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Thursday, February 20, 2020

MLB Team Payrolls as Spring Training Begins

For the first time in several offseasons, a slow winter for free agency was not the theme of winter. Not that a slow winter wouldn’t have been overshadowed by the Astros cheating scandal, but free agency activity started at a fairly brisk pace and nearly all the good players were signed by January. As camps open up, only Yasiel Puig remains unsigned from the FanGraphs Top-50 Free Agent list. The winter was notable not just for the pace of signings, but also for the amounts as well as Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, and Anthony Rendon all exceeded expectations. With nearly all spending complete this offseason, it’s an appropriate time to check in on where teams stand with their payrolls and how much has been spent, including in ...

QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 01:26 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: payrolls

No, You Made It Awkward: On Steroid-Era Players and the Hall of Fame

Back in January, in a Facebook group devoted to the Effectively Wild podcast, one post noted how uncomfortable it would be if Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The poster discussed how the day in Cooperstown would be filled with awkward speeches, loud anti-PED rhetoric, and claims the Hall would be debased by their presence. But awkwardness is not an excuse. If the Pro Football Hall of Fame can enshrine Ray Lewis without a hitch, baseball can do something similar.

Baseball’s history is littered with greats who, if they were elected to the Hall of Fame today, would produce equally uncomfortable weekends, speeches and sentiments. Baseball, like America, tends to sanitize its history and mark acts of ...

QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 01:23 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cap anson, gaylord perry, hall of fame, paul molitor, pete rose, tris speaker

Crowd-seeking Rays come up with win-win-win free ticket plan

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays are offering fans a win-win-win-win proposition.

Trying to draw bigger crowds to barren Tropicana Field, the Rays came up with a crowd-pleasing ticket plan Wednesday.

The ``Win Pack” lets a fan pick any four regular-season Rays game to attend for a total of $99. If the Rays win all four, the fan gets a voucher redeemable for a free ticket to another game.

The Veecks cannot say that they are impressed by this level of showmanship…..


QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 01:17 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, tickets

Hitting the right notes: Kieboom gets shot at 3rd for Nats

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — If, as he hopes, and the Washington Nationals hope, Carter Kieboom earns a job this spring as the reigning World Series champions’ starting third baseman, he’ll do so with the help of years’ worth of ideas typed into the Notes app on his cellphone.

Ever since Kieboom was in high school in Marietta, Georgia—OK, not all that long ago, given that he’s still just 22—the 2016 first-round draft pick has kept a list of tips and observations he figures will make him a better ballplayer.

“There’s no one right way to do things, which is what makes this game so special. For me, especially at a young age, we’re given so much information, and I’m constantly trying to improve my game,” said Kieboom, who ...

QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 01:10 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: carter kieboom, prospects, spring training, third basemen

Rockies GM Bridich hasn’t sat down with Arenado after rift

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich says he doesn’t feel an urgency to clear the air with apparently disgruntled third baseman Nolan Arenado.

Bridich displayed no worries about his relationship with his best player Tuesday night when he spoke at the Cactus League media day.

The executive says he’ll have a conversation at some point with Arenado, who recently said he felt “disrespect” from Bridich and disappointment in the Rockies’ direction.

“Today was Day Two, (and) yesterday was Day One with him in camp,” Bridich said. “We’ve seen each other. We haven’t sat yet, but I trust that we will. He’s just like all the other players. We’ll find time to sit down and interact, both ...

QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 01:02 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: drama, jeff bridich, nolan arenado, rockies

Manfred apologizes for calling WS trophy a ‘piece of metal’

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred apologized Tuesday for what he called a disrespectful reference to the World Series trophy as a “piece of metal.”

Even before being asked about it, Manfred said he made a mistake with those comments while trying to deliver a rhetorical point in an interview two days earlier.

“I referred to the World Series trophy in a disrespectful way, and I want to apologize for it,” Manfred said. “There’s no excuse for it. ... It was a mistake to say what I said.”

MLB players, already upset with Manfred’s handling of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal and some of his comments in trying to explain it, became further infuriated by his “piece of metal” comment during a ...

QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 12:52 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: manfred is thinking about it, world series trophy

Brewers owner claims team “had an operating loss” in 2019

PHOENIX (AP) — Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio claims his team “had an operating loss” in 2019 but that isn’t why the club’s projected payroll has dropped nearly $30 million.

Attanasio says the Brewers are down from last season’s franchise-record $132.6 million payroll because president of baseball operations David Stearns didn’t find any splashy free-agent fits, instead preferring to rely on depth, versatility and manager Craig Counsell’s knack for balancing options.

“There’s nothing that David didn’t do this offseason that he wouldn’t have done if we’d have had a different budget number,” Attanasio said. “He’s always free to come to me and say, ‘I want to do ‘fill-in-the-blank.’ I want to ...

QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 12:49 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, finances, mark attanasio

Steve Cohen still lurking over potential sale of the New York Mets (Report)

Steve Cohen’s bid is still looming large over the Wilpons’ potential sale of the New York Mets. SNY could also be involved as well.

Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic is reporting that the New York Mets‘ sale is being hurt by Steve Cohen‘s presence. Sports bankers are telling Kaplan that potential buyers are afraid of being used as a “stalking horse” in the process.

Potential buyers are scared that they’ll put together a bid and the Wilpons will crawl back to Cohen. They don’t want to waste the time and effort to put together an offer if it’s not going to mean anything.

Cohen is also still present in the Mets organization. He owns eight percent of the team. That means he’s going to be privy to most notes about a potential ...

QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 12:45 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mets being mets, mets mets mets

A Union Divided: Astros Cheating Scandal Rocks MLB Players Association

As each day passes, the electronic sign-stealing scandal in Major League Baseball proves more irritating to those impacted by it. This is especially true for players, who are all members of the same union, the Major League Baseball Players Association. They have become increasingly willing to publicly condemn fellow union members who played for the Astros in 2017 and who engaged in a form of cheating that has elicited widespread disgust.

Astros players engineered a plot that mixed modern technology with crude sounds. Players and team officials covertly used a camera in the center field area of Houston’s Minute Maid Park. The camera recorded opposing teams’ catcher signals to the pitcher. It then transmitted images over to the ...

QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 12:42 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dirty rotten cheaters, mlbpa

Cubs’ David Ross to use slugger Kris Bryant as leadoff man

MESA, Ariz.—New Chicago Cubs manager David Ross wasted no time in making his first big decision, announcing Kris Bryant as his leadoff man even before playing a game.

“You’ll see him at the top of the order a whole lot in spring training,” Ross said Wednesday. “Kris Bryant is a really good at-bat, gets on base, is probably one of our best baserunners. His baseball IQ is extremely high. When you talk about putting the best players at the top of the order, I want to put him at the top.”’

Bryant is on board, having hit leadoff in college after teams stopped pitching to him in the middle of the University of San Diego order.

The Cubs ranked last in the majors in on-base percentage (.294) from the No. 1 spot last season, after ranking first ...

QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: david ross, kris bryant, leadoff hitter

The Astros are leaning into the role of villain

You absolutely knew this was going to happen.

After a two-month firestorm in which the extent of their cheating operation was revealed, and after a week of players around the league voicing their displeasure at both the Astros and at Major League Baseball for not punishing them in a manner they deem sufficient, the Astros are pushing back. From the Washington Post, here’s Josh Reddick:

“At some point, you have to move on and not give a s—. We’re going to go out there and win and shut everybody up.”

Something for the fans of professional wresting around here…..


QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 12:30 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dirty rotten cheaters, villain

Jesus Aguilar, Brian Goodwin, Aledmys Diaz Win Arbitration Hearings

Today in arbitration news:

Marlins first baseman Jesus Aguilar, Angels outfielder Brian Goodwin and Astros utility player Aledmys Diaz have all won arbitration hearings against their respective teams, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports (via Twitter). Aguilar will now earn $2.575MM in his first season with Miami, rather than the $2.325MM at which the club filed. Goodwin will be paid $2.2MM instead of the Angels’ $1.85MM submission. Diaz, meanwhile, will take home a $2.6MM salary instead of the flat $2MM filed by the Astros. Aguilar and Goodwin are repped by the MVP Sports Group, while Diaz is a client of Excel Sports.

Miami claimed the 29-year-old Aguilar off waivers from their fellow Floridians up in St. Petersburg, as the Rays weren’t ...

QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 12:17 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: aledmys diaz, arbitration, brian goodwin, jesus aguilar

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-19-2020

Pendleton East Oregonian, February 19, 1920:
Ray Schalk
It would seem that Ray Schalk’s company smelted it, then he dealt it.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 19, 2020 at 09:43 AM | 64 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Feinstein: In the Astros scandal, Rob Manfred has taken a bad situation and made it worse (WaPo)

Some will argue that stripping the Astros of their title does little. But they’re wrong, it would have a great deal of meaning. Taking away the trophy means the team can’t display it in perpetuity and forces it to take down all banners that proclaim “World Champions.” Remove the Astros’ name from the record book, leaving a blank for the 2017 World Series winner, as there is for 1994, when the World Series was called off after the owners forced the players to strike by violating the rules of collective bargaining.

Mayor Blomberg Posted: February 18, 2020 at 07:45 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, rob manfred

Oakland Athletics off the radio waves in the Bay Area, commit to A’s Cast stream

There will be no Oakland A’s games broadcast over the radio waves in the Bay Area in 2020.

Instead, all games will be broadcast on A’s Cast, streamed via TuneIn, the team announced Tuesday. The A’s and KTRB did not renew the one-year deal they struck last spring, just before the season began. The hastily arranged partnership came on the heels of an ugly split between the team and 95.7 The Game.

Now, the A’s are moving again. They will be the first professional sports team to have a local radio broadcast entirely on a streaming service. Though the method will change, the voices stay the same. Ken Korach will return for his 25th season and Vince Cotroneo for his 15th season.

This also means that the A’s will be the first team ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 02:48 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: radio

RADIO INSIGHT: TuneIn Becomes Oakland Athletics Flagship Broadcaster

“The Oakland Athletics are moving their game broadcasts to their “A’s Cast” 24/7 streaming channel on TuneIn.

The franchise becomes the first MLB franchise to move to a completely streaming audio platform after spending the 2019 season on Salem Media Conservative Talk “860 The Answer” KTRB San Francisco. The games will be available for free in most of Northern California and as part of TuneIn’s premium service elsewhere in the country. The franchise will also continue to operate an eleven station network based at Bonneville’s 1140 KHTK Sacramento.”

The Non-Catching Molina (sjs1959) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 01:34 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, broadcasts, radio

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-18-2020

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, February 18, 1920:

Benjamin Kauff, star fielder of the New York Giants, was out on bail today after his arrest yesterday on a charge of grand larceny in connection with the alleged theft of an automobile.

Kauff, who until recently was engaged with his half brother in the automobile accessory business, is alleged to have sold a car last December 15, which had been stolen [in New York] a week before. Kauff maintained that he bought the car in question last October 27.

Kauff was acquitted of the criminal charges, but Commissioner Landis eventually banned him for life over this matter.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 09:44 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Angels owner Arte Moreno refuses to detail what happened with Dodgers trade – Orange County Register

Pressed on those, Moreno said: “I would rather not talk about that. That wasn’t going to happen and it’s not happening.”

About 15 minutes later, when Moreno was reminded that his customers would like more detail on why a reported deal that could have helped the team didn’t happen, he didn’t budge.

“I’m sure they would,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that people would like to know and they’re not going to know. It’s water under the bridge. We’ve moved on.”

Moreno did not seem at all upset with the questions or the fact that he’s recently been vilified by much of the fan base.

“One year I spent about 300 million bucks and someone wrote how cheap I was,” he said.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 18, 2020 at 09:07 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, arte moreno

Whitley’s new strategy: Less work, more weight

One of the scouting reports I’ve read talked about how Whitley had a big spike in velocity in his senior year after getting serious about conditioning and remaking his body. The scout also suggested has backslid on his work. I don’t how accurate the report was but, at the least, it’s worth keeping an eye on Whitley this spring.

“I think just the general thought process that went into that was just not coming into camp absurdly skinny like I had the past couple years,” he said. “I remember a couple years ago I came into camp at like 190, so I kind of wanted to lower the workload, eat a little bit more and focus on coming into camp at a little better weight.”

Two years ago, Whitley was working out six or seven times a week, sometimes ...

Jim Furtado Posted: February 18, 2020 at 08:59 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, forrest whitley

Yankees’ Brett Gardner wants fan making bizarre sexual claims kept away from his family, MLB stadiums

In a strange and often incomprehensible lawsuit, which the Yankees have asked a Bronx civil court judge to dismiss, Devasahayam says the Yankees not only are preventing her from getting close to Gardner, but she also alleges they have hacked into her Twitter account to steal her intellectual property.

Detailed in the lawsuit are some of the ways she says Gardner has hinted at his interest in her:

In a video of Gardner in the dugout, Gardner “motions with his hip on the stairs as though he is having sexual intercourse with me.”
She says Gardner makes “a sad face” during home games when she does not attend. She adds that Gardner was once ejected from a game by an umpire who likely received “signals” from her social media that ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 08:36 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: brett gardner

Monday, February 17, 2020

Buckley: The few hits — and many misses — of Red Sox ownership’s day in front of the media – The Athletic

They should have stood home with their shovels.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:21 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox

Disciplining Astros not as easy for MLB as Altuve revealing a tattoo

If only there was a strong Commissioner and no MLBPA, the players complaining about no player discipline would get the justice they are craving.

Some of their union leadership need to educate its body a little better on union/contract protections.

Even more crucial would be the aforementioned lack of notice. Four labor lawyers with first-hand knowledge of the grievance process agreed: the lack of notice from the Astros to their players would have made any case pursued by the league practically DOA. Yes, grievance hearings do now and again end with surprising results, but the probability tilted significantly toward any potential suspension being overturned, the lawyers said.

Facing that reality, the league made a value judgment: It would ...

Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:11 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, mlbpa, sign stealing

How will the Red Sox market a Mookie-less team? - The Boston Globe

A lot of bullshit coming out of Fenway.

The demand for tickets is a lot softer than the following suggests. The secondary market was extremely soft last year. I got a lot of tickets far under the marked price. This fact wasn’t lost on a lot of my friends and the people I sat near at games who have season tickets. Ushers I talked to shared that a lot of season ticket holders weren’t too happy to be paying full price and then having people sit next to them at half the cost.

Outside of Betts and Price’s images being scrubbed from the Red Sox website’s ticketing ads, the details of a marketing plan are still fuzzy. One was in the works before the trade, given the reality of what happened in 2019 and over the offseason. Kennedy said ...

Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:50 AM | 80 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox

‘I’m all in on this stuff’: How the analytical Diamondbacks will put their spin on Madison Bumgarner – The Athletic

Bumgarner can’t pitch the same way forever and expect the same results. It’s a good thing he knows that.

“I’m eager to learn,” Bumgarner said. “That’s the only way you keep better. Once you stop trying to learn, that’s when you get stuck and everybody else seems to pass you by.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, madison bumgarner

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-17-2020

Pittsburgh Press, February 17, 1920:

Babe Ruth, “life and limb,” is to be insured by the Yankees for $150,000, it has been announced by Col. T.L. Huston, part owner of the club. It is the first time an individual member of a New York club has been insured for any great amount.

The difference in New York’s approach to Ruth and Boston’s approach to Ruth couldn’t possibly be more extreme. Frazee saw the Babe as an inconvenience, Huston and Ruppert saw him as the most valuable commodity in the sport.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 17, 2020 at 09:52 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

How a rookie middle infielder could be the most interesting player in Giants camp

Mauricio Dubón has never played outfield in the minor leagues, but he could be the San Francisco Giants’ primary center fielder.
Dubón could be the Giants’ Opening Day shortstop or starting second baseman, but he might move around the diamond and play left field or first base, too.
Dubón can pinch-hit, pinch-run or enter as a defensive replacement at any number of positions, but the 25-year-old Honduras native has minor league options. Opening the season at Triple-A Sacramento remains a possibility.
The Giants don’t know where Dubón will play most often this year. They just believe Dubón should play a lot.
“I keep saying, I’m a baseball player so the more chances I have to get in the lineup, it’ll be good,” Dubón said. ...Read More...

Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: February 17, 2020 at 09:28 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: giants

Why Giants brought in umpires for second round of bullpen sessions

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—When Andrew Suarez kicked at the dirt on the bullpen mound Saturday and looked in at his catcher, most of what he saw was similar to every other bullpen session of his life. There was one key difference, though: An umpire in full uniform crouched behind the catcher.

Suarez fired a fastball, and the umpire emphatically pointed a finger to his left, signaling a strike.

“It was different, but I liked it,” Suarez said. “You get a good feel for the plate.”

The Giants have made a lot of subtle changes to drills under manager Gabe Kapler and a 13-person coaching staff. Pitchers fielded pop-ups Sunday, an extreme rarity in a sport where the default move for a pitcher is to get out of the way and let an infielder take over. ...

QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 01:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bullpen management, giants, umpires

SABR announces 2020 Henry Chadwick Award recipients

Cutting to the section of greatest interest here:

SABR is pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of the Henry Chadwick Award, established to honor the game’s great researchers — historians, statisticians, annalists, and archivists — for their invaluable contributions to making baseball the game that links America’s present with its past.


Tom Tango (1968 - ) spent more than a decade as a widely respected baseball analyst before joining MLB Advanced Media in 2016 as their first Senior Database Architect of Stats. MLBAM had introduced Statcast to all 30 MLB stadiums in 2015 and had the problem of deciding what questions it wanted to ask, and how to ask them. Tango first became known in the baseball community with his work at ...

QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 01:02 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: awards and honors, sabr, tom tango

Sunday Notes: Twins Prospect Royce Lewis Has a Cacophonous Swing and a Sky-High Ceiling

The swing is noisy and needs refining, but Lewis has the physical ability for superstardom.

That line, written by Eric Longenhagen, led Royce Lewis’s writeup in our 2020 Top 100 Prospects rankings, which were published earlier this week. Both halves of the sentence are intriguing. While the first is potentially a red flag, the second is indicative of a blue-chip up-and-comer with a sky-high ceiling. Selected first overall by the Minnesota Twins in the 2017 draft out of a San Juan Capistrano high school, Lewis holds down the No. 13 slot on Longenhagen’s list.

Alex Hassan isn’t all that concerned with the 20-year-old shortstop’s swing. According to the Minnesota farm director, the underlying characteristics are what really matter. ...


Pederson, Stripling back to work with Dodgers after no trade

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Joc Pederson was back in a familiar clubhouse. He had the same dressing stall and many of the same teammates.

Not much had changed, except for him.

He felt awkward — and with good reason.

Pederson put his Dodgers uniform back on at Camelback Ranch over the weekend for the start of spring training. Just a week earlier, it looked like he would be performing these February rituals across town in Tempe.

So, do you suppose the two of them will stick around for the whole season, and, if not, when do they leave and where do they go?


QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:49 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: botched trades, dodgers, joc pederson, ross stripling

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