cracker Barrel. A few weeks ago, when Lakewood visited Hagerstown, Watson planned to dine there for lunch - until a caterer carried salmon and some steamed vegetables into the hotel lobby.

This season, the Phillies will spend close to $1 million to feed their minor-league players and staffers healthy meals.

“It’s definitely a plus this year,” Watson said. “For sure. A lot of guys really like it.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 05, 2016 at 02:43 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leaguers, nutrition, phillies

Baseball’s Naturals: There Goes Yet Another Roy Hobbs

Bernard Malamud’s first novel, “The Natural,” upon which the movie was based, was published in 1952 and with no lack of publicity (it was reviewed twice in The New York Times). But it doesn’t seem that many of that era’s sportswriters were inspired to compare their subjects to Malamud’s Roy Hobbs, even with both Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, 1950s versions of Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, just then bursting upon the scene.

Then again, Malamud’s Hobbs, however talented, was hardly an attractive character. Redford’s Hobbs, on the other hand, is largely pure of heart. Which allowed the post-1984 writer to compare a player to the celluloid Hobbs without insulting him….

Beginning with Terry Pendleton, a Cardinals rookie in 1984 who batted .409 in his first 22 games. His teammates began calling him the Natural, but Pendleton finished that season batting an un-Hobbsish .324. Superstardom (and a long-lasting nickname) would ultimately elude Pendleton, as it eluded Gibson. But Pendleton would, well into his career, win a Most Valuable Player Award. Just as Gibson had.

In 1993, Blue Jays first baseman John Olerud’s teammates took to calling him Hobbsy while he flirted with a .400 batting average until late in the season. A few years earlier, Giants first baseman Will Clark— like Olerud, a left-handed batter with a textbook swing — was commonly called Will the Thrill, but the Natural was another of his nicknames…..

In the mid-1990s, outfielders Andruw Jones and Karim Garcia would both be called the Natural, however briefly. Jones delivered on that early promise and Garcia did not, but neither was associated with the nickname for long.


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-5-2016

Bill Speas, quoted in the [Liberty, Mississippi] Southern Herald, May 5, 1916:

“It happened in 1906 in the Pennsylvania and Ohio league…Our opponents had us beaten, about 40 to 0 when one of them hit a ball and slammed it down the right field foul line. The umpire threw in another ball, and he knocked it foul again. Then he hit one at me in left, and after breaking my neck to keep it from rolling into the next state, I got it and threw it into the plate, only it hit the grandstand instead.

“Well, in the meantime, the fielders had recovered the foul balls and the shortstop had one running a man down between second and third, and the second baseman had the other trying to catch a man between first and second. The catcher was chasing the ball I threw in. It looked like a fire in a Chinese laundry the way everybody was running around. I was almost sick from laughing out there in left field.

Cue Yakity Sax.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 05, 2016 at 11:57 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Breaking down the Top 30 International Prospects list

Kevin Maitan did not just suddenly appear on the radar for international scouts. He’s been on it for three years—and he only turned 16 in February.

So it’s really no surprise that the superlatives fly in when Maitan’s name is mentioned in international scouting circles. Scouts and front-office executives describe him as athletic, big, strong and talented. They compare him to a young Miguel Cabrera and Chipper Jones, and other established Major League stars.

The switch-hitting teenage shortstop from Venezuela has long been considered the top prospect for the international class of 2016, but now it’s official. Maitan is ranked No. 1 on MLB.com’s list of Top 30 International Prospects for 2016.

This year’s Top 30 International Prospects list includes 14 players from the Dominican Republic, 10 from Venezuela, five from Cuba and one from Mexico. The positions break down like this: eight outfielders, 17 infielders, three pitchers and two catchers.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 05, 2016 at 11:44 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: international free agents, prospects

Boston Globe - Red Sox usually avoid insuring major contracts

Cafardo confirms reports that Sandoval’s contract was not insured, but provides some interesting details on the practice of insuring contracts around MLB and how the Red Sox have dealt with medical red flags in the past.

Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: May 05, 2016 at 11:11 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: contract insurance, red sox

Rogers: ‘Run differential’ is becoming Cubs’ favorite phrase

At this point, observers might think the opposite is true—teams have to go through the Cubs—as the numbers point to a run-scoring and run-prevention pace that is unprecedented in the history of the game. The Cubs have scored 93 more runs than their opponents through the first 26 games. It is the greatest differential through 26 games since 1905 and puts them on pace to shatter the all-time record of plus-411 set by the 1939 New York Yankees. Of course, they’ll slow down, won’t they? If not, they’ll outscore the opposition by a whopping 579 runs over the course of 162 games.

Next up is the second best team in the majors.

McCoy Posted: May 05, 2016 at 09:28 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, greatest team


Dave Dombrowski: Pablo Sandoval still ‘committed’ to weight loss

Dollars to donuts Pablo will have a lot of dollars and eat a lot of donuts over the next year.

“I’m not going to give specific weights, but he has already dropped weight during the season once he’s been under our care on a daily basis,” Dombrowski said Tuesday, via WEEI.com. “I think he’s committed to doing that, and we’re committed to doing that. We’ll have a very thorough program to address a lot of different issues between now and the next spring training.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 05, 2016 at 08:31 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: pablo sandoval, red sox

Matt Harvey’s biggest backer admits: ‘There’s an unknown’ | New York Post

Pointless speculation.

Scott Boras agrees with Terry Collins: Matt Harvey’s early-season struggles could have something to do with his 2015 workload.

The Dark Knight’s agent also shares the Mets manager’s public optimism that Harvey will right himself.

“When you have a genius, you don’t take him out of fifth grade and graduate him from high school,” Boras said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “You may graduate him to the seventh grade. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need time and experience to take its course.

“There’s something unknown that we’re looking at. There’s an unknown here that’s operating. We’re figuring it out as we go. I’m very confident that Matt is physically healthy and very confident that adjustments will be made.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 05, 2016 at 07:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: matt harvey, mets

Exclusive: Tim Lincecum speaks publicly for first time since 2015 - Yahoo Sports

Will he end up back in San Francisco?

“Where I end up is where I’ll end up,” Lincecum said. “They already have six starters. I’ve got to just look out for me, and if they’re the No. 1 piece in the puzzle when it comes down to decision time, I’ll be excited to go back.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 05, 2016 at 07:00 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, giants, tim lincecum

Two decades after arrest, Butch Hobson finds peace. | Sports on Earth

Paul Hagen talks with Butch Hobson.

Big league coaches make far more than Atlantic League managers. If he had gotten another chance to manage in the Majors, the payoff could have been huge. He’s also 63 days short of having 10 years of big league service, which would allow him to max out on his pension plan.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 05, 2016 at 06:51 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: butch hobson, managers, red sox

More PED busts coming from Major League Baseball soon

Testing for Turinabol took a major leap forward two years ago, and as anti-doping labs have adopted the technology, users apparently didn’t get the word. Any drug someone takes breaks down into metabolites, a residue of the drug that can stay in the system long after the original or parent drug has cleared. Turinabol, like most oral steroids, breaks down relatively quickly in the body and used to be undetectable after a week, and sometimes even less time. But two years ago, researchers found that by increasing the sensitivity of their testing equipment, they could detect some metabolites that stayed in the body much longer.

“The window of detection has moved out to, typically, several weeks, and in some rare circumstances up to months after administration,” said Daniel Eichner, the president of the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah, which works with most major sports leagues.

As a result, players who might have used it without detection for years are finding themselves suddenly vulnerable to testing.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 05, 2016 at 06:40 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: peds

OMNICHATTER 5-5-16

OMNICHATTER de Cinco de Mayo

Or: The Sworn OMNICHATTER

Gamingboy Posted: May 05, 2016 at 12:43 AM | 159 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, omnichatter

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Mets’ Travis d’Arnaud’s return from DL unknown | mets.com

This doesn’t sound good.

A week after landing on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right rotator cuff, Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud still has not advanced to any sort of physical activity. The Mets have no timetable on when d’Arnaud, who is resting and receiving treatment at the team’s Spring Training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., might be able to begin throwing.

“I can’t predict that,” manager Terry Collins said. “A lot of times you come in the morning, and if he’s feeling good a couple days in a row, they might start getting him on a throwing program. But right now, he’s still just getting treatment.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 04, 2016 at 08:30 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, travis d'arnaud

The Marlins revelation who may doom Yankees’ Eovaldi trade | New York Post

Trades and long-term contracts shouldn’t be evaluated after one season.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 04, 2016 at 08:24 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: trades, yankees

Meet Bob McClure, the Phillies’ ‘mad scientist’ | FOX Sports

Pitching coach du jour.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 04, 2016 at 07:54 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Jackie Mitchell (1913-1987) The Teen Who Struck Out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig

This is a story many here have heard before but this article has the first video I’ve seen of it.

John Northey Posted: May 04, 2016 at 07:26 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, lou gehrig, women in baseball

Dodgers suspend Erisbel Arruebarrena for remainder of 2016 season

Embattled Dodgers shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena has been suspended for the remainder of the season for an unknown reason, the second straight season he has been so disciplined.

“We have suspended Erisbel Arruebarrena for the remainder of the season for his repeated failure to comply with the terms of his contract,” said Gabe Kapler, the Dodgers’ director of player development.

Arruebarrena, 26, was hitting .182/.224/.400 with four home runs in 17 games with Double-A Tulsa, including 14 starts at shortstop. He last played on Sunday, going 1-for-4 with a home run against Northwest Arkansas.

The club also suspended Arruebarrena in May 2015 for the same reason, though after appealing to the commissioner’s office his suspension was reduced to just 30 games.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 04, 2016 at 02:04 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, erisbel arruebarrena

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-4-2016

The [Chicago] Day Book, May 4, 1916:

“Lefty” Russell, who once cost Connie Mack $12,000, is now playing first base for Baltimore.

Not only did Russell cost the Athletics $12,000 (a huge sum at the time) when he was sold in 1910, but he was a pitcher. Not a particularly good sign when your high-priced pitcher becomes a minor league first baseman.

Russell threw 58 big league innings and allowed 113 baserunners. His 6.36 ERA in the dead-ball era was good for a career ERA+ of 49. He wasn’t much of a hitter, either. Russell disappears from the minor league record at age 26 after hitting .227 with one home run as an everyday first baseman for Newark.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 04, 2016 at 12:15 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, lefty russell

More PED busts coming from Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball is expected to announce in the next few days that another player has tested positive for the steroid Turinabol, a drug that was commonly used by East German athletes in the 1970s. The positive test is one of a handful being processed, two sources familiar with the cases told Outside the Lines, meaning it’s all but certain that more announcements will follow.

Turinabol, whose chemical compound is dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (DHCMT), is not something that would likely be found in the tool kit of a modern PED guru. But it is showing up widely again: Toronto Blue Jays’ Chris Colabello and the Philadelphia Phillies’ Daniel Stumpf were suspended after traces of Turinabol were found in their systems. The two, along with the player to be named, tested positive during spring training. St. Louis Cardinals catcher Cody Stanley was suspended in September after he tested positive for the drug.

MLB officials are examining what connections might exist between the players to explain Turinabol’s apparent resurgence but have not found any so far, a source told Outside the Lines. But two possible explanations exist for why positive tests are spiking, sources said: better testing technology and/or a supplement taken by athletes….

The unnamed players who tested positive have been informed, and MLB officials are still wrapping up the administrative process required to suspend them. Sources did not say when the players tested positive or how many are on major league rosters, but anyone on a team’s 40-man roster has the right to appeal, which can delay a suspension by several weeks.

LET’S WILDLY SPECULATE!

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 04, 2016 at 12:11 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: peds

Butler befuddled with lack of playing time

Butler, one month into the second year of his three-year contract with Oakland, was on the bench again in Tuesday’s 8-2 loss against right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma. He hasn’t started since Wednesday—a stretch of six straight games—and he’s appeared in the starting lineup only eight times in the team’s first 28 games.

“From my end,” Butler said Tuesday, “there’s no answers as to what’s going on. I’m just not playing.

“I’ve never been in this position before. I’ve played every day of my life from when I was 7 years old, so this is something new. I don’t even know how to exactly prepare for what I’m supposed to do because I’ve never had to do it, so I just try to treat it like I’ve treated everything else, like I’m a starter. I know I can do it in this game. There’s not a lack of confidence in my abilities.”

The A’s have avoided categorizing Butler as a strict platoon player, in part, he thinks, because “it’s hard for them to justify saying that because of my career splits.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 04, 2016 at 11:25 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, billy butler

Dominic Smith turns on power for B-Mets in rout

After batting just .174 through his first 11 games, Smith has been on a tear, hitting.349 over his last 11. During that streak, MLB.com’s No. 47 overall prospect has driven in 14 runs and homered twice, raising his season average to .275.

“It wasn’t too frustrating,” Smith said of his slow start. “I know there’s a lot of things you have to adjust to. This level is the toughest level before the big leagues. There’s a lot of top prospects you have to face day in and day out. There’s a lot of different variables you have to account for when you come to Double-A.

“Last year in the Florida State League, I started off way worse than that. Probably hit .140 in the first month and a half. I feel like I started better than I did last year. I know it’s a long season and I always believe in myself. When I’m struggling and going bad, I know it can’t go much worse than that. I believe in my abilities and that it will eventually turn around.”

Smith, who turns 21 in June, is hitting .275/.320/.451 in AA.

Dilson Herrera hit a couple of homers in last night’s game for Vegas. Along with Wuilmer Becerra (part of the Syndergaard trade who is hitting .400/.440/.471 in AA) and Rosario, I think those guys that are most worth following.

Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: May 04, 2016 at 08:38 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, minor leaguers, prospects

OMNICHATTER 5-4-16

May the OMNICHATTER be with you!

Or: The Hedge OMNICHATTER

Gamingboy Posted: May 04, 2016 at 08:38 AM | 226 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, omnichatter

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