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Saturday, February 15, 2020

This might be Astros’ best chance to win title for a while

For the Astros, though, the need to win in 2020 should be about more than exoneration or chest thumping. The way their roster and farm system are positioned after the best run of on-field success in organization history, this coming season projects as arguably their last, best shot to win it all in this phase.

The farm system, once able to replenish with high-end talent, was ranked 27th out of 30 organizations by Baseball America.

Hank Gillette Posted: February 15, 2020 at 04:54 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cheating

Rosenthal: Carlos Correa rips Bellinger, passionately defends Altuve and says the Astros deserve their 2017 title – The Athletic

I don’t agree with everything Carlos Correa says in the interview but he’s handling the situation better than anyone else.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 15, 2020 at 02:25 PM | 78 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, carlos correa, sign stealing

Phillies’ Zack Wheeler puts end to insult-slinging with Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen

After two days of slinging passive-aggressive insults with New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen, Wheeler put a stop to the back-and-forth Saturday before working out with Phillies pitchers and catchers at the Carpenter Complex.

“He’s taken a couple of things I said to heart, I guess, that I really didn’t mean for him to do,” Wheeler said. “But I don’t care.”

It all began Thursday when Wheeler told a New York Post reporter that he “heard crickets” from the Mets when his agent gave them a chance to match the Phillies’ five-year, $118 million offer.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 15, 2020 at 11:06 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: brodie van wagenen, mets, phillies, zack wheeler

MLB news: Nolan Arenado opens up on ‘disconnect’ with the Rockies

Players play. They don’t/can’t control the actions of their front office.

And we don’t misunderstand, Nolan. We get it. You are more than just numbers on a page. The thing is, though, although you don’t control the actions of your front office, you did have control over signing your last contract. You made the decision. You now own the consequences of that decision.

“You know what, and I want you please to write this down, the perception of me right now, some people have different things, right?” he said. “It’s, ‘Oh, you make money, keep your mouth shut. You signed this deal and this and that.’ But, at the end of the day, man, people misunderstand. Us, as players, we only get one chance at this. I only get one chance at this. ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: February 15, 2020 at 09:23 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: nolan arenado, rockies

Rizzo won’t be satisfied until Astros admit they “cheated” - Nationals Pastime

To that list, you can add Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, who today spoke as emphatically as anyone about his dissatisfaction, not only with what the Astros did but how they’ve addressed it since getting caught.

“Someone has got to say the word over there: ‘Cheated.’ That’s important to me,” Rizzo said. “And for the sport to move on, which is what I’m most concerned about, we have to make sure that all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed on this investigation before we end it.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 15, 2020 at 08:01 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, nationals, sign stealing

SF Giants spring training: Logan Webb debuts new pitches in 2020

With help from new director of pitching Brian Bannister and the Giants’ coordinator of pitching science Matt Daniels, he’s added to his repertoire to make his fastballs more effective. Instead of throwing four-seam and two-seam fastballs that have similar action, he now has three hard pitches that work off of one another.

When a right-handed batter steps to the plate against Webb this season, they could see a straight four-seam fastball, a two-seamer that runs in on their hands or a cutter that breaks toward the left-handed batter’s box.

“Bannister came in and he said with my arm slot, I have the perfect arm slot for this kind of two-seam and the cutter will work right off of that,” Webb said. “So I started messing around ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: February 15, 2020 at 07:50 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, logan webb

Trevor Bauer was asked about the Astros. He didn’t hold back on his answer – The Athletic

There is a lot of smoke about the Astros not being alone in the way they stole signs. Where are all the other whistleblowers? If it’s true the problem indeed existed outside the Astros clubhouse, MLB needs to extend their investigation and not sweep the wider problem under the rug. If it’s not true, the Astros will fairly have to continue to eat the entire problem. I won’t hold my breath.

I don’t try … I don’t bother, I don’t go out of my way to bother anybody. I try not to interfere or interject myself into anyone else’s affairs, but if you come at me, I feel like I have every right to defend myself. Now they’ve chosen to make it about me and attack my character, I’m not going to let them forget the fact that they are ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: February 15, 2020 at 07:28 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sign stealing, trevor bauer

Cody Bellinger Destroys Everything Astros and Weak Punishment

Some home truths here.  I guess Cody is not in a union solidarity frame of mind.

Captain Supporter Posted: February 15, 2020 at 07:04 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, stealing signs

MLB raises salaries for minor leaguers in 2021

Major League Baseball is raising the minimum salary for minor league players in 2021, according to a memo sent Friday from the commissioner’s office to all 30 teams and obtained by The Associated Press.

Two years after successfully lobbying Congress to exempt minor leaguers from federal minimum wage laws, MLB opted to give those players a wage increase between 38% and 72%. The bump was discussed at last week’s owners meetings and confirmed in the memo from Morgan Sword, executive vice president of baseball economics and operations.

Players at rookie and short-season levels will see their minimum weekly pay raised from $290 to $400, and players at Class A will go from $290 to $500. Double-A will jump from $350 to $600, and Triple-A ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 15, 2020 at 07:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues

How Giants plan to build on pitcher Tyler Rogers’ intriguing debut

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—You don’t have to stand around the clubhouse long to find a player who mentions the Giants’ new commitment to biomechanics and body movement. But sometimes you don’t need expensive cameras or a new generation of coaches to see how a player might be different than the others.

If you stand behind Tyler Rogers, as Gabe Kapler did for a while Friday morning, you’re in for a whole different kind of experience. Kapler came away raving about the submariner, comparing him to former A’s reliever Chad Bradford and insisting Rogers is “going to be an important part of our bullpen.”

Rogers already has once benefited from all the fresh eyes in the organization. Repeatedly passed over in previous years, he was one of ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 01:52 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: submariners, tyler rogers

Nationals send Valentine’s Day cards to personally roast every MLB team

No team in MLB utilized Valentine’s Day better than the Washington Nationals this year.

Throughout the day, the Nats posted a valentine on their Twitter account to all 30 teams. This includes their division rivals, their friendly neighbors just north of the beltway and some other common postseason foes.

Well, this is one way to celebrate the day…..

QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 01:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, valentine's day

Some of the New Roster Rules Are Garbage

On Wednesday, Major League Baseball made official a handful of rule changes that had been in the works for nearly a year. In case you missed it while following the latest twists and turns of the Astros’ sign-stealing saga or the excitement of pitchers and catchers reporting, here’s the full press release, which spares us from having to retype it:

...

The three-batter minimum rule — and the existential threat it poses to lefty specialists — has been the most discussed of these changes. Our own Ben Clemens illustrated that it won’t matter all that much, a conclusion supported by Sam Miller’s examination, while other analysis such as this article by Tom Verducci and this one by Cliff Corcoran suggest it could have a negative ...

Read More...

Bartolo Colón, 46, signs deal with Mexican minor league team

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Bartolo Colón is headed to Mexico.

The right-hander, who will turn 47 in May, has signed with the Monclova Acereros of the Mexican Baseball League.

The Acereros, defending champions of the Triple-A circuit, announced the signing of the Dominican right-hander Friday. The team didn’t provide details of the contract.

“Bartolo Colón would be an important piece of the pitching staff of the current champions, becoming one of the bigger signings in our baseball history,” the team said in a press release. “The ‘Big Sexy’ show would be something the Monclova fans will be to enjoy.”

And the dream of another four-decade player remains alive.

 

QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 01:15 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: bartolo colon, mexican baseball

Fulmer making progress in return from Tommy John surgery

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — At this time last year, Michael Fulmer was hoping for a healthier 2019. Instead, his injury woes went from bad to worse.

Fulmer needed Tommy John surgery and did not pitch at all last season, another setback for the right-hander who won AL Rookie of the Year honors for Detroit in 2016 but now faces an uncertain future for the Tigers. Still just 26 years old, Fulmer can give the team a lift if he comes back healthy, but that’s still a work in progress.

“I feel better than I thought I would at this point, playing catch out to 120 feet,” Fulmer said this week. “Next progression is getting on the mound. Very anxious for that moment, but we’ve got to wait until it gets here.”

Fulmer said he was hopeful he ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 01:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: michael fulmer, tigers, tommy john surgery

MacPhail says Phillies expect to pay luxury tax this season

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Philadelphia Phillies president Andy MacPhail reiterated that team ownership is willing to go over the luxury tax threshold to make the playoffs.

The Phillies have made several high-profile free-agent signings over the past few seasons, including a $330 million, 13-year deal for outfielder Bryce Harper last year.

Philadelphia signed right-hander Zack Wheeler to a $118 million, five-year contract this offseason and are viewed as a potential trade destination for Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who has an $18 million salary.

“Speaking for the Phillies and ownership we’re not reluctant to go over it,” MacPhail said Friday. “It’s my hope, and frankly my expectation, that we’re going to exceed it ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 01:08 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: andy macphail, luxury tax, phillies

Pirates pitcher Archer has a clear mind—and less hair

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Chris Archer is 2 ½ pounds lighter than at the end of last season.

The Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander didn’t go on a winter diet, though. Instead, Archer cut off his trademark dreadlocks.

“It was time for a change,” Archer said Friday after a spring training workout. “It was time for something different.”

Archer feels the same way about his pitching. He had an awful 2019 season, compiling a 3-9 record and 5.19 ERA in 23 starts.

Pavement is considering putting in a royalty request.

 

QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 01:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: chris archer, cut your hair

Yonder Alonso, Braves finalize minor league contract

NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — First baseman Yonder Alonso and the Atlanta Braves finalized their minor league contract on Friday, and he will report to major league spring training.

If added to the 40-man roster, he would get a one-year contract with a $1 million salary while in the major leagues.

The 32-year-old gives the Braves depth behind Freddie Freeman, who had right elbow surgery in October. Freeman said last month he has no pain in the elbow and will be ready when position players report on Monday.

Alonso hit .199 with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs with Colorado and the Chicago White Sox last year, including .260 in 54 games with the Rockies.

And Alonso goes Yonder still.

 

QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 01:03 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, contracts, yonder alonso

What Did Your Favorite League Spend on Federal Lobbying in 2019?

Jumping ahead to the nitty-gritty:

MLB: $1,240,000

What issues did it work on? Foreign relations; taxation and internal revenue code; homeland security; sports and athletics; consumer issues, safety and protection; aviation, aircraft and airlines; government issues; trade (domestic and foreign); and gaming, gambling and casinos.

Which organizations did it lobby besides the House and the Senate? The Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and the Treasury; the Federal Aviation Administration; the Office of Management and Budget; and the White House.

How much did they spend on contracts with external lobbying firms? $780,000. The amount that MLB spends on lobbying has increased markedly since it opened its government relations office ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 12:56 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: lobbying

Josh Hader loses salary arbitration hearing

The Brewers defeated ace reliever Josh Hader in their salary arbitration hearing, according to multiple reports (including MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand). Hader will make $4.1 million instead of the $6.4 million figure he filed at. The case appears to continue the precedent that saves are what are heavily valued for relievers in salary arbitration.

That, of course, is heavily outdated thinking. Hader has been one of the most valuable relief pitchers in the game since he first stepped foot in the big leagues. Milwaukee deployed him as a sort of tactical nuke for his first two seasons, throwing him into high-leverage situations regardless of when they arose. He assumed regular closing duties in 2019 and racked up 37 saves, a second consecutive ...

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QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 12:52 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, josh hader, relievers are inherently fungible

MLBPA, league discussing methods to fight electronic sign-stealing

Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich report that MLB and the MLB Players Association are in discussions on new rules to combat electronic sign-stealing. The talks come in the wake of a winter dominated by the revelations that the Astros cheated by using tech to steal signs on their way to winning the 2017 World Series, and widespread speculation that the cheating continued in one way or another into the 2019 season.

Nationals ace Max Scherzer, a prominent figure within the MLBPA and Washington’s union rep, is one of the players taking a leading role in the talks. He spoke with Rosenthal in an interview on MLB Network about the players’ goals for the new rules. Scherzer made it clear that while he takes no issue with players using the video ...

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QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 12:50 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, mlbpa, sign-stealing

Baker on Greinke being late: ‘He’s Zack Greinke’

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—Astros manager Dusty Baker said veteran pitcher Zack Greinke won’t report to camp until Feb. 22—more than a week after the pitchers and catchers report date. Baker said Greinke is healthy and working out on his own but didn’t offer up a reason for the tardiness.

“Other than he’s Zack Greinke,” Baker said. “I’ve got no problem with that.”

Greinke, traded to the Astros from the D-backs in July, is coming off a vintage 2019 campaign in which he went 18-5 with a 2.93 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP, winning eight of his 10 starts after arriving to Houston. Greinke carried a shutout into the seventh inning in Game 7 of the World Series before the Nationals rallied to win the title.

Greinke has also famously taken ...

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QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 12:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dusty baker, zack greinke

Des Moines’ Jeremy Hellickson retires from Major League Baseball

After 10 seasons, five teams and more than 200 games in Major League Baseball, Iowa native Jeremy Hellickson is calling it a career.

Hellickson, a right-handed pitcher out of Des Moines Hoover High School, told the Register on Friday that he is retiring.

Hellickson, 32, said he suffered a shoulder setback a few weeks ago that would have required surgery and rehab.

He’s instead opting to retire after a long and successful big-league career that included a resume full of major accomplishments.

 

 

QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jeremy hellickson, retirements

Dodgers pitcher says he would ‘probably’ throw at Astros hitters if he faced them

It was already clear that the Los Angeles Dodgers, as well as the L.A. area in general, are going to harbor some major bad blood against the Houston Astros for cheating in and winning the 2017 World Series.

“They cheated and they got away with it.” “Asterisk.” “What a f—-ing joke.” “Everybody knows they stole the ring.”

It’s understandable. Losing out on baseball’s ultimate accomplishment in a seven-game series only to find out the other team was cheating will create some anger.

Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling, who is likely staying with the team after a trade to the Los Angeles Angels fell through, took things a step further on Friday when asked about what he might have done had the Astros become a division rival in ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dirty rotten cheaters, hit by pitch, ross stripling

Clevinger to miss 6-8 weeks after knee surgery

GOODYEAR, Ariz.—When Indians manager Terry Francona described Thursday how last year’s injuries caused his team to become more unified, he said, “We will deal with adversity. Every team does. It could start tomorrow.”

It turns out, his statement was not hypothetical.

The Indians announced Friday morning that starter Mike Clevinger sustained a partial tear in his left meniscus at the team’s Spring Training facility on Wednesday. He underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on Friday and is expected to return to Major League game activity in six to eight weeks.

Francona said that Clevinger suffered the tear while doing some drills on Wednesday. The training staff sent him home to see how he’d feel on Thursday, but the Tribe’s ...

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QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 12:35 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: knee, mike clevinger

MLB Announces Minor-League Player Minimum Salaries Will Be Raised in 2021

Major League Baseball is increasing the minimum salary for players in the minor leagues starting with the 2021 season. 

Per Jake Seiner and Ben Walker of the Associated Press, minor leaguers will receive a salary increase between 38 and 72 percent depending on the level.

Rookie and short-season salaries will increase from $290 to $400 per week; players in A ball will receive an increased weekly salary from $290 to $500. In Double-A, players will earn $600 per week, up from $350, and Triple-A players will go from earning $502 per week to $700.

Minor league pay has been the subject of intense criticism for years, particularly since 2018 when MLB lobbied Congress to exempt players in the minors from receiving salaries commensurate with ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 12:30 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: dollah dollah bills, y'all, minor leagues, salaries

Friday, February 14, 2020

Alex Rodriguez emerges as potential Mets buyer

According to multiple sources, the newest name to emerge as a potential suitor to buy the Mets is none other than Alex Rodriguez. Baseball and Wall Street insiders told The Post that the controversial former Yankees superstar is “kicking the tires” on the idea of getting into an upcoming auction for the team. This comes after Cohen, the billionaire hedge fund manager, walked away from a $2.6 billion deal for 80 percent of the team last week upon learning that the Wilpon family would not be surrendering control for the first five years of his ownership.

While sources told The Post that Cohen has not yet fully given up on his chances of purchasing the Mets, rumors of A-Rod’s interest have intensified.

“He’s a businessman and a ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 14, 2020 at 02:15 PM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-14-2020

Fairmont West Virginian, February 14, 1920:

If the opinion of Jim Scott, former White Sox twirler and now an oil merchant in Seattle, is worth anything Walter Mails has more stuff than the eccentric Rube Waddell.
...
Scott turns the spy glass on Walter with these remarks:

“Mails showed more pitching ability in the Coast League last season than any southpaw I have seen since Rube Waddell. I’ll go further than that, I am not sure that Waddell had more stuff than the Sacramento pitcher. It is too bad that Walter has that peculiar temperament which keeps him back when he should be up in the majors and starring along with Walter Johnson.

I don’t know about you, but I think this Mails fella is the sort of player who could really make an impact ...

Read More...
Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 14, 2020 at 10:32 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Drellich: Blame is a tangled mess in Astros sign-stealing scandal – The Athletic

Good stuff by Evan Drellich.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 14, 2020 at 08:57 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sign stealing

Ben Zobrist Reportedly Not Planning To Play In 2020

Not a surprise, I guess, but I’m sorry to see him go.

Hank Gillette Posted: February 14, 2020 at 08:56 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: ben zobrist

Entering the final year of his contract, Davey Martinez would ‘love to stay’ in D.C.

Nationals manager Davey Martinez enters an interesting situation as the 2020 season begins.

In his second year as manager, Martinez orchestrated an epic turnaround. His squad was 19-31 with just days left in the month of May. The Nationals went on to have the best record in baseball for the next three-plus months, finishing with 93 wins and a Wild Card berth. A month later, they hoisted the Commissioner’s Trophy for the first time in franchise history.

Now, Martinez enters the 2020 season ready to defend the title—and also without a new contract. The 55-year-old is in the final year of his contract, meaning there is no guarantee he manages the Nationals after this season.

Martinez was asked about his contract on Thursday during the ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: February 14, 2020 at 01:40 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: davey martinez, nationals

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