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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-21-2021

Perth Amboy Evening News, April 21, 1921:

Ty Cobb already has an edge in his first fight for a pennant as manager. The boy Ty has picked to mascot the Tigers has six toes on each foot. And baseball players, you know, believe luck camps on each toe of one of these “charms”.

The boy’s name is Joey “Six-Toes” Joslin.
Ty’s good luck mascot has but one rival in the big leagues. He is Eddie “Banjo” Bennett, the little hunchback boy who mascotted the White Sox through to a flag in 1919 and last year brought the Brooklyn Dodgers home in front.

As far as I know, we wouldn’t see another sixtoed guy in a big league uniform until Lezcano in 1974.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 21, 2021 at 07:56 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Report: OF Yasiel Puig to revive his career in Mexico

Without any options in the major leagues, outfielder Yasiel Puig will try to revive his career in Mexican League with Veracruz, ESPN reported Tuesday.

Puig, 30, burst onto the scene in 2013 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and has been a productive major leaguer but also has been a polarizing figure over a seven-year career.

The Cuba native has 132 home runs and 415 RBIs over 861 games, finishing second in rookie-of-the-year voting in 2013 when he hit 19 home runs in just 104 games. He hit as many as 28 home runs with the Dodgers in 2017.

But he also has been a handful on and off the field and had a contentious relationship at times with Dodgers Cy Young Award-winning teammate Clayton Kershaw. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts once said publicly ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 21, 2021 at 12:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mexican league, yasiel puig

San Diego Padres’ Adrian Morejon to have Tommy John surgery

San Diego Padres left-hander Adrian Morejon needs Tommy John surgery, the team said Tuesday.

Although no date has been set for the operation, it will be performed by Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache, head physician for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Morejon came out of his second start of the season, at Texas on April 11, after throwing just 16 pitches in two-thirds of an inning. He had no record and a 3.86 ERA in 4⅔ innings.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 21, 2021 at 12:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: adrian morejon, padres, tommy john surgery

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Infielder Neil Walker retires after 12 MLB seasons

Veteran infielder Neil Walker announced his retirement Tuesday after 12 major league seasons.

Born in Pittsburgh, he played his first seven seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates before playing for the New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies over his final five seasons.

Walker, 35, made his announcement on Twitter, writing, “thank you to everyone that helped me in my journey to live out my childhood dream of being a Major Leaguer, I loved & cherished every day.”

The Pirates selected Walker with the 11th-overall pick of the 2004 draft and he went on to hit 93 home runs with 418 RBIs while slashing .272/.338/.431 in 836 games. His best major league season came in 2014 when he hit .271 and ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 20, 2021 at 05:42 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: neil walker

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-20-2021

Pittsburgh Press, April 20, 1921:

Homestead Grays who plan to play several of the country’s best Negro and Cuban teams in the Pittsburg district this season announce that the first game of this kind will take place Friday, June 17, when the All-Cubans of Havana will be met at Homestead park.
[The Grays] have open dates for twilight, Saturday and Sunday games abroad. Write C.W. Posey, Jr., 324 Thirteenth st., Homestead, Pa.

Siri, set the time machine for June 17, 1921. We’re going to Pittsburgh and we’re watching some baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 20, 2021 at 02:13 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, April 19, 2021

Report: Javy Báez Declined Cubs’ Offer ‘Somewhere in Range of $180 Million’

I’ve been steadfast in refuting the report that Kris Bryant turned down an extension offer of “well north of $200 million,” so I want to tread carefully when it comes to the latest report about Javier Baez‘s negotiations. Or rather, his past negotiations. We do know via multiple outlets, one of which was Javy himself, that the shortstop was engaged in extension talks last spring prior to the shutdown. We also know that he did himself no favors with an abysmal 2020 performance.

According to Buster Olney, who wedged the info into a larger column for ESPN+, that disappointing campaign “followed a negotiation that concluded with him passing up a Cubs’ offer somewhere in the range of $180 million.” In Javy parlance, that’s a ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 19, 2021 at 07:15 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, javy baez

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Last-place New York Yankees off to worst 15-game start since 1997

Gerrit Cole shook his head, disgusted. Aaron Hicks put hands on hips and bowed his head. By the end of the afternoon, pretty much all of the New York Yankees were appalled, along with their loudly booing fans.

Yoshi Tsutsugo hit a tiebreaking double off Cole in the seventh inning that lifted the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-2 win on Sunday and a three-game sweep that extended the Yankees’ losing streak to five games. New York fell to an American League-worst 5-10, its poorest start since 1997.

“I’m frustrated, personally frustrated,” said reigning AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu, who concluded the Yankees were “tight and pressing.”

“No one’s going to feel sorry for us,” he said. “No one’s going to throw softer or throw easier for us. We’ve ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 18, 2021 at 11:57 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

Yahoo Sports Braves’ Sean Kazmar Jr. makes it back to MLB after 12 years in minor league

Nearly every baseball player on Earth would be happy to have an MLB career spanning 12 years. Sean Kazmar Jr. did it the hard way.

Kazmar, who is currently 36 years old, made his Atlanta Braves debut on Saturday, appearing as a pinch hitter against the Chicago Cubs. It was his first appearance in the majors since Sept. 23, 2008, when he was a San Diego Padres rookie.

That adds up to 12 years, six months and 25 days between MLB appearances.

In the decade-plus in between, Kazmar played in the minor league systems of the Padres, Seattle Mariners, New York Mets and Braves. For the last eight years, he has played for the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves. Primarily a second baseman for his career, Kazmar has hit .263/.311/.369 in his Triple-A ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 18, 2021 at 11:46 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: sean kazmar

The Case for Slowing It Down

Since 2015 (i.e., the Statcast era), just 0.3% of all pitches thrown in MLB have been under 70 mph; pitchers today generally live in velocity bands from 10 to 30 mph higher. Being able to slow the ball down to such an extreme degree without tipping off the batter to what is coming is not trivial, and being able to drop these pitches in for strikes takes practice. Taking time in a throwing session to lob lollipops into the strike zone probably seems foolish to many pitchers, especially if they can just throw 95 mph instead.

I understand the roadblocks to throwing slow looping curveballs. But whenever I see a pitcher throw them, they often seem to disarm the batter, who usually doesn’t swing. In that scenario, the worst-case result is ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 18, 2021 at 11:28 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: velocity

New York Yankees’ Jay Bruce to retire after Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays

Jay Bruce had seen enough. Having made the New York Yankees’ Opening Day roster, he couldn’t stomach his poor start to the season.

So the three-time All-Star outfielder decided to retire at age 34 after Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay.

“Just the consistent underperformance for me,” he said. “Felt like I wasn’t able to do it at a level that was acceptable for myself.”

Bruce informed Yankees manager Aaron Boone of his decision during a 20-minute meeting in the manager’s office on Friday, then made a public announcement before Sunday’s game.

Bruce went to spring training with the Yankees on a minor league contract and made the major league roster as a first baseman when Luke Voit suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee, earning a $1.35 ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 18, 2021 at 05:16 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: jay bruce, yankees

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Carter Stewart Jr., former top-10 pick and potential trailblazer, makes Nippon Professional Baseball

Carter Stewart Jr., the eighth overall pick in Major League Baseball’s 2018 draft who opted instead to sign with Japan’s Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, made his Nippon Professional Baseball big-league debut on Saturday. Stewart had previously been limited to pitching for the Softbank Hawks’ minor-league team in the Western League.
Stewart, 21, has the potential to become a trailblazer for American amateurs looking to make more money upfront without damaging their long-term MLB aspirations. Stewart is believed to have signed with the Softbank Hawks for around $7 million, or $5 million more than the Atlanta Braves were willing to offer him after discovering a wrist ailment in his post-draft physical.

Friday, April 16, 2021

MLB salary down 4.8% in 2 years; top 100 earn half

The average major league salary dropped 4.8% to just under $4.17 million on opening day from the start of the previous full season in 2019.

The average has fallen 6.4% since the start of the 2017 season, when it peaked at $4.45 million, according to a study of major league contracts by The Associated Press. The salary downturn is yet another sign baseball could be headed toward labor strife and a possible work stoppage in 2022.

Baseball’s middle class has borne the brunt of the drop. The median salary — the point at which an equal number of players are above and below — is $1.15 million, down 18% from $1.4 million two years ago and a drop of 30% from the $1.65 million record high at the start of 2015.

Of 902 players on opening-day ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 16, 2021 at 03:19 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: salaries

The player who nearly integrated baseball in 1905

“When you say, ‘William Clarence Matthews was rumored to be breaking the color barrier in 1905,’ that’s true, because it was a rumor,” Lindholm says. “The question is whether or not it’s plausible.”

Any plausibility to the report derives from Matthews’ excellence as an athlete and his character as a person….

Fred Tenney’s Boston Nationals would complete the 1905 season with a 51-103 record, part of a stretch of 14 consecutive seasons at the start of the 20th century in which the franchise finished no better than 17 games out of first place in the NL. Between the record and the muddled middle infield, we can say with relative certainty that Matthews would have improved the club. The July 15 report in the Traveler ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 16, 2021 at 09:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: integration, william clarence matthews

How Fernando drew thousands of extra fans

Valenzuela’s starts drew an average of 33,273 on the road, while the remaining Dodger games drew an average of 19,456. That’s a boost of 71%, and so of course, we wanted to know: Is that good? Is that great? Had anyone ever done that? So we went back to 1969, the start of divisional play, and we looked for all pitchers who made at least 10 starts both home and away during a season. There were, as you’d expect, thousands. No National Leaguer topped him. No one came close.

Of course, we’re saying “National Leaguer” for a reason, because there was one American Leaguer who did him one better. In 1971, A’s rookie Vida Blue won both the AL Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player, and he had something of a Fernandomania season himself. (“Blue to ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 16, 2021 at 09:26 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: fernando valenzuela

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Why the Cubs’ awful offense could trigger full rebuild if downward trend continues this summer

As a team, the Cubs have a 66 OPS+. For those not very familiar with the stat, that means if you lump their on-base percentage and slugging percentage together, adjusting for ballpark and league context, they are collectively 34 percent worse than a league average hitter. ...

Now, here’s where we talk about small samples and how it’s early and all that. The problem is that this isn’t new. The Cubs won the NL Central last year, but they hit .220/.318/.387 as a team with mostly the same personnel (swapping out Kyle Schwarber for Pederson isn’t a huge difference, skill-set-wise). Sure, there was lots of context behind that, including that it was only a 60-game season during a once-in-a-century pandemic.

If we looped that back in, though, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 11:48 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption: Its Practical Effect

While MLB has thus derived some modest benefit from its exemption in the area of relocation, the doctrine’s most significant effect has probably been shielding the minor leagues from antitrust scrutiny. If MLB were subject to antitrust law, then potentially any number of aspects of the minor league system could be challenged under the Sherman Act. While no one knows for sure exactly how such a lawsuit would play out, it seems likely that the repeal of baseball’s antitrust exemption would result in some degree of change to the current minor league structure.

For example, one aspect of the minor league system that would surely be challenged if the exemption were repealed is MLB’s standard minor league pay scale. As has been ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 11:47 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: antitrust exemption

No love lost after no-no for Indians, Sox

The benches cleared in the first inning of Cleveland’s 4-2 victory over the White Sox on Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field on a play involving Adam Eaton at second base.

Eaton singled to right, sending Tim Anderson to third. Hustling all the way, Eaton beat the throw to second, but he was ruled out when he came off the bag as shortstop Andrés Giménez handled the tag.

Eaton appeared to take umbrage at the way the play was handled by Giménez, believing he was pushed off the base. Eaton eventually shoved the shortstop, before second baseman Cesar Hernandez stepped in and the ruckus began as the two exchanged words.

After the loss, Eaton broke down the entire situation and how the moment might have escalated in an unwanted way.

“TA ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 11:46 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: white sox

Pete Rose to sell picks for baseball, other sports through website

Pete Rose’s baseball predictions are for sale for $89 a month.

Rose announced Wednesday that he was joining UpickTrade, a pick-selling website based in Mexico that recently made headlines in the U.S. with a short-lived partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL. Rose will be making daily predictions about baseball and other sports.

Rose, who turned 80 on Wednesday and resides in Las Vegas, was banished from baseball in 1989 after an investigation revealed that he had bet on the game while managing the Cincinnati Reds. He has appealed to be reinstated multiple times but has been denied, most recently in 2015 by then first-year commissioner Rob Manfred.

During a conference call with the media Wednesday, Rose said he won’t be ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 11:44 PM | 55 comment(s)
  Beats: pete rose

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-15-2021

New York Tribune, April 15, 1921:

Bob Meusel did one of the latest jazz dances in right field yesterday afternoon at 5 o’clock, and while the dance was on the Athletics tucked away a ball game by a score of 4 to 3.
[After nearly two games without a hit, Cy Perkins] had to find an outlet some time, and a high-soaring smash to extreme right center was the answer. Lanky, but handsome, Bob Meusel saw the ball mounting skyward, and immediately began his one-stepping. Almost to the exit gate did Meusel dance his way, only to have the ball elude his clutch and fall for a triple.

New York sportswriters were a tough crowd. Still are, I guess.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 12:18 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Blindsided Joe Girardi mum on player’s sudden decision to take leave from team

Phillies manager Joe Girardi would not offer any specifics on why Adam Haseley left the team on Wednesday. Girardi said the club had not been planning a roster move with the 25-year-old outfielder, who had gotten off to a slow start this season.P

“I became aware of it today,” Girardi said before Wednesday night’s game against the Mets in New York.

“I spoke with Adam (on the phone.) We had a nice talk today and I think we all agreed that this was probably the best and we’ll move forward.”

Haseley was placed on the restricted list and outfielder Mickey Moniak was recalled from the alternate site. Moniak will see playing time in center field.

Girardi would not discuss Haseley’s reasons for taking leave.

“I’m not going ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 12:38 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: adam haseley, phillies

White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon throws no-hitter against Cleveland after losing perfect game in ninth inning

The perfect game club nearly had a new member. A no-hitter ended being the consolation prize.

White Sox starter Carlos Rodon has thrown a no-hitter and he was perfect through 8 1/3 innings. He hit Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez with a pitch on the foot with two strikes and one out in the ninth. That would end up being the only blemish for Rodon.

“On a toe ball,” Rodon said after the game when asked where his head was at the moment, alluding to where the pitch hit Perez.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 12:31 AM | 78 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos rodon, no-hitters

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

In the minors, a major change as the Atlantic League plans to move the mound back a foot

The Atlantic League, a hotbed for innovation in baseball, will announce plans Wednesday to move the pitcher’s mound back 12 inches from home plate this season, according to two people with knowledge of the arrangement. The move represents one of the most stark rule changes proposed by baseball leadership in a generation and comes amid sweeping changes on the minor league level designed to reduce home runs and strikeouts and increase the action from batter to batter.

The eight-team Atlantic League, which has franchises along the East Coast, will enact the change during the second half of its 120-game regular season, one person familiar with the matter said. It will be the first change of mound regulations in professional baseball since ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:02 PM | 84 comment(s)
  Beats: atlantic league, rules

Cardinals’ Yadier Molina becomes first MLB player to catch 2,000 games with one team

Stalwart Yadier Molina will start Wednesday’s game behind the plate for the Cardinals and that’s nothing new. He started 10 of the team’s first 11 games this season and has been a rock behind the plate for close to two decades now. Wednesday’s start is historic though. It will be Molina’s 2,000th career game at catcher.

Here is the all-time games caught leaderboard:

Ivan Rodriguez: 2,427 games
Carlton Fisk: 2,226 games
Bob Boone: 2,225 games
Gary Carter: 2,056 games
Jason Kendall: 2,025 games
Yadier Molina: 2,000 games and counting
Molina is the only one of those six catchers to spend his entire career with one team.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 01:10 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: yadier molina

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Mariners’ James Paxton to undergo Tommy John surgery, will miss entire 2021 season

Mariners left-handed starter James Paxton was forced to leave his start last Tuesday after just 21 pitches, and it did not look good. He was squeezing his hand on the mound with an extended arm with a lot of times means an elbow issue. Sure enough, he will be undergoing season-ending surgery, manager Scott Servais told reporters Tuesday (via Corey Brock). Previous reporting indicates the procedure will be Tommy John surgery.

Since he was on a one-year deal and this ends his season, Paxton will head to 2022 as a free agent, likely looking to sign with a team who could have some patience before giving him a shot at a rotation spot around the middle of the season.

Paxton, 32, has always flashed big upside when on the mound, but he’s also ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 13, 2021 at 02:47 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: james paxton, tommy john surgery

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