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Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Negro League Stars That MLB Kept Out — And Is Finally Recognizing

Let’s start with pitchers. Tall right-hander Satchel Paige is probably the most famous Negro Leagues player of all time, and with good reason: According to Seamheads, he was their all-time leader in pitching WAR with 39.3 in his career — or an average of 7.1 over a 162-game season.4 Paige was a true strikeout artist, whiffing 8.5 batters for every nine innings he pitched, easily making him the best of his era in that regard. He also had the best fielding-independent pitching (FIP) mark of any Negro League pitcher, which is why he compares well to the great Pedro Martínez and to Corey Kluber, Chris Sale and Jacob deGrom (among active pitchers).

On a per-game basis, however, there were some other pitchers who were close to (or even ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 25, 2021 at 09:43 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Jose Abreu, the reigning AL MVP, tests positive for COVID-19, keeping him away from Chicago White Sox spring training

American League MVP Jose Abreu will remain away from the Chicago White Sox for the “next several days” because of a positive COVID-19 test, general manager Rick Hahn announced Wednesday.

The move, Hahn said in a statement, is in compliance with Major League Baseball intake protocols.

“Jose, who is completely asymptomatic, believes he contracted a mild case of the disease in January, which is reinforced by the presence of COVID antibodies in additional testing,” Hahn said in a statement.

“Other than being frustrated, Jose feels great and, like the rest of us, is looking forward to when he rejoins the club in the not too distant future.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 10:14 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, jose abreu

Sinclair readies new sports video app, pushes on gamification

Sinclair Broadcast Group is nearing completion on a reconstructed new mobile application that will support its sports streaming efforts, particularly those from its portfolio of 21 regional sports networks, and broader gamification strategy, representing a key effort in the company’s stated goal to “make watching sports similar to playing a video game.”

The new streaming app, to replace the existing Fox Sports Go, will carry new Bally’s branding as part of Sinclair’s large-scale naming rights deal with the gaming operator for the RSNs that is reportedly worth $85m. The app is set to debut around the start of the Major League Baseball season in April.

More broadly, the new digital product will also represent a key touchpoint in ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 10:11 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: sinclair, television rights

New book tells the story of Glenn Burke, the first openly gay player in MLB

Baker thought about the times he’d tried to set up Glenn with one of his wife’s cousins. “They were fine, and they all liked Glenn,” Baker recalled. “Glenn would say, ‘She’s too fat’ or, ‘She’s too ugly.’ Something was always wrong with them. I was like, ‘Come on, man. You can tell me something else.’ I know what cute is. And I know what pretty is. And I know what fine is. And they were fine, cute and pretty.”

He thought back to the nights the Dodger players went out partying at discos in National League cities. The ballplayers who were single, Baker said, “had their choice of girls,” one of the perks of being fit, famous and well-paid. And the Dodger the women wanted most was Glenn Burke. “He was the ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:57 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: glenn burke, lgbt

Slimmer Vlad a sight to see: ‘I feel quicker’

Best Shape of His Life.

Last July, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. arrived for Summer Camp in Toronto out of shape. He knew it, and his teammates knew it.

Not far removed from being baseball’s brightest prospect with generational potential, this was an early threat to the 21-year-old’s long-term success. Guerrero knew something had to change, so that’s when this all started.

From then to now, Guerrero has lost 42 pounds and transformed his body. His fitness has been the talk of camp through the early days in Dunedin, Fla., and Guerrero was introspective on Wednesday when he thought back to the summer of 2020.

“For the last couple years, they knew I was coming here out of shape. I didn’t prepare myself very well,” Guerrero said through a team ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:52 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, vladimir guerrero jr.

With M.L.B.’s Help, Baseball Returns at an H.B.C.U.

But when XULA, as it is also known, announced in 2019 that it was resurrecting a baseball program that had been dormant since 1960, Cousin said he was “really shocked.” And when the newly hired XULA head coach, Adrian Holloway, invited Cousin to an athletic event on campus, gave him a tour, explained his vision and made him a generous scholarship offer, Cousin was sold.

“It’s a good school for putting people in medical school that look like me, and that’s what I want to do, actually,” Cousin, a freshman pitcher and first baseman, said in a phone interview. “I want to become a sports medicine doctor, so Xavier was really a perfect fit.”

While the baseball industry in the United States continues wrestling with persistent ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:46 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: college baseball, historically black universities

This Book Is Not About Baseball. But Baseball Teams Swear by It.

Kahneman, a professor emeritus at Princeton University and a winner of the Nobel Prize in economics in 2002, later wrote “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” a book that has become essential among many of baseball’s front offices and coaching staffs.

There aren’t many explicit references to baseball in “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” yet many executives swear by it. It has circulated heavily in the front offices of the Oakland Athletics, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Baltimore Orioles and the Astros, among others. But there is no more ardent a disciple of the tome than Mejdal, a former biomathematician at NASA who earned master’s degrees in both cognitive psychology and operations research.

“Pretty much wherever I go, I’m bothering ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 12:30 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics

Twins prospect Royce Lewis, the No. 1 pick in 2017 draft, tears ACL and will likely miss 2021 season

Shortstop Royce Lewis, one of the Twins’ top prospects, has torn his ACL and will likely miss the entire 2021 season, Twins president Derek Falvey told reporters, including Betsy Helfand of the of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Wednesday. Lewis, 21, was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft out of JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, California. Thanks to the pandemic, we didn’t get to see his progress at the minor-league level last season, but Lewis played 127 games between Class A-Advanced and Double-A in 2019, hitting .236/.290/.371 with 26 doubles, four triples, 12 homers, 49 RBI, 73 runs and 22 steals.

It’s true that those numbers aren’t very impressive, but Lewis also tore it up in the Arizona Fall League following ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 11:55 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: royce lewis, twins

When peak Aaron faced the ageless Paige

The matchup came to fruition because of a roster technicality. As most baseball fans know, Paige became a legend in the Negro Leagues and while barnstorming during the 1930s and 40s, but he didn’t make his Major League debut until 1948, a year after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Paige was 41 when he debuted with the Cleveland Indians, going 6-1 with a 2.48 ERA in 72 2/3 innings. He appeared in parts of six MLB seasons over the next 17 years, and made his last big league appearance in 1965 for the Kansas City Athletics. He was 58 that season with the A’s and pitched three innings in one game, giving up zero runs and one hit.

But before he could officially retire, the ageless wonder still needed 158 ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:54 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: hank aaron, satchel paige

Francisco Lindor concerned analytics are ‘taking over’ baseball

The Mets’ new shortstop, who was elected to the executive subcommittee of the MLB Players Association over the offseason, voiced his concerns on Monday that analytics were “taking over the game too much” and diminishing the product.

“Analytics are great, they’re good. But they don’t need to take over the game,” Lindor said after the Mets’ first full-squad workout of spring training. “That’s something that’s just — it’s not right. Let the players play the game.”

Lindor, who also pointed to MLB’s revenue sharing program as “rewarding teams for losing,” was most passionate when asked about the parts of analytics he hated the most.

The four-time All-Star said he was not a fan of the shift and prefers to let ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:52 AM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, francisco lindor

Giants, Scott Kazmir Agree To Minor League Deal

Kazmir was in the Moneyball draft! He was teammates with Fred McGriff!

Comeback season is upon us, it seems. The Giants have agreed to a minor league contract with left-hander Scott Kazmir, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney. He’ll be invited to Major League Spring Training.

It’s been nearly five years since Kazmir, now 37, pitched in the Majors with the Dodgers. Current San Francisco president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was serving as general manager under president Andrew Friedman in Los Angeles at that point, and he was also an assistant GM in the Athletics’ front office in 2013 when Oakland inked Kazmir to a two-year deal.

There’s some obvious history between Zaidi and Kazmir, who at one point was one of the game’s ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, scott kazmir

Seattle Mariners prospect Jarred Kelenic says team is punishing him for refusing to sign contract extension

Prized outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic told USA TODAY Sports Tuesday that he is a victim of service-time manipulation by the Seattle Mariners, and is being punished for refusing to sign a contract proposal nearly 14 months ago.

Kelenic, one of the top five prospects in baseball according to MLB.com, said he was offered a guaranteed contract, but says that declining the deal has kept him off the Mariners’ big-league roster.

“It was communicated to Jarred that had he signed that contract, he would have debuted last year,’’ said Brodie Scoffield, who represents Kelenic. “It was made crystal clear to Jarred — then and now — that his decision not to call him up is based on service time.

“There’s no question that if he ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:47 AM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: jarred kelenic, mariners

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Shin-Soo Choo heads to KBO for ‘21

Shin-Soo Choo is expected to join the SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization in 2021, according to multiple reports, including Tae Woo Kim of SPOTV.

Choo, 38, was a free agent this offseason after spending the past seven seasons with the Rangers. He posted a .236/.323/.400 slash line over 33 games in 2020.

An All-Star in 2018, Choo has racked up 218 homers and 157 stolen bases over a 16-year career. After beginning his career by appearing in 14 games over two seasons with the Mariners from 2005-06, Choo was traded to the Indians, where he spent the next seven years.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 23, 2021 at 09:55 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: kbo, shin-soo choo

Monday, February 22, 2021

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-22-2021

South Bend News-Times, February 22, 1921:

The Yankees’ new two-million dollar park will be tailor-made for Babe Ruth and his home run swing. It will be a home run manufacturing plant.

When the switch is made in two years Babe will find his new home run home all set for him to manufacture homers in. The right field of the new establishment will be an exact duplicate of the one at the Polo Grounds, where Babe has learned so well to measure the distance for his home run aim.
...
[Yankees co-owner Huston:] “Babe wants to hit 75 home runs this year. The 54 he got last season has only made him keen. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do it.”

It wouldn’t have been a surprise at all; Babe completely broke baseball in a way that nobody else has ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 22, 2021 at 12:43 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Dorktown: Two-strike strikeouts, three-ball walks, and other counting failures

Have you ever tried counting to four? It’s a skill that’s almost impossible to master, and baseball players and umpires find it as difficult as the rest of us do. In this episode of Dorktown, we’re examining the dozens of times that everyone on the baseball diamond has gotten the count wrong.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2021 at 11:03 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: umpires

Boston Red Sox will discuss contract extensions during spring training; Rafael Devers, Eduardo Rodriguez among top candidates for long-term deals

The Red Sox are likely to discuss long-term contract extensions with some of their young players during spring training, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Sunday. The club has already discussed some possibilities internally and plans to hold talks with players before Opening Day.

“I expect, as we get into that spring, that those conversations will pick up,” Bloom said. “Don’t know what it will lead to, obviously. If and when they do pick up, it’s not something we’re going to speak publicly about unless there’s something to report. This is a time when a lot of those things often happen so I would expect we’d at least have some conversations about it with some guys.”

Boston has plenty of extension candidates on its ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2021 at 08:36 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: eduardo rodriguez, rafael devers, red sox

Former Dodger All-Star Stan Williams passes away at 84

Former Dodger two-time All-Star and World Series champion Stan Williams passed away Saturday morning at the age of 84 after battling a cardiopulmonary illness.
Williams, one of the original members of the Dodger team that moved to Los Angeles in 1958, spent the first five years of his 14-year Major League career with the Dodgers. He won a World Series as a player with the Dodgers in 1959 and as a pitching coach with the Reds in 1990.

In 1959, Williams pitched three scoreless innings in the tiebreaker series against the Milwaukee Braves to help send the Dodgers to the World Series, where he pitched two scoreless innings. Williams, nicknamed “The Big Hurt,” was part of an early 60s Dodger rotation that included Don Drysdale, Sandy ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2021 at 06:46 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, stan williams

Full Transcript of Mariners President Kevin Mather’s Remarks to Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club

Some very candid remarks from the Mariners president on everything from free agents, when we will see fans, minor league shuffling, and paying for interpreters.

Kyle Seager, this is probably his last season as a Mariner. He will, and I’ve already told him, he’ll be a Mariners Hall of Famer when he’s done playing. Last year he seemed to find the Fountain of Youth, had a fantastic year, and we expect the same in 2021…..

On the minor league side, Jarred Kelenic, we’ve been talking about him for a year and a half now. He’ll be in left field in April. He’s a 21-year-old player who, um, is quite confident. We offered him a long-term deal, six-year deal for substantial money with options to go farther. After pondering it for ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2021 at 04:18 PM | 227 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Rockies’ Desmond opts out of 2021 to spend time with family

Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond is opting out of the 2021 MLB season to spend time with his family, he announced Sunday on Instagram.

“Over the last few months, I’ve had tough conversations,” Desmond wrote. “I’ve asked a lot of questions and done a lot of thinking. For now, I’ve decided to opt out of the 2021 season. My desire to be with my family is greater than my desire to go back and play baseball under these circumstances. I’m going to continue to train and watch how things unfold.”

The 35-year-old was one of several players who opted out of the 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a wide range of systemic issues within MLB. He’s now the first player to opt out in 2021.

  ...Read More...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2021 at 10:45 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: ian desmond, rockies

Dr. Anthony Fauci cautiously optimistic about return of fans for 2021 MLB season

Dr. Anthony Fauci is cautiously optimistic about the prospect of fans returning to the stands for the 2021 MLB season, telling ESPN’s Buster Olney there’s a “pretty good chance” of it happening if the rate of COVID-19 infections continues to drop.

“We could have a pretty good chance of having a baseball season that’s a full season,” Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight Podcast. “That we could have people in the stands, maybe not right next to each other; there are going to be public health restrictions like mask wearing and things like that.”

Fauci cautioned that fan attendance would be dependent on current trends holding and that the full impact of certain coronavirus variants remains to be ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2021 at 10:37 AM | 81 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

Yankees should be nearing their Domingo German breaking point

Imagine you’re Aaron Boone, or Brian Cashman, or Hal Steinbrenner.

It’s Wednesday night and you’re getting ready for the annual holiday that is the first pitchers and catchers workouts the next morning. You’ve got scores of COVID-specific details to handle plus the standard desire to launch your desired championship run with the right first step.

Then you get alerted that Domingo German, already on thin ice, has set Instagram aflame again.

At what point do you decide the right-hander’s upside doesn’t merit the agita he creates? The Yankees should be approaching that point. They must, for the good of everyone else they employ.

After all, when your team’s player representative, Zack Britton, one of the more affable humans ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2021 at 10:34 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: domingo german, yankees

Saturday, February 20, 2021

The extraordinary, unsung career of Al Smith

Smith had his first of three All-Star years in Cleveland in 1955—leading the American League in runs (123), while posting 22 homers and 77 RBIs. In 1958, he was traded to the White Sox for beloved White Sox player Minnie Miñoso. Fans were angry and took that anger out on Smith, booing him at every turn. He struggled.

Bill Veeck, former owner of the Indians and now owner of the White Sox, had a brilliant idea: He staged an “Al Smith Night.” Anybody named Smith, Smythe, Schmidt or Smithe could get in for free, but had to wear a button that read, “I’m a Smith and I’m for Al.” Smith ended up going 1-for-4 and making an error, but Veeck proclaimed that it turned his year around. Smith hit six homers during the last four weeks of the ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 20, 2021 at 02:25 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: al smith

Death threats, bigotry, courage: Behind Giants’ historic hiring of Frank Robinson

“Bob Lurie gets all the credit,” Herndon said. “He had the foresight to do what he needed to do. San Francisco was ready for Frank Robinson, but I’m sure Bob Lurie felt a lot of stress. He gets the credit, no doubt about it, to hire a man like Frank.”

Behind the scenes, Robinson wasn’t fully supported, including by the GM hired after him. Tom Haller, the Giants farm director and former All-Star catcher who replaced Spec Richardson, never seemed to have Robinson’s back.

“The communication between the GM and manager is not like most would have,” said Don Buford, a Giants coach under Robinson and his teammate in Baltimore. “Haller wanted to have Jim Davenport manage. They were close friends. But that was the wrong concept for a general ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 20, 2021 at 02:23 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: frank robinson, giants

Friday, February 19, 2021

New York Mets reach deal with right-hander Taijuan Walker, source says

The New York Mets have reached a two-year deal with free-agent starting pitcher Taijuan Walker that is worth $20 million guaranteed, a source confirmed to ESPN on Friday.

The deal, which is pending a physical, also includes a third-year player option, a source confirmed to ESPN.

Right-handed Walker, 28, was 4-3 with a combined 2.70 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 53⅓ innings for the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays in 2020. He has a five-pitch repertoire with a 93 mph fastball mixed among sliders, splitters, sinkers and curveballs.

With the Mets, he will compete to join the back end of a starting rotation that includes Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman and David Peterson.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 19, 2021 at 06:44 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, taijuan walker

Yankees and Brett Gardner agree to one-year deal with options for 2022

Sources tell SNY MLB Insider Andy Martino that the Yankees and Gardner have reached a deal on a one-year contract worth $4 million with club and team options for 2022.

Martino notes that setting up the contract as a one-year deal with an option actually lowers the luxury tax number for the Yankees, which made it preferable to a straight one-year deal.

A 13-year veteran, Gardner reached free agency last offseason before ultimately signing back with the Yankees on a one-year deal worth $12.5 million.

And even if Clint Frazier is the Bombers’ everyday left fielder as Aaron Boone recently stated, having Gardner would give the Yankees a great insurance policy and fourth outfielder, along with a needed left-handed bat. Having both Gardner ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 19, 2021 at 06:43 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: brett gardner, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-19-2021

New York Tribune, February 19, 1921:

President Andy Lawson, of the Continental Baseball Association, announced [yesterday] that the Boston franchise of the league had been awarded to George F. Day and Lincoln G. Pope. They will have a negro team to represent [Boston], he said, and pending the building of grounds the Boston club will play on the Everett High School field.

The Knoxville Giants, playing at Brooklyn, will be a second negro club in the league, Lawson announced.

I’ve said it before, but it’s a huge bummer people didn’t get behind this league. It really could have sped up integration of the white major leagues.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 19, 2021 at 01:17 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Lew Krausse, who threw first pitch in Brewers history, dies at 77

Lew Krausse, who threw the first pitch in Milwaukee Brewers history, died Tuesday at age 77 of cancer, according to the Kansas City Star.

Krausse made his major-league debut at 18 in 1961, a week after graduating from Chester High School in Pennsylvania. He was nearly 27 when he was traded with Phil Roof and Ken Sanders to the Brewers before the 1970 season, the year the franchise relocated from Seattle to Milwaukee and brought baseball back to the city five years after the Milwaukee Braves departed.

Krausse went 13-18 in that first season with a 4.75 ERA, but he was part of history when the Brewers played their first game April 7, 1970 in a 12-0 loss to the California Angels at County Stadium. Krausse lasted only three innings and ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 19, 2021 at 11:46 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: lew krausse, obituaries

Johnny Damon Arrested In Florida On DUI Charges

Former Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon was arrested in Florida early Friday morning and is facing multiple charges, including driving under the influence.

Damon was arrested by Windermere Police around 8:15 a.m. and booked on charges for driving under the influence and resisting an officer without violence. The 47-year-old had a blood alcohol level above .20, according to police reports.

Damon played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball, including four seasons with the Boston Red Sox. He was a key part of the team’s 2004 World Series championship team and was a fan favorite for his big swings in the playoffs, diving catches in the outfield and his long, flowing hair.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 19, 2021 at 11:19 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: johnny damon

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Cy Young winner Shane Bieber quarantined from Indians spring training after contracting COVID-19

The Cleveland Indians are starting spring training without their ace and reigning Cy Young winner Shane Bieber after he contracted COVID-19.

Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti announced the news on Thursday, a day after pitchers and catchers reported to the team’s Goodyear, Arizona spring training facility. Antonetti expects Bieber to join the team soon.

Bieber expected to join team ‘within the next few days’

“He has very, very mild symptoms,” Antonetti told reporters. “In fact, they were barely noticeable, and — like I said — he’s working through the protocols to return. We expect him to get back to the complex at some point within the next few days.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 18, 2021 at 10:04 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, shane bieber

Who will sign the next mega-extension?

Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees, age 28
Eligible for free agency after the 2022 season

Unlike many of the game’s young stars, Judge’s age might work against him; he’ll be entering his age-31 season when he first hits free agency. Judge’s impact on the Yankees’ lineup isn’t in question, but his ability to stay healthy is an issue. If the Yankees decide to extend one player, Torres seems like a better bet than Judge for both his age and durability.

Juan Soto, OF, Nationals, age 22
Eligible for free agency after the 2024 season

Soto is widely considered the best pure hitter in the game, so it would make sense for the Nationals to do whatever it takes to keep him in Washington for a long time. But with three more arbitration-eligible ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 18, 2021 at 10:02 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron judge, juan soto

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