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Friday, March 24, 2017

Heyman: Nationals leaning toward Koda Glover for closer role

Unknown long shot Koda Glover, who has zero major-league saves, emerged as the favorite to win the coveted Nationals closer job, sources suggest. Glover has impressed Nats people with his fastball and moxie — especially his moxie.

“He doesn’t give a (hoot),” one Nats-connected person said, admiringly.


Nationals people are expected to meet within the next three days to discuss the situation, and perhaps solidify things.

There’s still 10 days to go and things can change, but Nats people don’t believe Glover’s gutsy ways will change, so it appears he has the inside track despite Blake Treinen’s almost flawless statistical spring.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 11:24 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: koda glover, nationals

Sources: Indians finalizing four-year extension with Jose Ramirez

Versatile infielder Jose Ramirez and the Cleveland Indians are finalizing a four-year contract extension that will guarantee him upward of $30 million, sources familiar with the deal told Yahoo Sports.

The deal, which includes two club options, will kick in next season and give the Indians control of Ramirez through the 2023 season. If the Indians exercise the options, it could push the value close to $50 million, according to the sources.

The 24-year-old Ramirez is coming off a breakout year in which he helped the Indians to the World Series and the cusp of a championship. He hit .312/.363/.462 and was a veritable Swiss Army knife around the diamond, playing third base, second base, shortstop and outfield.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 10:53 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, jose ramirez

Detroit Tigers’ J.D. Martinez will be out 3-4 more weeks

Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said rightfielder J.D. Martinez will miss 3-4 weeks of baseball activity, starting from Friday, due to a sprained Lisfranc ligament in his right foot. Ausmus also told reporters Martinez is wearing a cast that will be on for 7-10 days.

Ausmus had previously said he was optimistic about the results of two MRIs. Martinez went to Charlotte on Friday to have a stress CT scan performed by Dr. Robert Anderson. That test was used to determine the severity of the injury and to establish a timeline for how long Martinez would be out.

“It’s longer than I thought it was going to be,” Ausmus said. “But, like I’ve told you many times, I’m not a doctor.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 05:54 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: j.d. martinez

Rays to sign catcher Derek Norris


The Rays are signing free-agent C Derek Norris, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

The deal with Norris, which is pending a physcial, will be for one year, though the Rays could retain control of Norris in 2018 when he’d be eligible for arbitration for a final time. The total value is expected to be worth less than $2-million.

They will have to create space on the 40-man roster once the deal is finalized.

UPDATE, 4:47: The major-league deal is for $1.2-million guaranteed, plus $800,000 in performance bonuses.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 05:52 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: derek norris, rays

Southern hospitality: Braves unveil new SunTrust Park food | FOX Sports

There must be cake.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 24, 2017 at 11:51 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: food

Anderson wins spot in Cubs rotation

The world waits with bated breath to see how many starts Anderson actually makes; the over/under has to be, what—10?  (Also, the notion of Kyle Hendricks being the Cubs’ No. 5 starter is fairly absurd.) 

As long as Anderson can remain in the rotation, it’s probably a good thing for the pen to have Montgomery out there, though I like Montgomery’s chances of making more starts than Anderson this year.


Why DFA is the WTF of baseball and how one player fought back

Over the course of 2½ months this winter, Shaffer’s rights belonged to five teams: the Rays, the Mariners, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Indians. After growing up in Charlotte the star of his youth-league teams, going to Clemson helping lead the Tigers to the College World Series, going 25th overall in the 2012 draft to Tampa Bay and slugging all the way through the minor leagues, the kid who’d never been cut from anything was DFA’d four times in six weeks, told again and again, tacitly, that he wasn’t good enough.

“That was the first time I’d ever been talked about in that light – as a player a team would consider DFA’ing,” Shaffer said. “A year prior to that, I was in the Futures Game. I know it’s a number’s game, but that was a weird sensation. A team was pretty much telling me it was willing to give me away for nothing. It was an ego hit.

“Baseball’s an odd business. The game is pretty simple, but the business is strange. Once you get DFA’d once, there’s almost this perception that you’re a guy who can be DFA’d. Essentially, the next person who picks you up gets you for nothing, so you’re just as expendable to the next team because they got you free.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 11:17 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: jeff passan, richie shaffer

Pirates’ Jung Ho Kang reportedly denied visa to enter U.S. after DUI conviction

He’s a bad hombre!

Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang has reportedly been denied a visa to enter the United States following his DUI conviction in South Korea. The Pirates have not confirmed the news.

Kang, who has been arrested three times for DUI in South Korea over the years, was sentenced to eight months in prison earlier this month , though the sentence was suspended two years. That means Kang could avoid prison time entirely if he stays out of trouble the next two years.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 10:11 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: jung-ho kang

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-24-2017

Topeka State Journal, March 24, 1917:

John Couch, a recruit pitcher with the Detroit Americans doesn’t have to worry about the price of potatoes or whether he makes good in the majors.

Couch and his five brothers own a cattle ranch of 16,000 acres in Montana and he is well fixed with the world’s goods. He has been playing ball in the summer and going to Leland Stanford university in the winter.

Couch was never a star in the big leagues, but he made 147 career appearances with a 91 ERA+. He won 16 games for the 1922 Reds.

I don’t know if or when Couch graduated from Stanford, but he pitched for San Francisco in 1915-1916 and 1919-1921. That could have been convenient for his classwork. If he lived in San Mateo or thereabouts, he’d have been 15 miles from San Francisco and 15 miles from Palo Alto.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 10:01 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Stu Sternberg: Top choices for Rays new stadium are unavailable

What were the Rays’ top five choices for a new stadium — three in Tampa and two in St. Petersburg — are unavailable. That may push the team’s time line for finding a new site from August to the end of 2017.

“We had some ideas on locations that just weren’t available, that I thought would have worked perfectly, but they’re off the table,’’ Sternberg said before the Rays’ game at their spring training site in Port Charlotte. “So we’re sort of moving down our list to Nos. 2, 3 and 4.”....

As a result, Sternberg said the team doesn’t know if it will find what he has previously described as a “pin-perfect” site. Later, he clarified his stance, saying he remained optimistic the team can find a stadium solution in the bay area.

“It’s highly likely there will be a workable site,’’ he told the Tampa Bay Times. “So I’m confident.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 09:25 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, stadium

Heyman: 30 Potential Breakout Players For 2017

Heyman’s latest.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 24, 2017 at 06:41 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: notes

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Jake Arrieta Jacks Longest-Ever Measured Dinger By A Pitcher

Jake Arrieta stepped up to the plate for the first time at spring training this afternoon and he promptly picked up where he left off last year, smashing a Zack Greinke pitch 465 feet off into the stands. This is the longest dinger by a pitcher in the Statcast-era. It would have been one of the 25 longest shots of the 2016 MLB season. Look at this dang dong.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2017 at 10:14 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dongs, jake arrieta

Yadier Molina demands apology for Adam Jones’ comments about WBC party plans

Team captain Yadier Molina wants United States outfielder Adam Jones to apologize to Puerto Rico’s players for saying they were planning a postgame party in San Juan before the World Baseball Classic championship game was even played.

Molina made his comments to ESPN’s Marly Rivera during Thursday’s parade in San Juan, less than a day after Jones told MLB Network that Puerto Rico’s postgame plans sounded a little premature and inspired the United States’ dominating 8-0 victory.

Players for Team USA said reports of a planned celebration for Puerto Rico’s team gave them motivation for the WBC final, but Puerto Rico said the celebration would have occurred, win or lose.
“Adam Jones ... is talking about things he doesn’t know about,” Molina told ESPN. “He really has to get informed because he shouldn’t have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2017 at 10:10 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: adam jones, world baseball classic, yadier molina

Fortune magazine crowns Theo Epstein ‘world’s greatest leader’

Theo Epstein is the world’s greatest leader.

So said Fortune magazine, which published its annual list on Thursday morning.

The Chicago Cubs’ president of baseball operations finished in the top spot, ahead of Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Pope Francis at No. 3, Melinda Gates at No. 4 and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos rounded out the top five.

In a text to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Epstein said, “Um, I can’t even get my dog to stop peeing in the house. That is ridiculous. The whole thing is patently ridiculous. It’s baseball—a pastime involving a lot of chance. If [Ben] Zobrist’s ball is three inches farther off the line, I’m on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. And I’m not even the best leader in our organization; our players are.”

How many championship rings does Pope Francis have?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2017 at 03:18 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, theo epstein

In ratings, buzz, attendance and baseball, the 2017 World Baseball Classic was a huge success

Twenty-four hours later, the U.S. was in the final, facing an undefeated and deeply enjoyable Puerto Rico team. The game wasn’t nearly as close as on Tuesday—Team USA won 8-0—but Marcus Stroman’s six-inning no hitter gave Americans reason to pay attention, and it’s safe to assume the ratings were even better. (UPDATE: MLB Network announced that 2.3 million people watched the final, making it the second most viewed telecast in the network’s history.)

Those two near-perfect nights capped a World Baseball Classic that must be considered a rousing success for MLB Network and for Major League Baseball. We don’t yet have full ratings data, but what we do have suggests viewership sky-rocketed from the previous WBC in 2013. That year, the most watched game attracted 883,000 viewers, about 40 percent below what Tuesday’s USA-Japan semifinal drew. And according to Sports Media Watch, Monday’s semifinal between Puerto Rico and the Netherlands was up 34 percent from the comparable semifinal in 2013, between Puerto Rico and Japan.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2017 at 02:56 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: television ratings, world baseball classic

Ian Kinsler Performs Damage Control After Racially-Infused Comments

Ian Kinsler came under fire on social media on Wednesday for some suggestive comments he made before the championship game of the World Baseball Classic.

(The United States, led by Kinsler, would go on to beat Puerto Rico, 8-0.)

“I hope kids watching the WBC can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays,” Kinsler told the New York Times. “That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.”

After the game, Kinsler clarified that he has nothing against Latino players or the exuberant manner in which they play.

“What I said was that American kids can watch American players play, Puerto Rican kids can watch Puerto Rican players play, Venezuelan kids can watch Venezuelan guys play, and that’s who they emulate. That’s who they watch. That’s who they want to be like,” he told ESPN. “There’s nothing wrong with an American kid watching a Puerto Rican player and wanting to be like them, or a Puerto Rican kid watching an American player and wanting to play that way.


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-23-2017

Pittsburgh Press, March 23, 1917:

Manager Robinson has a hard time getting his Brooklyn players to train enough. Yesterday he hit upon a new plan and gave them an “Irishman’s Ride.” What’s that? Well, he invited them all to take a motor ride into the country. Then he made them walk back.

This seems like something that would work once. Once.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 23, 2017 at 10:53 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Phillies using new drill to help baserunners | MLB.com

Interesting drill. Will the work pay off?

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2017 at 08:38 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, technology

USA beats Puerto Rico for first Classic title | MLB.com

Congrats to the U.S. team. It would have been nice to see the finish live.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2017 at 06:35 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: puerto rico, usa, wbc

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Straight From The Heart: The Signing Of Ted Lilly

An inside look at a pair of now-forgotten news items from 10 years ago: the signing of Ted Lilly and Jim Hendry’s hospitalization from ACS.

And to think … the agreement to get his target pitcher took place while Hendry was undergoing an EKG.

“To this day, the story obviously has been embellished in some ways by the fact that a couple hours later I was going to have a heart procedure – but the fact is that Larry O’Brien called me when I was on the gurney,” Hendry said.

“Jim Hendry was a joy to meet and to negotiate with,” O’Brien said. “He was very clear and upfront with me that he wanted Ted Lilly, and if Ted Lilly wanted to be a Cub, then he was going to make that happen. So the negotiation was pretty easy.

“Looking back, this guy was on his death bed – and to have the energy and the stick–to–itiveness and persistence to get this done was pretty amazing.”

ajnrules Posted: March 22, 2017 at 06:37 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: chicago cubs, jim hendry, lou piniella, ted lilly, winter meetings 2006

Dallas Green, first Phillies manager to win the World Series, dies at 82

Dallas Green, the bearish, blustering, boom box-throated manager who in 1980 whipped a talented but complacent Phillies team to the franchise’s first world championship, died Wednesday at 82, a team official confirmed.

Mr. Green spent most of his long baseball career with a Phillies organization that signed him as a Delaware high schooler in 1955. Over the subsequent 61 years, with notable interruptions in New York and Chicago, he would pitch, coach, manage, scout, and fill a number of front-office positions for the team.

A commanding physical presence at 6-foot-5, with a thick mane of silver hair and a voice that could penetrate concrete walls, Mr. Green seemed born to lead.

As a spot-starter and reliever with the Phillies, Mets and Senators, he was a hard-throwing righthander who never mastered his control or his temper. Mr. Green compiled a 20-22 record and a 4.26 ERA in his playing career from 1960-67.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 22, 2017 at 04:52 PM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dallas green, mets, obituary, phillies, senators

White Sox patiently dangling Jose Quintana

Over the last few days, the buzz around camps in Florida and Arizona converged on the same player: Jose Quintana. Scouts ran their information up the chain – Chicago White Sox scouts are everywhere – and the game of telephone ended with general managers across the game wondering: Are they finally going to deal Quintana?

The answer, major league sources familiar with the talks told Yahoo Sports, is the same it’s been since the White Sox committed to rebuild and started the dismantling of their core: Yes … but only for the right price. And even as the White Sox have dispatched more scouts than usual to those back fields, sources said, no deal has materialized.

This is not to say one couldn’t come together within weeks, days, even hours. Multiple teams, including the Atlanta Braves, have shown continued interest, according to sources. Others known to have been involved at points this spring are the Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates. Stewarded by general manager Rick Hahn, who has gotten industry-wide plaudits for his hauls in the Chris Sale and Adam Eaton trades, the White Sox find themselves capable of asking for the moon due to a number of reasons.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 22, 2017 at 02:28 PM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, braves, jose quintana, trade rumors, white sox

World Baseball Classic needs serious commitment—or just get rid of it

As it stands, there are just too many folks who are just half-in. Every four years, a primary WBC storyline is which stars are skipping the event, mostly for the U.S. team. There is perpetual conversation about how MLB needs to better market its stars, but in this case, some of the biggest stars are declining the opportunity to participate.

Some of the teams cope with the WBC passive-aggressively, sending mixed messages to some players that they aren’t necessarily wild about their participation, with club staffers stewing about how their best players are in somebody else’s camps. Some players believe that Major League Baseball needs to step up its commitment to give the participants the necessary support they have grown to expect during the regular season and postseason.

“It’s like they’re running a high school baseball tournament, instead of something special,” one player said.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 22, 2017 at 02:27 PM | 146 comment(s)
  Beats: world baseball classic

Tough times paid off for Bucs’ Jameson Taillon | MLB.com

“But I had an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and say, ‘Well, I’m going to be here, I might as well make my time worthwhile. What can I do to make my mechanics better? What can I do to make my grips better? What can I do to make my arm stronger, to get stronger? What can I do to eat healthier? How do I transition all this to in-season?’

“I had so much time away with no pressure, no hype on me. I wasn’t pitching for a boxscore. I was just committed to the process.I got to hone up and clean up and go forward with it. I asked friends, family, teammates. I was confiding with guys who’d had Tommy John surgery, confiding with guys who’d lost some weight. How guys cooked. What worked for them.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 22, 2017 at 12:00 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jameson taillon, pirates

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