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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-20-2019

Pittsburgh Press, March 20, 1919:

Cy Williams, once one of the popular outfielders on the Cub team, has decided to retire from baseball. He owns a farm in Northern Wisconsin, and has learned that tilling the soil is more profitable than traveling around the National league circuit with the Phillies.
...
“I am sure Williams will not play ball with the Phillies this year,” said Mike Prendergast, Phillie twirler, who is responsible for the report that Cy has retired from the national pastime…“He had a wonderful potato crop last fall that convinced him he could do better on the farm than by playing ball.”

As Dave Bresnahan showed us, there’s no need to choose between baseball and potatoes.

Also in the Pittsburgh Press 100 years ago, Edward E. ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 20, 2019 at 11:02 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, farm system, history

MLB ’19: Longtime baseball voices going, going, almost gone

Steve Blass spent his boyhood afternoons in Connecticut flinging a rubber ball against the side of a half-barn, fantasizing that he was pitching in the majors. Come evening, the 10-year-old would get his radio and tune into a game, delighted when Mel Allen’s voice crackled from the transistor.

“When I thought ‘baseball,’ I thought about Mel Allen,” said Blass, now a Pittsburgh Pirates announcer. “When I thought ‘Mel Allen,’ I thought about baseball.”

More than in any other sport, baseball broadcasters become an inseparable part of the game they describe. Their voices are the backdrop to all those warm summer nights. Their distinctive calls are part of the game’s lore. Fans visualize the action through their stories ...

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QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: announcing, retirement, steve blass

Wright, now an adviser with Mets, points to team chemistry

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Former captain David Wright showed up at Mets spring training camp Monday and spoke to reporters before New York’s game against the Washington Nationals, repeatedly referring fondly to “Al and Johnny.”

It’s that kind of attitude and personal touch, a sort of chumminess that develops within a clubhouse and organization, that Wright thinks can be essential to a winning team.

“Al and Johnny” are Al Leiter and John Franco, former Mets pitchers who were added to the front office two weeks ago in advisory positions.

Wright said the topic of close bonds and friendships that are forged during successful seasons was brought up in a morning meeting with them and new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who ...

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QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: advisor, david wright, mets

Could Red Sox prospect Durbin Feltman help bullpen in 2019? Early results are promising

Durbin Feltman is quickly becoming one of the most intriguing prospects in the Boston Red Sox farm system, and you might be hearing a lot more from him later in the year.

The Red Sox bullpen took a hit this offseason when Joe Kelly left to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers in free agency and the team decided not to bring back free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel. Matt Barnes is one option to be the next closer, but he hasn’t proven to be the undisputed candidate in spring training so far. As a result, there’s still no clear-cut candidate for the closer role, so it’s possible the dreaded bullpen-by-committee approach could be the strategy to open the 2019 season.

If the bullpen struggles or lacks certain elements throughout the year, it’s ...

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QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: durbin feltman, prospects, red sox

Machado brings Manny Mania to rebuilding Padres

SAN DIEGO (AP) — When word of Manny Machado’s $300 million, 10-year contract with the San Diego Padres broke early in spring training, team officials wouldn’t immediately confirm the deal because the All-Star slugger still had to pass a physical.

But that didn’t keep general partner Peter Seidler, a nephew of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Pete O’Malley, from expressing what a monumental move it was for a franchise that had mostly stumbled and bumbled through its 50-year history.

While executive chairman Ron Fowler played the straight man at an impromptu news conference, Seidler couldn’t keep from smiling. He then essentially confirmed that yes, the rebuilding Padres had actually pulled off the splashiest move in their ...

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QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: manny machado, padres

Dodgers Again Loaded in Chase for Elusive World Series Title

The Los Angeles Dodgers are once again loaded in their chase for an elusive World Series title.

A rock-solid starting rotation. Hitters who can produce offensively and defend multiple positions. Overall depth that allows for aggressive platooning.

Manager Dave Roberts received a contract extension through 2022 during the winter. He’s guided the team to 287 victories in his first three years at the helm, tied for fourth-most among mangers during that span. The team has averaged 94 wins a season during its run of six straight NL West championships.

Off the record, Dodgers upper management claimed someone named Robert Denby was at fault.

 

QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, world series

Yelich, Brewers look for another playoff season

Christian Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers think the best way to duplicate their success from last season is to forget it happened altogether.

Milwaukee won the NL Central last year for the first time since 2011 and made it all the way to the NL Championship Series before losing to the more experienced Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games. Yelich earned his first NL MVP award after nearly winning the Triple Crown, and Josh Hader and Jesus Aguilar each had a breakout performance.

Barreling toward a season with considerable expectations, Yelich and Co. have little interest in revisiting the past.

A sentiment I suspect the Cubs fans here will agree with, albeit for very different reasons….

 

QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, christian yelich

MLB lifts restrictions on Arizona Fall League players

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball is lifting restrictions on which players can be sent to the Arizona Fall League for prospects and moving up the season by nearly a month.

The commissioner’s office said Tuesday that a team can send any player to the AFL. Previously, a player had to be at Double-A or Triple-A by Aug. 1, with one player from a lower level allowed per organization. In addition, players with one year of major league service as of Aug. 31 were excluded, with the exception of one player per organization who had been selected in the most recent winter meeting draft of unprotected players. There also was a limit on foreign players.

*Imagines how the Arizona Fall League would look if any player showed up- then realizes ...

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QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona fall league, rule changes

MLB rumors: Brewers talking to former Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel

We’re just over one week away from Opening Day, and Craig Kimbrel somehow remains unsigned.

But finally, there appears to be a team showing interest in the former Red Sox closer. That team is the Brewers, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The hot stove that never ends marches on!

QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, craig kimbrel, hot stove

MLB concerned at number of strikeouts, says Torre

TOKYO (Reuters) - Major League Baseball is concerned at strikeouts surpassing the number of hits and needs more balls in play to arrest the dip in popularity, the league’s chief baseball officer Joe Torre said on Wednesday.

Last season was the first in the league’s history to feature more strikeouts than hits, leading to calls for changes to increase interest.

Average attendance for regular season games in 2018 fell four percent from the previous year to 28,830 per game, according to MLB, while the total number of fans who showed up at the ballpark fell below 70 million for the first time since 2003.

So, do you have a solution for fixing this, Joe, or are you like Manfred?

 

QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: joe torre, mlb, strikeouts

Stephen A. Smith still thought Mike Scioscia managed the Angels

It has long been argued that legendary sportscaster Stephen A. Smith is spread too thin, and this recent gaffe while discussing the Los Angeles Angels just added fuel to the fire.

On his radio program, Smith was discussing the pressure managers face when teams sign franchise players to multimillion dollar deals. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Angels signed Mike Trout to a record contract extension, paying the best player in baseball $430 million to stay in LA for the rest of his career.

Speaking with ESPN colleague Jeff Passan, Smith used Mike Scioscia as an example of managers who will be feeling the pressure to “turn things around” for their respective teams and get the best out of their all-star player.

“Legendary?” Is this proof ...

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QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, bad analysis, espn

Report: Astros, Alex Bregman Agree to Five-Year, $100 Million Extension

The Houston Astros and third baseman Alex Bregman have agreed to a five-year, $100 million extension, according to Fox 26’s Mark Berman.

Overall, Bregman, 24, will be with the Astros for the next six years since he is already under contract with the club for the impending 2019 season. The extension buys out his next three arbitration-eligible years (2020-22) and the first two years of his free agency (2023-24) and comes after Bregman recently criticized the Astros’ spending.

Houston renewed Bregman’s contract for the 2019 season last week at $640,500, but the third baseman was upset that he and the club couldn’t reach a higher agreement.

 

 

QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, astros, contract extensions

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Angels and Trout agree (Report)

Seems like Trout will spend his whole career in LA. Money seems reasonable, but I’m curious if this supersedes the last two years of his current deal, or is an add-on starting in 2021.

Awaiting confirmation from the team…

JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: March 19, 2019 at 10:35 AM | 124 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, hall of fame, mike trout, money

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-19-2019

Memphis News Scimitar, March 19, 1919:

Charles W. Murphy, former president of the Chicago club of the National league, who recently purchased five shares of stock in the organization, has filed a petition in the circuit court for a writ of mandamus to compel officials of the club to allow him to examine its books and records.

The action is directed against Fred L. Mitchell, president, and John O. Seyes, secretary, who, Murphy alleges, refused his request that he and his attorney be permitted to examine the club’s records.

Seems like a reasonable enough request, but makes me wonder what in the world he was doing buying a chunk of a business without seeing the books first.

Speaking of reasonable requests, Babe Ruth’s holdout continues. He’s ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 19, 2019 at 09:42 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks to miss opening day with back injury

CLEARWATER, Fla. — New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks had a second cortisone shot for his ailing back and will not be ready for opening day.

Hicks was hurt while taking batting practice March 1.

New York manager Aaron Boone didn’t rule out Hicks returning during the second week of the season.

Depending, of course, on what’s actually in those shots….

 

QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:53 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron hicks, back, injury, opening day

With Marlins lacking power, Mattingly preaching small ball

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — At a time when home runs dominate baseball’s offensive strategy, the Miami Marlins are zigging to the long ball’s zag.

Manager Don Mattingly realizes that if his Marlins are going to score runs, most often they’re going to have to do it the old fashioned way — one at a time rather than in bunches.

“We’ll have to be a little more creative and a little more traditional,” Mattingly said. “Anytime we have a chance to score a run I think we’ve got to look at trying to score a run. I think the trend in the game is, don’t give up outs, don’t give up big innings. That may work for some clubs, not sure that it works for us.”

In case anyone was still wondering why “small ball” has such a terrible ...

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QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:49 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: don mattingly, marlins, small ball

Dodgers promote Brandon Gomes to VP and assistant GM

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers have promoted Brandon Gomes to vice president and assistant general manager, continuing the former major leaguer’s climb up the front-office ranks.

The 34-year-old former pitcher had been serving as director of player development since 2016. He joined the Dodgers’ front office after a five-year career with Tampa Bay Rays.

Gomes began with the Dodgers as their minor league pitching coordinator under then-director of player development Gabe Kapler, who now manages the Philadelphia Phillies.

Having middle relievers become front-office figures would appear to be the new market inefficiency….

 

QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:45 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: brandon gomes, dodgers, front office

MLB’s Leroy Stanton, traded with Nolan Ryan, dies in crash

Stanton hailed from Latta, South Carolina, and spent nine years in the MLB, appearing in more than 800 games as an outfielder. He started with the New York Mets in 1970, and was part of the later-infamous 1971 trade that sent Nolan Ryan, Stanton and two other Mets to the then-California Angels.

 

QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:39 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: leroy stanton, rip

MLB players revel in Japan’s ‘carnival’ stadium atmosphere

Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball aren’t really so different on the field. Everyone is playing the same game and the rules are more or less the same, with some exceptions.

But as the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics found out during their exhibitions against the Yomiuri Giants and Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, respectively, the leagues are worlds apart in the stands, where Japanese fans take an active role in creating an atmosphere that’s a lot different than in MLB.

“That was awesome,” Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon said after facing the Giants. “It was awesome. They care about baseball. It’s an exhibition game, 46,000 people here (actual attendance: 46,315). That’s awesome. You don’t see ...

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QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:33 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: japan, neutral site games, stadium

Cubs’ Baez has new magic tricks ready for this season

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — It does not take Javier Baez long to show off his magic tricks, even in a spring training game.

The Chicago Cubs star singled in the first inning on Sunday against the Colorado Rockies and stole second, escaping a tag by shortstop Garrett Hampson with a deft swim move.

“I wasn’t planning on doing it — I just reacted to it,” Baez said. “I got a good jump but I took forever to be full speed and the ball beat me. I saw it and just reacted to it. That’s my first attempt to steal a bag in spring training. I just did it. We’ll see how it goes.”

Last year, as we all remember, Javier Baez successfully caused the Cubs’ offense to disappear.

 

QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:29 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, javier baez, magic

Opening day intrigue: Ichiro keeps ‘em guessing about future

TOKYO — This is the Ichiro effect.

Richard Snitzer had never been to Japan. What finally drove the Japanese-American to travel here from his home in Hayward, California, was Ichiro Suzuki; not family ties, not pure wanderlust, but a chance to see a player he called “simply the best.”

And get this. He’s not even a Mariners fan, which he’s advertised by wearing his A’s jersey around the Tokyo Dome.

He’ll be there Wednesday when Major League Baseball opens the 2019 season with Seattle facing Oakland to start a two-game series. The 45-year-old Ichiro is expected to play in both. What happens next? Ichiro isn’t saying.

Ichiro, of course, will keep them guessing, because he wants to.

 

QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:25 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: future, ichiro suzuki

Dane Dunning undergoes Tommy John surgery as another White Sox prospect goes on the shelf

Another highly rated White Sox prospect will spend much of the next year in recovery mode.

Dane Dunning underwent Tommy John surgery Monday, the team told reporters in Arizona, pairing him with Michael Kopech as pitching prospects in recovery mode.

Dunning was shut down last June because of a forearm issue, the White Sox hoping to avoid Tommy John at that time. He wasn’t invited to big league camp this spring, with general manager Rick Hahn explaining that decision away as a way to ease Dunning into the 2019 campaign. But Dunning again experienced forearm discomfort during camp, and Hahn said last week that all options were on the table, including the Tommy John surgery that came Monday.

Think they regret not going for it vis a vis ...

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QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:20 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dane dunning, tommy john surgery, white sox

The openers experiment isn’t really an experiment anymore for Tampa Bay

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — They weren’t trying to change the whole game, just their own. They were secure enough to try, humble enough to allow that the whole thing could be very, very flammable. They let everyone laugh or grouse or turn away, whatever. In the end, as it happened, most were also taking notes.

So the Tampa Bay Rays won 90 games and had sparked, if not a movement exactly, certainly an inclination to reconsider the best way — or still another way — to 27 outs. That it didn’t look quite right, they’d leave others to judge, many of whom won fewer than 90 games. So.

What might’ve appeared to be some newfangled funk was, actually, the oldest of old school, which is trying to win a baseball game. That means standing ...

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QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:13 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: opener, rays

Sources: MLB eyes higher salaries in minors

Major League Baseball suggested sweeping changes to the minor leagues—including a significant increase in salaries, a higher standard of living conditions and better transportation—during an initial collective-bargaining session with the group that oversees the minors, sources familiar with the meeting told ESPN.

After years of weathering criticism and lawsuits regarding minor league pay, MLB appears ready to remedy what long has been considered substandard treatment of its future players. The meeting took place within the last month, around the same time the Toronto Blue Jays were finalizing a new wage scale for their minor league players, which was first reported by The Athletic. The working agreement between MLB and the National ...

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QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, wages

Lowriders, piñatas, margaritas and the best new Minor League Baseball alter egos

Last year, Minor League Baseball introduced a new idea that turned a league that already loved its alter egos into a league where it was impossible to own all the cool hats.

The Copa de la Diversión series — which translates to “The Fun Cup” — was a way for baseball to pay homage to the game’s Latino influence and fans, as dozens of teams developed fun and colorful alter egos. We saw teams centered around Mariachis, Cucuys and Flying Chanclas, who would play a handful of games each year.

The whole thing was so cool that it deserved a sequel. MILB on Monday announced a total of 72 teams that were getting Copa de la Diversión alter egos for 2019, some old favorites, like those flying flip-flops and other new ones that seem ripe ...

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QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, promotions

MLB notebook: Kershaw will miss Opening Day start

For the first time since 2010, Clayton Kershaw won’t be the Opening Day starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The left-hander, who has started a club-record eight straight openers, was ruled out of the March 28 start against the Arizona Diamondbacks due to the persistent shoulder inflammation he has dealt with all spring. He has yet to pitch in a spring training game.

“When he’s ready to pitch for us is when he’s going to pitch for us,” said manager Dave Roberts, adding that it was unlikely Kershaw will begin the season on the active roster.

Roberts didn’t announce an Opening Day starter on Monday, but right-hander Walker Buehler is definitely in the mix. The last Opening Day starter for the Dodgers not named Kershaw was ...

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QLE Posted: March 19, 2019 at 03:07 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, dodgers, opening day

Monday, March 18, 2019

Brewers make ‘Mean Girls’ parody vid

Craig Counsell seems like a good boss. And Brent Suter looks to be on track for being nominated for a short film Oscar in 15 years

Master of the Horse Posted: March 18, 2019 at 08:42 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, milwaukee

MLB Tries iPitch Watch In Spring Training Games

Jesse Dougherty @dougherty_jesse
2019.03.18 10:37

MLB is at Nationals’ camp today workshopping a new communication device for pitchers and catchers. It would allow catchers to type a pitch call (with location) into a watch that is connected to a watch the pitcher is wearing on the mound. An effort to eliminate sign-stealing.

* Computers do not always work as expected.
* The r.f. spectrum at ballparks is congested already.
* Catcher’s wrist movements could tell via high-resolution camera.
* Other unintended consequences.

 

Bote Man Posted: March 18, 2019 at 11:31 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: catchers, rules, sign stealing, technology

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-18-2019

Red Sox owner Harry Frazee gives an update on his contract negotiations with Babe Ruth, Pittsburgh Press, March 18, 1919:

“As far as Ruth is concerned, I have done everything possible to talk him into a reasonable frame of mind. Yet he remains obdurate and demands a contract that is absolutely out of the question. If I cannot come to terms with Ruth then I will get ready and see what other clubs will offer in the way of a trade…If Ruth doesn’t want to work for the Redsox at the handsome salary offered him, maybe we can make an advantageous trade for him with some other club.

Narrator: “They couldn’t.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 18, 2019 at 10:36 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, dugout, history

Passan: How Phillies’ 2018 clubhouse issues caused by Fortnite led to a smashed TV

When the Philadelphia Phillies lost their ninth consecutive game toward the end of last September, veteran first baseman Carlos Santana felt like he needed to send a message to his teammates who he said spent portions of the game against the Atlanta Braves playing video games in the clubhouse. Santana grabbed a bat, retreated to the room at Citizens Bank Park where the gaming took place and smashed the TV to ensure there would be no more “Fortnite” the final two days of the season.

“I see a couple players—I don’t want to say names—they play video games during the game,” Santana told ESPN. “We come and lose too many games, and I feel like they weren’t worried about it. Weren’t respecting their teammates or coaches or the staff or the ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 18, 2019 at 09:50 AM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

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