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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-23-2020

Miller Huggins on his plans for Babe Ruth, quoted in the Chattanooga News, January 23, 1920:

He will be played in the outfield and I think right field is the place for him. We could play Ruth in left field, but I do not favor the sun field for Ruth, as playing there might affect his batting eye.
...
There has been much talk about the probability of Ruth’s being asked to choke his bat next season in order to get more hits rather than distance. To this I can say frankly that Ruth is one player who will be permitted to take his swing. When a player can average long hits as often as Ruth he is entitled to take his cut at the ball at all times.

Miller Huggins was no dummy.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 23, 2020 at 10:04 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Does this team have the best bullpen in NL?

But for all of their faults elsewhere, the Padres have built a pretty complete bullpen this winter. General manager A.J. Preller is hoping that might solve—or at least mask—a few of his other concerns.

On Friday, the Padres finalized a two-year deal with right-hander Craig Stammen, seemingly putting the finishing touches on a group of relievers that might project as the best in the National League. San Diego previously added Drew Pomeranz and Pierce Johnson to that mix, along with a handful of intriguing non-roster invitees to Spring Training.

Betteridge’s law of headlines probably still applies, but there are some talented relievers out there.

Nasty Nate Posted: January 23, 2020 at 09:01 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: padres

Odd Couple: Jeter, Walker take different routes to Hall

NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Jeter and Larry Walker rarely crossed paths during their time in the major leagues.

“There was one time in the Bahamas, playing blackjack, that we sat down for a little while with Matt Damon, and we sat there and played for a little while,” Walker recalled of a gambling evening where athletes and thespians mixed.

A baseball odd couple, they sat on the dais in a penthouse hotel ballroom, baseball’s newly minted Hall of Famers.

Jeter, a first-round draft pick, came within one vote of being the second unanimous pick.

A reminder of what the balloting that we saw come to a conclusion yesterday means to those voted in.

 

QLE Posted: January 23, 2020 at 12:55 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: derek jeter, hall of fame, larry walker

Mayors launch task force to oppose minor league contraction

This week in contraction news:

Dozens of mayors from across the United States have formed a task force opposing a proposal by Major League Baseball to eliminate 42 affiliated minor league franchises for the 2021 season.

The coalition launched Tuesday with three leaders and was up to 30 members by Wednesday afternoon, ranging from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Hillsboro, Oregon.

“All of us understand this plan is a major league error,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said.

MLB and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues are negotiating a minor league agreement to replace the contract expiring after the 2020 season. MLB has proposed cutting more than a quarter of its 160 affiliates, citing concerns over the quality of ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: January 23, 2020 at 12:51 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, minor leagues

Larry Walker’s Hall plaque to feature Rockies cap, not Expos

NEW YORK (AP) — Larry Walker’s Hall of Fame plaque in Cooperstown will have a Colorado Rockies cap, not a Montreal Expos hat.

Walker spoke with Hall officials after he was elected Tuesday in his 10th and final appearance on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot.

Born in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Walker made his big league debut with the Expos in August 1989 and signed with the Rockies ahead of the 1995 season. He was traded to St. Louis in August 2004 and retired after the 2005 season.

“It’s a hard decision, being a Canadian,” Walker said.

So, will this please the people of Denver, alienate those of Montreal, both, or neither?

 

QLE Posted: January 23, 2020 at 12:48 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: caps, expos, hall of fame, larry walker, rockies

Baseball Hall of Fame Needs to Change 5% Voting Rule

For the first time in almost two weeks, the biggest story in baseball was not about sign stealing, the Astros’ horrible public relations strategy or the banging scheme. Instead, on Tuesday we got to celebrate the careers of two new Hall of Famers: Derek Jeter and Larry Walker. Sure, Jeets didn’t get in as a unanimous selection, but neither did Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Tom Seaver or Willie Mays. Let’s not lose sleep over it.

As I watched hours of MLB Network coverage, the two storylines I followed closest were far more important than Jeter getting 100% of BBWAA to agree he’s a Hall of Famer: (1) Would Larry Waker get in? (2) How many people would vote for Bobby Abreu?

Abreu, I suspected, would be an afterthought for most voters ...

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QLE Posted: January 23, 2020 at 12:42 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, rules of the game, voting

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ ...

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QLE Posted: January 23, 2020 at 12:37 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: francisco liriano, neil walker, phillies

Royals sign veteran OF Alex Gordon to $4M contract for 2020

KANSAS CITY, MO (AP)—The Kansas City Royals signed outfielder Alex Gordon to a $4 million contract for next season, giving the rebuilding club a veteran presence in what is expected to be a young lineup under new manager Mike Matheny.

The Royals designated right-hander Heath Fillmyer for assignment Wednesday in a corresponding roster move.

The 35-year-old Gordon, a three-time All-Star, won his seventh Gold Glove last season to move within one of Frank White for the most in franchise history. He committed just one error in 146 games played in the outfield. His seven outfield assists tied him for third among big league left fielders, and his .266 batting average was his best since the 2015 season.

Gordon was even called upon to pitch ...

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QLE Posted: January 23, 2020 at 12:33 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex gordon, hot stove, royals

MLB umpires’ union clarifies use of electronics at spring training sites

Hours after baseball commissioner Rob Manfred indicated that an electronic strike zone would be used in spring training games, the executive committee of the umpires’ union clarified that news, indicating that the electronics would not be used in place of a plate ump’s judgment.

Rather, as umpires go through their regular spring work, MLB will be operating an electronic zone for nine games in Florida as it continues to refine its system that is expected to be implemented in the years ahead.

The umpires’ committee released a statement to ESPN on Wednesday evening that read: “Reports that MLB will use ‘robo-umps’ to call balls and strikes in spring training games this year are completely inaccurate. ... Our understanding is that a ...

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QLE Posted: January 23, 2020 at 12:30 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: robot umpires, technology

Mets hire ‘respected’ Rojas as new manager

NEW YORK—When the Mets parted ways with Carlos Beltrán last week before he managed a single game, the situation had potential to send their offseason into chaos. With less than a month until Spring Training, the Mets lacked an on-field leader.

To patch that hole as seamlessly as possible, they looked within the walls of their own clubhouse. The Mets are close to finalizing a multiyear deal to make Luis Rojas their next manager, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen announced Wednesday, pivoting from Beltrán to one of the industry’s most well-respected rising leaders.

The son of longtime Major League player and manager Felipe Alou, and the half-brother of former Mets outfielder Moises Alou, Rojas was the Mets’ quality control coach and ...

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QLE Posted: January 23, 2020 at 12:22 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: luis rojas, managers, mets being mets

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Craig Calcaterra’s Imaginary Hall of Fame Ballot

As the title says, he doesn’t have a vote, but I thought the Schilling comments were notable, especially since he used to be a supporter of his HOF case.

I’d guess that Trump support among ballplayers runs markedly higher than in the population at large and even higher than it does among Republicans at large, and my appreciation of a ballplayer’s career has never hinged on that. In light of that, the argument that I or anyone else discount a ballplayer’s career because of “politics” is utter baloney.

My problem with Schilling is not that he’s got bad politics as such. It’s that he has gone out of his way over the past several years to show himself to be a demonstrably awful human being who has used his considerable platform ...

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Perry Posted: January 22, 2020 at 12:41 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: curt schilling, hall of fame

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-22-2020

Indiana Daily Times, January 22, 1920:

Students at Northwestern university have not given up hopes of having a baseball team. Spurred by the taunts which have been made against a school that will permit a whist team, but not allow the students to play baseball, J.M. King, prominent university athlete, yesterday started a petition to the faculty among the students, men and women, urging that the great American game be once more allowed on the campus. Baseball was abandoned shortly before the war. Efforts to have it re-established have been rebuffed by the faculty.

The good news is that the Northwestern University baseball program resumed play in 1921. The bad news is that since the resumption of NU baseball, the Wildcats have won exactly two ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 22, 2020 at 10:17 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

What led Nolan Arenado to feel “disrespected” by Rockies

The winter of Nolan Arenado‘s discontent took root last autumn.

Frustrated and disillusioned by the Rockies’ 71-win season, the Rockies’ all-star third baseman met with general manager Jeff Bridich shortly after the season ended and argued that the team needed to make aggressive moves in the offseason in order to improve. But when Bridich told Arenado that the Rockies were largely going to stand pat this winter, he expressed his displeasure.

The conversation turned confrontational and soured the relationship, according to sources. That relationship has not mended.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2020 at 06:29 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: nolan arenado, rockies

Seven possible candidates the Astros should consider to be their next GM – The Athletic

Since Astros owner Jim Crane fired general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch on Jan. 13, his search for the team’s next GM has garnered a lot less attention than his search for a manager.

The disparity can probably be attributed to the timing; the team’s roster is more or less set while spring training begins in only three weeks. But Crane’s upcoming hire for the GM position will have much greater implications for the franchise’s long term outlook, particularly given the front office culture issues that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred detailed in his findings about the Astros electronic sign-stealing schemes of 2017 and 2018.

From Manfred’s nine-page report:

But while no one can dispute that Luhnow’s baseball ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2020 at 06:26 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

‘What are we, interns?’: Dodgers prospects work to make ends meet – The Athletic

I’m OK with smaller farm systems as long as the remaining players get paid a lot better. It makes sense for teams and for players. It’s understandable owners aren’t fans of losing their affiliations with MLB teams.

So he believes Major League Baseball’s teams are hurting themselves by declining to better compensate minor-leaguers, or at least accommodate them in the offseasons.

“You would be lying if you said baseball wasn’t a full, year-round job,” de Geus said. “But we’re being paid like it’s not. What are we, interns? Seasonal workers?”

And because many of his peers cannot develop in the offseason due to financial constraints, de Geus went as far as to offer a concession: Do what the Dodgers do, he suggested, and do it ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2020 at 06:08 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: minor league pay, pay site

Goold: A modest proposal to improve Hall of Fame voting | Derrick Goold: Bird Land | stltoday.com

Goold retweeted this yesterday. I like the idea.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2020 at 06:00 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

Derek Jeter gives expected response to Hall of Fame vote snub

“I look at all the votes that I got,’’ Jeter said of falling one vote short of being unanimous, posting a 99.7 percentage. “Trying to get that many people to agree on something, it is pretty difficult to do.’’

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2020 at 05:57 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: derek jeter, hall of fame

Curt Schilling misses out on Hall of Fame, but he’ll get in next year - The Boston Globe

I very, very rarely link to Shaughnessy. He’s a decent writer but has really bad takes on just about everything. I link to him now because his view on Schilling is representative of the views of quite a few writers.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2020 at 05:42 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: curt schilling, hall of fame

Here’s a vote for getting sportswriters out of the balloting process - The Washington Post

I sometimes disagree with their votes but the writers have done a pretty good job overall.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2020 at 05:23 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

Nolan Arenado’s Rockies future remains uncertain | MLB.com

The situation is a complete mess. The contract structure is dumb. Giving Arenado all the control and then trying to trade him one year later is a joke. Arenado, however, should stop complaining.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2020 at 05:13 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: nolan arenado, rockies

Miller Park will become American Family Field in 2021

I have park naming fatigue.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2020 at 05:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers

Electronic sign stealing: A scandal two decades ago in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — If anyone thought that using technology to steal catchers’ signs had only blemished Major League Baseball and the Houston Astros — or it’s something new — think again.

Japan went through a similar scandal just over 20 years ago. The Japanese revere baseball as much as Americans and have straddled the same thin line between gamesmanship and cheating.

In a widely covered scandal in 1998, a camera in the Fukuoka Dome was discovered to be focused on the catcher. Officials of the Daiei Hawks — now the SoftBank Hawks — reportedly monitored the signs and relayed them by walkie-talkie to fans in the stands, who then used signals to batters to indicated the coming pitch.

There was no trash-can banging, as the Astros ...

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QLE Posted: January 22, 2020 at 01:07 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, sign-stealing, softbank hawks

With no sure things, next year’s Hall of Fame ballot could be unpredictable

The 2020 Hall of Fame class is set after the Baseball Writers Association of America elected Derek Jeter and Larry Walker. They will join Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons, who were elected by the veterans committee in December.

For the new Hall of Famers, the celebration is on. For those whose candidacy will begin or continue on next year’s ballot, it’s time to look ahead. That’s also what we’re here to do.

Our first glance tells us there are a wide range of possibilities in 2021. That’s in part because the next crop of first-time eligible candidates is remarkably underwhelming. There’s not a slam dunk like Mariano Rivera and Jeter have been the last two years. In fact, there’s not a new candidate that appears likely to reach ...

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QLE Posted: January 22, 2020 at 12:57 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, the future

Dustin Pedroia suffers ‘significant setback’ with left knee, Red Sox confirm

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has suffered a “significant setback” while rehabbing his left knee injury, a team spokesman confirmed.

“As a result, his status for spring training is uncertain,” said Kevin Gregg.

Gregg did not elaborate on the nature of this setback, which exacerbated an injury that has plagued Pedroia for several seasons.

The 2008 American League MVP’s knee troubles began in 2017, when his left knee was injured in a play involving Baltimore’s Manny Machado. Pedroia underwent surgery in October of that year.

Oh, mama
Could this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Boston
With a busted knee again

 

QLE Posted: January 22, 2020 at 12:43 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dustin pedroia, knee, red sox

Crane: Players will apologize in Spring Training

HOUSTON—The Astros will apologize for the role they played in the recent sign-stealing saga when they assemble in West Palm Beach, Fla., next month, team owner Jim Crane said while addressing reporters at the Houston Sports Awards in downtown Houston on Tuesday.

Crane, noting the criticism select Astros players have taken for not making more contrite public statements at FanFest last weekend, said the players will “come out with a strong statement as a team and apologize for what happened and we’ll move forward.”

Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman were the only marquee players from the 2017 World Series champion team to attend FanFest last Saturday. They each addressed the media but said little to clarify the role they and others played in the ...

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QLE Posted: January 22, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: apologies, astros, dirty rotten cheaters, jim crane

Marcell Ozuna gets one-year deal from Braves worth $18 million

ATLANTA—Free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna and the Atlanta Braves reached an $18 million, one-year deal Tuesday that puts him on the team he helped beat in the playoffs last October.

Ozuna hit .429 with two home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in their five-game win over the Braves in the National League Division Series.

The 29-year-old Ozuna hit .241 with 29 home runs and 89 RBI last season. His low batting average was something of an oddity because he ranked among the major league leaders in the highest percentage of hard-hit balls, according to Statcast.

And the hot stove stays on!

QLE Posted: January 22, 2020 at 12:37 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, hot stove, marcell ozuna

Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez doesn’t support Astros whistleblower Mike Fiers; ‘You’re just a bad te

Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez doesn’t support Astros whistleblower Mike Fiers, who now pitches for the Athletics.

“If he was to do it when he was playing for the Houston Astros, I would say Mike Fiers has guts,” Martinez said on WEEI on Saturday at Red Sox Winter Weekend. “But to go and do it after you leave the Houston Astros because they don’t have you anymore, that doesn’t show me anything. You’re just a bad teammate.”

Fiers, who pitched for the Astros in 2017, went on record with The Athletic to tell how the Astros used a center field camera to steal signs from opponents in 2017.

“Now everybody is going to know that you have a whistleblower in any other situation, too,” Martinez said. “Whatever happens in the ...

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QLE Posted: January 22, 2020 at 12:32 AM | 132 comment(s)
  Beats: mike fiers, pedro martinez, whistleblowers

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Jeter’s Hall call near-unanimous; Walker elected

Derek Jeter barely missed unanimity. Larry Walker barely eluded agony. What matters most is that both men are now enjoying entry into baseball’s hallowed Hall.

The subjects of two very different versions of Hall of Fame voting drama, Jeter and Walker both had their names called Tuesday night on MLB Network’s presentation of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot results. All but one of the 397 BBWAA members who cast a vote had Jeter’s name checked off in his first year of eligibility, and just enough of those writers checked Walker’s name in his 10th and final year to push him above the 75-percent threshold.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 21, 2020 at 09:38 PM | 74 comment(s)
  Beats: derek jeter, hall of fame

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-21-2020

Rock Island Argus, January 21, 1920:

Ice baseball, ice boxing. These sports are forcing hockey to take a back seat [in Cleveland.]

Ice baseball was launched several weeks ago and already has a large following. A league has been formed comprising six industrial teams.

It remained for ice boxing to prove the real thriller. The second of two initial contests, staged at Rockefeller park, with the contestants heavily dressed in sweaters, resulted in a knockout in the second round. Aside from having to dodge the blows, contestants experienced much trouble in keeping their feet when they missed a swing.

If you ever hit an inside-the-park bunt home run in RBI Baseball, the idea of ice baseball may seem vaguely familiar. Ice boxing is pretty much ...

Read More...
Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 21, 2020 at 09:55 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

MLB Source: Cubs ‘got fat and happy’ after World Series, culture must change

Fact: The 2019 Chicago Cubs wildly underachieved, finishing with an 84-78 record and finishing third in the NL’s Central division. Fact: The Chicago Cubs didn’t fail because they didn’t spend enough money. The Cubs were 2nd in all of baseball in payroll finishing behind only the Boston Red Sox. Both of those teams failed to make baseball’s postseason.

Fact: The Cubs front office has done a lousy job acquiring players since winning the 2016 World Series and they have done a poor job in developing quality, big league caliber pitching through their minor league system.

But, it is also a fact that former manager Joe Maddon allowed his comfort level with players interfere with how much he held them accountable and the result was a ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: January 21, 2020 at 12:47 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, fat, underperformance

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