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Friday, January 19, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-19-2018

Chicago Eagle, January 19, 1918:

MATTY TO PITCH IN SEASON OF 1918

Christy Mathewson, manager of the Reds, is coming out of his retirement as a hurler. Big Six will take the mound next season, he announced the other day. As his club will have to get along with six pitchers, he will keep himself in condition and be ready to go on the slab when his services are needed. The veteran hardly can be expected to take his regular turn or pitch many games, but he plans to aid as a relief hurler and pitch full games if necessary.

Matty didn’t pitch in 1918. He managed the first 118 games of the season before enlisting in the army. Unfortunately, his time in the military went almost as poorly as it could have gone.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 19, 2018 at 10:08 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

BenFred: Everybody can find a story about Musial’s magic | Ben Frederickson | stltoday.com

On the five-year anniversary of the day we lost “Baseball’s Perfect Knight,” find a moment to remember what made him so much bigger than the game.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 19, 2018 at 09:34 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, history, stan musial

15 big league prospects to watch in 2018

Honeywell is a great prospect because of his command on most of his repertoire. The screwball is an option for him but it’s a pitch he throws less than a handful of times each game.

Honeywell’s fastball touches 95 mph at times, and he has four other big league-ready pitches. But it’s his changeup—a screwball—that generates a high number of swings and misses.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 19, 2018 at 09:17 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects

Why is J.D. Martinez’s big bat still available

Why should the Red Sox bid against themselves? If there was another team out there willing to bid higher, he would have signed already. Certainly a higher bid could eventually materialize but until that actually happens…

“If you’re Boras, J.D. and the Red Sox, there has to be some creativity involved to get a deal done,” the industry source said. “They’re a perfect match. They’re really the only match.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 19, 2018 at 09:11 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, j.d. martinez, red sox

The 2017-18 Offseason: Trend or Anomaly? - MLB Trade Rumors

There is a lot of misinformation and baseless conjecture out there from people trying to figure out the current market. This includes MLB personnel. Last night I was more than surprised to hear MLB Radio Network’s @CaseyStern saying MLB is blatantly colluding to keep free agent salaries down. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t completely surprised; he says a lot of stupid stuff. To hear an announcer, who is essentially employed by MLB, making the case for collusion so strongly did keep me listening to his show a few more minutes than I normally do. (I usually immediately change the channel when I hear his voice.)

Still, is there legitimacy to teams wanting to dip beneath the line? If so, what does that tell us? Passan says that limboing under the luxury tax for one year and then jumping back to a $246MM payroll would save the Yankees and Dodgers “only $12 million in luxury-tax penalties.” But his approach — simply comparing the hypothetical 2019 tax rate between scenarios in which these organizations do or do not end up over the luxury line in the prior year — seemingly ignores a few other factors. Since the tax rate rises with each consecutive year in which the line is passed, there’s more than one future season of payroll to consider. Plus, the new CBA includes a surcharge on exceeding the tax by more than $20MM (12%) and exceeding it by $40MM or more (a whopping 42.5% plus a loss of ten places in the first-round draft order; 45% on the second consecutive time). As ESPN.com’s Buster Olney notes on Twitter, the Dodgers and Yankees “might have a $100+ [million] incentive to get under” for one year, all things considered.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 19, 2018 at 06:39 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: economics

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-18-2018

Tacoma Times, January 18, 1918:

That Bill Killifer, catcher of the famous Alexander-Killifer duo may retire from baseball was the statement [in Los Angeles] today of his brother, Wade Killifer, manager of the Los Angeles club.

Wade declared he believed it likely his brother would not report to the Cubs. “Bill has stock in a manufacturing concern here. With baseball in its uncertain condition he thinks it wise to stop,” Brother Wade said.

So, to recap: About a month ago, the Cubs sent Philadelphia a reported $55,000 and two players for Grover Cleveland Alexander and Bill Killefer. Two days ago, it was reported that Alexander had been drafted for military service. Today, we find out that Killefer might just retire instead of playing for the Cubs.

Things aren’t going terribly well for Charlie Weeghman.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 18, 2018 at 10:56 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

The Current MLB Free Agent Market - Perception vs Reality? | Jays From The Couch

A very interesting take on 2018 free agency.

Remember last year when the market for power bats collapsed and shocked many – including the Blue Jays front office? That was preceded by a couple of years where “lower quality” aging veterans had already been relegated to 1 year deals or even minor league contracts. Last winter it was more middle of the road players which were hit hard, and higher quality players like Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista were impacted. The contract Jay Bruce just signed (3 years and $39 million) continues this trend. Remember in early November when Jay Bruce’s agent appeared to be “demanding” 5 years and $80-$90 million? Kind of like a real estate agent setting the price of a home based upon recent comps regardless of where the market has actually moved. The result of such a mis-judgement of a market? Inventories pile up until prices drop to the point where the market clears, and/or sellers begin to panic and start making the dreaded “bid wanted” calls.

In financial markets, there are times when liquidity literally evaporates. There are legendary stories from the crashes of 1906, 1929, 1987 and even the relatively recent global financial crisis in 2008. Owners of assets need to sell due to financial obligations and/or panic, and there is a rush of people in search for buyers and liquidity. By definition, by the end of a long bull market, most market participants are already similarly extended and not in positions of strength to offer the required liquidity. This is a particular problem when asset prices are driven to levels well above actual value, as the combination of overvalued assets and low liquidity, means that prices can drop rapidly – like from the 5 years and $150 million that Bautista reportedly demanded prior to the 2016 season, to the 1 year $19 million deal he ended up with. There have been times when an asset owner makes a call to get a price on their asset (think mortgage bonds in 2008) and the price quoted is 50% below the last trade, or literally no one picks up the phone on the other side!

Jim Furtado Posted: January 18, 2018 at 08:36 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: economics, free agents

Francisco Mejia leads top catching prospects

The Top 10
1. Francisco Mejia, Indians
2. Carson Kelly, Cardinals
3. Keibert Ruiz, Dodgers
4. Sean Murphy, Athletics
5. Jake Rogers, Tigers
6. Jorge Alfaro, Phillies
7. Chance Sisco, Orioles
8. Danny Jansen, Blue Jays
9. Zack Collins, White Sox
10. Victor Caratini, Cubs

Jim Furtado Posted: January 18, 2018 at 08:29 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Christian Yelich can only blame himself for Jeter entanglement | New York Post

And the money he’s getting is in the same currency. It’s not like Jeter converted payment into Monopoly money.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 17, 2018 at 03:33 PM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: christian yelich, marlins

Comparing a Player Outside His Era | Articles | Bill James Online

Very interesting stuff from two of the very best analysts ever.

I’ve always been marginally interested in the HOF debate. One of the biggest reasons is it’s pretty impossible to compare players across eras. I didn’t always believe this to be true. My feeling changed when I was working on my own WAR system, xWins, about 20 years ago. The differences in data and contexts are two HUGE problems which I do not believe can be sufficiently accounted for in the analysis.

On there other hand, if you ask me to evaluate current players or, as Tom describes them, “generational” groups I can an acceptable job (actually even better for today’s players) because I’m not forced to invent a time machine.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 17, 2018 at 03:07 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: evaluating players, history

Rubbing Mud: The Evidence of Price Fixing We Have So Far - Baseball Prospectus

Time to get out the Reynolds Wrap.

Now we’re getting into something more sinister, even if it’s not something actionable. If there’s a kind of slotting system developing (however implicit it might be), then the owners are distorting the salary structure of the game, using their advancements in analytic intelligence and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement as cover. If good players with widely disparate skill sets and likely aging profiles are taking their talent to the market and finding an eerily similar, lower-than-expected amount of money waiting for them, something bad is going on.

By the time spring training games begin, this could all be behind us. It’s possible (and perhaps this should be highlighted more often) that owners are anticipating the $50 million windfall each will receive sometime in the next 90 days (thanks to the league’s sale of MLB Advanced Media, to Disney) and would prefer not to make their major expenditures until that money pours in. Maybe the Scott Boras effect is stronger than we think. (I already think it’s quite strong, and a better explanation for the state of the market than is generally understood.) If we look around this summer and find that the market never heated up, though, and that the cost of a win on the free agent market has significantly sagged, remember these similar deals and offers and consider that the evidence of price fixing (even if it be passive price fixing) might be stronger than we think.

The longer this lasts doesn’t prove anything. If I’m Dave Dombrowski and J.D. Martinez hasn’t signed, why would I increase my offer? If it’s me, it just reinforces my belief that I don’t have to exceed my comfort level. This goes for every other team as well. It’s a new trend; it doesn’t have to be planned or coordinated.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 17, 2018 at 11:44 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: economics, free agents

2018 Top 10 left-handed pitching prospects

1. MacKenzie Gore, Padres
2. A.J. Puk, Athletics
3. Justus Sheffield, Yankees
4. Luiz Gohara, Braves
5. Brendan McKay, Rays
6. Adrian Morejon, Padres
7. Kolby Allard, Braves
8. Jesus Luzardo, Athletics
9. Stephen Gonsalves, Twins
10. Max Fried, Braves

Jim Furtado Posted: January 17, 2018 at 11:14 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-17-2018

Richmond (Indiana) Palladium, January 17, 1918:

The ball players of Cuba seem to have killed the goose that laid the golden egg. Headed by Mike Gonzales, the Cardinals’ Cuban catcher, they have made demands so exorbitant that baseball has been put on the shelf [in Cuba] for the present season at least.
...
Gonzales explained that [players would have to receive] seventy-five percent [of gate receipts] or no baseball. [Owner Charley] Brown replied that in that case there would be no baseball. And the players who might have been taking in very satisfactory wages are now idle.

Cuban baseball 100 years later: “You think your wages are low? Hold my beer and watch this.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:17 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bill James on Baseball, Facts, and the Rules

I expect this interview to go well beyond baseball. Econtalk tackles a lot of different topics but frequently dwells in the “meta” realm of those topics. Russ, the host, is a huge Red Sox fan as well as a great interviewer.

isaacc7 Posted: January 16, 2018 at 10:28 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, podcast

Padres won’t feature brown uniforms until 2020, at the earliest - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Executive Chairman Ron Fowler, asked Tuesday about serious alterations in the near future, said “it’ll probably be the 2020 season before we see anything.” The owner said the team has commissioned a “major firm” to conduct a research study of quantitative data.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 16, 2018 at 08:24 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: padres, uniforms

Jeter may get mayor’s help on Marlins home run sculpture | Miami Herald

Certainly a priority.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 16, 2018 at 08:04 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: marlins

Christian Yelich’s relationship with Miami Marlins is ‘irretrievably broken,’ agent says

Players play.

“The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.

General manager builds the team.

“Should we feel like we need to make a trade involving any of our under-contract, controllable players, we will be the ones who initiate that conversation and always do what’s best for the organization,” Hill said at the time.

Of course, the Marlins encouraged this uprising by poorly managing the Stanton situation.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 16, 2018 at 07:23 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: christian yelich, marlins

Why Adrian Gonzalez can bother the Mets’ clubhouse | New York Post

“You don’t want somebody saying and talking the things he talks about if he’s not being productive, because he will have an opinion on most everything,” Valentine said. “That bugs some people, but it never bugged me. That’s what you’re getting into, and I think it’s well worth a half-a-million bucks. It’s a heck of a little gamble.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 16, 2018 at 07:16 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: adrian gonzalez, dodgers, mets

Are Teams “Buying the Dip” in the Relief Market? | FanGraphs Baseball

Starters are pitching less innings so relievers are pitching more. It makes sense teams would shift money from starters to relievers. At the same time, though, individual relievers are also pitching less innings. What this should mean is, teams increase reliever salaries. Eventually top pays for reliever salaries stagnate (expect for the very, very best) as teams spread the money over more relievers.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 16, 2018 at 07:03 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: economics

Here’s why baseball’s economic system might be broken

You would if the baker waited so long hoping for a better price of flour while the distributor sold out its stock to other bakeries.

“I wouldn’t blame the baker if the flour doesn’t show up,” Boras told Yahoo Sports.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 16, 2018 at 06:40 PM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: economics

Hall of Fame umpire Doug Harvey dies at 87

Doug Harvey, one of 10 umpires in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, has died from natural causes.  Harvey umpired 4,673 regular-season games in his 30-year career (1962-92), the fifth most in history.  He was a crew chief for 18 seasons, and also worked five World Series and six All-Star Games.

Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 16, 2018 at 12:57 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: religion, rip, umpire

Molina plans to retire at the end of his three-year extension | Cardinal Beat | stltoday.com

“Three more years, and that’s it,” Molina said.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 16, 2018 at 11:10 AM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, yadier molina

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-16-2018

Harrisburg Telegraph, January 16, 1918:

Grover Cleveland Alexander has been drafted for government service, and the deal between the Phillies and Chicago Cubs, which stirred the baseball world, may be declared off, causing the Philadelphia club to lose the bulk of the $50,000 reported as the burchase price for Alexander and Killefer.
...
In commenting upon the news, Alexander said the drafting would make little difference to him, as he did not intend to play with Chicago unless he received a share of the purchase money. When asked if he was ready to go with the troops, Alexander replied, “I’m no slacker.”

The deal remained in place. Alexander appeared in three games for the 1918 Cubs before heading to the army and eventually the front lines in France. His time in the war left Sgt. Alexander with deafness in his left ear, shrapnel in his right ear, muscle damage in his pitching arm, and almost certainly caused the PTSD that led to his alcoholism.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 16, 2018 at 10:07 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

What Is Baseball’s Equivalent of the Vikings’ Miraculous Victory?

For fabulous finishes in sports history, it’s hard to top Stefon Diggs’s 61-yard touchdown catch on Sunday, as time expired, to lift the Minnesota Vikings over the New Orleans Saints and into the N.F.C. championship game. As my colleague Ben Shpigel noted, it happened on the site of the old Metrodome in Minneapolis, where the Twins won the final two games of the 1991 World Series in extra innings.

Ben would know; he’s a former baseball writer. And as much as I love watching the N.F.L., I try to relate everything to my favorite sport. So when the question of a baseball equivalent to Diggs’s catch arose on Twitter, I tried to think of a precise match….

ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 16, 2018 at 07:28 AM | 88 comment(s)
  Beats: history, miracle finishes

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