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Friday, February 24, 2017

Are statheads “pro ownership?”

But, beyond that, something happens when statheads talk about transactions or rule changes in particular. Unwittingly, I think, we ally with ownership. When a player signs a free agent deal, and we talk about whether it’s a “good” or a “bad” deal, we’re framing that in terms of whether it helps the team that the player signs with….

But I don’t think that’s out of some sympathy with owners. Rather, I think that most analysts, whether they’re into analytics or not, are fans first and foremost. Or at least have trouble taking off their fan caps entirely when they do analysis. As fans of teams (or laundry, as Seinfeld once said), we want what’s best for the team or teams we support. We understand each club has a budget, and we want the clubs we root for to not be unduly hamstrung within that restriction by “bad” deals that limit their freedom and flexibility to make other moves. And we know that our readers do too. You are fans of the Cubs, the Giants, the Yankees, and the Rangers far more than you’re fans of Mike Dunn or Edwin Encarnacion. In this, the interests of the owners and the analysts selfishly align, at the expense of the players.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2017 at 12:25 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, labor, ownership, rob neyer

Kate Upton: No sex with Justin Verlander before games

“There’s no sex before a game. Absolutely none,” said Upton. “And then, also what I just found out is, if he plays too well, there’s no sex after, either. He’s exhausted. Kind of a buzzkill for me.”

Upton also revealed Verlander’s reaction to her controversial tweets about him not receiving the AL Cy Young Award .

Jacob Posted: February 24, 2017 at 12:21 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: justin verlander, kate upton

MLB views Las Vegas as ‘viable market,’ Rob Manfred says

So build that stadium, Oakland and St. Pete!

Major League Baseball’s softening stance on sports gambling may one day open the door to an untapped market long considered taboo: Las Vegas.

It’s all the rage lately, with the NHL’s 31st franchise set for a Sin City debut next season and the NFL on the brink of following suit. Might MLB join them? Commissioner Rob Manfred is at least open to the idea, a departure from baseball’s longstanding efforts to distance itself from the betting world.


“Las Vegas could be a viable market for us,” Manfred said during his Cactus League news conference Tuesday in Phoenix, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I don’t think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2017 at 11:51 AM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, expansion, las vegas, rays

Inside Baseball with Jon Heyman: Final offseason grades

Lots to unpack here.

Jake Arrieta and the Cubs were supposed to speak about a potential contract in January, but if they did, there is no sign of optimism. Cubs management weighs age heavily in their calculations, and there’s no indication they were willing to go more than four years, if that. Arrieta is expected to be one of the biggest free agents in a strong market this winter, and he will undoubtedly cite the Max Scherzer $210-million deal as a comp…..


The Royals and Eric Hosmer are expected to have negotiations, and word is, he’s the top free agent on their “keep” list (Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain also are free agents after the year). The team has conceded he’s worth more than Brandon Belt, who got a $75-million deal with the Giants, and the number would almost certainly hit nine figures. But it is believed he might at least look at something in the range of the Mark Teixeira deal ($180 million, eight years), or perhaps even more years considering his relative youth (Hosmer was quoted recently saying he never said anything about 10 years). Agent Scott Boras isn’t commenting on the coming talks or the asking price, but word he is he views Teixeira as “old money,” considering skyrocketing MLB revenues in the eight years since.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2017 at 11:23 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: eric hosmer, jake arrieta, jon heyman, michael brantley

Fangraphs: Here is what you think of our team projections

When I examined last year’s results, the community had its strongest response to the Royals projection. You all thought the Royals were being heavily underrated, which wasn’t too much of a surprise, given what had been the Royals’ recent history. Here, we see the Royals again to the left — collectively, you think their projection is low by about a win and a half. You still don’t see them as being good. And the magnitude of their community response has nothing on the Rockies, who you think are being underrated by about a win more than anyone else.

Our Rockies projection puts them at 78-84. Our community-adjusted Rockies projection would put them at 81-81. That’s still obviously not great, but it hints at the community seeing them as a wild-card contender. On the one hand, we have recently featured some pro-Rockies content. Dave talked about them as a potential contender at the end of January. I’ve discussed their chance at having their best-ever pitch-framing catchers. But then, we’ve also been critical of, say, the Ian Desmond contract. They’ve been fairly inefficient with their resources, which has to some degree held them back. But the Rockies think they can win in 2017. You are at least kind of on board.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2017 at 11:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fangraphs, projections, zips

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-24-2017

El Paso Herald, February 24, 1917:

Gus Hoover, Stanford’s giant twirler, is against the presence of women at Stanford, against dances and all such affairs. The combined force of these is inducive to the weakening of his pitching arm, says Hoover.

This became known in campus baseball circles when Gus reported a sore arm to trainer Fritz Roth. He said he was in no condition to pitch, and when asked how he came about his arm, Gus explained thusly:

“You see, we had a dance last night and I had to support all those heavy girls on my right arm, and the strain was too great.”

C’mon, Gus, that just means you’ve gotta spend more time training with the ladies. Think of it as a muscle-building program.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 24, 2017 at 10:46 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Don Mattingly thinks pace of play can be improved by changing views on strikeouts

Second, Sabermetrics has shown that a strikeout is only marginally worse than an out made on a ball put in play. Sometimes, the strikeout is preferable, especially if there’s a runner on first base with less than two outs and a weak hitter at the plate. Sabermetrics has also shown home runs to be the best and most efficient way to contribute on offense. Furthermore, younger players tend to focus more on power in order to get noticed by scouts. Unless it’s paired with other elite skills, a scout isn’t going to remember a player who hit the ball into the hole on the right side, but he will remember the kid who blasted a 450-foot homer.

Here’s what Mattingly had to say:

Analytically, a few years back nobody cared about the strikeout, so it’s OK to strike out 150, 160, 170 times, and that guy’s still valued in a big way. Well, as soon as we start causing that to be a bad value — the strikeouts — guys will put the ball in play more. So once we say strikeouts are bad and it’s going to cost you money the more you strike out, then the strikeouts will go away. Guys will start making adjustments and putting the ball in play more.

[…]

If our game values [say that] strikeouts don’t matter, they are going to keep striking out, hitting homers, trying to hit home runs and striking out.

Simply believing strikeouts are bad won’t magically change its value. However, creating social pressure regarding striking out can change it. Theoretically, anyway. Creating that social pressure is easier said than done.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 23, 2017 at 11:18 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: don mattingly, pace of play, strikeouts

Pump The Brakes On Kyle Schwarber? Well, Actually…

This week, Bradford Doolittle of ESPN asked fans to pump the brakes on Schwarber, citing a few reasons why there should be concern surrounding the hulking catcher that the Cubs have moved defensively from behind the plate to out in left field. The last time Cubs fans were told to “pump the brakes” on a player was late June of 2016 with Kris Bryant, and well, we all remember how that turned out. But tempering expectations on Schwarber might be a good thing.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 23, 2017 at 09:06 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kyle schwarber

Why Joe Maddon sees Kyle Schwarber as the leadoff guy in Cubs lineup | CSN Chicago

The Geek Department still needs to send more information to Maddon, but the Cubs are toying with the idea of again hitting the pitcher eighth, in front of the Jay/Albert Almora Jr. platoon.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 23, 2017 at 09:05 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon, kyle schwarber

In defense of Sammy Sosa

Doug Glanville’s take.

His loyal supporters see a Hall of Fame career, the best of fan-friendly examples and the top power hitter in Chicago Cubs history. His critics see stats that were allegedly inflated by performance-enhancing drug, corked bats and an ugly end.

But Sammy Sosa’s numbers don’t tell the whole story, for better or worse.

 

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 23, 2017 at 02:52 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: doug glanville, sammy sosa

Heyman: Romneys, who bid on Marlins, in talks to buy piece of Yankees


Mitt and Tagg Romney and family are bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled.

They’re expected to pay $25 million to $30 million per point and thought to be interested in one or two points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The Romneys are said to have offered $1.4 billion many months back to buy the Miami Marlins. But that appears to be off the table now, as the Romneys are talking about buying a very small piece of the Yankees instead.

“No comment,” said Marlins president David Samson on the Romneys’ try for the Marlins.

If Romney completes the purchase of the Yankees piece, that would seem to take him out of the Marlins picture. There are multiple other groups showing interest in the Marlins, sources say.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 23, 2017 at 12:02 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: mitt romney, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-23-2017

Hartford Republican, February 23, 1917:

The Boston Braves were having a bad time one afternoon and George Stallings, their temperamental manager, was having one of his tantrums. At such times Stallings gives vent to language both caustic and picturesque. Motor cars were popular with the players that season but not with managers, who thought motoring and baseball did not mix
...
Maranville had booted a grounder; Red Smith had let fly with an errant throw; Hank Gowdy had misjudged a high foul.

“Look at that P——d blankety blank!” raved Stallings, seizing on the first automobile name that came into his head…“and you, you B—-k fathead!” anathemizing the second sinner, after which he turned his attention to the third. But by that time he had run out of names of automobiles and could only sputter, “And you, Gowdy, you—you—you bicycle blankety blank!”

Man, it’s a good thing there weren’t four errors. Rickshaws would have been in the crosshairs. (I assume the blanks are Packard and Buick, by the way.)

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 23, 2017 at 10:49 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

How Buccaneers’ Jameis Winston blew away Yankees prospects

Three years ago, Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston said he dreamed of playing for the Yankees.

He had just gone hitless in two at-bats and played left field for Florida State against the Yankees in a spring exhibition game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. He had also just met Derek Jeter, one of his idols about to start his retirement tour.

Now, he’s motivating them—and telling them not to make the same mistakes that he did.

Winston surprised Yankees prospects last week. In a meeting room at the team’s minor league training facility, he walked in and sounded like a motivational speaker, immediately commanding the room.


He talked about determination to the attendees of Captain’s Camp, the team’s yearly top prospect program aimed at building character as much as on-field skills. Winston repeated “no limits” like it was his mantra.

And he told them to be careful about their actions.


He made a lasting impression, several Yankees said.

“It’s not everyday you can talk to an NFL quarterback,” left-hander Justus Sheffield said.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 23, 2017 at 10:12 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: jameis winston, nfl, yankees

For Jake Peavy, baseball must take a back seat

While still dealing with the fallout of an investment scandal that cost him millions, Peavy is sorting through turmoil in his personal life. Katie, his wife of 15 years filed for divorce in October, and he has spent the offseason tending to the needs of his four sons until the legal proceedings are finalized this spring.

So when teams contacted his agent, Jeff Berry, over the winter, Peavy asked for patience and a little more time. Baseball will be his priority soon enough, but there are too many disruptions to navigate and relationships to stabilize before he can jump back into the fray.

“It hurts not to be in spring training,’’ Peavy said by phone. “I know that day is coming, but right now being a dad is absolutely No. 1. There’s no way in a million years that I could leave my boys at this time.’‘...

Peavy had to take part in conference calls on days when he was pitching—sometimes hours before taking the mound—and leave the team between outings to give depositions and meet with lawyers, FBI agents and investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Some of his most valued off-field relationships suffered greatly during the ordeal. “It turned my whole world upside-down,’’ Peavy said. “For the first time ever, it was hard to give my 150 percent focus, time and energy to baseball. It was such a tough year, because everything I have built and played for was jeopardized to some degree. When you’ve known people your whole life and career and they let you down and they’re not who you thought you were, it’s devastating.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 23, 2017 at 09:20 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: jake peavy

The Bizarre Ending to Pitching’s Greatest Winning Streak

Oddly enough, some people believed that Rube could have possibly followed the same path as the woman had his winning streak continued.  Players from Brooklyn’s squad commented after Marquard had made it nineteen wins in a row that a few more consecutive victories would have made him a prime candidate for the bughouse.

——

“Did you ever work at a given task until you felt it was ‘getting’ to you – that you couldn’t think of anything else when you were awake and that your sleep was troubled with dreams of it?” pondered Marquard. “It was getting on my nerves.  Why, several nights I went to bed and the moment I closed my eyes the air became full of baseballs, gloves, and bats. I could see players running to me as though they were going to annihilate me.  When I would finally get to sleep, I was pitching ball all night.  When I awoke in the morning I felt as if I hadn’t rested a bit.”

gehrig97 Posted: February 23, 2017 at 09:13 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: brooklyn, hall of fame, history, ny giants, rube marquard

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Texas A&M Wins on Wild Pitch During IBB

On the very day MLB announced its new intentional walk rule, Texas A&M scored on a wild pitch during an IBB to win a game against Stephen F Austin.

Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: February 22, 2017 at 11:33 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: college baseball, intentional walks, texas a&m, wild pitch

Is 300-wins club done adding members?

JoePos clearly underestimates the drive of Rick Porcello. Next 300-game winner right there.

No one in baseball now threatens that magic 300 number. The active leader in victories is Bartolo Colon with 233, and while we would be the last people to ever underestimate Colon, no, he won’t win 300. After him is CC Sabathia with 223 wins. He’s just 36, but he has been trending down for a while now. Sabathia has a combined 18 victories his past three seasons.

After that, you drop to John Lackey with 176. He doesn’t have nearly enough time left. Then there’s Justin Verlander with 173. We will get back to him.

Point is, once again people are saying that 300-game winner is a dodo bird. And this time, they could be right, but perhaps not for the reasons usually given. Yes, there are pitch counts and, yes, starters go fewer innings and, yes, fewer pitchers win 20-plus games in a season than they did in, say, the 1970s.

But pitchers still could win 300.

It comes down to desire. Ambition. Zeal. If you look at history, most of the pitchers who won 300 games had not done it by the time they turned 40. Some of them, like Niekro and Johnson, were not even close to 300 wins after their age 40 season. They were still effective and they would not stop.

 

ajnrules Posted: February 22, 2017 at 11:23 AM | 130 comment(s)
  Beats: 300 wins, joe posnanski, pitching, randy johnson

Restricted Free Agency, Anyone? | FanGraphs Baseball

Salary arbitration in conjunction with free agency has treated the players quite well over the years. With exploding revenues and smarter front offices, however, the players’ share of the pie has been getting smaller. No matter what changes get made to 4-6 year players, without a higher luxury cap, the players’ share will continue to get smaller. Nevertheless, it might be a good time to think about moving from the current arb system to a restricted free agency model for 4-6 year players. How? I like the solution proposed by Adam Dorhauer on HardballTimes.com last year. It’s relatively simple but gets rid of the funky current system with a market driven approach which seems to balance the needs of owners and players.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 22, 2017 at 11:17 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: cba, economics, salary arbitration

MLB replaces retiring umps Jim Joyce, John Hirschbeck, Tim Welke, Bob Davidson

Jim Joyce has joined John Hirschbeck, Tim Welke and Bob Davidson in retiring from Major League Baseball’s umpire staff.

The commissioner’s office said Tuesday that Adam Hamari, Pat Hoberg, Gabe Morales and Carlos Torres have been promoted to the full-time staff.

Hirschbeck, the crew chief in last year’s World Series and a big league umpire since 1984, had announced his planned retirement last year, as did Welke and Davidson. Hirschbeck and Welke—who was sidelined by knee injuries—were 33-year veterans. Davidson worked his first big league game in 1982.

Hirschbeck and Welke are part of the only brother big league umpire tandems. Mark Hirschbeck retired in 2003 and Bill Welke remains an active umpire.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 22, 2017 at 11:16 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: umpires

Baseball Hall of Fame to honor ‘Homer at the Bat”

Baseball’s Hall of Fame will honor “The Simpsons” on May 27 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show’s “Homer at the Bat” episode.

First televised on Feb. 20, 1992, “Homer at the Bat” featured future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr. and Ozzie Smith among the ringers on Homer Simpson’s Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team. Voices of actual players were used in the episode, which also included Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Mike Scioscia and Darryl Strawberry.

Boggs and Smith are scheduled to appear at a round-table discussion at the Hall on May 27 that also includes episode executive producers Al Jean and Mike Reiss, director Jim Reardon, executive story editor Jeff Martin and casting director Bonnie Pietila.


NY POST Puma, M - Terry Collins weighs 3 imperfect non-Reyes leadoff options

PORT ST. LUCIE — The Mets’ roster is loaded with proven and versatile bats, but is there a leadoff hitter in the bunch?

Manager Terry Collins will keep that idea buried in the back of his mind for the next 5 ½ weeks, leaving plenty of time to evaluate his options. As the Mets are presently constructed, Jose Reyes is a non-starter, but guaranteed to hit leadoff when he plays.

And when Reyes, in his super-utility role, doesn’t start?

Collins recently told The Post he is considering three other primary options for leadoff: Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera.

Collins flirted with the idea of using Juan Lagares in the leadoff spot to begin the 2015 season, and could again consider him for that spot against a lefty starting pitcher.

There is always the possibility it will be leadoff hitter by committee when Reyes doesn’t start.

“The depth and the variety and the randomness of the way things can be mixed up is nice,” Granderson said. “There’s a lot of guys who have the potential to lead off on this team, and just looking across the board you have Lagares, Reyes, myself, Cabrera, Walker. You have got a lot of options you can have depending on the matchup.”

 

Lassus Posted: February 22, 2017 at 10:37 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-22-2017

Tacoma Times, February 22, 1917:

Grover Cleveland Alexander, after six years in the National league, has finally jumped into the class of ball players drawing huge salaries.
...
He signed a contract in Philadelphia calling for a salary, it is believed, of $12,500 a year. This is $2,500 less than the sum he was holding out for and $2,500 more than he was “finally” offered by President Baker of the Phillies.

There are now five men in baseball believed to be drawing larger salaries than Alexander. Two of these, John G. [sic] McGraw and George Stallings, are managers. Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Eddie Collins are the others. They are admittedly the greatest players in the game.

Alexander’s reported salary, $12,500, tied him with Walter Johnson as the highest-paid pitchers in baseball. That’s fair, since they were the two best pitchers in baseball and both in their late 20s.

The third-best pitcher in baseball in 1916 was a 21-year-old left-hander named George Ruth. Weirdly, he didn’t pitch much longer. I wonder what happened to him.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 22, 2017 at 10:13 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, grover cleveland alexander, history

Baseball Reference has a New Look

What do you think?

Jim Furtado Posted: February 22, 2017 at 10:04 AM | 93 comment(s)
  Beats: statistics

Rays aren’t heartbroken about losing Wieters to Nationals | Tampa Bay Times

Dollarwise, the Rays were willing to guarantee Wieters around $6 million with a chance, if all incentives were met, to squeak past $10 million. Obviously, with an opening day payroll projected in the low $60 million range, they could have gone further, though they tend to stick to their evaluations — and rarely ever win an auction.

But the Rays had good reason to offer no more than one year — as well as a team policy against player options/opt-outs (or no-trade clauses) — which is why they could only shrug, mildly disappointed at most, that Wieters went to Washington.

And that’s because they have the All-Star catcher who Wieters, ironically, will be trying to replace in Washington, Wilson Ramos.

It was during the early December winter meetings that the Rays made the bold, and potentially brilliant, move of striking a two-year deal with Ramos.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 22, 2017 at 09:56 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: matt wieters, rays

Four umpires promoted to Major League crews | MLB.com

Major League Baseball announced the retirement of longtime umpires Bob Davidson, John Hirschbeck, Jim Joyce and Tim Welke on Tuesday. All four had spent several decades calling big league games.

That brings four new umpires to the full-time Major League ranks—Adam Hamari, Pat Hoberg, Gabe Morales and Carlos Torres.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 22, 2017 at 09:54 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: umpires

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