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Monday, March 11, 2019

ESPN - Keown - Bryce Harper is One Very Big Deal

When Harper told his agent, Scott Boras, that he wanted a lifetime deal—with a no-trade clause and none of the agent’s signature opt-outs—Boras said, “Well, teams don’t want to employ you at 35, much less 39, so we’re going to have to give something up to get that.” The casualty, to use the term loosely, was the average annual salary—$25.3 million. Manny Machado’s, to pick one, is higher. Harper didn’t care.

For the MLB Players’ Association, a more unified front isn’t just for show – Orange County Register

Solidarity to do what?

On the tone of players’ questions in their group meetings with union leaders: “The engagement of solidarity among the group is something we haven’t seen in a long time. Whether you’re a young player, young guys are asking questions. Whether you’re in the middle, whether you’re a senior player – everybody is paying attention to what’s going on. … It’s something that we’re encouraged by and that we can appreciate as we’ve gone through Arizona and I would suspect that Florida would be similar.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 12:11 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: mlbpa

Julio Urías exercises impressive restraint, while Dodgers attempt to restrain his usage – Orange County Register

What is his innings limit?

Urías is on an unconventional starter’s plan this spring. He’s slated to pitch three innings again in his next outing. More than two weeks remain before Opening Day, but Urías is scheduled to top out at four or five innings in camp, Manager Dave Roberts said.

The restricted workload is a byproduct of caution. Urías threw a career-high 127 ⅔ innings in 2016. The following season, he was injured throwing a pitch in a Triple-A game. He had surgery on the anterior capsule of his left shoulder in June 2017 and did not pitch in a competitive setting for another 13 months.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:54 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, julio urias

Miley’s former coach helps him get back on track

After two years of frustration while he was a member of the Orioles – he posted a 5.75 ERA and 1.7 WHIP in 43 starts—veteran left-hander Wade Miley got a call from an old friend back home in the winter of 2017 offering to help him rejuvenate his career.

“I made it real simple,” Chris Westcott said. “You’ve got two options: You either work hard, or you’re going to milk cows. It’s up to you.”

Miley certainly isn’t against hard work, but throwing a baseball is all he had ever done, and he wasn’t up for a career change at 31 years old. Miley put his faith in Westcott, his pitching coach in Louisiana since he was 15 years old, to help get him into shape and back on track.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, pitchers, wade miley

Adam Jones and Martin Maldonado Find New Homes | FanGraphs Baseball

Great stuff from Dan. It’s tough to be a platoon outfielder when your team carries 13 pitchers.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:48 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Banjo Hitter: PECOTA vs. Vegas 2019 - Baseball Prospectus

Pecota vs. Bovada.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: gambling

Trea Turner may never think he is good enough, and that means he will only get better - The Washington Post

“I was frustrated by myself last year. I could have done so many more things,” Turner says. “I’d think, ‘Why did I do that?’ or ‘That was dumb.’ I slid past the bag by an inch one time, got tagged out. ‘Come on.’

“I expect more from myself. And there’s more there. Am I going to hit [.342] like my rookie year? Obviously, no. But how much better is ‘better?’ Is it hit .290,” he says, pausing to think before each number. “Is it 20 home runs . . . 50 steals?”

Turner shakes his head — no, that’s not enough. He ups the ante: “With my speed and my hard-hit-ball percentage, there’s no reason I shouldn’t hit .300.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, trea turner

Oakland’s Athletics need a home. They may get one — and provide 6,000 more

The Oakland Athletics badly need a new home. Their current one, plagued by plumbing problems, is an uncomfortable throwback to the days when baseball and football teams shared generic stadiums lacking in charm and good sight lines.

For two decades, the baseball team has looked for that new ballpark throughout the Bay Area. The Athletics’ latest offer, and possibly their last, is to build 6,001 homes in Oakland — one for themselves along the waterfront, the rest for a city desperately in need of housing.

In times past, taxpayers typically financed the stadiums and arenas, and the teams kept the profits. As California led the way in cutting those subsidies, owners turned to real estate development, making money by surrounding their ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 11, 2019 at 10:42 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

MLB spring training: Teams need catchers, but don’t want to pay them

By the standards of minor league catchers in spring training, guys like Saez are the lucky ones.

MLB organizations split players into Major League and minor league camps. According to the sport’s collective bargaining agreement, only non-roster players with enough service time to be eligible for salary arbitration — “Super Two” players and above — receive the weekly expense allowances extended to rostered big-leaguers in spring training, but all players in Major League uniform for Cactus or Grapefruit League games get $95.50 in meal money for that day.

At minor-league camp — which opens in earnest this week for many clubs — players are expected to thrive on no salary, a team-provided breakfast and lunch, and a food ...

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 10:31 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: minor league pay, minor leaguers

In Baseball’s Game of Numbers, Yankees Differ on Which Ones Count - The New York Times

Ottavino, though, is on his own level. During the season, he checks two statistics he believes reflect how he is throwing: first-strike and walk percentages. At the end of the season, he dives deeply into how he threw the ball, using advanced statistics such as xwOBA (expected weight on-base average), which in layman’s terms, essentially measures the quality of the contact made against him.

He labeled other statistics, such as E.R.A. or the scoring percentage of inherited base runners, as faulty.

“We’re trying to strip away all the luck factors so you can be as real with yourself as possible,” he said. “If you’re not doing that, you’re going to ride the roller coaster really bad, and you’re lying to yourself.”

Even if ...

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 09:46 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: statistics

Aaron Nola can’t wait to get a taste of that Citizens Bank Park electricity

SARASOTA, Fla. — The sold-out crowd of 10,276 at Spectrum Field on Saturday gave Aaron Nola a taste of what to expect on March 28 when he makes his second consecutive opening day start.

The difference for Nola this time around, aside from the incredible hype surrounding this Phillies team, is that he won’t be opening on the road.

What’s Nola expecting the atmosphere to be like for that 3:05 p.m. game against the Braves?

“Oh, crazy,” he said. “Packed house. I haven’t opened up in Philly since I’ve been here. It was a packed house with Bryce yesterday and I’m pretty sure with the hype already, it’s gonna be a packed house.”

Doesn’t “electricity”, in the context of a Philadelphia sporting venue, mean that they are about to throw ...

QLE Posted: March 11, 2019 at 09:42 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron nola, citizens bank park, philadephia

Marlins searching for answers to Chen’s road woes

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — The “homer” could follow the “opener” into baseball’s lexicon.

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly says he’d consider rearranging some of pitcher Wei-Yin Chen’s starting dates during the regular season should last year’s atrocious home/road splits continue.

“If we’re seeing the same type trend then I think if you have a chance to schedule it — if you have an off-day and you can skip a guy and it lines him up for two home starts instead of one and back in Philly, or wherever it would be — I think you look at it,” Mattingly said.

It beats having to face the team’s real problems….


QLE Posted: March 11, 2019 at 09:42 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: marlins, pitching, wei-yin chen

Rick Porcello says Steven Wright owes team explanation for positive drug test

Red Sox starter Rick Porcello is a hardliner when it comes to performance enhancing drug use in baseball. He has, in the past, expressed support for harsher penalties for those who test positive. In 2016, Porcello said, “I’m all in favor for a much, much more severe punishment or a lifetime ban.”

Teammate Steven Wright tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide 2 (GHRP-2) on Wednesday, resulting in an 80-game suspension. Wright said in a statement, “Although I do not dispute the validity of the test, I was shocked as I have nver intentionally ingested anything for performance-enhancing purposes.”

He did admit that he had to take stuff when he tried to fold his bed into a couch, only to almost break his arms when it ...

QLE Posted: March 11, 2019 at 09:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, rick porcello, steven wright

Mariners, Athletics name starters for Tokyo series

The Mariners and Athletics will kick off the regular season a week before the other 28 teams with a two-game series in Tokyo, Japan March 20 and 21. The clubs have announced their starters for both series.

For the Mariners, Marco Gonzales will start the first game, followed by Yusei Kikuchi. For the A’s, Mike Fiers will start the first game, followed by Brett Anderson.

In other news, it sure doesn’t feel like the regular season should begin by the end of next week….


QLE Posted: March 11, 2019 at 09:42 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, japan, mariners, opening day

The long, rewarding road back for Yankees’ Troy Tulowitzki

TAMPA, Fla.—A slow-played Sunday morning found half the New York Yankees boarding a bus bound for Lakeland, many with a paper coffee cup in one hand, a paper plate of eggs in the other, a bat bag slung over one shoulder. The rest stayed behind to play the Pittsburgh Pirates.

An hour’s an hour, and the disappearance of just the one served to heighten gravity’s devilish pull on another day like the one before and the one before that.

Reggie Jackson, he’s 72 now, padded into the clubhouse, nodded good morning and, on the fly, paged through a print edition of the New York Post. Ron Guidry, 68, unhurriedly chased wisps of steam from his black coffee. Willie Randolph, 64, stopped, said his oldest grandchild is 10 now and that he lives ...

QLE Posted: March 11, 2019 at 09:42 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: comeback, spring training, troy tulowitzki, yankees

Betting on baseball has finally outgrown Pete Rose

Not even halfway into his argument against Major League Baseball striking a deal with MGM Resorts on a gambling partnership, it sounds like Pete Rose is already thinking of ways to game the system.

“You’re telling me the managers have to submit their lineups to the league office so the casino can set the lines on the games?” Rose told the New York Daily News. “What happens if right before game time your starting pitcher has a cramp and has to be scratched? Is the manager gonna get blamed for that ... for screwing up the line?”

The more baseball embraces gambling, the more we’re going to hear from Pete Rose. Never mind that Rose spends a large chunk of his time signing autographs in Las Vegas just a walk away from any sportsbook, ...

QLE Posted: March 11, 2019 at 05:39 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: gambling, las vegas, pete rose

Babe Ruth’s Last Surviving Daughter Dies in Henderson at 102

Julia Ruth Stevens, the last surviving daughter of Hall of Fame baseball slugger Babe Ruth and a decades-long champion of his legacy, has died at age 102, her family has announced. Tom Stevens said Sunday that his mother died Saturday morning at an assisted living facility in Henderson, Nevada, after a short illness.

eric Posted: March 11, 2019 at 05:10 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth

Sunday, March 10, 2019

‘What do you want me to say?’: Unhappy Felix Hernandez struggles in final Cactus League start for Mariners | The Seattle Times

But could this current acrimony lead to disruption? Hernandez has never been malicious, but he also hasn’t always been mature. It’s certainly something that will be monitored. At what point is his presence a diminished value? The Mariners won’t hinder the progress of top prospect Justus Sheffield for the sake of loyalty and nostalgia.

His $27 million salary is a sunken cost. Even if he somehow performs above expectations and becomes of value to another team, it’s a dollar figure that no GM would assume — or even half of it. But if a change-of-scenery trade presented itself, the Mariners would be interested.

And if Hernandez continues to struggle with wandering command, run-filled innings and shortened starts, the cost of ...

Jim Furtado Posted: March 10, 2019 at 10:14 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: felix hernandez, mariners

Adam Jones deal with D-backs |

Is this the best deal he had this winter or is it the best deal he could get now?

Jim Furtado Posted: March 10, 2019 at 10:04 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: adam jones, diamondbacks

Vlad Jr. strains left oblique, out 3 weeks | Toronto Blue Jays

OK, he’s out for three weeks then they have him rehab in AAA. Does this help them finagle his service time?

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is expected to miss the next three weeks, after he was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of his left oblique muscle.
The 20-year-old third baseman technically was competing for a spot on the 25-man roster but all along the expectation was that Guerrero would start the year at Triple-A Buffalo. If the Blue Jays delayed his arrival in Toronto by a few weeks, the club would have gained an extra year of control, and this latest injury all but officially guarantees that will be the course of action.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 10, 2019 at 10:00 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, injuries, prospects, vladimir guerrero jr.

Jo Adell injured in Cactus League game |


Jim Furtado Posted: March 10, 2019 at 09:58 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, injuries, jo adell, prospects

Dana LeVangie is ‘heart and soul’ of Red Sox pitching staff

“Red Sox pitching coach” seems an inadequate title for Dana LeVangie. An alternate suggestion?

“The heart and soul of our staff,” offered starter Rick Porcello.

Porcello isn’t alone in such accolades. Query any Red Sox pitcher about LeVangie and you’ll encounter either endless praise for the 49-year-old or muted vexation by someone who believes that no words can accurately capture what he means to the club. Such reactions are a testimony to a person who is incredibly invested in the Red Sox organization.

The Whitman-Hanson alum is entering his 29th year in the Red Sox organization, a tenure in which he’s been a minor league catcher, bullpen catcher, pro scout, advance scout, bullpen coach, interim bench coach, and now ...

Jim Furtado Posted: March 10, 2019 at 10:28 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dana lavangie, pitching coaches, red sox

Sunday Notes: Brad Ausmus Embraced Analytics, Aced His Angels Interview | FanGraphs Baseball

The characteristics Eppler is looking for — not just on the coaching staff, but throughout the organization — can be encapsulated in a single, hyphenated sentence:

“We want people who have a growth mindset and are adaptable — not open-minded; adaptable — and want to learn and evolve, and implement things if it makes sense to implement them.”

In Eppler’s opinion, Ausmus embodied those characteristics. Augmented by his familiarity with the system — Ausmus spent 2018 working in the Angels front office — it’s the reason he got his current job.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 10, 2019 at 10:11 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: sunday notes

Mets have a competitive and friendly 1st-base battle going on

Barring injury and despite Alonso’s glove, I can’t see Smith making the team. Alonso is out-hitting him. Davis can also play third and the outfield.

The 23-year-old Smith struggled in stints with the Mets in 2017 and ’18, but credits an emphasis on physical fitness for his solid spring. Last season, Smith missed almost all of spring training with a quadriceps injury sustained early in camp. It came after Smith was late for a team meeting and got scratched from the lineup as punishment.

“Last year it just felt like you could never dig yourself out of that hole and it kept spiraling and getting worse and worse, but you learn from those things and just try to move on and get better,” Smith said.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 10, 2019 at 08:20 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dominic smith, mets, pete alonso

MLB preview: Five bold predictions for upcoming season

There is going to be plenty of turnover for the 2019 MLB season.

The game is changing and that is driving much of our projections for the year.

With that being said, here are five bold predictions for the 2019 season

For the most part, these predictions don’t feel all that bold- anyone here tempted to make bolder ones?

QLE Posted: March 10, 2019 at 07:32 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: batting average, braves, home runs, manny machado, predictions

Mariners’ Seager to see hand specialist after rolling wrist

PEORIA, ARIZ. — Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager will see a hand specialist after rolling his left wrist during a spring training game.

Seager was pulled Friday night after jamming his glove into the ground diving for a hard grounder by the Chicago Cubs’ Javier Baez. Seager removed his mitt and favored his wrist and hand while Baez ran out a double. He left the game after one more batter.



QLE Posted: March 10, 2019 at 07:32 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: kyle seager, mariners, wrist

Giants’ Posey Catching More In Spring Than Expected

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — On Saturday, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey played in his fifth spring training game and made his fourth start behind the plate.

Told that it seems as if he’s catching more than expected coming off hip surgery, Posey agreed.

“Which is a good thing,” Posey said. “I didn’t really have expectations coming in. I would say so, too. That’s a positive.”

Going to be interesting to see if this lasts- it’s likely that how he recovers will be telling about the future trajectory of his career.


QLE Posted: March 10, 2019 at 07:32 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: buster posey, catching, giants

Matthew Boyd takes up goal of ending sex slavery by caring for 36 girls in Uganda

Many athletes take the money they make from their talents and, admirably, give some to charitable causes. Few go above and beyond like Detroit Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd, who is “essentially adopting” 36 girls in Uganda in an effort to protect them from human trafficking. Boyd’s efforts were featured in a story in the Detroit Free Press on Saturday.

According to a State Department report from 2018, Uganda “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.”

Boyd is an unexpected contributor to those efforts. It started last year, when he and his wife, Ashley, found out about a woman in Uganda named Dorothy who was caring for 36 girls, but was ...

QLE Posted: March 10, 2019 at 07:32 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: human trafficking, matthew boyd, uganda

Bryce Harper walks up to ‘Fresh Prince’ theme song during first at bat

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WPVI)—Bryce Harper walked up to the plate to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song during his first at-bat for the Phillies.

Harper drew a walk Saturday in his first spring training plate appearance.

He noted that he is still getting into form after missing the first part of spring training.

Something tells me Bryce wouldn’t fare well in West Philadelphia- including the area around the University of Pennsylvania.

QLE Posted: March 10, 2019 at 07:32 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, philadephia, walk up music

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