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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Minors: MLB’s proposal a ‘shell game’ to yank 42 teams out of their communities - The San Diego Union-Tribune

With the advances in technology MLB teams don’t need as many minor leaguers. At the same time minor leaguers are getting paid crap. By consolidating their minor league systems teams can increase minor league pay by cutting expenses for teams and players they no longer need.

Minor league teams on the contraction list, on the other hand, aren’t happy with the prospect of losing MLB affiliations.  It will increase their costs.

Minor League Baseball also disputes Manfred’s claim that MLB subsidizes the minors “to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars” a year. MLB’s argument, Minor League Baseball’s memo says, overlooks the fact that $20 million a year is paid to the commissioner’s office each year in the form of a ticket ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: December 14, 2019 at 07:41 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: milb

Major League Baseball threatens to create new minor league system - The Boston Globe

“If the National Association has an interest in an agreement with Major League Baseball, it must address the very significant issues with the current system at the bargaining table,” the statement read. “Otherwise, MLB Clubs will be free to affiliate with any minor league team or potential team in the United States, including independent league teams and cities which are not permitted to compete for an affiliate under the current agreement.”
...
MLB’s statement went on to say: “But whatever the outcome, MLB has assured every public official who has contacted us that MLB will work diligently to preserve organized baseball in a compelling, fan-friendly format in every American city that currently has an affiliate. MILB has not ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: December 14, 2019 at 07:33 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: milb

In appreciation of Brock Holt, whose job with Red Sox might be gone, but whose legacy is secure

The transactions came in quick succession as the winter meetings wrapped on Thursday in San Diego. First, the Red Sox selected infielder Jonathan Arauz from the Astros in the Rule 5 draft. A couple of hours later, they inked infielder Jose Peraza to a one-year, $3 million deal.

Both are utility infielders, and their arrivals increase the likelihood that we’ll be saying goodbye to Brock Holt this winter.

From a bottom-line perspective, it’s hard to argue. Holt turns 32 in June, has battled injuries the past four years and should make more than $3 million annually on a multi-year deal. The Red Sox need to get younger and cheaper, and that includes the bench.

If this is it, though, Holt deserves more of a sendoff than a line in the ...

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QLE Posted: December 14, 2019 at 12:58 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: brock holt

Why the Winter Meetings Were Finally a Success

SAN DIEGO — Major League Baseball has been desperate for an event. This week it got one—because the sport at last got out of its own way.

The league markets the annual Winter Meetings as the game’s offseason showcase, complete with logo and merchandise. The official website bears a large countdown clock. But for the past few years, an alarm clock might have been more relevant.

Last year, the marquee free agents—rightfielder Bryce Harper and third baseman Manny Machado—did not sign until spring training had begun. Harper was scheduled to be the cover star of the MLB the Show video game; the company finally opted for a photo of him dressed in a white hoodie, because it could not wait any longer for him to choose a team. Harper ...

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QLE Posted: December 14, 2019 at 12:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: winter meetings

The Marlins are talking to Yasiel Puig

A few years ago the notion of Yasiel Puig‘s free agency seemed kinda fun and exciting. You could picture people arguing about whether giving him big bucks was a good idea. Whether the great production was worth the circus.

These days he’s nowhere near a first-tier free agent, his 2019 season was — with the exception of one early-season bit of chaos — kind of quiet, and his lack of production has rendered this offseason almost completely devoid of Puig chatter.

Jon Heyman breaks that silence today by reporting that the Miami Marlins met with Puig this week. Heyman says the club has also talked to Avisaíl García, Corey Dickerson and Kole Calhoun. Again, not the kind of company you would’ve figured Puig would be keeping in his ...

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QLE Posted: December 14, 2019 at 12:30 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, marlins, yasiel puig

The Pen: What does MLB do next about its inconsistent baseball? A scientist explains

Several things can be true at once, and self-serving explanations can be valid or at least compelling. For example, when commissioner Rob Manfred says at the winter meetings that the variability of the ball is “part of the charm of the game” which he is uninterested in fully eradicating, this is a rhetorical departure from his earlier public position emphasizing that the balls all meet specifications, that the specifications will be tightened, and that effectively everything is under control. But also, maybe the variability is part of the charm of the game — or at least, it could be.

Asked about the potential of adopting a more stable, synthetic baseball, Manfred made his stance abundantly clear. “I would not, am not now, and ...

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QLE Posted: December 14, 2019 at 12:27 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: juiced baseballs

Video: Josh Donaldson Bought His Mom a Maserati After She Quit Smoking on a Bet

People can quit smoking in numerous ways, but free-agent third baseman Josh Donaldson added giving away a new Maserati after his mother, Lisa French, kicked the habit, per Gradick Sports:

....

A promise of a Maserati is a fairly strong incentive to stop smoking and likely more powerful than nicotine patches, but credit to French for getting the job done and winning a brand-new car in the process.

 

 

QLE Posted: December 14, 2019 at 12:22 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: bets, cars, josh donaldson

Friday, December 13, 2019

Mets, Yoenis Cespedes reach agreement to restructure contract, lower 2020 salary

According to reports, Céspedes and the Mets agreed on an amended contract. He remains with the team, but the sides agreed to lower his salary from the original $29.5 million. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the Mets will save “well over $10 million” with this settlement.

This was the product of a grievance settlement, per reports, that was approved by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association. The situation causing it all: In May, Céspedes — already rehabbing from surgery on both heels — broke his ankle during an accident on his ranch.

“We haven’t even thought about implications to the contract,” GM Brodie Van Wagenen said during the press conference in which he announced Céspedes broke his ankle. “Our focus now ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 13, 2019 at 08:46 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: yoenis cespedes

Royals sign pitcher Jesse Hahn to a one-year contract

The Royals have re-signed right-handed pitcher Jesse Hahn to a one-year, Major League contract worth $600,000 with $200,000 in performance bonuses, according to MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan. Hahn was non-tendered back on December 2, and was projected to earn $900,000 through the arbitration process according to MLB Trade Rumors. Hahn would still not be eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season.

The 30-year old Hahn has missed most of the last two seasons, suffering an ulnar collateral ligament injury shortly after the Royals acquired him before the 2018 season. He did return in September of this season to appear in six games, giving up seven runs in 4 2⁄3 innings.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 13, 2019 at 08:46 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jesse hahn

Red Sox, Pitcher Martin Perez Agree To One-Year Deal

The Red Sox and free-agent starting pitcher Martin Perez have come to terms on a one-year deal, according to multiple reports. According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Perez’s contract also has a club option for 2021. Perez is slated to make $6 million in 2020 and would receive a modest bump to $6.25 million if Boston picked up the option, per Rosenthal.

Earlier in his career, Perez was a pretty interesting prospect. He finished sixth in American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2013 when he went 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA with the Texas Rangers. After battling injuries in 2014 and 2015, Perez has more or less settled into a role as an innings eater. He logged an average of 159 innings per season over the last four years, and that ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 13, 2019 at 08:46 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: martin perez

Rays sign Japanese outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo to two-year deal

The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to terms with outfielder and first baseman Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Topkins adds that the deal will be worth roughly $12 million over two years in addition to the posting fee of around $2.4 million.

Tsutsugo, who recently turned 28, has spent the last 10 seasons with the Yokohama Bay Stars of Japan’s Central League. Over that span, he’s batted .284/.382/.525 with 205 home runs and 514 unintentional walks in 4,040 plate appearances. He’s hit 139 of those home runs over the last four seasons.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 13, 2019 at 08:46 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Brewers agree to one-year, free-agent deal with left-hander Brett Anderson

The Brewers on Friday announced they agreed to a one-year, free-agent deal with veteran left-hander Brett Anderson, who had perhaps his best season at age 31 with Oakland in 2019. Anderson went 13-9 with a 3.89 earned run average in 31 starts before hitting the free-agent market.

Terms of the deal were not immediately known.

The addition of Anderson came two days after the Brewers reached a three-year agreement with right-hander Josh Lindblom, who had been pitching in the Korean Baseball Organization. The announcement of that deal has been delayed pending a physical examination for Lindblom, 32, who was the 2019 most valuable player in the KBO.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 13, 2019 at 08:46 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brett anderson

Florida Fire Frogs Mess Comes At Bad Time For MiLB

The Fire Frogs failed to draw 1,000 fans for any game in 2019. Their total attendance of 19,615 was the second worst of the 21st century. It would have been dead last if not for the fact that Dunedin also drew almost no one in 2019 while playing in a temporary facility. But the Blue Jays were doing that while their stadium was upgraded for 2020.

Even with a low-cost, no-frills front office, the team is a significant money loser. One partner has sued the others over how the partnership covers the growing red ink. The team received a $500,000 check at the end of the 2019 season to buy the Fire Frogs out of the remaining three years of their lease in Kissimmee—the stadium has now been turned into a soccer stadium for 2020.

That gave the ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 13, 2019 at 08:46 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues

Longtime Oriole Adam Jones to play in Japanese league

Former Oriole Adam Jones announced on social media Tuesday night that he has signed with the Orix Buffalos, a professional team in Japan’s NPB.

The deal is for $8 million over two seasons, plus a 2022 club option and the possibility of at least $2 million in incentives, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Is he likely to play CF over there, or RF like last year?

Nasty Nate Posted: December 13, 2019 at 11:54 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: adam jones

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-13-2019

Memphis News Scimitar, December 13, 1919:

Charles Comiskey, owner of the Chicago White Sox, expressed the belief [two days ago] that unless there was a change in the presidency of the American league and of the chairmanship of the national commission the league might not be in existence beyond next July 4.

“Conditions in the American league are awful, terrible,” was the way he put it. He insisted his faction had done everything possible at the New York meeting to settle the controversy amicably but that President Johnson and his supporters “refused absolutely to come to an understanding.”

This meltdown was over the Carl Mays sale from Boston to New York. Mays had walked away from the Red Sox and refused to play, Johnson suspended him ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 13, 2019 at 09:44 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Former Padres, Giants manager Bochy to manage French team

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Bruce Bochy isn’t quite done managing after all.

Bochy might have just retired after a decorated 25-year career in the dugout with San Diego and San Francisco. But he is already embracing a new challenge: Trying to guide his native France to the next World Baseball Classic in 2021.

The French national team will try to qualify next year for its first WBC. Bochy was born in Landes de Bussac, France, where his father, Gus, was stationed in the U.S. Army. Bochy will have son, Brett — a former Giants minor leaguer — pitching for him and his brother, Joe, on the coaching staff. Bochy was chosen by Didier Seminet, president of the French Federation of Baseball.

Well, when you run out of worlds to conquer at the MLB ...

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QLE Posted: December 13, 2019 at 12:59 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: bruce bochy, french baseball, world baseball classic

‘Fourth-Grade Diet’: Welcome to the Winter Meetings, the Unhealthiest Week of the Year

SAN DIEGO — Mike Rizzo was intrigued. The Nationals GM was on the phone with Scott Boras, and the agent seemed out of breath. It had been 24 hours since Boras client Stephen Strasburg had re-signed with Washington, and as far as Rizzo knew, fellow Boras client Anthony Rendon had not decided on a team. But Boras’s gasps got Rizzo’s attention.

“I thought he had a big deal or something that he was panting over,” Rizzo said.

Rizzo later learned that the explanation was much simpler: The legendarily high-motor Boras finds the fatty dinners, ubiquitous snacks and interminable meetings of baseball’s annual convention vexing, so he walks five miles each morning, conducting negotiations over AirPods. (Rendon agreed to a seven-year ...

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QLE Posted: December 13, 2019 at 12:49 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: food, winter meetings

Yankees, Brett Gardner reunite on one-year, $12.5 million deal

George A. King III of the New York Post reports that the Yankees and outfielder Brett Gardner are back together on a one-year, $12.5 million contract. The deal includes a second year option worth $20 million.

Gardner, 36, is coming off of the strongest offensive season of his career, batting .251/.325/.503 with 28 home runs, 74 RBI, 86 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases over 550 plate appearances. While he has certainly lost a step or two with age, he still rates as an above-average defensive corner outfielder as well.

So, what chance do you support Gardner has of getting the club option picked up for 2021?

 

QLE Posted: December 13, 2019 at 12:49 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: brett gardner, contracts, yankees

Giants change bullpen location, move fences in at Oracle Park

The Giants announced on Thursday that some improvements have been made to their stadium, Oracle Park, for the 2020 season. New bullpens will be located behind the center field wall. They used to be in foul territory, which was a safety risk for players, particularly with the bullpen mounds when fielders attempted to catch foul balls.

The outfield fences are also being moved in. The left-center field fence is now 399 feet from home plate, in from 404 feet. Straightaway center field is now 391 feet, eight feet shorter than it was previously. Triples Alley is now 415 feet, in from 421. Additionally, the height of the center field fence has been reduced from eight feet to seven.

Can’t exactly say that this is a good idea- recently, the ...

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QLE Posted: December 13, 2019 at 12:46 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: china basin, fences, giants, phone company park

Angels make splash with Anthony Rendon, but they still have a big problem

Cutting to the chase:

The last time an Angels rotation collectively posted an ERA below 4.00 was in 2015. In 2019, that number was closer to 6.00 than 5.00.

Here are the Angels rotation ERAs and rankings over the last four seasons.

2016: 4.60 (20th)
2017: 4.38 (12th)
2018: 4.34 (18th)
2019: 5.64 (29th)

The Angels win totals during those seasons: 74, 80, 80 and 72. That means they have effectively wasted several of Trout’s prime seasons in large part because the rotation has been average to really bad. Despite what Rendon brings to the table, they are poised to continue wasting seasons if the rotation isn’t upgraded.

So, how would all of you fix this problem?

QLE Posted: December 13, 2019 at 12:41 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, anthony rendon, pitching

Winter meetings winners and losers, starring Scott Boras and his $814M week

SAN DIEGO — Remember when the winter meetings lost their gusto? It sure seemed that way the past few years. Remember when hot-stove season was a free-agent freeze? It sure seemed that way recently too.

Well, the 2019 winter meetings have come and gone and sound the alarm because the winter meetings were back as baseball’s biggest money-spending, team-swapping bonanza.

And it was glorious.

Three days saw the top three free agents — Stephen Strasburg on Monday; Gerrit Cole on Tuesday; Anthony Rendon on Wednesday —  coming off the board with huge deals and bold moves.

So, how would all of you appraise the Winter Meetings?

 

QLE Posted: December 13, 2019 at 12:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dollah dollah bills, y'all, scott boras, winners and losers, winter meetings

Brodie Van Wagenen: Mets have ‘deepest rotation in baseball,’ Steven Matz still seen as starter

Brodie Van Wagenen said Thursday at the Winter Meetings that the Mets have “probably the deepest starting pitching rotation in baseball,” noting that the added depth after signing Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha gives the team lots of “flexibility” when it comes to how they prepare for 2020.

As things currently stand, the Mets have Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz, Porcello, and Wacha as rotation options.

They also have the ability to use Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman in the rotation, with Van Wagenen saying the Mets are “staring at eight potential starting pitchers.”

But Lugo and Gsellman will almost certainly be in the bullpen, Van Wagenen suggested, adding that “nothing has changed” regarding his stance that ...

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QLE Posted: December 13, 2019 at 12:33 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: brodie van wagenen, mets being mets, rotation

Thursday, December 12, 2019

2019 MLB Rule 5 Draft | MLB.com

Major League Phase

Round 1
1. Tigers: RHP Rony Garcia (Yankees)
2. Orioles: RHP Brandon Bailey (Astros)
3. Marlins: RHP Sterling Sharp (Nationals’ #13 prospect)
4. Royals: RHP Stephen Woods (Rays)
5. Mariners: RHP Yohan Ramirez (Astros)
6. Reds: OF Mark Payton (A’s)
7. Giants: RHP Danny Jimenez (Blue Jays)
8. Phillies: SS Vimael Machin (Cubs)
9. Cubs: RHP Trevor Megill (Padres)
10. Red Sox: SS Jonathan Arauz (Astros)

Round 2
1. Orioles: Michael Rucker (Cubs)

Jim Furtado Posted: December 12, 2019 at 01:04 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: rule 5 draft

Source: Former Red Sox RHP Rick Porcello agrees to 1-year Mets deal

Former Boston Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello has agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal with the New York Mets, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.

Porcello, who turns 31 on Dec. 27, had multiyear offers but preferred a one-year deal, according to reports.

A ground ball pitcher who relies on a sinking, two-seam fastball, Porcello is coming off a career-worst season with the Red Sox. He was 14-12 but had a 5.52 ERA that was the highest in the majors.

He has been quite durable over the past four seasons, making at least 32 starts per year, but the velocity on his slider dropped by 1.7 mph from 2018, which made the pitch far less effective. He gave up a troublesome .314/.407/.571 slash line with runners in scoring ...

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Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: December 12, 2019 at 12:24 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, mets

Mets to sign Rick Porcello

The Mets have struck a deal with free agent righty Rick Porcello, according to Ken Rosenthal and Eno Sarris of The Athletic. It’s a one-year, $10MM deal, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Just when I thought it was safe to watch starting pitching, the terror returns.


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-12-2019

Columbus Dispatch, December 12, 1919:

Because of the claim of officials of the New York National league club that the New York American league club management flooded the Polo Grounds with passes last year in an effort to give the impression that the Yanks were playing to as many people as the Giants, there is grave doubt whether the Highlanders will find the Polo Grounds available for their use after 1920.

That seems like an extremely petty thing to get mad about, but *shrug*.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 12, 2019 at 09:26 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

The Yankee Death Star Is Back

The Yankees are loaded now with players of spellbinding possibility. How far will Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton hit it? Will Aroldis Chapman throw his 100 mile-an-hour fastball or his wipeout slider? How many strikeouts will Cole get tonight?

If you love the Yankees, you dream about that stuff. If you hate the Yankees, it makes you groan. Either way, you care enough to watch the game in some form, which keeps cash rolling into the Bank of Steinbrenner.

No single move can guarantee that long-awaited return to the World Series, not even a record contract for an ace in his prime. But the big, bad Yankees are back, and that is good for the game.

ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 12, 2019 at 07:13 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

Manfred: MLB `flexible’ on minor league cuts, irked by talks

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred countered outcry over Major League Baseball’s proposal to chop 42 farm teams by challenging the minors Wednesday to “move off the take-it-or-leave-it status quo approach” to their ongoing negotiations.

MLB and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues are negotiating a minor league agreement to replace the contract expiring after the 2020 season. MLB has proposed cutting more than a quarter of its 160 affiliates, citing concerns over the quality of facilities, travel and salaries for players.

Minor League President Pat O’Conner delivered an impassioned speech defending the minors to team executives at these winter meetings, and fans from small towns across the ...

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QLE Posted: December 12, 2019 at 01:14 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, manfred is thinking about it, minor leagues

Angels to formulate plan for Ohtani’s throwing program soon

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Once Shohei Ohtani completes the final phase of his recovery from Tommy John surgery later this month, the Los Angeles Angels will confer with surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache and the team’s medical staff to determine how to proceed with the Japanese two-way star’s throwing program.

Ohtani threw another bullpen session Wednesday and has worked up to about 50 pitches, general manager Billy Eppler said. The team may decide to keep pushing him from the mound or flat ground, but he may also take time off before ramping up again for spring training.

“The first step is going to be get through what he needs to get through and then talk to Dr. ElAttrache and talk to our medical personnel and come up with a plan,” Eppler ...

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QLE Posted: December 12, 2019 at 01:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: shohei ohtani

MLB Rumors: Angels Pursuing ‘Significant’ Starting Pitcher

Some examples of rumored goings-on with the Winter Meetings:

- The Angels are still reportedly planning to add a “significant” starting pitcher prior to the 2020 season and are pursing Madison Bumgarner, Hyun-jin Ryu, Dallas Keuchel or a trade for Jon Gray. (Jon Morosi, MLB Network)

- The Angels, after missing out on signing Gerrit Cole, have “expressed interest” in trading for Indians righthander Corey Kluber. A two-time Cy Young winner, Kluber is coming off an injury-filled 2019 season. Anthony Rendon remains the Angels’ priority, but they’re open to other options. (Fabian Ardaya, The Athletic)

- The Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians continue to engage in “serious” trade discussions for All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor. ...

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