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Monday, December 09, 2019

Nats are front and center as Winter Meetings open - Nationals Pastime

Someone made the point on either MLB Network or Radio that the Nationals also might have to fit Juan Suto in sooner than later.

Given managing principal owner Mark Lerner’s recent claim in a taped television interview with former tennis player, lawyer and agent Donald Dell that the Nationals can’t afford to re-sign both stars, there’s increased pressure to lock up one of the two. They have to be careful not to get caught napping in this game of musical chairs and end up with neither still in uniform.

Complicating matters, of course, is the fact Scott Boras represents both players. Yes, the Nats and Boras have worked together many times over the years and worked out long-term deals for Max Scherzer, Jayson Werth and Strasburg (the ...

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2019 at 03:23 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals

Nationals re-sign Stephen Strasburg to seven-year, $245 million deal

Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals have re-signed free agent starter Stephen Strasburg. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the deal is for seven years and $245 million. It’s a record for both annual average value and total value for a free agent pitcher.

Strasburg, 31, opted out of his previous contract with the Nationals last month. He had four years and $100 million remaining on what was a seven-year, $175 million extension. By opting out, Strasburg fetched an extra three years and close to $145 million.

MLB: Gerrit Cole sparks rare Yankees-Dodgers heavyweight fight

I don’t really see the Dodgers as seriously interested in Cole. That’s assuming he’s not willing to go four years with a huge AAV.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2019 at 11:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, gerrit cole, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-9-2019

Washington Times, December 9, 1919:

Everett Scott is no longer desirous of being traded by the Red Sox. Some time ago the clever shortstop of the Boston American League club announced that he would not again wear the spangles of the Hub outfit and would demand that he be traded or sold to another club. Lately he underwent a change of mind, the reason for which lay in his purchase of a car.

Last year Scott resided during the summer at Winthrop, which is on the Massachusetts coast and the tiresome trips by rail back and forth between his home and Fenway Park really impelled him to seek a berth elsewhere.

Now, however, he says all objections to playing in Boston have been removed, as he can live at the seashore next summer and travel to and ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 09, 2019 at 10:42 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Baseball’s Most Handsome Managers

2. Mike Matheny, Royals

Matheny was, at one time, Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager. The latter portion of his tenure in St. Louis — and the ascent of Gabe Kapler — knocked him down a peg, but he’s still, quite obviously, one of the best-looking men to ever manage a baseball team. Know what would ensure that he was number one again? If the Royals would let him manage in a suit and tie, Tom Landry-style. Check out the first few seconds of this video from his introductory press conference, before he puts on the jersey. The man can wear a suit:

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 09, 2019 at 10:22 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: handsome

Sunday, December 08, 2019

BBO—Hall of Fame-Simmons

Jumping ahead to a section of this that some here may find of interest:

Simmons said he thought his one-and-done on the BBWAA ballot would forever keep him out of Cooperstown.

But then analytics came along.

“If it weren’t for the analytics people, my career as a potential Hall of Famer probably would have been shut down and forgotten about a long time ago,” he said. “When people started talking about on-base percentage and WAR, and explained how WAR comprised, then it became a real look into a real study and thena real comparison started to develop.

“”I played in an era with Bench and (Manny) Sanguillén and Fisk, Carter, (Bob) Boone, (Steve) Yeager, all those people through that period as catchers. It’s difficult to ...

QLE Posted: December 08, 2019 at 11:44 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, ted simmons

Hefner becomes Mets pitching coach, Meulens bench coach

NEW YORK (AP) — The Mets have hired Jeremy Hefner as pitching coach, Hensley Meulens as bench coach and Tony DeFrancesco as first base coach under new manager Carlos Beltrán.

The 33-year-old Hefner pitched for New York from 2012-13. He was a major league advance scout for Minnesota in 2017 and ’18, then was assistant pitching coach last season. Hefner replaces 82-year-old Phil Regan, who took over when Dave Eiland was fired on June 20.

Meulens, 52, replaces Jim Riggleman, who served as bench coach for manager Mickey Callaway last season. Meulens was San Francisco’s hitting coach from 2010-17, then was Bruce Bochy’s bench coach for the past two seasons.

Wishing DeFrancesco the best in this position- I have a soft spot for him ...

QLE Posted: December 08, 2019 at 11:36 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: hensley meulens, jeremy hefner, mets, tony defrancesco

Lou Whitaker snubbed from the Hall of Fame again

Long time Tigers second baseman Lou Whitaker has long been one of baseball history’s most underrated players. He and Hall of Fame shortstop Alan Trammell formed one of the best up-the-middle combos ever, teammates since Whitaker’s debut in 1977 to his final year in 1995.

Trammell is actually a great jumping-off point to support Whitaker’s candidacy. Here are their career counting stats:

Whitaker: .276/.363/.426, 420 doubles, 65 triples, 244 homers, 1084 RBI, 1386 runs, 143 stolen bases, 1197 walks (9967 plate appearances)
Trammell: .285/.352/.415, 415 doubles, 55 triples, 185 homers, 1003 RBI, 1231 runs, 236 stolen bases, 850 walks (9376 plate appearances)

Whitaker also had slightly more Wins Above Replacement over his career ...

QLE Posted: December 08, 2019 at 11:26 PM | 150 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, lou whitaker

Did last year’s MLB free-agent class live up to the money?

The 2018 free-agent period was highly anticipated until it actually happened.

In comparison, this offseason already looks like it’s going in fast forward. We’re days away from the 2019 Winter Meetings but Yasmani Grandal (Chicago White Sox) and Zack Wheeler (Philadelphia Phillies) cashed in on deals that were larger than all but three of the free-agent pacts that were signed last offseason.

Although it was slow to develop, there were still a number of big-money deals signed before last opening day. But they weren’t all winners. In fact, the bargain bin proved to be quite productive, as six of the eight players to lead the 2018 free-agent class in bWAR did not sign the top-10 biggest deals of the offseason.

Here is a look at those ...


Hero or snitch: Baseball has mixed feelings toward whistleblower Mike Fiers

Guardian or snitch, depends on the lighting.

Mike Fiers, the 34-year-old journeyman pitcher whose two career complete games are also no-hitters, one of those as a Houston Astro, nearly four weeks ago blew the whistle on a technology-driven, sign-stealing scheme allegedly run by those Astros. Major League Baseball has questioned dozens of potential perpetrators, accomplices and witnesses (including Fiers) in an investigation that threatens to expose the finest era in Astros history as, at best, suspicious.

Fiers pitched for the Astros for 2 1/2 seasons, the last in 2017, during which, he told The Athletic, the team devised and integrated a system that identified catchers’ signs and relayed them to hitters in the batter’s box. The ...

QLE Posted: December 08, 2019 at 11:16 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dirty rotten cheaters, mike fiers, whistleblowers

Miller, Simmons elected to HOF on Modern Era ballot

On the eve of baseball’s Winter Meetings getting underway in San Diego, the Hall of Fame Class of 2020 officially has its first members. Of the 10 candidates on the Modern Baseball Era ballot, the Veteran’s Committee announced on Sunday night that former MLBPA director Marvin Miller and Cardinals, Braves and Brewers catcher Ted Simmons had both been selected for induction in the Hall.

The other nominees on the ballot—made up of a group whose primary contributions to baseball came between 1970 and 1987—included Dwight Evans, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker and Lou Whitaker.

Congratulations to Simmons and to the Miller family.


QLE Posted: December 08, 2019 at 08:21 PM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, marvin miller, ted simmons

OT - College Football Bowl Spectacular (December 2019 - January 2020)

December 28  12:00 PM  Cotton Bowl            Memphis v. Penn State
              4:00 PM  Peach Bowl             LSU v. Oklahoma
              8:00 PM  Fiesta Bowl            Ohio State v. Clemson

December 30   8:00 PM  Orange Bowl            Florida v. Virginia

January 1     5:00 PM  Rose Bowl              Oregon v. Wisconsin
              8:45 PM  Sugar Bowl             Baylor v. Georgia

January 13    8:00 PM  Championship Game      Peach winner v. Fiesta winner
Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: December 08, 2019 at 06:18 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: college football, off-topic

MLB to allow teams to sell local digital streaming rights: Here’s what it means

Major League Baseball will allow each of its 30 teams to sell their own streaming deals in local markets ahead of the 2020 season in a move that will eventually open the door for digital platforms such as Amazon to air more games.

Teams will be subject to their existing deals with regional sports networks before they can break out live streaming rights, Sports Business Journal reported on Monday. The league controlled streaming rights for all teams prior to the change, which was first announced at the MLB owners’ meeting last month.

“The biggest single change was the return of certain in-market digital rights — the rights that have essentially become substitutional with broadcast rights — those rights will return to the clubs,” ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 08, 2019 at 06:18 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: streaming rights

Yankees Have Reportedly Made $245MM Offer To Gerrit Cole

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 08, 2019 at 02:32 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: gerrit cole, yankees

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Chicago Cubs facing federal review over Wrigley Field access

CHICAGO (AP) — Federal officials are investigating whether the Chicago Cubs’ ongoing $1 billion renovation of Wrigley Field provides adequate wheelchair access.

The Cubs have filed a notice of the review in Chicago federal court where the team is defending itself against a lawsuit filed by a wheelchair user who alleges the stadium’s seating doesn’t meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards and is actually worse than before the renovation.

The Chicago Tribune reports that a team attorney wrote in a letter to the judge that the Cubs believe the renovation has “significantly increased” accessibility in the 105-year-old stadium, but that the team is halting plans to install more accessible seating before the 2020 season, ...

QLE Posted: December 07, 2019 at 10:35 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: lawsuits, wrigley field

Mets are interested in Rick Porcello

Jon Heyman reports that the Mets are interested in free agent pitcher Rick Porcello and have been speaking to his agent.

Sometimes, the jokes seem to write themselves…..



QLE Posted: December 07, 2019 at 10:28 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: mets being mets, rick porcello

Dave Parker’s larger-than-life legacy is one MLB fans should never forget

Few baseball players made a bigger impression during the 1970s and 1980s than Dave Parker.

That was in part due to his impressive physical stature. At 6-foot-5, Parker towered over his peers while bringing an intimidating presence to the baseball diamond.

More than anything, though, it was Parker’s larger-than-life personality that captivated the national pastime over his 19-year career.

Parker was the heart and soul of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ World Series championship team in 1979, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. He was an offensive anchor and a veteran leader for the Cincinnati Reds and Oakland Athletics, which included another championship with Oakland in 1989. He was among the very best of his generation, combining ...

QLE Posted: December 07, 2019 at 10:19 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: dave parker, documentaries

How Chris Archer, complete with a 5-plus ERA, is setting an example everybody can follow

COMPTON, Calif. — A five ERA will bring you to places, man. A five ERA kicks and spits and leaves jagged marks in places you didn’t even know existed. A five ERA finds you laying rage on top of helplessness on top of hesitation, finds you throwing straight through your shoulder while giving chase to shadows, finds you in that place and looking for footprints that match your shoe size, wondering how you got there.

Chris Archer is working on that.

He’d tied back his dreadlocks with a headband. He wore a gray Pittsburgh Pirates jersey, No. 24. Someone handed him a microphone.

He looked up Saturday afternoon into bleachers spattered by a morning rain, into the faces of little boys and girls in Dodgers caps and Angels shorts and ...

QLE Posted: December 07, 2019 at 10:14 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: chris archer

Minor League teams on MLB’s shutdown list are looking to rebrand

One of the many joys of Minor League Baseball is the unique team names. From the Biscuits and Yard Goats to the Rubber Ducks and Flying Squirrels, teams have been able to create unique mascots beyond the run-of-the-mill Tigers, Wildcats and Eagles of other sports.

The latest team to join in on the fun is the Connecticut Tigers, which announced on Friday that it will become the Harwich Sea Unicons for 2019. Fans in the Constitution State can grab the hottest new narwhal-themed baseball gear already.

But fans may want to jump on this new gear soon because the Sea Unicorns may not be long for Minor League Baseball. The franchise is one of 42 that Major League Baseball has proposed slashing in the name of saving money.

The move to eliminate ...

QLE Posted: December 07, 2019 at 10:07 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, minor leagues, reboots

Numbers Suggest Mike Trout’s Best Days Are Already Behind Him

Why? Well, as with seemingly everything else in baseball these days, all roads lead to launch angle.

Once you place among the 10 highest average launch angles in either league (among the top 250 or so in batted balls), you’re asking for trouble. Virtually every player meeting that criteria since 2016 has declined or disappeared in pretty short order. You see, extremely high average launch angle is an “old player” characteristic.

Mikey, we hardly knew ye.

eric Posted: December 07, 2019 at 12:45 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: mike trout, sabermetrics

An honest look at the Pirates’ frugal free-agent history under Bob Nutting – The Athletic

There’s not an owner who would say the way to win a World Series is by building a core with free agents alone. But there’s a big difference between not using free agency as a primary source of talent acquisition and … this:

Free Agency Graph

Since Nutting became the Pirates’ principal owner on Jan. 12, 2007, no team has spent less in free agency than the Pirates.

(A note on the numbers: While there is no official, publicly available list of all free-agent signings, data was pulled from free-agent trackers on ESPN and MLB Trade Rumors to compile as comprehensive a list as possible of free agents who have signed major-league deals since the 2006-07 offseason. This time frame was selected in order to analyze trends under the Pirates’ current ...

Jim Furtado Posted: December 07, 2019 at 07:35 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, pay site, pirates

Friday, December 06, 2019

Padres hire former Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Former New York Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild has been hired in the same position by the San Diego Padres.

Rothschild is one of several newcomers on rookie manager Jayce Tingler’s staff announced Thursday. Rothschild spent the last nine seasons with the Yankees before being fired after last season. He replaces Darren Balsley.

Other newcomers include bench coach Bobby Dickerson, first base coach Wayne Kirby, and Ben Fritz as bullpen coach. Dickerson comes from the Phillies and Kirby from the Orioles. Fritz enters his sixth season with the Padres organization and his first at the big league level.

Any thoughts on the merits of this hire?


QLE Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:40 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: larry rothschild, padres, pitching coaches

MLB Winter Meetings Will Be Scott Boras’s Show Once Again

Rarely have the annual baseball Winter Meetings belonged to one agent the way the ones next week belong to Scott Boras. He represents the three free agents this winter who are expected to sign contracts of at least $150 million: pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg and third baseman Anthony Rendon.

No agent ever has negotiated three free agent deals that big in the same offseason, and when Boras is done he will have negotiated 12 of the 37 biggest contracts in history.

Oh, and by the way, he also represents free-agent pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel, outfielder Nicholas Castellanos and third baseman Mike Moustakas, who already signed with Cincinnati for $64 million over four years.

By the time Boras is done he will have ...

QLE Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:34 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: scott boras, winter meetings

Sources: Yankees make signing righty Gerrit Cole top offseason priority

The New York Yankees have made signing right-hander Gerrit Cole their clear offseason priority and have ownership-level approval to offer him a record-setting deal, sources familiar with their plans told ESPN.

The Yankees’ fondness for the 29-year-old Cole, whose fantastic 2019 season with the Houston Astros set him up to smash David Price’s record $217 million contract for a pitcher, was only reinforced during a meeting with him earlier this week, sources said.

New York and the Los Angeles Angels, a team similarly smitten with Cole and in even greater need of pitching, are preparing for a bidding war that executives expect will reach well beyond $250 million, according to sources. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ interest in Cole is acute as ...

QLE Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:27 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dollah dollah bills, y'all, gerrit cole, hot stove, yankees

Ahoy, San Diego: 2019 Winter Meetings Preview

Commentary on what to expect from the Winter Meetings- here is a sample of this approach:

Major League Baseball vs. Minor League Baseball

One thing a lot of people don’t know about the Winter Meetings is that it’s put on, primarily, by Minor League Baseball as an organization and the vast majority of the people on the ground at the Winter Meetings either run or work for or are trying to sell stuff to minor league teams. Almost every team’s owner comes and brings along some staffers. Coaches, trainers, scouts, and other team employees who spend most of their year out in the bushes as opposed to back at the big club’s home base attend meetings and hobnob with one another.

Normally that’s all pretty routine. This year, however, ...

QLE Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:21 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: business, free agents, hall of fame, managers, minor leagues, rule 5 draft, trades, winter meetings

The Hall of Fame Case for Thurman Munson

To share an opinion against my own:

The case against his induction:

We cannot know where Munson’s career would’ve ended up had he not died in that 1979 plane crash. The big question — unanswerable in my view — is what to do about that with respect to his Hall of Fame case.

Given that Munson had shown a pretty noticeable offensive decline in 1978 and the first half of 1979, it seems analytically unwarranted to make assumptions that he’d have continued to be an elite-hitting and fielding catcher for several more years into the 1980s. Of course it also seems kind of heartless to say “welp, sorry, he only played ten and a half seasons, so he falls short.” I suppose this is part of why I left Munson’s story for last. I really ...

QLE Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:17 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, thurman munson

The Hall of Fame Case for Ted Simmons

As is the case for Lou Whitaker and Dwight Evans, a lot of Simmons’ value came in statistical categories that weren’t appreciated nearly as much during his career as they would be later, leading him to be underrated.

On-base percentage was huge, as he notched a .348 OBP in his career and a .367 OBP during his best seasons, 1971-1980. Durability was another one that was not as admired as much during Simmons’ time. Catching is the toughest position physically speaking but he racked up 150+ games behind the plate an astounding eight times. If that were to happen today we’d be calling the guy a freak of nature. At the time it was noted, but perhaps not as much as it should’ve been.

Not that everything he did flew under the radar. ...

QLE Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:14 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, ted simmons

Phillies plan to pursue free-agent 3B Anthony Rendon, despite luxury tax implications

The Philadelphia Phillies, luxury tax be damned, plan to strongly pursue free-agent third baseman Anthony Rendon, with third baseman Josh Donaldson as a potential fall-back plan, two people with direct knowledge told USA TODAY Sports.

The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Phillies have yet to publicly declare their intentions and have not met face-to-face with Rendon.

The Phillies, who signed Zack Wheeler on Wednesday to a five-year, $118 million deal, would go over the $208 million luxury tax for the first time with the potential signing, but it has not deterred owner John Middleton and the Phillies’ aggressiveness in free agency. The Phillies landed the biggest free agent a year ago with the signing of outfielder ...

QLE Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:11 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: anthony rendon, hot stove, phillies

Report: Nationals bring back postseason hero Howie Kendrick on one-year deal

The World Series champion Washington Nationals and Howie Kendrick, the National League Championship Series MVP, reportedly agreed to a free-agent contract on Friday.

Kendrick’s deal with the Nationals is for one year and $6.25 million, and it includes a mutual option for 2021. In 2020, he’ll make more than he did in the past two years combined — the most recent contract Kendrick signed was the two-year, $7 million deal he inked with the Nationals after the 2017 season.

A 10th-round pick in 2002, Kendrick is a .294 hitter over his 14-year career. He’s thrived in what’s become more of a part-time role. Over the past three seasons, he’s batted .325 with an .888 OPS. This past season in Washington was one of the best of his ...

QLE Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:07 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, howie kendrick, nationals

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-6-2019

Pittsburgh Press, December 6, 1919:

Connie Mack, boss of the Athletics, who jumped into the American league fight with a verbal assault on the New York club, has received a broadside from Col. Huston, part owner of the Yankees.

Among other things Mack said the Yankees were in a poor position to start another league as they didn’t have a park to play in. Among other things, in answering him, Huston said: “We have a team and no park, but the Athletics are not that well off. They have a park and no team.”


Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 06, 2019 at 09:40 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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