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Monday, December 21, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-21-2020

Bridgeport Times, December 21, 1920:

From St. Louis comes word that the Cardinals have put Rogers Hornsby on the market after two or more years of turning down fabulous offers for the player. Hornsby, it is said, can be had today for $150,000 or the equivalent in playing talent.

Time was when the New York Giants would have jumped at the offer. Manager McGraw is said to have offered nearly a quarter of a million dollars for Hornsby at one time last summer.

Hornsby spent another six seasons with the Cardinals, so I imagine he wasn’t on the trading block at this point. The Cardinals were smart to keep him around; Hornsby led the league in batting average, OBP, and slugging every year between 1920-1925, not to mention hitting .400 three times ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 21, 2020 at 11:28 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The best non-Hall of Famer at every position

CF: Kenny Lofton
Lofton always seemed to be on the move (he played for 11 teams, and stayed one season or less with every club except the Indians), perhaps diluting how valuable he really was. The only four players more valuable by combined Baseball-Reference WAR from 1992-97 were Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas, and Lofton remained an offensive catalyst and stolen-base threat well into his 30s. Lofton got on base more times than Hall of Fame outfielders Larry Walker, Jim Rice and Joe DiMaggio—and he did more damage with his legs once he got on base, too.

The differences between Lofton and Andruw Jones’ peak WAR and JAWS totals are negligible, and so Lofton’s longevity gives him the slight edge here.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 20, 2020 at 10:03 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

Report: Major League Baseball payrolls tumble nearly $2.5 billion in 2020

Major League Baseball payrolls plunged to $1.75 billion during the pandemic-shortened season from $4.22 billion, and the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers led with $98.6 million—the smallest payroll for the top spender in 20 years.

Base wages for 40-man rosters tumbled to $1.54 billion, according to information sent from Major League Baseball to teams on Friday night and obtained by The Associated Press. That was down from $3.99 billion in 2019.

Prorated portions of signing bonuses totaled $120.6 million, down slightly from $122.8 million. Earned bonuses fell to $25 million from $26.9 million.

Buyouts of unexercised 2021 options came to $58.2 million, more than double the $26.9 million for buyouts of unexercised 2020 options, a ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 20, 2020 at 09:59 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: payroll

Red Sox. White Sox. Blue Sox? Manny Is Still Manny.

“I’m trying to get my timing back, see some live pitching and going from there,” Ramirez said. Asked for a scouting report on his current self, he admitted, “You don’t know what you’re going to get.”

The goal is for Ramirez to be Sydney’s everyday designated hitter, and he won’t be judged on a curve despite his age. Bring up that number and Dobb is quick to note another: .413, which was Ramirez’s average over 23 games with the Kochi Fighting Dogs, an independent-league team in Japan, in 2017.

“He’s only had a couple of cuts, but you wouldn’t think it was a 48-year-old body,” Barclay said after Ramirez first joined the team. “He’s fit, he’s focused. I know from speaking to him there’s no way — ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 20, 2020 at 09:57 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: australian baseball, manny ramirez

Saturday, December 19, 2020

How will MLB handle clubhouse divisions over COVID-19 vaccine as baseball seeks return to normalcy?

The legality of employers insisting on COVID-19 vaccinations is a complicated issue that will continue to develop as it becomes increasingly relevant in the coming months. Because the vaccine was released with an “emergency use authorization,” it defies precedent. And even with the eventual full FDA approval, it would need to be considered a business necessity.

As it pertains to baseball, a vaccine mandate would almost certainly have to be negotiated with the MLB Players Association (one manager compared it hypothetically to the existing joint drug agreement) and it is highly unlikely the union would agree to make it mandatory.

“It’s hard. If somebody disagrees and doesn’t want to do it, I don’t know what protocols we’re going to ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 19, 2020 at 10:57 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

Friday, December 18, 2020

NBA 2020 Season kick-off thread

I estimate it would take 10-12 Primates to beat James Harden in a wing eating contest.

Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: December 18, 2020 at 02:28 PM | 864 comment(s)
  Beats: best shape of his life, nba, off-topic

Veteran pitcher Michael Wacha agrees to one-year deal with Rays

The Rays have signed veteran starting pitcher and former Cardinals All-Star Michael Wacha to a one-year, $3 million deal.

Wacha, 29, has pitched parts of eight seasons in the majors, with a career 60-43, 4.01 record. He spent seven seasons in St. Louis ― including his 17-7, 3.38 All-Star showing in 2015 ― and 2020 with the Mets, going 1-4, 6.62.

Wacha gives the Rays an experienced starter to join the rotation. They lost veteran Charlie Morton, who signed with Atlanta after the Rays declined a $15 million option, and starter candidates Yonny Chirinos, Brendan McKay and Jalen Beeks to injury. Plus, they are considering trading ace lefty Blake Snell, which could leave them only with Tyler Glasnow, Ryan Yarbrough and young arms such as ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 18, 2020 at 11:11 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: michael wacha, rays

‘It hurts:’ After vowing change, Black candidates shut out again of MLB front office jobs

While Black executives were job candidates, not a single one was promoted into a high-ranking leadership role.

Hill, who was vice president of baseball operations for the Marlins since 2013 until this winter and has a degree from Harvard, interviewed for the Mets and Phillies. Billy Owens, assistant general manager/director of player personnel for the Oakland A’s, interviewed with the Mets and Angels. And De Jon Watson, Washington Nationals special assistant who has been an assistant GM, scouting director, farm director, and a two-time World Series champion, inexplicably did not even get a single interview.

“It hurts, man, it (expletive) hurts,’’ Williams said, his voice cracking. “It hurts to see guys achieve things in this ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 18, 2020 at 11:10 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: minority hiring

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-17-2020

El Paso Herald, December 17, 1920:

Selection of managers for the Detroit and St. Louis teams was expected to be formally announced. It was considered a certainty that Ty Cobb would be chosen to manager the Tigers, and Lee Fohl was generally mentioned as St. Louis’s selection.
The only objection to the appointment of Cobb has been his peculiar temperament which has made him unpopular with a large number of players. Cobb’s sensational fights upon the diamond have proven considerably unpopular with the baseball fans and it is not known just how his appointment will be received.
Cobb and [former manager Hughie] Jennings, it is understood, were firm friends, but the latter allowed the eccentric star to do whatever he chose and there was ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 17, 2020 at 11:47 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Two Easy Ways To Make Baseball a Better Game

The natural opposition to increasing the strike zone is to wonder whether there would be more walks and a subsequent negative impact on the game. But the strike zone has changed multiple times over the years, and rarely has it made any real difference. In 1968, the Year of the Pitcher, the walk rate was 7.6% — not too far off from historical averages despite it being a historically great season for pitching. Even after MLB lowered and changed the mound and shrank the strike zone for the 1969 season, the walk rate only went up to 9.1%, and by 1972, the year before the designated hitter was introduced, it was back to its normal 8.5. The strike zone was shrunk again in 1988 and expanded at the bottom in 1996, but all the while, we’ve seen ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 17, 2020 at 08:53 AM | 89 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Minor League Clubs Pushing Back on MLB’s Blanket Franchise Agreement

Major League Baseball and some of its 120 chosen minor league affiliates may be heading toward confrontation over a pending new franchise agreement called a Player Development License (PDL) that each club must sign by Friday.

There’s a movement among a majority of the affiliates to refrain from signing, thus forcing negotiations with MLB, which is trying to dictate what some are calling “onerous terms in the one-sided agreement.” Sportico has not seen the agreement but has had key clauses relayed by phone.

“There’s a lot of discussion about this within the leagues,” said an MiLB source with knowledge of the situation who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal from MLB. “It comes down as heavy-handed: ‘Here are the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 16, 2020 at 03:30 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues

Rays’ Mike Zunino: Agrees to one-year deal

Zunino signed a one-year contract with the Rays on Wednesday with a 2022 option, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Zunino was reportedly in “deep talks” with the Rays earlier Wednesday, and he’s now reached a deal to return to his former team. Tampa Bay declined his $4.5 million team option for 2021 in late October, but the 29-year-old should serve in a timeshare at catcher after striking a new agreement. Zunino played 28 games for the Rays during the shortened 2020 season, recording a career-worst .147 batting average with four home runs and 10 RBI.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 16, 2020 at 01:37 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: mike zunino, rays

MLB Is Finally Recognizing the Negro Leagues as the Major Leagues They Always Were

On August 29, 1973, 42-year-old Met Willie Mays smacked a fifth-inning single to left off Padres southpaw Rich Troedson, driving in Bud Harrelson from second to put the Mets ahead 2-0. That hit, the last Mays ever recorded during the regular season, raised his career total to 3,283. That mark has stood ever since, undisturbed except for the passage of the few players who’ve subsequently hurdled him on the all-time leaderboard, where he ranks 12th.

Soon, though, that career count will climb slightly higher. Before he debuted for the New York Giants in 1951, Mays played for the 1948 Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League. The fleet center fielder’s hits—17 of which have been documented, although seven of those came ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 16, 2020 at 10:59 AM | 105 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

MLB MLB Investigating Allegations Omar Vizquel Committed Domestic Abuse Against Wife

Major League Baseball has launched an investigation into domestic abuse allegations brought against former All-Star shortstop Omar Vizquel by Blanca Vizquel, his estranged wife.

Katie Strang and Ken Rosenthal of the The Athletic reported Wednesday that Blanca fled the family home in August before filing for divorce.

“I don’t have anything to say. This is a divorce and I know she’s really pissed off,” Omar Vizquel told The Athletic. “There is a lot of things [being said] out there about things supposedly happening behind closed doors, you know. I don’t have anything to say about that, either. It’s just a divorce.”

An attorney told the outlet Vizquel “flatly denies any allegations of domestic violence.”

...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 16, 2020 at 09:26 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: domestic violence, omar vizquel

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Yankees’ Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit, and Clint Frazier reach Super Two status along with Mets’ Dom Smith

Yankees’ Gleyber Torres Luke Voit, and Clint Frazier have reached Super Two status and will be eligible for contract arbitration following the 2021 season. Dom Smith also reached Super Two status for the Mets.

The Super Two designation means that all four players will have four years of arbitration eligibility, rather than three, before they become free agents after the 2024 season.

To qualify for the Super Two designation, players must rank in the top 22 percent, in terms of service time, among those who have amassed between two and three years in the Majors, according to

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 15, 2020 at 03:57 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: super two

Rangers trade Rafael Montero to Mariners

MLB Trade Rumors: Rafael Montero is going to the Seattle Mariners from the Texas Rangers, per Jeff Passan on Twitter.

Montero, 30, took over the closer role early in 2020, and ended the year with a 4.08 ERA in 17.2 IP over 17 games with 8 saves, and with a 3.70 FIP. Montero, who was signed as a minor league free agent after the 2018 season by Texas, put up a 2.48 ERA in 22 games and 29 innings in 2019 for Texas.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 15, 2020 at 02:57 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, rafael montero, rangers

Major League Baseball, union at odds on whether start of 2021 season should be delayed

Major League Baseball executives and owners, wanting players to be vaccinated before arriving to spring training, would like the 2021 season to be delayed until May, even if it means shortening the season to 140 or fewer games.

The Major League Baseball Players Association, believing it proved a year ago that teams can safely adapt to protocols, wants the season to start on time, playing all 162 games with full pay.

And here we are, with just two months before pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report for spring training, and no one has any idea what will happen.

COVID-19 cases are raging across the country this winter, but the vaccine is starting to be distributed, giving hope that by mid-summer, most everyone will have access to ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 15, 2020 at 12:00 PM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, labor issues

Monday, December 14, 2020

Reliever Greg Holland re-signs with Royals

The Kansas City Royals announced on Monday that they have re-signed free agent pitcher Greg Holland. He is returning on a one-year deal worth $2.75 million, a source told The team has not confirmed the terms of the deal.

Holland, 35, went 3-0 with six saves and a 1.91 ERA (6 ER in 28.1 IP) in 28 appearances with the Royals in 2020. The right hander ranked fifth among Major League relievers (min. 25.0 IP) in ERA, eighth in WHIP (0.95) and eighth in opponents’ average (.200). Of his 28 appearances, 23 were scoreless, which tied for third most in the Majors behind teammate Scott Barlow (25) and the Angels’ Mike Mayers (24).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 14, 2020 at 03:01 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: greg holland, royals

Boston Red Sox sign Hunter Renfroe to 1-year deal

The Boston Red Sox have signed outfielder Hunter Renfroe to a one-year deal.

A first-round pick by the Padres in 2013, Renfroe batted .228 with 97 home runs and 226 RBIs over five seasons with San Diego and Tampa Bay. He hit 25 or more homers in three straight seasons for the Padres before struggling with the Rays in the pandemic-shortened season, batting .156 with eight homers and 22 RBIs in 42 games.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 14, 2020 at 01:49 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: hunter renfroe, red sox

ESPN landing MLB rights to playoff round that doesn’t yet exist

ESPN and Major League Baseball are closing in on a TV deal that would provide the network exclusive rights to the first round of the playoffs, The Post has learned.

Now all that is needed is a first round of the playoffs.

That needs to be negotiated between MLB and the Players Association, which is to say that, while an ESPN-MLB deal is close, they are still far from knowing when — and even if — there will be playoffs expanded from 10 to likely 14 teams to include a best-of-three first round.

In the deal between ESPN and MLB, the network would reduce the amount of national games it broadcasts, while increasing the number of marquee matchups.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 14, 2020 at 12:42 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: expanded playoffs, television

Yankees, DJ LeMahieu are more than $25 million apart, agreement not quite imminent

As of Saturday night, the gulf between the Yankees and free agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu was wider than $25 million, a person with knowledge of the situation told NJ Advance Media. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

A report that circulated Friday night pegged the sides off by $25 million. The report said the Yankees wanted LeMahieu at four years and $75 million while LeMahieu wants five years and $100 million.

“The years are right,” the person said. “The money is wrong.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 14, 2020 at 09:18 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: d.j. lemahieu, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-14-2020

New York Tribune, December 14, 1920:

Our neighboring borough of the Bronx is very anxious for the advertising of organized baseball and is anxious to “jimmy” its way into the National Association of Professional Baseball Clubs.
A delegation from the Bronx announced yesterday it would pay $150,000 for any franchise of the (then) New International League, would expend another $150,000 on grounds and guarantee to split up more money with visiting clubs than any rival could give.

Just hang on a bit, Bronx. You’ll get your baseball team.

Elsewhere in the news 100 years ago today, Notre Dame football player George Gipp has passed away after a short illness.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 14, 2020 at 08:04 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Sunday, December 13, 2020

What’s lost when minor league baseball leaves

For 25 summers from a perch in the press box high above Dunn Field, Marty Chalk served as the public address announcer and official scorer for his hometown Elmira Pioneers. They were a short-season Class A team in the New York-Penn League — which, as of this week, we should call the defunct New York-Penn League. Wade Boggs and Curt Schilling played their first professional seasons there. Earl Weaver managed four summers there. Don Zimmer was married at home plate there. There’s baseball history there.

Elmira, N.Y., is an old manufacturing town by the Chemung River, where Dunn Field sits on its banks. What does minor league baseball mean to a town like that?

“Quite frankly, it means everything,” Chalk said. “When a team leaves, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 13, 2020 at 09:53 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues

Former pitcher, Rogelio Moret, member of the Boston Red Sox family, has died

Former Puerto Rican pitcher of the Boston Red Sox, Rogelio More t died of cancer in Puerto Rico at the age of 71.

Moret is remembered for his good work as a pitcher with the Boston team in the early 1970s. The left-handed pitcher compiled a 41-win-18-loss record with the red-legged. He led the American League in winning percentage in 1975 when he had a record of 14 and 3.

In December 1975, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Tom House. He came to the Texas Rangers through a trade, pitched for them for two seasons.

Moret has been battling the demon of mental illness throughout his life.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 13, 2020 at 09:51 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, red sox, rogelio moret

Cleveland baseball team will drop ‘Indians’ name as early as this week according to report

he 2021 season will be the last that a baseball team plays as the “Indians” in Cleveland according to a report Sunday by the New York Times.

A team source confirmed to that the club will announce this week its intention to play under the same name and uniforms through 2021, but will drop the “Indians” name after the upcoming season. A new name has not yet been decided.

The Times report indicated the club is considering moving forward without a replacement name. That move would mirror the situation in Washington, where the city’s NFL franchise dropped its longtime “Redskins” moniker prior to the 2020 season and is playing as the “Washington Football Team” until a new name is chosen.

Indians president of ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 13, 2020 at 09:43 PM | 277 comment(s)
  Beats: indians

Mets offer Jared Porter their GM job: source

The Mets, suddenly on the fast track in their offseason plans, have landed on a general manager to work under Sandy Alderson.

Jared Porter has received an offer from the Mets to become their next GM, a source confirmed to the Daily News. Porter has served as the Diamondbacks assistant GM for the past four seasons under GM Mike Hazen in the organization. The team has not yet made the hiring official, but the remainder of the process is expected to cross the finish line without any hiccups.

Porter, 40, joined the D-backs after parts of two seasons with the Chicago Cubs. He served as the Cubs’ director of professional scouting during their first world championship in 2016. He also worked in the Boston Red Sox’s front office and won ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 13, 2020 at 01:08 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Texas Rangers statement on the passing of Charley Pride

“The Texas Rangers join the Country Music world in mourning the loss of Charley Pride. While Mr. Pride was a legendary performer who entertained millions of fans in the United States and around the world, we will remember him as a true friend to this franchise.

“Mr. Pride’s first love was baseball. He pitched professionally in the Negro and Minor Leagues throughout the 1950’s before embarking on his Hall of Fame singing career of more than 60 years. Mr. Pride then became a regular participant at Texas Rangers spring training camps in Pompano Beach and Port Charlotte, Florida and Surprise, Arizona, working out with the team and staging an annual clubhouse concert for players and staff, a tradition that continued through this past ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 12, 2020 at 05:30 PM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: charley pride, negro leagues, rangers

New York Mets, catcher James McCann finalizing four-year deal, sources say

Catcher James McCann and the New York Mets are finalizing a four-year contract for $40 million-plus, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The Athletic first reported the sides were close to a deal.

McCann, 30, shared catching duties last season with Yasmani Grandal, whose deal with the Chicago White Sox last offseason averaged $18.3 million per season—a record in free agency for a catcher.

McCann had a career-high .289 batting average with seven home runs and 15 RBIs in 31 games during the pandemic-shortened season, cutting down on his strikeout rate after a career-worst 137 strikeouts in 2019. Despite the Grandal deal (four years, $73 million), McCann stayed with the White Sox, avoiding arbitration by reaching a one-year, $5.4 million deal ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 12, 2020 at 01:25 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: james mccann, mets

Friday, December 11, 2020

Sources: Texas Rangers, OF David Dahl agree to 1-year deal

Free-agent outfielder David Dahl and the Texas Rangers are in agreement on a one-year deal for around $3 million, sources familiar with the agreement told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The 26-year-old Dahl was nontendered by the Colorado Rockies earlier this month but should find plenty of playing time with the Rangers.

Dahl is recovering from right shoulder surgery in September, his latest setback. In 2015, he had his spleen removed after running into an outfield wall in the minors. A rib-cage injury sidelined him in 2017. In 2018, he missed two months with a broken right foot.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 11, 2020 at 07:01 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: david dahl, rangers

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-11-2020

Memphis News Scimitar, December 11, 1920:

Arrest and arraignment were expected [in Los Angeles] today in the case of at least one of the four men indicted on charges of criminal conspiracy late yesterday by the Los Angeles county grand jury, after an inquiry of two months’ duration into charges of corruption in Pacific Coast league baseball games in 1919.

That one was W. Baker (“Babe”) Borton, former Vernon first baseman. The other three indicted were Harl V. Magert [sic] and W.G. Rumler, former Salt Lake outfielders, and Nathan Raymond, alleged gambler of Seattle, Wash.

Borton didn’t go to prison, but unsurprisingly his baseball career was over. Maggert was done too, though he was 37 years old at the time. Somehow Bill Rumler escaped with ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 11, 2020 at 08:11 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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