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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

Brandon Morrow’s comeback attempt has hit a bump in the road.

Morrow, the Cubs reliever and former closer, has what the club is calling a “mild right upper chest strain,” according to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Bastian added Morrow felt the strain in his last bullpen session and there is no clear timeline for his return.

The strain is the latest ailment to sideline the oft-injured Morrow, who hasn’t pitched since July 2018 due to a series of arm troubles. The 35-year-old has undergone two elbow surgeries since then (November 2018, September 2019) before becoming a free agent this winter. He rejoined the Cubs on a minor-league deal.

 

QLE Posted: February 23, 2020 at 01:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brandon morrow, injury

Fans heckling Astros spring opener get signs stolen

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Fans hoping to heckle the sign-stealing Houston Astros at their spring opener were met with quite the coincidence.

They got their signs stolen.

In the Astros’ first spring training game since their sign-stealing scandal rocked baseball, some fans brought signs jeering Houston, and ballpark personnel confiscated them before the exhibition opener against the World Series champion Washington Nationals on Saturday night.

In a Series rematch, the Nats got hearty cheers, while everyone in an Astros jersey — including the mascot, Orbit — was booed. Houston did not use any players implicated in MLB’s probe.

The sort of story for which drum riffs seem to be the only appropriate comment…..

 

QLE Posted: February 23, 2020 at 01:05 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, fans, hecklers, sign-stealing

Hall of Famer Perry leads 7 into SC Athletic Hall of Fame

Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry is among seven named to the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.

Perry won 314 games over 21 seasons and won the Cy Young Award with the Cleveland Indians in 1972 and the San Diego Padres in 1978. He was also baseball coach at Limestone College in the Palmetto State.

Strange- you’d think that he’d have been in a long time ago…..

 

QLE Posted: February 23, 2020 at 12:59 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: awards and honors, gaylord perry

Top pick Rutschman not awed in 1st Orioles’ big league camp

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — A year ago, Adley Rutschman was a student at Oregon State, and now he’s in his first major league camp.

Nothing overwhelming about that, he says.

Rutschman was the top pick in last June’s draft and signed with the Baltimore Orioles for an $8.1 million bonus. He’s played just 37 minor league games, and yet the 22-year-old switch-hitting catcher is fitting in fine at spring training among 67 other players who all have more experience.

Rutschman is in camp to learn from major league players and coaches — and to show a dwindling fan base there may be some hope for a team that’s averaged over 110 losses the last two seasons.

Someone to follow for the coming year- interesting to see how far he advances, ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: February 23, 2020 at 12:55 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: adley rutschman, orioles, prospects

Hamels rejoins Braves, shoulder still healing

NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — Cole Hamels rejoined the Atlanta Braves just in time for their spring training opener. The injured left-hander is still a ways off from using the mound at the club’s new spring home, though.

Hamels signed an $18 million, one-year deal with Atlanta this offseason but informed the team just before camp started that he was experiencing shoulder discomfort during training. The 36-year-old was sent to Dallas to get treatment from surgeon Keith Meister.

Now he’s back but says he’s waiting for inflammation in the shoulder “to calm down.” He expects to remain in North Port after Atlanta breaks camp for opening day.

“I know I’m behind the 8-ball,” he said. “But once I knock (the inflammation) out right ...

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QLE Posted: February 23, 2020 at 12:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, cole hamels, shoulder

2020 Fantasy Baseball: The Save Game

Wins may be the most challenging part of fantasy baseball to figure out, but closers are the most frustrating. On draft day, I have a tough time using a high draft pick on a one-category player. I also hate chasing closers and closers in waiting around in the free-agent market. The last couple of years in the high stakes games, I’ve tried to cheat saves. At times it can work, but many times a weakness will cost me a bench spot, which hurts my team in other areas. If you cheat saves and you’re mistaken, you need to roster more inventory to increase your chances of finding the next closer to earn a job.

In the high stake’s market in 15-team leagues in most seasons, you need about 85 to 90 saves on the year (about 3.5 saves per week) in ...

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QLE Posted: February 23, 2020 at 12:43 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball, relievers are inherently fungible, saves

Blue Jays games will be blacked out on MLB.TV in Canada

Canadian MLB.TV subscribers received an email yesterday that informed them that Blue Jays games will no longer be able to be streamed live on the league’s streaming service. Those wishing to stream Jays games will now need to subscribe to Sportsnet NOW, a streaming service provided by the broadcasting network that carries Jays games on television.

As Andrew Stoeten wrote in The Athletic, Canadian subscribers were unable to view the Jays live on MLB.TV until the mid 2010’s, when the restriction was lifted. MLB.TV subsequently became a popular purchase for Canadian fans.

Sportsnet is owned by Rogers Media, which also owns the Jays. Clearly this is meant to be a moneymaking opportunity for Rogers, but it’s remarkably shortsighted and ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: February 23, 2020 at 12:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: blackouts, blue jays, broadcasting, canada, mlb.tv

Red Sox Name Jerry Narron As Bench Coach After Three Seasons With Diamondbacks

When the Boston Red Sox named Ron Roenicke the interim manager, they needed to fill the void of bench coach that was left behind.

And now the team has its guy.

The Red Sox on Saturday announced they have named Jerry Narron as the bench coach. Narron previously was with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a part of their coaching staff. Narron also served as Boston’s bench coach in 2003.

 

QLE Posted: February 23, 2020 at 12:35 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bench coaches, jerry narron, red sox

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Phillies will unveil a new-look Phanatic on Sunday

CLEARWATER, Fla. — You might have heard that slugger Rhys Hoskins made some changes to his batting stance and swing over the winter.

Hoskins isn’t the only prominent Phillie who made some adjustments in the off-season.

Word around Phillies spring training camp is that the Phanatic has made a few alterations himself. Fans will get a peek at the Big Green Guy’s new look Sunday when the Phillies host the Pittsburgh Pirates at Spectrum Field. Aaron Nola will be the Phillies’ starting pitcher, Hoskins will be in the lineup, and, yes, the game will be televised on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Don’t fret, Phanatic fans.

A story about how the desire for cash is about to lead to changes to a beloved mascot.

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 01:55 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dollah dollah bills, y'all, lawsuits, makeovers, mascots, philly phanatic

MLB Rumors: Ex-Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard joins Rockies amid comeback attempt

Daniel Bard’s comeback dream might become a reality.

The former Boston Red Sox pitcher has signed a minor-league contract with the Colorado Rockies, The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders reported Friday.

Bard was a Red Sox first-round draft pick in 2006 and spent four seasons with Boston from 2009 to 2013. The hard-throwing right-hander posted a 1.93 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 2010 and appeared to be in line to succeed Jonathan Papelbon as the Red Sox’ closer.

 

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 01:42 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: comebacks, daniel bard, rockies

Remember Rusney Castillo? He’ll make $14 million in Triple-A, then finally become a free agent

FORT MYERS, Fla.—On an unseasonably cool Florida afternoon, Red Sox regulars scattered like mice before the start of the annual spring training exhibition vs. Northeastern.

None of them were going to play, and therefore, none had to stay, the promise of a rare afternoon off beckoning like an oasis.

So in their place, a parade of prospects, minor leaguers, and fringe performers comprised the starting nine. Some—such as center fielder Jarren Duran—may have a future in Boston. Others—such as third baseman Chad De La Guerra or left fielder John Andreoli—are household names only in their own households.

But there, batting cleanup and playing right field, was a man with more name recognition than all of them combined, finishing his Red Sox ...

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QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 01:20 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, rusney castillo, triple a

Let’s Dole Out Some Twists of Fate, National League Edition

Black swan events are a defining feature of each baseball season. Like any good sport, the contours of the game elicit a comfortable and familiar warmth. But also like any good sport, the details that make up the fabric of a particular contest or campaign are essentially unpredictable. It’s the round ball, round bat game: Weird stuff happens all the time.

Once they happen though, unexpected events have a way of enmeshing themselves in the game’s broader narrative as if they were just another ad on the outfield wall. Our brains struggle to handle surprises, and so we rationalize them. For a time, it was very weird that Lucas Giolito suddenly looked like one of the best pitchers in baseball; by the time the Cy Young ballots were ...

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QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 01:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: narratives, national league, twists of fate

The Obscenely Early ZiPS Projected Standings

Naturally, once the ZiPS elves have finished baking the ZiPS, the first thing I want to do — at least after actually getting some sleep — is to crank out some ZiPS projected standings. So let’s wrap up ZiPS Week (I’m possibly the only person calling it this) by doing the first run of the ZiPS projected standings for the 2020 season.

The methodology I use is not identical to the one we use in our Standings, so there will naturally be some important differences in the results. So how does ZiPS calculate the season?

Stored within ZiPS is the first through 99th percentile projections for each player it projects. I start by making a generalized depth chart, using our depth charts as an initial starting point. Since these are my ...

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QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 01:04 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: projections, zips

An Angell at Spring Training

What I know about spring training I know because of Roger Angell. With conversational elegance and a tireless spirit, he has described this annual baseball ritual as a romantic interlude, more experience than sport, that surely can’t be as romantic as Angell makes it seem.

Angell, a renowned editor and essayist at The New Yorker, has resided, figuratively, since 2014 in Cooperstown, N.Y., at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. No writer may be more deserving.

I’m now working on my sixth decade, and one of my most passionate baseball memories is the dog-eared paperback of an Angell essay collection that sat on my bedside nightstand for much of my youth. Late Innings: A Baseball Companion, published in 1982, is biblical in ...

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QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:57 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: roger angell, spring training

Alcántara, 3 minor leaguers banned for positive drug tests

NEW YORK (AP) — Free agent pitcher Victor Alcántara was suspended for 80 games Friday under the major league drug program following a positive test for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol.

The 26-year-old right-hander was 3-2 with a 4.85 ERA last season in 46 relief appearances for the Detroit Tigers. He became a free agent last fall after he was assigned outright to Triple-A Toledo on Oct. 24.

Alcántara made his major league debut in September 2017 and was 4-3 with a 4.28 ERA in 79 games over three seasons with the Tigers.

He is the fourth player suspended this year under the big league program after Houston pitcher Francis Martes, Pittsburgh outfielder/infielder Pablo Reyes and Colorado pitcher Justin Lawrence.

 

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: ped suspensions, stanozolol, victor alcantara

Astros scandal: Josh Reddick says he and his teammates have received death threats

Part of the ongoing fallout from the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal is that some of the players involved say they’re receiving threats. Mike Fiers of the Athletics, who played for the Astros in 2017 and later blew the whistle on their sign-stealing scheme, recently claimed to have been subjected to death threats for serving as the primary source for the original bombshell report.

Now Astros outfielder Josh Reddick has come forward as the recipient of threats and ill wishes. ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweets:

“Astros outfielder Josh Reddick just told reporters he has received death threats via social media — and that in one case someone wished cancer upon his children. Reddick said he’s not the only one in the Astros’ clubhouse who had ...

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QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:52 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, josh reddick

2-time Cy Young winner Kluber has ‘a lot to prove’ in Texas

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — After Corey Kluber was traded to Texas, his new manager got a lot of texts and calls from people saying what a phenomenal pitcher and person the Rangers got.

The only message that surprised Chris Woodward was the one he got from the two-time Cy Young Award winner.

“One of the first texts he sent me, ‘I’ve got a lot to prove,’” Woodward said Friday. “You don’t expect that to come from a guy who’s had so much success.”

While the 33-year-old right-hander had an injury-plagued final season in Cleveland last year, he was coming off an extended stretch as one of baseball’s best pitchers. He was a 20-game winner in 2018, and the American League Cy Young winner in 2014 and 2017 — all that during a ...

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QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: corey kluber, rangers

MLB 2020 Division Winners: Favorites and Best Bets

With spring training now in full swing, betting boards at the Westgate SuperBook are loaded with a massive variety of futures betting options. That includes prices to win each of the six regular season division championships.

Will the Yankees steamroll to back-to-back AL East titles? Will the Dodgers rule the NL West for an eighth straight season? Are any dark horses poised to make a breakthrough? Here is an early look at each team’s title chances.

New York Yankees Are Thick AL East Chalk

New York Yankees: -1200
Tampa Bay Rays: +800
Boston Red Sox: +1600
Toronto Blue Jays: +10000
Baltimore Orioles: +100000

Something for the gamblers among us- interesting to think of how mainstream this sort of thing became so quickly…..

  ...Read More...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: gambling, odds

MLB was told about the Astros’ system years ago and did nothing

Jonathan Lucroy plays for the Red Sox now. Yesterday he talked to the Boston media about his time in Oakland. Specifically, he talked about how, when he played there, he and the rest of the A’s learned about the specifics of the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme from teammate Mike Fiers, who was traded to Oakland in August of that season.

Here’s what Lucroy said about what went down when he heard about Fiers going public in November:

“When I saw it, I read it and I’m like, ‘Oh boy, here we go. And people are calling me and I’m like, ‘Look, I’ve known about that for two years.’ Guys who were playing against them . . . I would text people and say, ‘Just so you know, this is what is going on.’ It got around baseball ...

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QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:36 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: coverups, dirty rotten cheaters, mlb

Teams close with 7-5 edge in arbitration as Diamondbacks’ Archie Bradley wins final case

PHOENIX—Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Archie Bradley won the final salary arbitration case of the year, leaving teams with a 7-5 advantage over players.

Bradley, a 27-year right-hander, was given a raise from $1.83 million to $4.1 million Friday by arbitrators Andrew Strongin, Steven Wolf and Jules Bloch. The Diamondbacks had argued for $3,625,000.

Bradley was 4-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 65 relief appearances and one start last year. He struck out 87 and walked 36 in 71⅔ innings.

Teams won six of the first seven decisions, and players won four of the last five. Teams have had a winning record in four of the past five years, the exception a 12-10 margin for players in 2019.

Well, arbitration season has ended for this year- see you all ...

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QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:33 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, archie bradley

Delegates swing for fences with resolution to keep minor league baseball

Today in minor-league contraction news:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A resolution to support the continuation of minor league baseball in West Virginia circled the bases in the House of Delegates.

As representatives of the West Virginia Power baseball organization observed from the balcony, the resolution passed the House of Delegates, 98-0 with two absences.

“As an avid baseball fan and former Little League all-star, I can’t imagine a Mountain State without baseball,” said Delegate Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, who elicited laughter when he mentioned his youthful accomplishments.

“That is our pipeline to the major leagues.”

 

 

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:31 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, minor leagues, west virginia

Yasiel Puig Rumors: White Sox, Rockies Favorites to Sign Star Free-Agent OF

As Yasiel Puig continues to wait for a contract offer to his liking, two teams have reportedly emerged as the favorites to sign the veteran outfielder.

Per Hector Gomez of Z101, the Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies are considered the favorites to land the former All-Star.

It’s unclear at this point what a potential contract offer for Puig would include, but the timing of a deal could end up making him a bargain.

Teams reported to spring training last week with games scheduled to begin Saturday.

Compared to the last couple of years, there isn’t much left to the hot stove with spring training having begun.

 

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:14 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: hot stove, rockies, white sox, yasiel puig

Friday, February 21, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-21-2020

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, February 21, 1920:

The Boston Braves are preparing for a strenuous season. They have signed up a slugger named John L. Sullivan to play in the outfield. John L. doesn’t slug with his fists—he uses a baseball bat, which is more effective.

He was actually a pretty good player. Better than Mike Tyson or Joe Frazier, but less important to baseball history than Forman.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 21, 2020 at 10:54 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Stark: How Francisco Lindor reminds us that baseball is broken – The Athletic

Is there anything right with the game? Does this situation really mean the sport is broken?

“Because everybody thinks Cleveland is a small-budget team, you know,” he says, calmly, analytically, thoughtfully. “And it’s just a matter of coming up with the right thing. That’s for my agent and the team to figure out, what’s the right thing. So everyone thinks it’s not going to happen because the Indians have always said, ‘We don’t have the money. We don’t have the money. We don’t have the money.’ So we’ll see.”

He says those words, “We’ll see,” because he can’t peer far enough over the horizon to know exactly how this saga will end. But he is a bright, perceptive man. So the one thing he can see with clarity ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2020 at 09:28 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: francisco lindor

Baseball Fan Can Sue Over Foul Ball to the Face, California Appeals Court Rules

A foul ball to the face is not an anticipated part of the sport, nor an assumed risk for baseball spectators, according to an appeals court decision.

California’s Second District Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday that installing protective netting along the first- and third-base lines at ball parks would not necessarily alter the nature of the game, signaling a shift in the court’s interpretation of the primary assumption of risk doctrine.

A 12-year-old, referred to as Summer, brought the appeal against the United States Baseball Federation after a line drive foul ball damaged her optic nerve while attending the national team trials at California State University, Long Beach’s Blair Field in 2014, according to the opinion. Upon appeal, ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2020 at 09:26 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: legal

A Quick Look at Our Playoff Odds

With the release of full ZiPS projections, our playoff odds are up and running. For the most part that means putting a number to things that we already know. The Dodgers are 97.7% likely to make the playoffs, which sounds about right. The NL Central is a four-way tossup with the Cubs out in the lead. The NL East has three teams each with around a one-in-three chance at it. That all tracks with intuition.

Indeed, for the most part, the standings are self-explanatory. That doesn’t mean that everything is obvious and intuitive, however. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the cases where a deeper dive is necessary.

It’s tempting to think of a team’s expected win total as just a sum of their WAR. After all, the W is right there in ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 01:18 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: odds

When It Counted: Retrospective MVP Awards for the World Series, Part 2

Last month, I began this series to select World Series Most Valuable Players for the years when the current award did not exist. I covered the years 1903 to 1928, halting there for reasons of length. Today I’ll cover the rest of the pre-MVP period, from 1929 to 1954.

For anyone new to these articles (including my original one for the League Championship Series), or who wants a refresher on my methodology, I refer you to the introduction to last month’s article. Nothing has changed, except perhaps my willingness to reward players on the losing side. I did it three times in the 1903-28 part of this overview, but though I was close several times this go-round, I never pulled the trigger.

I won’t fill time with any more introductory ...

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QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 01:13 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: awards and honors, mvp, world series

White Sox’s Renteria gets a full shot at turning team around

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Rick Renteria has been here before.

He was managing the Chicago Cubs in 2014 when they were building a team that would end its century-long championship drought.

But just as that team was coming together for a four-year postseason run, Renteria’s contract was terminated when the Cubs had a chance to bring in free-agent manager Joe Maddon.

Now 58, Renteria landed with the White Sox and replaced Robin Ventura as manager just as the team began its own massive rebuilding project. Now in his fourth season on the South Side, Renteria’s patience is finally getting rewarded.

That is, unless Joe Maddon suddenly decides he wants to go to the South Side…..

 

QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 01:07 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rick renteria, white sox

Votto energized by Reds additions to move past worst season

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Joey Votto has no desire to rehash what he considers his worst season, which was also the sixth year in a row the Cincinnati Reds missed the playoffs with a losing record.

As for the moves the Reds made during the offseason, those energized the former NL MVP now going into his 14th season with the team.

“I was shocked for sure, and it seemed like it was one after the other. I was pleasantly surprised,” Votto said. “Like anybody who has watched this team over the last little bit, I think we’re excited about being competitive throughout the entire year.”

Votto was getting messages from friends this winter on what the Reds were doing while he took a self-imposed break from baseball activities — “I ...

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QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 01:02 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: joey votto, reds

Bounce back: MLB veterans to watch in spring games

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Giancarlo Stanton’s intimidating presence was missing from the middle of the Yankees’ lineup for a big chunk of 2019 because of an injury-filled season.

As he tries to bounce back, the New York slugger will have his spring at-bats analyzed more than most.

Spring training game action begins in Arizona on Friday with a meeting between the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals while the other 28 teams play their first exhibition games in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues on Saturday.

The games — especially early in the spring — are often filled with young prospects and others who are longshots to make opening day rosters. Most veterans will be eased into games and their stats won’t be particularly ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 12:59 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: blake treinen, carlos martinez, chris sale, mike foltynewicz, steven souza, veterans

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