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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Is eight games too harsh? Breaking down Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly’s suspension

Over the past 10 years, no player has received a suspension longer than 20 games for a violation that wasn’t tied to performance-enhancing drugs, recreational drugs, substance abuse, domestic violence or, in the case of Juan Carlos Oviedo, identity fraud.

In punishing Kelly, MLB referenced the 3-0, 96 mph fastball behind the head of Alex Bregman (Astros manager Dusty Baker was certain it was intentional) and the taunts toward Carlos Correa (Baker said Kelly yelled, “Nice swing, b——”). MLB also referenced prior suspensions for “intentional throwing,” specifically an incident in April 2018, when Kelly was suspended six games for plunking and fighting New York Yankees infielder Tyler Austin. Put another way: Kelly got two fewer games then—in ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 30, 2020 at 10:10 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: joe kelly

Sources: MLB requiring teams to add coronavirus protocol compliance officers

Following the coronavirus outbreak that infected nearly half of the Miami Marlins’ roster and prompted the temporary suspension of the team’s season, Major League Baseball is encouraging players not to leave hotels in road cities except for games, mandating the use of surgical masks instead of cloth masks during travel and requiring every team to travel with a compliance officer who ensures players and staff properly follow the league’s protocol, sources told ESPN.

The updated rules, outlined in a memo distributed to teams Tuesday, came as MLB investigates the cause of the Marlins’ outbreak that has seen 16 players and two staff members test positive for COVID-19, according to sources. The Marlins’ games through Sunday have been ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 30, 2020 at 10:09 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Jose Reyes Announces Official Retirement

Veteran infielder Jose Reyes has announced his retirement from the game. The 37-year-old appeared in 16 MLB seasons.

Reyes had at one point hoped to play in the 2019 season, but evidently did not draw sufficient interest to continue his career. It isn’t surprising at this point to hear that he will no longer pursue playing opportunities.

There’s no denying what a dynamic player Reyes was at his height. During his first run with the Mets, he turned in 4,453 plate appearances of .292/.341/.441 hitting with 81 home runs and 370 steals while delivering excellent glovework at the shortstop position.

By the end of the 2011 season, Reyes had accumulated four All-Star appearances and 28 rWAR. He was never better at the plate than in 2011, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2020 at 04:46 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: jose reyes

John McNamara, Cincinnati Reds manager from 1979 to 1982, dies at 88

John McNamara, who managed the Cincinnati Reds from 1979 to 1982 and also managed the Oakland Athletics, the San Diego Padres, the California Angels, the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians, has died at the age of 88.

The Boston Globe confirmed McNamara’s death on Tuesday through his wife and nephew.

McNamara was named American League manager of the year in 1986 as he led the Red Sox to the American League pennant.

McNamara’s teams posted a record of 1160-1233 (.485) in his 19 seasons as an MLB manager. In his four years with the Reds, McNamara’s record was 279-244-1 (.533).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2020 at 03:53 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: john mcnamara, obituatries

Nick Markakis is opting back in to the 2020 season

David O’Brien of The Athletic reports that Markakis is rejoining the Braves, three weeks after he opted out. In so doing he becomes the first of the 14 major-league players who have so far opted-out to change his mind. “Markakis felt as if he had let the team down, particularly as he watched the Braves on TV during their opening 2-3 road trip,” O’Brien writes.

That contrasts with his comments back on July 6, when he opted out. In announcing his decision then Markakis said, “with everything that’s going on not just in baseball but in the world, it makes you open your eyes. I’ve got three kids that I’ve missed for 11 years now.” It was also reported at the time that the fact that teammate Freddie Freeman fell ill with ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2020 at 03:53 PM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: nick markakis

The Mathematical Improbability of Parity

Per no less an authority than, this is the first time in the last 66 years that no team started 3-0 in their first three games. In that contrived sense, then, this is the most parity since 1954. Given that it was far easier to have no team start 3-0 then (there were only 16 teams), you would even be justified in saying that this was the most balanced start of all time.

That sounds, without putting too much thought into it, very impressive. 1954! Man hadn’t landed on the moon. The LOOGY hadn’t been invented, or the personal computer. It was a very different time.

As fun as it would be to leave it at “Wow, that was crazy,” I thought I’d spoil the fun with a little math. First things first — what if we think every team ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2020 at 03:51 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: parity

MLB, Union Reportedly Considering Further Rules Changes

It appears that the recent run of COVID-19 infections within the Marlins organization has prompted further contemplation of rules changes. The MLB Players’ Association has reached out to its members to gauge their sentiment regarding a few potential tweaks, per Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic (Twitter links).

Most notably, it appears the union has discussed with the league the possibility of keeping the 30-man active roster in effect all season long. The plan had been for it to ramp down to 26 players over the course of the campaign. But there’s now consideration of maintaining maximum flexibility for the entirety of the season.

The idea here, presumably, would be to make it easier for teams to manage workloads and deal with any ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2020 at 03:50 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-29-2020

El Paso Herald, July 29, 1920:

This is one on the eccentric pitcher, Walter Mails, of the Sacramento team of the Pacific Coast league. In a recent game, with a certain slugger at the plate, shortstop Orr rushed over and told Mails to smoke ‘em over. This Walter did, with the result that he got two over for strikes that the batter couldn’t see. Then Mails, in a fit of pride, fed the batter a slow one in the groove to see if he could mix ‘em up a little and get away with it.

The batter blasted one at Orr that almost tore both of Bill’s legs off. When the inning was over Orr gave Mails the raspberry. Walter got back with, “Well, I thought I would just slip a slow one over and fool him.”

Orr, galled to the quick, flung back, “Say, Walter, ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 29, 2020 at 10:25 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, dugout, duster mails, history

Bad blood erupts between Astros, Dodgers in opener

It took six innings for tensions to boil over between the Astros and Dodgers.

Benches cleared between the sixth and seventh innings after Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly twice threw at the upper body of a player from the 2017 Astros. No punches were thrown, but the two groups yelled back and forth for about 30 seconds before order was restored.

Both bullpens emptied to join, too, a release of five months of frustration after the fallout of the Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal. The Dodgers, whom the Astros defeated in seven games to capture the 2017 World Series, were vocal in their displeasure with the club’s cheating and its apology attempts in February.

With one out and a three-run Dodgers lead, Kelly threw behind Alex Bregman with a 96 ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2020 at 12:23 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sign-stealing

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Cardinals’ Miles Mikolas: Set for season-ending surgery

Mikolas will undergo surgery on his right flexor tendon and will miss the remainder of the season, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Mikolas’ forearm issues date back to the end of last season, though he was able to throw throughout summer camp. Notably, the procedure he’ll undergo is not Tommy John surgery, so he won’t be forced to miss the entirety of the 2021 campaign as well. He’s expected to be ready for the start of next season. Daniel Ponce de Leon will take his place in the rotation and will start Wednesday against the Twins.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 28, 2020 at 06:00 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: miles mikolas

Astros exercise manager Dusty Baker’s 2021 option

The Astros will return the core of their on-field coaching staff in 2021.

The club announced Tuesday it has exercised club options on the contracts of manager Dusty Baker, pitching coach Brent Strom and third-base coach Gary Pettis for the 2021 season.

Hired to replace A.J. Hinch in February, Baker was guaranteed just the 2020 season. Upon his appointment, Baker called the Astros managerial job his “last hurrah” — a final attempt to win an elusive World Series title.

Baker enters Tuesday’s game against the Dodgers with 1,866 career managerial wins. He won a National League pennant with the Giants in 2002 but has never captured a World Series title as a manager.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 28, 2020 at 04:47 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dusty baker

Marlins’ Season “Paused” As MLB Plots Scheduling Modifications

The Marlins’ 2020 campaign has been “paused,” according to Craig Mish of Sports Grid (Twitter link). That development is part of an apparent effort on the part of Major League Baseball to tweak its schedule to account for the breakout of COVID-19 cases within the Miami organization.

With the Phillies also sidelined, at least for the short term, the league is left with two teams out of action. It’s considering a plan to match up those two organizations’ previously scheduled opponents — the Yankees and Orioles — in order to keep logging as many games as possible, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link).

While the Philadelphia organization doesn’t have any new positive tests to worry about, it recently took the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 28, 2020 at 02:14 PM | 78 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, marlins

Patrick Mahomes grows business empire with ownership stake in Kansas City Royals

The son of the former Twins reliever has apparently made a lot of money in sports himself.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl-winning quarterback can now add Major League Baseball owner to his long list of accolades. The Kansas City Royals announced on Tuesday, that Patrick Mahomes is the newest member of the team’s ownership group.

“We are very proud and excited to have Patrick as our partner in the ownership group of this franchise,” John Sherman, Chairman, CEO and Principal owner of the Royals, said in a statement.

Mahomes, at 24 years old, will be the youngest part owner in sports history. The team did not say how much of a stake he took in the team, or his stake’s value.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 28, 2020 at 02:12 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

Majority of Nationals players vote against traveling to Miami for upcoming series vs. Marlins, report says

Less than one week into the 2020 season, MLB has a full blown COVID-19 crisis on its hands. As many as 18 members of the Miami Marlins, including 15 players, have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days. The outbreak forced games to be postponed in Miami and Philadelphia, where the Marlins played this past weekend.

Following the Marlins outbreak, the “vast majority” of Washington Nationals players voted against traveling to Miami for a three-game series this upcoming weekend, reports The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The report comes one day after Nationals manager Dave Martinez told reporters “I’m scared. I really am.” Martinez missed time last season with a heart condition.

Washington’s player vote is another indication the personnel ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 28, 2020 at 01:26 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, nationals

Tipster leaks evidence alleging Yankees used camera to steal signs in 2018 playoffs

In the midst of a shortened season in a pandemic, the Yankees could be facing similar allegations to that of the Houston Astros from the 2017 postseason. Per an anonymous tip, the Yankees had an ‘eye in the sky’, if you will, in the stands to steal signs.

Take with that video what you will, but should any of said allegations against the Yankees prove to be true, it would expose an astounding level of hypocrisy in the Bronx. New York had been one of the more outspoken ball-clubs against the illegal actions committed by the Astros in their 2017 World Series-winning season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 28, 2020 at 10:57 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: sign-stealing, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-28-2020

Marshalltown [Iowa] Times-Republican, July 28, 1920:

Baseball Entering New “Golden Era”

Baseball is supposed to have enjoyed its greatest era from 1903 to 1913, but leading baseball men in the game today believe the coming ten years will shatter all records of the former “golden era.” In nearly every league which has reported, attendance figures indicate the greatest increase in popularity in baseball the game has ever had.
President Ban Johnson believes the next ten years will be the greatest the old game has ever enjoyed. He says this country is slated for ten years of unprecedented prosperity.

Well, nine years and three months.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 28, 2020 at 10:25 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Brandon Bellamy Set To Become Only Black Majority Owner In Professional Baseball

The Atlantic League has unanimously approved Brandon Bellamy, Chief Executive Officer of Velocity Companies LLC, as the majority owner of the league’s new expansion club in Gastonia, N.C., which is set to begin play next spring.

On its own, that is significant. Finding an owner for an expansion minor league club in the midst of the current pandemic would be notable in itself. It’s been a brutal year for professional baseball teams around the country, as everyone has had to deal with a lost season and the lost revenues that go with it.

And with affiliated baseball facing the potential for contraction (MLB wants to cut from the current 160 ticket-buying minor league teams to 120), the effects of that will filter down to independent ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 28, 2020 at 10:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: atlantic league, diversity in baseball

Monday, July 27, 2020

Mike Foltynewicz Designated for Assignment by Braves

Foltynewicz gave up six runs, four hits and four walks in a loss to the Rays on Monday night. He’s been with Atlanta since 2015, posting a 4.24 ERA in 117 starts.

“After the last couple outings in [summer camp], we wanted to give it a go here and it was the same,” Snitker said postgame. “We didn’t see enough increase in the velocity. That’s who he’s been. He’s been a stuff guy for the entire time we’ve had him. The stuff hasn’t been there.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 27, 2020 at 11:45 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, mike foltynewicz

6 OFs ... nearly 7? How KC shifted vs. Miggy

The Royals lined up their three outfielders—Alex Gordon, Brett Phillips and Jorge Soler—in their traditional spots. But they also had third baseman Maikel Franco and shortstop Adalberto Mondesi positioned in short left field, well off the infield dirt. And second baseman Whit Merrifield was also set up in the outfield, in short right-center.

The only infielder who still had some of his spikes on the infield dirt was first baseman Ryan O’Hearn, who was still quite a distance from first base.

The strategy against Cabrera, whose knee injuries over the years have severely hampered his speed almost to a jog, certainly worked. Cabrera grounded out on slow rollers in both the second and seventh innings—to “short” and to “second,” ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 27, 2020 at 11:44 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: shifts

White Sox manager Rick Renteria not with team, pending tests

Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria woke up Monday with “a slight cough and nasal congestion” and will be kept away from the team pending the results of medical tests.

Bench coach Joe McEwing will manage the White Sox until the team learns more about Renteria’s condition. Monday’s opener of a three-game set at Cleveland was postponed by rain and will be made up Tuesday as part of a traditional doubleheader.

General manager Rick Hahn released a statement saying the 58-year-old Renteria was taken to a Cleveland hospital for evaluation and tests.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Ricky will remain at the team hotel and not manage until we receive confirmation of today’s test result,” Hahn said.

  ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 27, 2020 at 11:42 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, rick renteria

Rob Manfred says Marlins’ outbreak not a ‘nightmare’ scenario

“I don’t put this in the nightmare category,” Manfred said. “It’s not a positive thing, but I don’t see it as a nightmare. ... That’s why we have the expanded rosters. That’s why we have the pool of additional players.”

The league is looking into where the outbreak began. League sources indicate that it’s possible it came about during a charter flight from Atlanta after the Marlins played an exhibition game there Wednesday.

Manfred was asked what it would take to shut down the league—at least for a short period of time.

“A team losing a number of players, making it completely noncompetitive, would be something we would have to address and have to think about making a change,” Manfred said. “Our first concern is the health of the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 27, 2020 at 11:40 PM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

Nationals sign 2-time All-Star Josh Harrison to 1-year deal

Utility player Josh Harrison signed a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals and was added to their 30-man active roster Monday, less than a week after he was released by the Philadelphia Phillies.

The 33-year-old Harrison is a two-time All-Star and a right-handed hitter who has started games at second base, third base, shortstop and both corner outfield spots during his nine years in the majors. “The only positions that I haven’t played are catcher and first—I’ve even got a third of an inning on the mound,’’ he said.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 27, 2020 at 05:56 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: josh harrison

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-27-2020

[Indianapolis] Indiana Daily Times, July 27, 1920:

A star baseball hurler ought to confine his speed to the diamond, according to Motorcycle Patrolman George F. Bailey, who testified in traffic court Monday that he found Carl Mays, the Yankee pitcher, driving his automobile at thirty-five miles an hour on St. Nicholas avenue.

Yeah, jeez, if Carl Mays isn’t careful, he could kill someone.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 27, 2020 at 10:24 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: carl mays, carl that kills people, dugout, history

Rays’ Ji-Man Choi becomes switch-hitter, crushes homer in second MLB at-bat as a righty

The Tampa Bay Rays have long been known for their creativity and being opportunistic. Most recently, they pioneered the “opener” pitching strategy that has since spread across the league. Tampa Bay’s latest trick is turning their players into switch-hitters.

Sunday afternoon against the Blue Jays (GameTracker), noted left-handed hitter Ji-Man Choi turned around and batted right-handed against Toronto southpaw Anthony Kay. Choi struck out in his first at-bat as a righty but went deep next time up. It was a bomb too. Statcast has it at 429 feet and 110 mph off the bat. As a lefty, Choi did not hit a ball over 100.7 mph in 2019.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 27, 2020 at 09:52 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: ji-man choi, switch-hitting

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Texas Rangers’ Corey Kluber leaves start with shoulder tightness

Corey Kluber’s Texas debut lasted just one inning.

The right-hander threw just 18 pitches Sunday before departing his first start in almost 15 months with shoulder tightness.

The Rangers, who acquired the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner in an offseason trade with Cleveland, said Kluber reported feeling the tightness in the first few pitches and it got worse as the inning progressed against Colorado. He was examined by a team doctor and will be further evaluated Monday.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 26, 2020 at 10:53 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: corey kluber

Dodgers’ Dave Roberts says Giants manager Gabe Kapler is engaging in ‘gamesmanship’ with lineup announcements

Kapler did not announce his starting pitcher (Logan Webb) for Saturday afternoon’s game against the Dodgers until 7:30 AM local time. He did not reveal his starting lineup until 90 minutes before first pitch, per Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. In response, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts expressed some combination of amusement and annoyance.

“It’s a little bit of gamesmanship, we’ll call it,” Roberts told reporters, including SB Nation’s Eric Stephens, prior to Saturday’s game. “To each, their own.”

It should be noted that Kapler is under no obligation to release any of the above information ahead of time. In that sense, the only “rule” he’s violating is an unwritten one between managers and teams. It should also be noted that Kapler ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 26, 2020 at 10:13 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, giants

Those fake baseball fans are creeping people out

As part of an attempt to make Major League Baseball games in this weird, coronavirus-shortened season seem as close to normal as possible, Fox Sports decided to create virtual fans, digital versions of cheering people who would react to the games broadcast on Fox the way real fans do.

Let’s just say they didn’t quite knock it out of the park.

As Nick Schwartz noted in USA Today, the virtual fans popped in and out of view during the broadcasts, appearing when cameras pointed toward the outfield, but then weren’t visible behind home plate, making for an unsettling experience….

To be sure, this is a new thing, and Brad Zager of Fox Sports told The Verge the network was still figuring it out, with plans to evolve the process from game ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 26, 2020 at 06:37 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: fake fans

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