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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Carter Stewart Jr., former top-10 pick and potential trailblazer, makes Nippon Professional Baseball

Carter Stewart Jr., the eighth overall pick in Major League Baseball’s 2018 draft who opted instead to sign with Japan’s Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, made his Nippon Professional Baseball big-league debut on Saturday. Stewart had previously been limited to pitching for the Softbank Hawks’ minor-league team in the Western League.
Stewart, 21, has the potential to become a trailblazer for American amateurs looking to make more money upfront without damaging their long-term MLB aspirations. Stewart is believed to have signed with the Softbank Hawks for around $7 million, or $5 million more than the Atlanta Braves were willing to offer him after discovering a wrist ailment in his post-draft physical.

Friday, April 16, 2021

MLB salary down 4.8% in 2 years; top 100 earn half

The average major league salary dropped 4.8% to just under $4.17 million on opening day from the start of the previous full season in 2019.

The average has fallen 6.4% since the start of the 2017 season, when it peaked at $4.45 million, according to a study of major league contracts by The Associated Press. The salary downturn is yet another sign baseball could be headed toward labor strife and a possible work stoppage in 2022.

Baseball’s middle class has borne the brunt of the drop. The median salary — the point at which an equal number of players are above and below — is $1.15 million, down 18% from $1.4 million two years ago and a drop of 30% from the $1.65 million record high at the start of 2015.

Of 902 players on opening-day ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 16, 2021 at 03:19 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: salaries

The player who nearly integrated baseball in 1905

“When you say, ‘William Clarence Matthews was rumored to be breaking the color barrier in 1905,’ that’s true, because it was a rumor,” Lindholm says. “The question is whether or not it’s plausible.”

Any plausibility to the report derives from Matthews’ excellence as an athlete and his character as a person….

Fred Tenney’s Boston Nationals would complete the 1905 season with a 51-103 record, part of a stretch of 14 consecutive seasons at the start of the 20th century in which the franchise finished no better than 17 games out of first place in the NL. Between the record and the muddled middle infield, we can say with relative certainty that Matthews would have improved the club. The July 15 report in the Traveler ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 16, 2021 at 09:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: integration, william clarence matthews

How Fernando drew thousands of extra fans

Valenzuela’s starts drew an average of 33,273 on the road, while the remaining Dodger games drew an average of 19,456. That’s a boost of 71%, and so of course, we wanted to know: Is that good? Is that great? Had anyone ever done that? So we went back to 1969, the start of divisional play, and we looked for all pitchers who made at least 10 starts both home and away during a season. There were, as you’d expect, thousands. No National Leaguer topped him. No one came close.

Of course, we’re saying “National Leaguer” for a reason, because there was one American Leaguer who did him one better. In 1971, A’s rookie Vida Blue won both the AL Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player, and he had something of a Fernandomania season himself. (“Blue to ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 16, 2021 at 09:26 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: fernando valenzuela

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Why the Cubs’ awful offense could trigger full rebuild if downward trend continues this summer

As a team, the Cubs have a 66 OPS+. For those not very familiar with the stat, that means if you lump their on-base percentage and slugging percentage together, adjusting for ballpark and league context, they are collectively 34 percent worse than a league average hitter. ...

Now, here’s where we talk about small samples and how it’s early and all that. The problem is that this isn’t new. The Cubs won the NL Central last year, but they hit .220/.318/.387 as a team with mostly the same personnel (swapping out Kyle Schwarber for Pederson isn’t a huge difference, skill-set-wise). Sure, there was lots of context behind that, including that it was only a 60-game season during a once-in-a-century pandemic.

If we looped that back in, though, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 11:48 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption: Its Practical Effect

While MLB has thus derived some modest benefit from its exemption in the area of relocation, the doctrine’s most significant effect has probably been shielding the minor leagues from antitrust scrutiny. If MLB were subject to antitrust law, then potentially any number of aspects of the minor league system could be challenged under the Sherman Act. While no one knows for sure exactly how such a lawsuit would play out, it seems likely that the repeal of baseball’s antitrust exemption would result in some degree of change to the current minor league structure.

For example, one aspect of the minor league system that would surely be challenged if the exemption were repealed is MLB’s standard minor league pay scale. As has been ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 11:47 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: antitrust exemption

No love lost after no-no for Indians, Sox

The benches cleared in the first inning of Cleveland’s 4-2 victory over the White Sox on Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field on a play involving Adam Eaton at second base.

Eaton singled to right, sending Tim Anderson to third. Hustling all the way, Eaton beat the throw to second, but he was ruled out when he came off the bag as shortstop Andrés Giménez handled the tag.

Eaton appeared to take umbrage at the way the play was handled by Giménez, believing he was pushed off the base. Eaton eventually shoved the shortstop, before second baseman Cesar Hernandez stepped in and the ruckus began as the two exchanged words.

After the loss, Eaton broke down the entire situation and how the moment might have escalated in an unwanted way.

“TA ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 11:46 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: white sox

Pete Rose to sell picks for baseball, other sports through website

Pete Rose’s baseball predictions are for sale for $89 a month.

Rose announced Wednesday that he was joining UpickTrade, a pick-selling website based in Mexico that recently made headlines in the U.S. with a short-lived partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL. Rose will be making daily predictions about baseball and other sports.

Rose, who turned 80 on Wednesday and resides in Las Vegas, was banished from baseball in 1989 after an investigation revealed that he had bet on the game while managing the Cincinnati Reds. He has appealed to be reinstated multiple times but has been denied, most recently in 2015 by then first-year commissioner Rob Manfred.

During a conference call with the media Wednesday, Rose said he won’t be ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 11:44 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: pete rose

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-15-2021

New York Tribune, April 15, 1921:

Bob Meusel did one of the latest jazz dances in right field yesterday afternoon at 5 o’clock, and while the dance was on the Athletics tucked away a ball game by a score of 4 to 3.
[After nearly two games without a hit, Cy Perkins] had to find an outlet some time, and a high-soaring smash to extreme right center was the answer. Lanky, but handsome, Bob Meusel saw the ball mounting skyward, and immediately began his one-stepping. Almost to the exit gate did Meusel dance his way, only to have the ball elude his clutch and fall for a triple.

New York sportswriters were a tough crowd. Still are, I guess.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 12:18 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Blindsided Joe Girardi mum on player’s sudden decision to take leave from team

Phillies manager Joe Girardi would not offer any specifics on why Adam Haseley left the team on Wednesday. Girardi said the club had not been planning a roster move with the 25-year-old outfielder, who had gotten off to a slow start this season.P

“I became aware of it today,” Girardi said before Wednesday night’s game against the Mets in New York.

“I spoke with Adam (on the phone.) We had a nice talk today and I think we all agreed that this was probably the best and we’ll move forward.”

Haseley was placed on the restricted list and outfielder Mickey Moniak was recalled from the alternate site. Moniak will see playing time in center field.

Girardi would not discuss Haseley’s reasons for taking leave.

“I’m not going ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 12:38 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: adam haseley, phillies

White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon throws no-hitter against Cleveland after losing perfect game in ninth inning

The perfect game club nearly had a new member. A no-hitter ended being the consolation prize.

White Sox starter Carlos Rodon has thrown a no-hitter and he was perfect through 8 1/3 innings. He hit Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez with a pitch on the foot with two strikes and one out in the ninth. That would end up being the only blemish for Rodon.

“On a toe ball,” Rodon said after the game when asked where his head was at the moment, alluding to where the pitch hit Perez.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 15, 2021 at 12:31 AM | 77 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos rodon, no-hitters

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

In the minors, a major change as the Atlantic League plans to move the mound back a foot

The Atlantic League, a hotbed for innovation in baseball, will announce plans Wednesday to move the pitcher’s mound back 12 inches from home plate this season, according to two people with knowledge of the arrangement. The move represents one of the most stark rule changes proposed by baseball leadership in a generation and comes amid sweeping changes on the minor league level designed to reduce home runs and strikeouts and increase the action from batter to batter.

The eight-team Atlantic League, which has franchises along the East Coast, will enact the change during the second half of its 120-game regular season, one person familiar with the matter said. It will be the first change of mound regulations in professional baseball since ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:02 PM | 84 comment(s)
  Beats: atlantic league, rules

Cardinals’ Yadier Molina becomes first MLB player to catch 2,000 games with one team

Stalwart Yadier Molina will start Wednesday’s game behind the plate for the Cardinals and that’s nothing new. He started 10 of the team’s first 11 games this season and has been a rock behind the plate for close to two decades now. Wednesday’s start is historic though. It will be Molina’s 2,000th career game at catcher.

Here is the all-time games caught leaderboard:

Ivan Rodriguez: 2,427 games
Carlton Fisk: 2,226 games
Bob Boone: 2,225 games
Gary Carter: 2,056 games
Jason Kendall: 2,025 games
Yadier Molina: 2,000 games and counting
Molina is the only one of those six catchers to spend his entire career with one team.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 01:10 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: yadier molina

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Mariners’ James Paxton to undergo Tommy John surgery, will miss entire 2021 season

Mariners left-handed starter James Paxton was forced to leave his start last Tuesday after just 21 pitches, and it did not look good. He was squeezing his hand on the mound with an extended arm with a lot of times means an elbow issue. Sure enough, he will be undergoing season-ending surgery, manager Scott Servais told reporters Tuesday (via Corey Brock). Previous reporting indicates the procedure will be Tommy John surgery.

Since he was on a one-year deal and this ends his season, Paxton will head to 2022 as a free agent, likely looking to sign with a team who could have some patience before giving him a shot at a rotation spot around the middle of the season.

Paxton, 32, has always flashed big upside when on the mound, but he’s also ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 13, 2021 at 02:47 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: james paxton, tommy john surgery

Byron Buxton is reaching his potential

Byron Buxton is a poster child of a player who has worlds of potential, but hasn’t been able to put it together due to injury or lack of opportunity. In Buxton’s case, it’s much more the former. He’s dealt with a multitude of injuries over the course of his career, which has subsequently inhibited his ability to really get his footing at the Major League level.

After a 140-game campaign in 2017, Buxton followed with game totals of 28, 87, and another 39 that came in the shortened campaign of 2020. The Star Tribune has a comprehensive list of the injuries that limited him so much in those seasons here. It’s a trend that’s crushing at every turn, which makes this year’s early developments that much more exciting.

Obviously ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 13, 2021 at 02:18 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: byron buxton

‘A magical place’: Hinchliffe Stadium, former Negro Leagues ballpark, being restored to its former glory

It’s a dilapidated, decaying stadium, overrun with weeds and graffiti, after years of neglect in Paterson, New Jersey.

Now, after lying vacant for 24 years, Hinchliffe Stadium is coming back to life.

Government officials, architects and baseball historians will gather at an emotional groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday to restore the 89-year-old stadium and a return of pride and dignity.

The stadium will resurrect memories of the old Negro Leagues where the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans played. This is the site of the 1933 Negro League World Series called the Colored Championship of the Nation. It was where Paterson Eastside and Paterson Central High Schools played in the annual Thanksgiving Day game.

And is it the home of ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 13, 2021 at 01:08 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues, stadiums

Topps is releasing official NFT baseball cards on April 20th

Major League Baseball has announced its latest move to cash in on the NFT craze: official blockchain-based versions of classic Topps baseball cards. Topps is selling the new NFT baseball cards through the WAX blockchain, which the company has used for its earliest blockchain-based collectibles.

The first “Series 1” cards will be sold starting on April 20th, with 50,000 standard packs (containing six cards for $5) and around 24,000 premium packs (offering 45 cards for $100) set to be sold in the first wave. Topps is also offering a free “exclusive Topps MLB Opening Day NFT Pack” to the first 10,000 users who sign up for email alerts for new releases.

It’s a similar idea to the NBA’s white-hot Top Shot NFTs, which offer fans ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 13, 2021 at 12:32 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball cards, nfts

MLB umpire Joe West wins $500K defamation suit against ex-player who accused him of rigging strike zone

Joe West is a regular butt of jokes about poor MLB umpiring.

One former player’s story about the umpire cost him six figures.

West sued four-time MLB All-Star Paul Lo Duca for defamation after Lo Duca accused him on a podcast of trading strike calls for off-field favors. A Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled in West’s favor on Monday and ordered Lo Duca to pay him $500,000 plus interest.

Lo Duca had accused West of changing the strike zone in favor of former New York Mets pitcher Billy Wagner in exchange for use of Wagner’s 1957 Chevy. West accused Lo Duca of fabricating the story and consequently harming his chances of making the Hall of Fame.

Judge John Kelley agreed with West and ruled in his favor Monday after Lo Duca declined to ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 13, 2021 at 12:28 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: joe west

Monday, April 12, 2021

Minnesota Twins, Timberwolves postpone games in wake of police shooting of Daunte Wright

The Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Timberwolves postponed games on Monday following the police shooting of Daunte Wright on Sunday night.

“Out of respect for the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Brooklyn Center, and following the additional details in this evolving situation, the Minnesota Twins have decided it is in the best interest of our fans, staff, players and community to not play today’s game” the Twins said in a statement.

The Twins were slated to play the Boston Red Sox. The Timberwolves were scheduled to play the Brooklyn Nets.

The decision to postpone the game was made by the Twins after consulting Major League Baseball, in addition to local and state officials.

Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, died Sunday after a ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 12, 2021 at 03:56 PM | 242 comment(s)
  Beats: twins

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-12-2021

Washington Herald, April 12, 1921:

Washington has always done itself proud on the opening day of the baseball season, but take it from Clark C. Griffith, who is extremely well up on such matters, the celebration to be staged tomorrow afternoon on Georgia avenue will be the greatest ever.

New York will have more people, but what do mere numbers mean? Nothing, except a wad of juicy cash.

Will President Harding toss out the first ball at the Polo Grounds? He will not.
Will Gen. John J. Pershing participate in the flag raising at the Polo Grounds? Not a chance.
Will there be a flock of Cabinet officers and Senators, and so on, camped around in the boxes at the Polo Grounds to add color to the occasion? Absolutely no.

Harding, of course, would ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 12, 2021 at 12:19 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Oakland A’s Discuss Paying Player Salaries in Crypto

Oakland A’s president Dave Kaval tells SportTechie that the next round of collective bargaining negotiations in Major League Baseball and other sports could include stipulations on paying players in cryptocurrency.

When asked if A’s players have expressed interest in receiving salary payments in crypto, Kaval said, “I’ve talked to some of our players, and yes they are. I wouldn’t be surprised that in the next CBA, you might see that as a topic. One of the bargaining points might be receiving payment in crypto. That negotiation is just starting in baseball, but you have that happening in other sports too.”

Earlier this season, the A’s became the first MLB club to complete a cryptocurrency transaction by selling a full-season ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 12, 2021 at 11:50 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, cryptocurrencies

Red Sox DH J.D. Martinez looks to break MLB record shared by ex-Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez

DH J.D. Martinez is fueling Boston’s surge. He’s tied for the major-league lead with five home runs, following his hat trick Sunday in Baltimore.

As as result, the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reports Martinez matched an MLB record shared by former New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez.

Martinez has XBH in 8 straight to start this season - and now has XBH in nine straight games dating to the start of last year, tying a Red Sox team record. The season-opening record streak for extra-base hits is now actually shared by Martinez (2021), A-Rod (2007), and Sandy Alomar Jr. (1997).

Martinez is third in the majors with a .478 batting average. He leads baseball with seven doubles and is second in slugging percentage (1.083) and OPS ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 12, 2021 at 11:23 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: j.d. martinez

Free-agent pitcher David Carpenter suspended 1 year for drug violation

Free-agent pitcher David Carpenter has been suspended for one year for violating the minor league joint drug prevention and treatment program.

The commissioner’s office announced the ban Friday.

Carpenter has pitched in six big league seasons and last appeared in the majors in 2019 for the Texas Rangers. The right-handed reliever has a 3.69 career ERA but hasn’t held down a full-time bullpen job since 2015, when he made 30 appearances with the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 12, 2021 at 10:29 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: david carpenter, drug testing

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Controversial call at home plate gives Phillies 7-6 win over Braves

The Philadelphia Phillies escaped Truist Park with a slight win on Sunday night.

Yet many watching at home, and even the Atlanta Braves, were confused with what appeared to be a missed call in the ninth inning that pushed the Phillies to their 7-6 win.

Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius hit a fly ball to shallow left field in the top of the ninth inning, which prompted Alec Bohm — who doubled and then made it to third off a bunt — to break for home to try and take the lead.

Braves left fielder Marcell Ozuna made the catch and threw home to catcher Travis d’Arnaud. Bohm, after sliding in around the tag attempt, was called safe.

Though the call looked solid at first glance, replay showed that Bohm’s foot appeared to miss the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 11, 2021 at 11:05 PM | 86 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, phillies, umpires

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