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Sunday, October 02, 2022

Hector Lopez, Who Broke a Baseball Color Barrier, Dies at 93

Hector Lopez, the first Black manager at the highest level of minor league baseball and one of the last living members of the early 1960s Yankees dynasty, who played in the team’s outfield alongside Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, died on Thursday in Hudson, Fla. He was 93.

His son Darrol Lopez said the cause of his death, in a hospital, was complications of lung cancer.

A native of Panama, Lopez was one of the first Black players for the Yankees. Appearing in five consecutive World Series, he was the very essence of a utility player, a capable nonstar who filled in as an infielder or an outfielder wherever there was a need. 
In the fifth and final game of the 1961 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds, he smashed a home run and a ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 02, 2022 at 06:57 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: hector lopez, obituaries

There’s a new longest last name in MLB history

- Simeon Woods Richardson admits that he had thought about the absurdity of what his full last name would look like on the back of a Major League team’s jersey. It’s 16 characters long, pushing him decisively past the previous labyrinthine-last-name leader, former big league catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, for what’s believed to be the longest name on the back of a jersey in big league history.

“I could already envision it,” Woods Richardson said. “I already know it’s going to go from love handle to love handle.”

He no longer needs to imagine it, because such a jersey now exists and hangs from a locker in the visiting clubhouse at Comerica Park, with his beautifully arching last name enveloping a jersey number 78. It’s about ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 02, 2022 at 06:52 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: simeon woods richardson

Shohei Ohtani to make $30 million in 2023, record amount for arbitration-eligible player

Shohei Ohtani has agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal Saturday, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The deal is the largest one-year contract ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani’s $24.5 million raise from his 2022 salary is by far the largest for an arbitration-eligible player in major league history. He shattered the previous ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 02, 2022 at 12:50 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, shohei ohtani

Seattle Mariners end 20-year playoff drought on Cal Raleigh’s walk-off home run

More than an hour after Cal Raleigh ended the longest playoff drought in baseball, he was back on the field with his teammates, circling the perimeter of the field to acknowledge the tens of thousands of fans who still stuck around.

The celebration was more akin to winning something big in October, rather than a victory on the last day of September. But after 21 years, the Seattle Mariners could be excused for going a little over the top upon their return to the playoffs.

“It’s better than maybe what you could dream it to be,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 02, 2022 at 12:49 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Tony La Russa expected to announce retirement Monday as White Sox manager

Tony La Russa, who was hoping to lead the Chicago White Sox to the World Series, instead is expected to announce his retirement Monday at a news conference in Chicago.

La Russa, who turns 78 on Tuesday, certainly gave it everything he had, but his heart gave out.

He planned on returning to fulfill his contract in 2023, but was in his office on Aug. 29 when he received a telephone call from his doctors. He was instructed to leave the ballpark immediately, go home, and come in the next day for testing. He was on a flight the next day back to Arizona and underwent a procedure to repair his pacemaker.

La Russa, feeling much stronger, still planned to return as manager. He flew to Oakland on Sept. 10 to attend Dave Stewart’s jersey ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 02, 2022 at 12:48 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: tony larussa, white sox

Friday, September 30, 2022

Atlanta Braves sign RHP Charlie Morton to 1-year, $20 million deal for 2023

The Atlanta Braves signed veteran pitcher Charlie Morton to a one-year extension, the team announced Friday.

Morton, 38, will earn $20 million in 2023, his 16th year in the big leagues. The deal includes a team option for 2024, also worth $20 million.

Morton is in his second stint with Atlanta after being drafted by the organization in 2002. He returned to the Braves in 2021 and made 33 regular-season starts, then four more in the postseason, before fracturing his leg in the World Series.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2022 at 08:06 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, charlie morton

Trevor Bauer’s defamation case against accuser’s former attorney could be thrown out

Bauer argued he had been defamed in part because Thiagarajah told the Washington Post “there’s no doubt Mr. Bauer just brutalized” the woman, a finding evidence had “established to 100 percent certainty.” Bauer noted the Los Angeles County district attorney declined to charge him with a crime, and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman denied the woman’s request for a restraining order.

In his tentative ruling, Selna wrote Thiagarajah spoke in his role as an advocate for the woman. Selna also said Bauer “conspicuously omits” in his complaint Thiagarajah’s subsequent comment in the Post story: “The issue was whether or not she consented to the abuse.”

Wrote Selna: “Judge Gould-Saltman herself stated ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2022 at 05:59 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: trevor bauer

Orioles intend to sign new lease committing team to remaining in Baltimore, document says

The Orioles intend to sign a new lease with the Maryland Stadium Authority committing the ball club to remaining in Baltimore even as the family of ailing owner Peter Angelos battles in court over control of the team, according to a document obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

“As a lifelong Baltimorean I very much look forward to signing on behalf of the Club,” Orioles chairman and CEO John Angelos said in a Sept. 1 memorandum to about 250 of the team’s front-office staff members.

He said in the memo that the lease would be part of a broader “memorandum of understanding” underscoring the team’s “special relationship with the State of Maryland and the Greater Baltimore area” and highlighting “our philosophy of what true ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2022 at 04:15 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles

To dream the impossible dream - and then decide it’s time to let it go

“You had a great year, and I love ya, and I want you to come back and sign back with us,” Deeds recalled Butler saying.

Deeds paused before answering.

“I said, ‘Yeah, sure, Bugsy.’”

Deeds turned to the other former major leaguer in the room, hitting coach Rick Burleson, who couldn’t bear to make eye contact with Deeds.

His heart sank.

“It was like a scene out of ‘Bull Durham,’” said Deeds, who trained his focus back on Butler. “Bugsy, you’re not calling me up, are you?”

“Nah, Deeder,” he said. “I wish I could, but it’s not up to me.”...

Deeds wasn’t your average career minor leaguer. There have been 246 players who compiled more than 4,000 plate appearances in affiliated and independent leagues since 1948 and played at least 10 ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2022 at 01:25 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leaguers

Hall of Fame Cardinals writer Rick Hummel retiring from Post-Dispatch after 51 years

Hummel began covering the Cardinals when Red Schoendienst was the manager, and was on the beat during Whitey Herzog’s tenure in the 1980s —  when the team went to the World Series three times and won in ’82.

“I love being with people who love their job, and he certainly does,” Herzog said last year in an extensive profile of Hummel’s career on these pages. “He loves the game; he’s very knowledgeable. I couldn’t have had a better beat writer for those 10 years, I was very fortunate to have him as my beat writer.”

Hensley has a similar feeling about Hummel.

“He’s grown to mean a whole lot more to me than the pearls of wisdom he puts on paper,” Hensley said. “He’s a great friend and confidante, someone I have always been ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2022 at 01:23 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, rick hummel

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Mets to call up No. 1 prospect in baseball

Ahead of their pivotal series against the Braves, the Mets are expected to add a bat they hope will be a big part of their future. The club is set to call up baseball’s No. 1 overall prospect, Francisco Álvarez, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. The team has not confirmed the move.

Álvarez was tearing it up at Double-A Binghamton with 18 homers in 67 games before getting the call to Triple-A, where he was starting to get comfortable before suffering a right ankle injury. But the Mets saw enough when he returned from the injury to give him a shot with a week to go in the season and in the middle of a pennant race with no margin for error.

The 20-year-old catcher could see time as the designated hitter, where the Mets have relied ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2022 at 10:49 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: francisco alvarez, mets

Three impacts of baseball’s new 12-team postseason format

1. The No. 6 seed may be more desirable than the No. 5 seed
Teams will not be reseeded after the Wild Card Series. The winner of the No. 3 vs. No. 6 Wild Card Series will play the No. 2 seed in the LDS no matter what, and the winner of the No. 4 vs. No. 5 Wild Card Series will play the No. 1 seed in the LDS no matter what. In the LDS the team with the league’s best record will face a wild-card team, not a division winner, period.

That sounds great in theory, but in practice it doesn’t always work out so neatly. Some wild-card teams are better than some division winners every season, and this year’s NL East is the great example. The NL East runner-up will have a much better record and run differential than the NL Central winner. Because of ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2022 at 05:42 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: post-season

Roger Maris Jr. blasts MLB, says Aaron Judge’s potential 62nd home run should be single-season record

“I think it means a lot, not just for me, I think it means a lot for a lot of people,” he explained. “He’s clean, he’s a Yankee, he plays the game the right way. I think it gives people a chance to look at somebody who should be revered for hitting 62 home runs and not just as a guy who did it in the American League. He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ. That’s really who he is if he hits 62 and I think that’s what needs to happen. I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”

Maris has shared his opinion on the matter in the past as well, but MLB hasn’t expunged their record books of Bonds’ 73 home runs in 2001, as it still stands to be the number ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2022 at 12:54 PM | 112 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron judge, barry bonds, roger maris

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

New York Yankees star Aaron Judge hits 61st home run of season, tying Roger Maris’ mark

New York Yankees star Aaron Judge hit his 61st home run of the season Wednesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays, tying Roger Maris’ American League record.

It took Maris until Oct. 1, the final game of the 1961 season, to hit his 61st, which broke Babe Ruth’s single-season mark of 60 home runs set in 1927.

Judge did it Sept. 28, in Game No. 155 for New York. A day after the Yankees clinched the American League East title, Judge, batting leadoff as the designated hitter, took Toronto’s Tim Mayza deep in the seventh inning with a runner on base. Judge—who walked in his first at-bat, popped out in his second and grounded out in his third—had gone seven games without a home run since managing a solo shot during New York’s 6-0 homestand. ...Read More...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2022 at 11:27 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron judge

Japan’s affinity for Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani examined in ‘Searching for Ohtani’

In the process, says Verlander, the younger brother of two-time Cy Young, MVP winner and World Series champion Justin Verlander, he also discovered his true meaning.

Verlander spent 10 days in Japan last month traveling to Shohei Ohtani’s hometown, going to ballgames, visiting Ohtani’s former coaches and teammates, his hometown mayor, fans and children, and returning for a one-hour interview with Ohtani in Los Angeles.

It will all be unveiled in Fox Sports’ show “Searching for Shohei: An Interview Special”, a 60-minute show produced by sports media company Religion of Sports, which will be broadcast Oct. 18 on FS1 after Game 1 of the ALCS. ...

“I was told by so many people in Japan that people there aren’t the most outspoken,” ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2022 at 04:14 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: ben verlander, shohei ohtani

Soto, Shmoto: Joey Meneses Is Washington’s Pleasant Surprise

No, the Nats haven’t found another phenom to succeed Soto, but instead, they went with journeyman minor league outfielder Joey Meneses. He isn’t a prospect of any type, or even a young player; he’s older than not only Soto but also Harper. But what Meneses has done in defying expectations is impressive, with his 158 wRC+ in more than 200 plate appearances actually besting Soto’s pre-trade wRC+ of 152. I’m not going to suggest that Meneses is actually able to replace Soto, but it is extremely cool to see a minor leaguer be able to capitalize on such a rare opportunity.

For the background on Meneses, I urge you to check out the piece written by our friend Ben Lindbergh over at the Ringer earlier this month, for which I supplied a ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2022 at 04:12 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: joey meneses, nationals

Miami Marlins’ Richard Bleier only pitcher since 1900 with 3 balks in same at-bat, gets tossed vs. Mets

Miami Marlins lefty Richard Bleier had himself an inning to forget Tuesday night against the Mets in New York, making major league history as the only player since 1900 to balk three times in the same at-bat, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Bleier, who opened the eighth inning in relief with the Marlins up 6-3, quickly retired his first two batters before allowing Jeff McNeil to reach on an infield single. With Pete Alonso at the plate, Bleier was called for a balk three times, allowing McNeil to come around to score.

“Words cannot describe what happened in that inning on my end,” said Bleier, a seven-year veteran who hadn’t been called for a balk in his first 303 big league appearances. “I don’t know. It was wild.”

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2022 at 10:54 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: richard bleier

Why Major League Baseball needs to do a better job of appreciating regular season greatness

A thoroughly predictable reaction to this is going to be something along the lines of, “We shouldn’t reward teams until they win the World Series.” (Note that this line of thinking doesn’t seem to pop up when a team celebrates a division title.) Sure, that’s one way to frame it, but another way – one I subscribe too – is that winning the World Series becomes an immediate stand-in for greatness even if said greatness was not proved across the six-month cauldron that is the regular season. Calling a team that couldn’t crack even 90 wins from April through September “great” credits postseason baseball for doing something it can’t truly do—i.e., determine true baseball greatness. Sure, great teams often win the World Series, but they’re ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2022 at 10:49 AM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: post-season

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The difficult postseason decision Mets face

Assuming the Mets can line up their postseason rotation the way they desire, they’ll open the playoffs with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer in some order, followed by Chris Bassitt. All three of those pitchers have earned the assignment on merit.

After that, the Mets face a difficult decision; it’s tough to draw a line between third and fourth starters Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker. Both have been key contributors for the Mets but notably inconsistent. Overall, Carrasco is 15-6 with a 3.79 ERA while Walker is 12-4 with a 3.42 mark—numbers that hardly tell the story of their seasons.

The weightiest argument against Carrasco is that nearly all his success has come against bad teams. Consider:

Versus teams with at least a .500 ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 27, 2022 at 02:17 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos carrasco, mets, taijuan walker

Monday, September 26, 2022

Yankees’ threat of sitting Aaron Judge finally ended long rain delay with Red Sox

ESPN pressured MLB officials to wait out an already long and particularly nasty rain delay between the Yankees and Red Sox at Yankee Stadium because the network was desperate to air Judge getting at least one more at-bat in his chase of 61 home runs, a person with knowledge of the situation told NJ Advance Media. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Throughout the delay, the Yankees and the Red Sox each lobbied the league to declare the game over as the forecast kept getting worse, the person said. But ESPN kept the pressure on.

But when the delay stretched past the customary 90 minutes given on getaway days, Yankees manager Aaron Boone became increasingly worried that if the ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2022 at 10:18 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron judge, espn


Barry Bonds Reveals How Close He Was to Joining Yankees

Bonds shared the eyebrow-raising story on ESPN’s KayRod simulcast during the Yankees’ matchup against the Red Sox on Sunday Night Baseball. Speaking with hosts Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez and fellow guest Roger Clemens, the 14-time All-Star revealed he considered the Yankees, albeit for a brief moment, after Kay asked if the deal was close to happening when Bonds was a free agent in 1992.

“It was very close, for about 15 or 20 minutes,” Bonds said. “Because, what happened was, and I tell people the true story, the Yankees offered me the same contract I think Ryne Sandberg had at the same time, or a little bit more than that. And, unfortunately, they said you have until 2 o’clock this afternoon to make a decision and my ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2022 at 05:24 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: barry bonds, yankees

Pujols lets emotions flow after joining 700 Home Run Club

After Albert Pujols further solidified his baseball greatness by bashing two long balls into the Southern California night—vaulting him into the exclusive 700 Home Run Club—he high-fived close friend Adrian Beltré, celebrated with his Cardinals teammates, then retreated to a tunnel where the superstar allowed his emotions to pour from his every pore.

In that tunnel, just steps away from the Cardinals dugout, the serious-minded slugger, who spoke often this season about wishing he had been able to enjoy this Hall of Fame-bound journey more, finally dropped his guard and surrendered to his feelings. The calm and cool shown on the field morphed into a calamity of emotions down below the dugout. Pujols, seemingly overwhelmed by the magnitude ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2022 at 12:22 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: albert pujols

Pirates add Miguel Andújar after Yankees designate former Rookie of the Year runner-up for assignment

Andújar, now 27, not so long ago looked like an important long-term piece for the Yankees. In his rookie season of 2018, Andújar as a 23-year-old put up an OPS+ of 130 and tallied 27 home runs, 47 doubles, and 302 total bases in 149 games (and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting behind Shohei Ohtani).

However, since that high point Andújar has struggled badly and battled major shoulder and wrist problems. Since the start of the 2019 season, Andújar has played in just 105 games at the MLB level, and over that span he’s batted .228/.255/.318 (55 OPS+) with eight home runs. In between stints with the Yankees, he’s managed solid to good numbers in the minors, but his inability to rediscover the skills he showed as a rookie ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2022 at 12:21 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: miguel andujar, pirates, yankees

Seattle Mariners, Luis Castillo agree to five-year, $108 million extension

Right-hander Luis Castillo and the Seattle Mariners are in agreement on a five-year contract extension that will keep the prized trade-deadline acquisition part of the ascendant team’s core for the foreseeable future, the team announced on Saturday.

The deal is worth $108 million over the duration of the deal, sources told ESPN.

The contract, which includes a vesting option that could take its total value to $133 million, buys out four years of free agency for the 29-year-old, who has been dominant in eight starts since joining Seattle before the Aug. 2 trade deadline. In 54 innings, Castillo has struck out 64, walked 13 and allowed just five home runs with a 2.83 ERA—even better than the 2.86 ERA he posted in 14 starts with the ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2022 at 12:20 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: luis castillo, mariners

Don Mattingly won’t be back as Miami Marlins manager next season

Mattingly, the club’s all-time leader in managerial wins by a wide margin, is finishing his seventh season with the Marlins. He’s 437-584 in Miami, with one winning season in those seven years—a 31-29 mark in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, when the team made its first playoff appearance since 2003.

“In general, the clubs I’ve had have always played hard,” Mattingly said. “I’ve always felt proud of that.”

His decision means a season that started with a big shakeup for Miami now ends with another. In February, Hall of Famer Derek Jeter—who had been Miami’s CEO, the first Black person in baseball history to hold that role with a franchise—announced a surprise departure after 4½ mostly unsuccessful years that didn’t come remotely close ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2022 at 12:19 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: don mattingly, marlins

Friday, September 23, 2022

Orioles hired Goldman to assess sale, source says, but litigation likely to keep team with Angelos for now [$]

Sub required.

The Baltimore Orioles quietly hired Goldman Sachs months ago to assess the prospects for selling the team, sources told The Athletic, but the future of the team’s ownership is still very much up in the air, given the ongoing bitter lawsuits between members of the Angelos family.

Owner Peter Angelos, 93, is ailing. His son, Louis Angelos, filed a lawsuit four months ago against his brother John and his mother, Georgia, to force a sale of the team. Louis contends in the lawsuit that Georgia, who stands to inherit the team when her husband passes away, wants to sell the team.

It might seem somewhat incongruous that Louis would sue his brother, who is chairman and CEO of the team, to force a sale when the club had already ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 23, 2022 at 02:59 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles

Rangers’ quest for pitching could lead them to Jacob deGrom

The Rangers are intent on adding a big-time starter, and word is they may go for Jacob deGrom. Folks marvel at how MLB’s best pitcher is throwing better than ever off his 13-month layoff, and while there aren’t a lot of teams ready to take a $40 million gamble, the Rangers might.

Rangers baseball president Chris Young wouldn’t address any specific pitching targets but said they “will leave no stone unturned” in their search to upgrade pitching a year after they significantly upgraded offense.

There’s been a lot of speculation about whether the DeLand, Fla., product deGrom prefers to leave New York and go south, though most speculation centers on the Braves. From here it’s hard to see a corporate team taking that risk….

...
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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 23, 2022 at 02:26 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: jacob degrom, mike matheny, nolan arenado, rangers, royals, scott harris

How the Guardians turned the AL Central race into a one-team sprint

“We made some deliberate choices, even going back to the offseason, to give some of these young players opportunities to go out and contribute,” president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “To their credit, a lot of them have stepped forward and made a meaningful impact.”

But as Francona says, no one has a ‘crystal ball’ and it came together faster than anyone could have expected. Except maybe the Guardians’ star player himself.

“Those guys are very talented,” Ramirez said through the team interpreter. “They won a lot in the minors so they know how to win. I’m not surprised by their performance this year.”...

“Everyone is saying we’re not supposed to be doing this,” starter Shane Bieber said. “And maybe that was the story ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 23, 2022 at 02:24 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: guardians

Thursday, September 22, 2022

MLB home run record: 15 current sluggers who could be next to make push for a 60-homer season

Here are some selected candidates (listed in alphabetical order) with my guess as to their chances of one day challenging 60.

1. Pete Alonso, Mets
These are listed alphabetically by last name and not ranked. If I ranked them, however, Pete would find himself toward the top of that list, too. He’s already hit 53, as noted. He hit 16 in 57 games in 2020 (a 162-game pace of 45 home runs). He has a shot at 40 this season, as he hit his 37th Tuesday night. He’s big and strong. He’s still got several years of prime left. What’s not to like?

Chances of challenging 60: Decent to good. He’s one of the best bets here.

2. Yordan Alvarez, Astros
He has a career high in home runs this year, though he’s still short of 40. But that sentence comes ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 22, 2022 at 09:51 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron judge

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