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Thursday, November 19, 2020

ESPN to broadcast four MLB games on Opening Day 2021

The Los Angeles Dodgers will begin defense of their World Series championship on the road against the Colorado Rockies as part of an Opening Day quadruple-header to be broadcast on ESPN on Thursday, April 1, 2021.

In all, ESPN will cover 11 season-opening games, involving 19 different teams, over the first week of the 2021 Major League Baseball season.

ESPN will kick off the season on April 1 with the Toronto Blue Jays visiting the New York Yankees (1 p.m. ET), followed by the Dodgers-Rockies game (4 p.m.). The New York Mets, under new owner Steve Cohen, will travel to take on the Washington Nationals (7 p.m. ET), and the day will be capped by the Houston Astros visiting the Oakland Athletics (10 p.m. ET).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 19, 2020 at 12:25 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: opening day

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-19-2020

Ogden Standard-Examiner, November 19, 1920:

Robert R. Evans, who claims to have been a major league baseball player a few years ago, was given a two-year prison term in the federal court Thursday for bigamy. He admitted having married three women.

Evans declared his career embraced more than ten years’ service as a pitcher. He named the Washington and Detroit American league clubs and the Brooklyn National club as the major league teams he played with. He is 48 years old and his home is in Emporia, Kan.

Most similar players: Al Martin, Bill Cunningham.

I was actually surprised to find that he wasn’t lying about being a ballplayer. Robert Roy Evans, who grew up in Emporia, pitched for Washington and Brooklyn in a 10+ year career as a pro ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 19, 2020 at 11:00 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Sources: New York Mets’ Robinson Cano banned for year due to PED

New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and will be suspended for the entire 2021 season, sources told ESPN.

It is the second PED suspension for Cano, 38, who missed 80 games in 2018 after testing positive for a diuretic while with the Seattle Mariners.

A second positive results in an automatic 162-game suspension, according to the joint drug agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association. Cano will forfeit his $24 million salary.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 18, 2020 at 03:42 PM | 55 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, peds, robinson cano

Padres chairman Ron Fowler steps down; Peter Seidler to take over

The man who has guided the Padres through a transition from perennial loser to playoff team no longer will be in charge of the franchise’s day-to-day operation.

Ron Fowler is stepping down as Padres executive chairman and will be replaced by General Partner Peter Seidler.

Major League Baseball team owners approved Seidler as the team’s control person in a vote Wednesday morning. An official announcement is expected later Wednesday.

By agreeing to purchase a percentage of Fowler’s stake in the team, Seidler becomes the Padres’ largest single equity holder. Seidler’s new title is chairman while Fowler will be vice chairman.

The 76-year-old Fowler will continue to serve in an advisory role with the team. He also will retain a ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 18, 2020 at 02:35 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: padres

Pondering a First Inning Mystery

You’ve heard of home field advantage. It’s simply a part of sports, like gravity or Tom Brady being competent and obnoxious. Here’s a dirty little secret, though: A decent chunk of home field advantage is actually first-inning advantage. Here, take a look at how home and away batters performed in the first inning and thereafter from 2010 to ’19:

The first inning has the biggest gap, with only the fifth coming even close. It’s a consistent effect year-to-year, and it’s a big deal: A 22-point edge in wOBA works out to three-quarters of a run per game, which would work out to roughly a .570 winning percentage, significantly higher than the actual edge. If you could bottle that edge and apply it to every inning, baseball would ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 18, 2020 at 02:25 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: home field advantage

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-18-2020

Hayti [Missouri] Herald, November 18, 1920:

The greatest family in baseball is the Smith family. You can take the Joneses and Burnses and Collinses and Clarkes and Doyles and put them in the field and none could produce as good a team as the Smiths. The Smiths past and present have been represented in baseball thus:

Pitchers—Sherrod, Brooklyn; George, Giants and Phillies, and Frank, White Sox.
Catchers—Harry, Pirates, and Earl, Giants.
First Base—Aleck, Brooklyn.
Second Base—George, Giants of early ‘90s.
Shortstop—Germany, Brooklyn.
Third Base—Red, Braves.
Outfield—Elmer, old, Reds and Pirates; Elmer, Cleveland, and Jack, Cardinals.
Utility—Jimmy and Paul.

Off the top of my head, it seems like the Johnsons and Williamses could be the best ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 18, 2020 at 10:38 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Negro Leagues stats no longer stuff of legend

Over at the Seamheads Negro Leagues database, a dedicated few have combed through newspapers and scorebooks, photo albums and microfiche to piece together the most complete statistical record of the Negro Leagues to date.

For example, here, courtesy of Ashwill, are the pages from a 1941-42 Baltimore Elite Giants scorebook showing the Elites beating the Philadelphia Stars on Aug. 16, 1942:

“The biggest myth of them all is that the history of Negro League baseball is nothing but blurry, hard-to-substantiate legends and tall tales,” Ashwill wrote in an email to “I grew up with the distinct impression that no statistics could ever be compiled, that it was often unclear what happened at all, and that it was more or less ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 18, 2020 at 09:35 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

Mets’ hunt for top baseball exec far trickier than superstar search

The Mets are playing their search for their new PoBO (let’s make this acronym popular) close to the vest, with Michael Hill, who held that same title for the Marlins until last month, the only known candidate to have interviewed for the post. Early indications, however, are that Cohen and Sandy Alderson, who aspired to make the hire by Thanksgiving, might not land the sort of full-blown, front-office stud whose move to Flushing would shake the industry. They might have to build baseball operations excellence through depth rather than star power.

Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti is said to be very happy in Cleveland, and the same goes for Rays general manager Erik Neander in Tampa Bay.’s Jon Morosi ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 18, 2020 at 09:34 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Sinclair could reportedly sell naming rights to the Fox Sports RSNs to a sports betting company

Sinclair has owned the Fox Sports RSNs for a good year-plus now, and they still haven’t been rebranded (I’m very sick of typing “the Sinclair-owned Fox RSNs,” but here we are). One option for the rebrand could be the sale of naming rights, as if the networks are a bowl game or an arena.

Per Sportico, Sinclair has talked with sports betting companies about the naming rights for the networks, either as a group or on a network by network basis.

Sinclair has discussed the naming rights with potential sports betting partners, according to the people, who were granted anonymity because the talks are private. The conversations have started with rights to all 21 networks as a group, but Sinclair could also decide to sell the rights ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 18, 2020 at 09:31 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: gambling, regional sports networks, sinclair

MLB Trade Rumors: 2020 Non-Tender Candidates

As we do each year at MLBTR, we’re providing a list of players whose teams could potentially choose not to tender them a contract, thus sending them into the free agent pool earlier than expected. It should be emphasized that we’re not indicating that each of these players is likely to be non-tendered (though that’s certainly the case with some of them). Typically, we list any player for which we can envision at least a 10 percent chance of a non-tender, but this year I’ve included some long shots who are probably less likely than that.

It should also be noted that some of these non-tender candidates will be traded prior to the December 2nd deadline rather than simply cut loose. Some could also be claimed by another team on ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 18, 2020 at 09:28 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: non-tenders

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Friedman wins Executive of the Year Award

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, whose 2020 club dominated the regular season and went on to end the franchise’s 32-year World Series championship drought, was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s 2020 Executive of the Year Award on Tuesday.

The award resulted from voting among the 30 clubs, each of which cast a vote prior to the start of the postseason. The runner-up for the 2020 honor was Rick Hahn of the Chicago White Sox, while last year’s winner, Erik Neander of the Tampa Bay Rays, finished third.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 17, 2020 at 04:39 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew friedman

Theo Epstein to Step Down as Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations

Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein will step down from his role with the team later this week and leave the organization, the club announced Tuesday.

Epstein, who guided the Cubs to the 2016 World Series championship and oversaw a massive overhaul in the team’s baseball operations department, will officially step down on Friday, the team said in a press release.

According to the Cubs, General Manager Jed Hoyer will take over the role as the new president of baseball operations.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 17, 2020 at 12:15 PM | 69 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, theo epstein

The best player not in the HOF for every team

Angels: Bobby Grich#, 2B
Key fact: He was a six-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner and one-time Silver Slugger

Grich played 10 of his 17 seasons in the Majors with the Angels, and he is almost universally viewed as one of the most deserving of enshrinement among players not in the Hall of Fame. Grich did just about everything well as an elite second baseman, racking up 71 WAR during his career. That’s good for eighth all-time among second basemen and puts him ahead of several Hall of Fame second basemen such as Frankie Frisch, Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar and Craig Biggio. Grich is a member of both the Orioles and Angels Halls of Fame, but the 71-year-old is still waiting for a potential call to Cooperstown, which would have to ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 17, 2020 at 12:10 PM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

Nationals, Yasmany Tomas Agree To Minor League Deal

The Nationals have agreed to a minor league contract with corner outfielder Yasmany Tomas, as first reported by Francys Romero (via Twitter). He’ll be invited to Major League Spring Training with the Nats in 2021.

Washington will be the first big league organization outside of Arizona for the 30-year-old Tomas, who came to the Major Leagues amid considerable fanfare after defecting from Cuba in 2014. Tomas generated widescale interest and huge expectations that led to a hefty six-year, $68.5MM deal — a contract that even included an opt-out clause after the fourth season.

Of course, as anyone who followed Tomas’ career in Arizona knows, that opt-out provision never came into play. Tomas spent some time in Triple-A in 2015, his ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 17, 2020 at 10:32 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: yasmany tomas

Astros to make Sugar Land Skeeters their Class AAA affiliate

The Astros and Sugar Land Skeeters reached an agreement for the Skeeters to become the Astros’ Class AAA affiliate, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome. The Astros also will have an ownership stake in the Skeeters, according to KRIV-TV.

The Skeeters play at the 7,500 seat Constellation Field, located about 20 miles southwest of Minute Maid Park off Highway 6. The team had been playing in the independent Atlantic League since its inception in 2012.

The move means the Astros’ top two affiliates are both in the state with the Corpus Christi Hooks serving as the organization’s Class AA affiliate. The Astros also own the Hooks and the Class A Advanced team in Fayetteville, N.C.

The Round Rock Express now will need to find a ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 17, 2020 at 08:47 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Monday, November 16, 2020

Mike Clevinger to have Tommy John surgery after re-signing with Padres

San Diego Padres right-hander Mike Clevinger is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on Tuesday and is expected to miss the entirety of the 2021 season.

The team made the announcement Monday, saying that they’ve also re-signed Clevinger to a two-year deal. The agreement replaces Clevinger’s two remaining seasons of arbitration eligibility.

Clevinger was diagnosed with a right posterior elbow impingement after his final regular season start. He pitched just one full inning in the postseason before he had to be removed from the game.

This will be the second time Clevinger has had Tommy John surgery. He missed most of the 2012 and ‘13 seasons, when he was farmhand in the Angels system, while recovering from the elbow procedure.

...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 16, 2020 at 07:35 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: mike clevinger

Smyly inks one-year, $11M deal with Braves

The Atlanta Braves today signed LHP Drew Smyly to a one-year contract worth $11 million.

Smyly, 31, spent last season with the San Francisco Giants and went 0-1 with a 3.42 ERA (10 ER/26.1 IP) in seven appearances, five starts. The southpaw struck out 42 hitters in his 26.1 innings, posting single-season career bests in strikeout rate (37.8%) and strikeouts per 9.0 innings (14.35), the latter of which led all major leaguers who made at least five starts. Smyly limited opposing hitters to a .198/.261/.297 slash line, all three of which were also career bests. Left-handed batters managed just three hits in 36 at-bats (.083) against him.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 16, 2020 at 01:42 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: drew smyly

Hall of Fame releases 2021 ballot

While the 2021 ballot announced Monday features former All-Stars such as Torii Hunter, Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle and Barry Zito, none of its first-timers is an obvious Hall of Famer. The crowded crush of Cooperstown-caliber cases that voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America were presented with in recent years has cleared, and that creates breathing room—and potentially large percentage increases—for the ballot’s hopeful holdovers, notably Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Omar Vizquel.

BBWAA voters, who have addressed the ballot congestion by voting in 13 players in the past four years, must submit their votes by year’s end. The results will be revealed on Tuesday, Jan. 26, on MLB Network.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 16, 2020 at 12:18 PM | 181 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

On the Coming Deluge of Non-Tenders

Note that the two years with the fewest non-tenders are the years in which new Collective Bargaining Agreements were ratified, but largely the number of annual non-tenders has lived in the mid-thirties (with occasional spikes above that) until the last two seasons, when the number has climbed.

Why is the number of non-tendered players rising? The number of front offices who view the bottom of their rosters as fungible is growing. This type of thinking is also why teams more often shuttle several relievers back and forth between Triple-A and the big leagues during their option years. They’d rather a) slow down the rate at which those players accrue service time so they can be controlled for longer and b) have fresh, low-leverage ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 16, 2020 at 12:15 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: non-tenders

COVID-19 claims Lindy McDaniel, retired major-league pitcher and longtime preacher

From 1955 to 1975, McDaniel compiled a 141-119 record with 174 saves and a 3.45 career ERA for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals.

But the devoted Christian, who served in full-time ministry after his playing days, always considered what happened off the field as more important.

“Faith is the anchor that’s going to help us in every other aspect of our life,” McDaniel told The Christian Chronicle earlier this year. “So we must put God first, and we must become familiar with the Bible.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 16, 2020 at 10:31 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: lindy mcdaniel, obituaries

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-16-2020

Bridgeport Times, November 16, 1920:

Babe Ruth has been in Cuba with the Giants and has played fifteen games, receiving $1,000 per game in return. He didn’t make a single home run in the fifteen games, though he batted .500 on the trip.

Torrientes [sic], the “Black Babe Ruth,” on the other hand, hit three home runs in one game last week, and in a fourth trip to the plate made a two-bagger. For his feat he received $184—which was showered on him as he rounded the bases—and he had to pick it all up!

I imagine this is supposed to be a light, fun story, but it just makes me angry that guys like Cristobal Torriente were reduced to picking up coins that were flung at them in order to make a living. Torriente was a magnificent player; he was ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 16, 2020 at 10:26 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Minor League Teams Strike Out On COVID-19 Loss Coverage

U.S. District Judge Douglas L. Rayes granted a bid to dismiss the case by National Casualty Co., Scottsdale Indemnity Co. and Scottsdale Insurance Co., saying that while the teams, led by Chattanooga Professional Baseball LLC, tried to argue there were other causes for their loss, those causes all stem from the virus.

The policies all contain language saying that the Nationwide units will not cover loss or damage resulting from any virus, the judge said. And while the teams had argued in October that their losses stem from government shutdown orders, Judge Rayes said the virus is ultimately the cause.

“Plaintiffs’ amended complaint does not allege any fact supporting an alternative theory for the issuance of the government orders,” the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 16, 2020 at 09:13 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, minor league

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Baseball still in his heart, Tebow preps for ‘21

In 2017, less than a year after shifting his career from football to baseball, Tebow struggled to gain his footing in Class A ball. He thrived the next season regardless, until a broken hand cut it short. In 2019, another hand injury forced Tebow to miss the final two months of the season. Finally, this summer, the cancellation of the Minor League season resulted in zero live game reps for Tebow (and hundreds of others).

He is 33 now, openly contemplating his life after baseball. He’s just not there quite yet.

“I’m already behind the 8-ball in age and time and experience in all of these things, so of course it makes it harder,” Tebow said in a telephone interview, his first about baseball since March. “But I think at the same ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 15, 2020 at 12:36 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: tim tebow

There’s reasons the Rays will look different in 2021

The Rays are going to look different next season.

They always make key changes — even coming off good years — balancing budget issues, opportunity for rising players and roster management.

The financial impact of the pandemic-delayed 2020 season and the industry-wide uncertainty about 2021 raises the question of how far those changes could go.

Like trade Kevin Kiermaier or Blake Snell far?

The Rays missed out on massive revenue last year, most obviously from not having fans at stadiums and fewer games for broadcast partners. Further, they lost out on the benefit of hosting 10 games during the postseason, which ended up costing them money to participate in.

Just as significant, they won’t get their annual revenue sharing check ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 15, 2020 at 12:30 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Analyzing the Cubs’ rotation going into 2021

“I think going into the year, we were hoping that Adbert could develop into a major-league starter, and now we see one,” team president Theo Epstein said last month. “And he’s somebody I think is prime to slide into the rotation, and that still leaves at least one open spot and the need to add some depth moving forward.”

The Cubs likely will look outside the organization for depth, as well. Free agents Marcus Stroman and Kevin Gausman both signed their $18.9 million qualifying offers from the Mets and Giants, respectively. While there are still several intriguing names available, such as Corey Kluber, Jake Odorizzi and Anthony DeSclafani, one name stands out from the others.

Right-hander Chris Archer hits the market after the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 15, 2020 at 12:28 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Handing out MVPs, Cy Youngs and more for the East, Central, and West regions

The 2020 MLB season was unusual for countless reasons, including the 60-game schedule. That’s a little more than one-third the normal 162-game slate, so awards decisions were based on small samples. Also, regional play meant unbalanced schedules. Take a look at each region’s batting line:

East: .257/.334/.439
Central: .233/.312/.396
West: .243/.319/.417

The Central Region objectively stunk. Sorry, but it’s true. The Central Region housed nine of the 12 lowest scoring offenses. What do, say, Jacob deGrom’s stats look like if he had Bauer’s schedule? Bauer made eight of his 11 starts against four of the nine lowest-scoring offenses (Brewers, Pirates, Royals, and Tigers). The NL Cy Young race could’ve been very different if not for regional ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 15, 2020 at 12:26 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: awards

Don Mattingly, Dusty Baker deserve second Hall of Fame look: Sherman

“Baseball life” was purposefully used, because for the last quarter of a century I have recommended that the various committees that judge candidates after they leave the standard Hall of Fame ballot should be thinking of the whole baseball life. The standard group that votes (of which I am a member) are charged with judging just a playing career and, anyway, often lack the information that will come post career and in a full baseball life.

I wrote about this first in 1996, suggesting that if Joe Torre’s Yankees were to win the World Series that year (which they did) that when he passed in front of the then-Veterans Committee, they should take his cumulative career into account. Torre was a borderline Hall of Fame player who by 1996 ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 15, 2020 at 12:23 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: don mattingly, dusty baker, hall of fame

Friday, November 13, 2020

Miami Marlins hire Kim Ng as MLB’s first female general manager

The Miami Marlins are hiring Kim Ng as their new general manager, making her Major League Baseball’s first female and first Asian American GM, the team announced Friday.

Ng has most recently served as MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations. She has also served as assistant general manager for the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.

“On behalf of Principal Owner Bruce Sherman and our entire ownership group, we look forward to Kim bringing a wealth of knowledge and championship-level experience to the Miami Marlins,” Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said in a statement. “Her leadership of our baseball operations team will play a major role on our path toward sustained success. Additionally, her extensive work in expanding youth ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 13, 2020 at 11:07 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: kim ng, marlins

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-13-2020

Pittsburgh Press, November 13, 1920:

Federal Judge K.M. Landis today began his work as “big umpire” of organized baseball.

Sixteen owners of major league baseball clubs after scrapping the 12-club league proposal signed terms of peace and unanimously offered Judge Landis the control of baseball affairs for seven years at an annual salary of $42,500. He accepted. Judge Landis will not resign from the bench.

Good side gig if you can get it.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 13, 2020 at 10:14 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Chicago Cubs’ Ryan Tepera lands MVP vote thanks to misclick

The 33-year-old right-hander received a single 10th-place vote for one point, leaving him tied for 18th in the NL balloting, far behind winner Freddie Freeman. Still, that’s more support than the likes of Bryce Harper, Jacob deGrom and Nolan Arenado drew as they got shut out.

Tepera struck out 31 in 20⅔ innings over 21 games and pitched in the playoffs for Chicago.

Turns out there was a simple explanation for the vote. It was a mix-up—one that didn’t affect the results in any way.

“I meant to hit Trea Turner and thought I had,’’ longtime St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Rick Hummel said. Fondly called “The Commish” by his peers, Hummel in 2006 won the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s award for excellence that is presented ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 13, 2020 at 09:47 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: mvp, ryan tepera

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