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Friday, December 09, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-9-2016

El Paso Herald, December 9, 1916:

Baseball fans of the Isthmus of Panama are booming that section as an excellent location for one or more big training camps. It is claimed that the sanitary conditions of the canal zone, under the care and direction of the army and canal officials, are excellent, and that with the dry season extending from December to April the major league baseball players could not find a more satisfactory location for rounding into shape for their pennant battles.

Baseball players in Panama? In the canal zone? It’ll never happen.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 09, 2016 at 10:15 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Sandy Alderson OK with Mets leaving winter meetings empty-handed - NY Daily News

“We laid some groundwork as they say,” the Mets GM said after the Rule-5 draft, which traditionally concludes the week of meetings. “We’ll have conversations continuing when we get back to New York. I think what we are pleased with, is the fact we had some dialogue and it continues. We’ll pursue things the next couple of weeks before Christmas and possibly thereafter.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2016 at 08:54 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

WEEI: SOURCES: FORMER RED SOX MANAGER BOBBY VALENTINE BEING CONSIDERED FOR UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO JAPAN

Randy Marsh is not amused.

Such a move would be viewed as another unorthodox appointment by Trump, who named former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon to serve as the administrator of the Small Business Administration Wednesday.

Yet Valentine’s history, and connections to Trump and Japan, make the possibility of such a decision very real.

The former Red Sox manager has known both Trump and his brother, Bob, since the early 1980’s. He is also very close to Anthony Scaramucci, who is part of the Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee. And it was New Jersey governor Chris Christie who, according to a source, first surfaced Valentine’s name for the position.

The connections don’t stop there.

Valentine is still very popular in Japan, having managed the Chiba Lotte Marines for seven seasons, becoming the first U.S. born manager to win the Japan Series with a championship in 2005.

During the former big leaguer’s time in Japan, the Ambassador to Japan was Tom Schieffer, who also was president of the Texas Rangers during Valentine’s tenure as manager with the team. (Caroline Kennedy is the current ambassador, having been appointed by President Barack Obama in 2013.)

Valentine is friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like the former All-American, attended the University of Southern California.

Renegade (((JE))) Posted: December 09, 2016 at 08:46 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: bobby valentine, donald trump, japan, japanese baseball

Arizona Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen takes balanced approach

“We had plenty of opportunities to make changes,” Hazen said. “But ultimately we didn’t feel like any of those were the right thing to do for us. Some of those situations may be in the future, but right now nothing really made sense on the larger trade front. I’m not anticipating any of that changing, but you never know. Again, we feel good about where we’re at.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2016 at 06:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks


GM banter doesn’t reveal true state of Yankees-Red Sox | New York Post

Dave Dombrowski needs a trash-talking tutorial.

In the bottleneck on the way into the room Thursday morning, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski spotted Yankees counterpart Brian Cashman. It had been less than 12 hours since word circulated the Yankees had agreed with Aroldis Chapman on a five-year, $86 million deal — a record for a reliever — and two days since Cashman had referred to the Red Sox as baseball’s Golden State Warriors with Chris Sale joining an already starry roster.

Dombrowski wrapped an arm around his longtime friend and rival and pronounced, “The monster is back.”

While a terrific line, it was not exactly true. After being the only team not to sign a major league free agent last offseason and being a seller at this past season’s trade deadline, the Yankees returned to more familiar territory to win the bidding. The Yankees figured the surprise pursuit of the Marlins, who offered $1 million more but in a different structure, forced them to pay perhaps $10 million to $15 million more on Chapman.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2016 at 06:33 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, yankees

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Cardinals near deal with OF Dexter Fowler | MLB.com

Though the Cardinals did not make any transactions during their four-day stay at the Winter Meetings, it did not take long after their return to St. Louis for them to complete their pursuit of a new center fielder.

After a picture of Dexter Fowler boarding a flight from Las Vegas to St. Louis surfaced on social media, MLB.com confirmed through sources that Fowler was en route to St. Louis to undergo a physical on Friday. An agreement between the Cardinals and Fowler is already in place, though the club has not confirmed a deal. Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports was first to report Fowler’s impending physical.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 10:01 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, dexter fowler, free agents

JAYSON STARK ON THE WINTER MEETINGS: “I’M ONLY GOING TO REPORT INFORMATION THAT I AM CONFIDENT ABOUT”

That purpose is not necessarily be the first to report breaking news, but to get it right. For Stark, that involves staying calm, sane and “just making sure that I’m only going to report information that I am confident about.”

Not every reporter seems to stick to that mantra, especially with the competition in the building and the pressure social media brings to constantly be posting any morsel or piece of relevant information.

“I think there’s tremendous pressure on people in my business, in this environment, to feel like ‘wow, everybody else is tweeting stuff, I better tweet something,’” Stark said. “And I think that’s such a tremendous formula for how to get yourself in trouble and how to be wrong.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 08, 2016 at 01:30 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: jayson stark, journalism, winter meetings

Pablo Sandoval got ‘complacent’ with big Red Sox deal

First “best shape of his life” story of the off-season?

In a joint English-Spanish interview with ESPN.com and ESPN Deportes, Sandoval said he got “complacent” after signing a five-year, $95 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in November 2014 and pledged to “start my baseball career all over again” now that he is fully recovered from left shoulder surgery.

“My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished,” Sandoval said by phone in his first public comments since August. “I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be.”...

Over the past few months, Sandoval has shed “significant” weight, according to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. Neither the team nor Sandoval has divulged specifics, but after principal owner John Henry’s widely derided comment this past spring that Sandoval’s body fat was only 17 percent, the exact number is almost beside the point with two months left before spring training.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 08, 2016 at 01:21 PM | 52 comment(s)
  Beats: pablo sandoval, red sox

Nats’ Eaton trade shines light on O’s draft/development failures - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Oriole fans should be thanking their lucky stars for Dan Duquette.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 12:53 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles

Would O’s fans really hate Bautista if the team signed him? | Sports on Earth

Jokes usually work like that way.

(Also, the best part: Bautista’s agent says he’s hasn’t talked to Duquette about Bautista. See, there are some upsides to a post-fact world!)

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 12:50 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: dan duquette, jose bautista, orioles

Why the Adam Eaton trade wasn’t a panic move for the Washington Nationals - The Washington Post

Barry Svrluga defends Mike Rizzo.

The Nationals clearly lost faith in Giolito.

So what became clear to nearly everyone at the winter meetings was that the Nationals were going to move Giolito. His value, of course, would have been higher six months ago. But then, his performance hadn’t fallen off by that point. We’ll watch what he becomes in Chicago. But the Nationals aren’t particularly concerned that he’ll be an ace. The bigger problem would have been holding onto him, seeing his performance suffer further, and watching his trade value fully dissolve.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 12:41 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: adam eaton, lucas giolito, nationals, trade, white sox

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-8-2016

A sure sign that it’s the offseason from the Pittsburgh Press, December 8, 1916:

Jim Thorpe, the Indian ball player who was sent to the Milwaukee club last spring by Manager McGraw, is to get another chance with the Giants. It was announced [in New York] today that McGraw plans to play him regularly in one of the outfield positions, if he displays improvement.

This is, IIRC, the fourth consecutive offseason in which it was reported that Thorpe had a chance to be an everyday player for the Giants. Once again, it didn’t happen. The Giants sold Thorpe to Cincinnati in April 1917 and he played cromulently if unspectacularly (97 OPS+, 0.5 WAR) in a half season as a semi-regular corner outfielder. The Reds returned Thorpe to the Giants in August, where he returned to his customary position on the bench.

It’s admittedly a small sample size, but Thorpe hit .216/.262/.323 (77 OPS+) in his Giants career while McGraw jerked him in and out of the lineup for six years. With the Reds and Dodgers, Thorpe hit .278/.303/.391 (~115 OPS+). I’m not saying Jim Thorpe could have or would have been a good MLB outfielder in a different situation, but I am saying that McGraw doesn’t appear to have done him any favors.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 08, 2016 at 10:17 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, jim thorpe

2016 Rule 5 Draft results | MLB.com

It’s live!

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 09:07 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: rule 5 draft

Blue Jays trying to balance objective evaluation, subjective exuberance - Sportsnet.ca

It’s easier to be “irrational” when you are a top revenue team. As the Dodgers have shown, it can be rational to press your higher revenue advantage. In smaller markets, breaking out the checkbook can really restrict a franchise’s future.

That’s why Atkins intriguingly said the Blue Jays don’t feel like they need to move off their positions in unspecified negotiations. But there may come a point when, to use Friedman’s phrasing, some irrationality may be needed to ensure the player they really want doesn’t get away.

The challenge is in knowing when the ante must be upped to avoid needlessly overpaying.

“It’s a really good question, and that’s exactly how we structure it: OK, what is the surplus in the deal … what we’re getting and paying for the projected performance and what that costs on the market and what we’re actually paying for it,” Atkins explained. “Going beyond those levels suggests you’re overpaying based on your own information, any information you can use. Teams often do that. And we’ll often do that. And it will be based on person, teammate, fit. And when that happens, we’ll consider doing that. It’s an interesting question and really difficult to stay disciplined.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 08:57 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays

Cards would have to leave comfort zone to land outfielder they desire | stltoday.com

Fowler only costs you money. Of course, if your goal is to better your defense, he’s not really a good fit.

There is a place where all negotiations try to go that forces each side to give or give up a little more than it wants, just enough that it stings. A deal happens when talks reach the point of pain.

The Cardinals may have to go past that.

“Oh, for sure,” general manager John Mozeliak said Wednesday after the final full but not fulfilling day at baseball’s winter meetings. “I feel there isn’t an award for being prudent, right? It’s if you can get a deal. A lot of times when you’re in the negotiations, whether it’s a trade or free agent, you’re typically going to have to step out of your comfort zone to get something done.”
...
They have met with representatives for free-agent outfielder Dexter Fowler. Fowler is considered the best available center fielder on the open market, and the price for him is hinted at by how much the Rockies spent on Desmond, who is a similar age without the sky-high on-base percentage. The Rockies advertised to Desmond a home at first base, though his acquisition could shake loose an outfielder the Cardinals have also explored as an option.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 08:55 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

Rule 5 Draft Expanded Preview | BaseballAmerica.com

What do the Padres know that everybody else doesn’t know?

Yimmi Brasoban, rhp, Padres: Brasoban ranked 19th in the Padres system a year ago. The Padres’ system is significantly deeper this year, but it is still a surprise that San Diego left the hard-throwing righthander unprotected as he has two major league pitches (a 95-98 mph fastball and an excellent slider) and he has Double-A experience. Brasoban’s control wavers at times, but with an ability to eat up righthanded hitters (who hit .190/.292/.238 against him in Double-A), he is a very intriguing potential pick.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 08:40 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects, rule 5 draft

When Is The Rule 5 Draft?

BA provides an FAQ about the draft.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 06:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rule 5 draft

Old Guard Steals The Show At BA Gala | BaseballAmerica.com

Pat Gillick was a great, great GM.

In his own acceptance speech, Gillick, the architect of the Blue Jays’ two World Series winners, the Phillies’ 2008 champions and Seattle’s 116-win team in 2001, again turned the spotlight toward others who helped him achieve his level of success and longevity.

“Today’s a very special day for me, because it gives me the ability to thank the men and women who work under the radar in player development and scouting,” Gillick said. “Their knowledge, work ethic, instinct, passion and love for the game, it’s quite amazing.”

“Thanks to our scouts for providing the players for player-development and the ingredients, really, to develop major leaguers. And thanks to the managers, coaches and instructors and player-development for having the knowledge, experience, the patience and the persistence to develop these young men.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 06:34 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: executives

The Aroldis Chapman fallout will be even more interesting than the deal itself | FOX Sports

Five years and over $80 million for a reliever? No thank you.

It’s a bizarre baseball reality that the low-revenue Marlins could outbid the high-revenue Dodgers for a player whom the Dodgers signed out of Curacao in 2004, converted from a catcher to a pitcher and developed into an elite closer.

But don’t be surprised if it happens.

The Dodgers’ value-driven front office is not the type to pump $80 million into a pitcher who works 70 innings a season — particularly when the lack of state income tax in Florida, as opposed to the high state income tax in California, will make it that much more difficult for them to beat the Marlins’ offer.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 06:30 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: aroldis chapman, dodgers, free agents, kenley jansen, marlins, yankees

Arizona Diamondbacks active as meetings wind down

They are only bodies if they don’t pitch well.

As it stands, the Diamondbacks have impressive starting pitching depth, including several starters with upside – or, at least, the ability to pitch far better than they did this year. Led by Zack Greinke, the rotation also includes Ray, Corbin, Miller and Walker, with Archie Bradley, Braden Shipley, Zack Godley and prospects Matt Koch and Anthony Banda behind them.

“Even having six starters I think is an advantage going into a season,” Hazen said. “That’ll be on us to figure out how to make it work. When you do have that perceived one-plus in your rotation, it’s natural to get asked quite a bit. I don’t necessarily think at this one position that’s considered excess, given how pitching staffs can be put together and utilized.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 06:25 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks

Twins satisified with Miguel Sano’s offseason program

“We hear good reports about his focus,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said Wednesday. “You heard what he had to say at the end of the year about coming back and things that he wants to do, both in terms of being physically prepared as well as trying to undo some of the things that he found were a little bit humbling this year.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 06:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: miguel sano, twins

Brewers quickly revamped their infield

First, Eric Thames was signed to a three-year deal after playing for three years in Korea. Then, third baseman Travis Shaw was acquired from Boston in a trade Tuesday that sent closer Tyler Thornburg to the Red Sox.

The Shaw deal meant Jonathan Villar would move from third base to second, leaving shortstop Orlando Arcia as the only starter to return at the same position. And he has all of two months on the job.

Assuming second baseman Scooter Gennett is not traded, he becomes a bench player. And super utility man Hernan Perez provides backup at every infield spot if needed.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 06:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers

Jose Quintana doesn’t do it for Braves the way Chris Sale did

The Sox were also asking too much for Quintana, at least from the Braves’ perspective. While they were in the market for a true No. 1 starter, Quintana wasn’t the dominant, indisputable “ace” that Sale was, and the Braves don’t feel compelled to give up multiple top prospects — including elite pitching prospects – to get Quintana.

“It comes down to needs and wants,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said. “We don’t have needs in starting pitching. Do we want a No. 1 starter, is Chris Sale a No. 1 starter? Yes. Do we want Jose Quintana? I don’t think Jose Quintana is Chris Sale. Is he an extra year of control (under contract four more years instead of Sale’s three)? Yes. Who’s to say one of our young kids can’t turn into Jose Quintana? Or Chris Sale.”

Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said, “You start jumping into the deeper water, we’re not going to get that kind of guy (without giving up elite prospects). Plus, with this market out there there’s clubs that are more desperate that we are now for a starter, will pay a bigger price.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 06:08 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, jose quintana, trades, white sox

Astros discuss deal for Jose Quintana, but White Sox want a haul - Houston Chronicle

Chris Sale produced 21.7 WAR in the last four seasons. Jose Quintana produced 18.1 WAR over the same timeframe. Last year, Quintana slightly beat him (5.2-4.9). Considering that Quintana has an extra year of control and, although Sale might have a better rep, the actual production earned over their remaining contracts might not be very different.

Quintana is set to make a modest $7 million in 2017 and $8.85 million in 2018 and has team options of $10.5 million and $11.5 million for 2019 and 2020.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2016 at 05:47 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jose quintana, trade rumors, white sox

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