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Jim Furtado
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Monday, January 22, 2018

Rosenthal roundtable: Five MLB players weigh in on the pace-of-play rules and the need for change – The Athletic

Enforce the 12 second rule. I want the game done in 2.5 hours.

Scherzer: When you get down to the root of it, the clock MLB is proposing with ball-strike penalties, it’s very regimented. There is no leeway within any situations. Say there is a quick game going on. Everyone is doing their job and working at a quick pace. Then something happens and someone takes a little extra time. And we’re going to penalize somebody. That’s what leads to a lot of people being frustrated by having a regimented clock.

We hear MLB. We want the game underneath three hours. The umpires can kind of tell when the game is moving slow and when the game is moving fast. After three innings, if it’s taken two hours, we know we’re behind with the clock, the umpires would have some type of leeway to help pick up the pace of play instead of having consequences attached to it. That’s when players would be more receptive to different enforcements.

The players right now when we hear clock, when we hear balls and strikes, we just want to take our heads and beat them against the wall. It doesn’t make sense because there are too many variables in there. But if there is a conversation about situations when the game is running slow and what we should do, you’re going to have a lot of ideas from different players. There should be some middle ground here.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2018 at 08:32 AM | 144 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, rules

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Life of a scouting report: How the Cubs have streamlined an age-old process – The Athletic

A lot of good stuff at The Athletic recently. If you can get access at a discount, you should.

“Our scouts don’t travel to the draft,” Dorey said. “So it’s my job to really challenge analytic information we have if it doesn’t align with what our scouts are saying, and try to find the sweet spot there. I’m constantly trying to make sure that the voice of the scout doesn’t get lost in the entire profile of the player. And I think we’ve done a really good job of that, but it’s something we could continue to improve on. We’re still talking about 17-, 18-, 19-, and 20-year-old human beings, and the human nature is so tough to evaluate and project on.”

In recent years, the Cubs haven’t weighed hitches in a pitcher’s mechanics as heavily as they have in the past — burned, too often, by pitchers they passed on finding success with other teams. And they’ve learned that certain players, often upper-middle-class travel-team types, can be taught the right things to say at meetings with scouts, even when those things aren’t necessarily reflective of the player’s actual personality or skills.

Weighed heavily, by contrast, are scouts’ evaluations of a player’s overall athleticism (a term the Cubs operationalize as carefully as they do secretly), that player’s hatred of losing (which the Cubs care about far more than a player’s desire to win), and of course the R&D reports that the nerd squad at the Cubs’ offices in Lakeview dig up. Even so, it’s still tough to get it all right.

The long timelines that baseball imposes on front offices make the job difficult, too. Unlike in basketball or football, where a draft’s success or failure can be measured within 12-24 months, the Cubs’ front office is only now starting to understand how and why their 2012 draft worked or didn’t, and only now able to fully integrate the lessons of that year into their planning for the next one. It’ll be another half-decade before they know if they got that one right, either.

And so today, right now, the Cubs are hard at work, ferociously collecting all the data they can about the past, making with it the best possible decisions they can about the fleeting present, and constantly revising their expectations of what those choices might mean for their future.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 09, 2018 at 10:23 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, pay site, scouting

Rosenthal: Many factors contributing to historically slow free agent market – The Athletic

Ken, Ken, Ken. Teams will spend money. The players will get signed. Maybe, though, the Players Association might want some new leadership. The Luxury Tax system they agreed to gives the big markets good reason to be frugal this year. Smart management is only a problem for agents who depend on emotionally-charged decision-making.

An MLB official dismissed any suggestion of collusion, saying clubs are so secretive, they barely communicate with the commissioner’s office during free agency, much less each other. Perhaps the more pressing issue is that most clubs now think alike, relying heavily on advanced statistical analysis and making decisions based on similar data. Such groupthink, while not illegal, is not conducive to competition. At times, the entire sport seems to suffer from an advanced case of paralysis by analysis.

It’s a culture of fear — many GMs are reluctant to trade prospects and sign free agents, terrified of facing criticism if they make a mistake. The GMs become too process-oriented, passing on opportunities to improve, protecting their long-term plans. There is no incentive for them to act with greater urgency; few face an immediate threat to their job security. Twelve teams have changed GMs since Aug. 2015, but of the current group, perhaps only the Seattle Mariners’ Jerry Dipoto and the San Francisco Giants’ Bobby Evans will be in trouble if their teams disappoint in 2018. In too many cases, the goal is to win tomorrow, not today.

Many fans tolerate such thinking, applauding management for fiscal restraint, muttering, “trust the process,” as if they are zombies. The increased emphasis on payroll efficiency, stemming in part from the rise of data-driven analysis, is hardly a bad thing, often leading to better decision-making. But in the current climate, GMs draw more praise for saving money than spending it. The Yankees under Brian Cashman have made the playoffs 16 times in 20 seasons and won the World Series four times. Yet only now, with the Yankees transitioning to a younger, less expensive club, is Cashman receiving his just due.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 09, 2018 at 06:13 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, pay site

Monday, January 08, 2018

Rosenthal: Nats interested in Lance Lynn; Yelich suitors line up; teams calling Red Sox on Swihart; more notes – The Athletic

It’s tough ignoring The Athletic when it employs so many good/great reporters.

— The Marlins declined to entertain trade interest in first baseman Justin Bour at the winter meetings, but rival clubs continue to check on his availability. Bour, like catcher J.T. Realmuto, is under control for three more seasons. MLBTradeRumors.com projects Bour to earn $3.5 million in arbitration.

The Marlins could really stock up on prospects if they did a full teardown.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 08, 2018 at 06:47 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: notes, pay site

Friday, January 05, 2018

Rosenthal: Boras faces a tough market (or does he?); Darvish can do better; Brewers interested in Cain; more notes – The Athletic

“We’ve got more than 100 employees,” Boras told The Athletic on Wednesday night. “We’re in constant contact with every team every five to seven days. We’ve got over 30 people working on free agency year-round.

“The majority of our work has been completed. This is just a narrowing of negotiations for a number of players in the process. We’ve had this number of free agents and more in past years. And we have over double the number of employees of any agency in baseball.”

Boras is correct—this is not the first time he has represented a large number of high-profile free agents. His 2004-5 class was particularly star-studded, featuring Jason Varitek, Derek Lowe, Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, Magglio Ordonez and J.D. Drew. Of that group, only Beltre signed before Jan. 6.

Beyond Hosmer, Martinez and Arrieta, Boras’ class this off-season includes third baseman Mike Moustakas and closer Greg Holland, as well as outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Carlos Gomez, designated hitter Matt Holliday and left-handed reliever Tony Watson.

Every winter, rival agents eagerly await Boras’ comeuppance, anticipating he will negotiate at least one disappointing contract, whispering, “this is the year he gets caught.” Occasionally, it happens. More often, especially with star players, it does not. This off-season, though, represents a particular challenge.

Even with the sport awash in revenue, including a reported, one-time $50 million payout to each club from the Disney purchase of BAMTech, many teams seem disinclined to spend. Boras might need to “settle” for suboptimal deals with certain clients—Moustakas’ market, for example, is particularly unclear. But the agent is not going to concede with any player on Jan. 4.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 05, 2018 at 08:33 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, pay site, scott boras

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Rosenthal: He’s 53 and hasn’t played in the majors since 2005, but Rafael Palmeiro is eyeing a comeback, and redemption – The Athletic

You don’t need to get beyond the payroll.

As crazy as it sounds, Palmeiro is thinking about trying to return to the majors. Part of his motivation stems from his belief that he can still help a club. Part of it stems from the way his career ended in disgrace, with teams shunning him after he was suspended in August 2005 for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

“There’s no doubt in my mind I can do it,” says Palmeiro, who ended his career as one of five players to reach both 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. “I’ve taken care of myself really well. I’ve been working out for years. Everything feels better than when I played.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 06, 2017 at 11:52 AM | 94 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, rafael palmeiro

 

 

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