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Brief chronicles of our sporting times.

Don’t Blame Me, I Wanted to Sign Kodos



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Via CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman: The Pirates have won the bidding rights for standout infielder Jung-Ho Kang:

The winning bid was reported to be $5,002,015.

The Pirates and Kang will now try to negotiate a deal. Reports have suggested he may be amenable to a three- or four-year deal for around $5 million per year.

Pittsburgh wasn’t seen as a likely contender for Kang since its infield looks pretty solid, especially after picking up Sean Rodriguez to back up shortstop Jordy Mercer and has Neil Walker for second base and Josh Harrison for third base. But Kang has big-time power, and he hit 40 home runs in 117 games for the Nexen Heroes last year, and he is seen as versatile.

So what are the odds that this T-shirt be all the rage at PNC Park next season? 

More here.

Tags: MLB

Reveille 12/22/14



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Good morning.

First, a brief comment:

In many respects, the late George Steinbrenner was a less than honorable human being, as Fay Vincent, Dave Winfield, and numerous team employees will attest to anyone listening. However, one of King George’s pet causes was a most worthy one and, thankfully, survived his passing in 2010: the Yankee Silver Shield Foundation:

For 32 years, Steinbrenner’s Yankee Silver Shield Foundation has provided for the education of the children of New York City police officers, firemen and Port Authority employees who died in the line of duty, and will do so for the family of NYPD officer Rafael Ramos, gunned down by a cold-blooded killer Saturday along with his partner, Wenjian Liu.

The foundation will pay for the education of Ramos’ son, 13-year-old Jaden, and another son who is in college.

Liu, who was recently married, had no children.

Steinbrenner started his foundation in 1982 after seeing a news account of four children flanking their mother and folding an American flag at the funeral of their father, an NYPD officer who had been killed in the line of duty.

It should be noted that Officer Ramos was a diehard Mets fan, but I’m pretty sure he would have appreciated this heartwarming gesture. (Here’s hoping the Wilpon family, who have a controlling interest in the Mets, step up in some way as well.)

Rest in peace.

With that having been noted, here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday at the office a bit more bearable: 

For the third straight offseason — and I didn’t really check the offseasons before that, either — the Orioles made it through the Winter Meetings without a major move. So far, it’s Wesley Wright and only Wesley Wright, and that just happened. Nick Markakis is gone. Delmon Young is gone. Cruz is with the Mariners. As of now, the top first baseman on their depth chart is Christian Walker, who had a .335 on-base percentage in Triple-A last year. The Orioles thought they were going to bring Markakis back on a four-year deal. Instead, they’re looking at Steve Pearce, everyday right fielder, and Alejandro De Aza, leadoff hitter.

Their needs are obvious: At least one more corner player. Could be a left fielder, right fielder, or a first baseman. If the Orioles want to keep Chris Davis in the field, their options are wide open for a DH. If they start the season with this permutation, it will be stunning. There just aren’t as many options as there once were, of course. Michael Morse is gone, Melky Cabrera was never a serious consideration, Billy Butler signed early, the White Sox scooped up Adam LaRoche . . . it’s starting to look like it’s trade or bust for the Orioles.

Bringing Delmon back and waiting for March wouldn’t be much of an offseason plan. That isn’t what the Orioles are going to do, right?

Right?

  • Alex Hall of Athletics Nation approves of Oakland general manager Billy Beane’s latest deals, involving starter Jeff Samardzija to the White Sox and catcher Derek Norris to the Padres.
  • Speaking of the Samardzija trade, Beyond the Boxscore’s Scott Lindholm congratulates White Sox GM Rick Hahn for bringing the South Side back to life.
  • Via Matt Lombardo of NJ.com: In a recent radio interview, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. revealed that perhaps it would be best for the organization if struggling 35-year-old first baseman Ryan Howard and what remains of the albatross of his contract left town, presumably in a trade. (To be sure, I know a number of Philly fans who pray every night that Amaro will move on as well.) Here’s the crux of the admission:

“We’ve talked to Ryan,” Amaro said in an interview with 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli on Friday afternoon. “And I told him that in our situation it would probably bode better for the organization not with him but without him. With that said if he’s with us, then we’ll work around him. We’ll hope he puts up the kind of numbers that we hope he can and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

While may have speculated that the organization would be best off to move on from Howard this winter, this is the first public admission from anyone in the front office — and the general manager nonetheless — that the team has designs on making a trade. . . . 

Moving Howard could prove to be a tall order given the remaining $60 million remaining on his contract. If Amaro is in fact serious about a trade, the Phillies would be wise to find a suitor sooner, rather than later, regardless of the potential return. Howard is closing in on full 10 and 5 rights that would kick in this May which would give him veto power on any deal.

Even before Howard reaches that status, he already has the authority by virtue of his limited no-trade clause, to veto a deal to 20 teams.

  • Why must shortstop prospect Trea Turner wait until mid June to play for the Nationals, asks Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports? Turner, the first-round draft choice of San Diego in 2013, was part of the three-way trade between the Nats, Padres, and Rays centered around 2013 Rookie of the Year outfielder Wil Myers. According to Rosenthal, “Major League Baseball rule 3(B)(6) states that a drafted player cannot be assigned to another club for one year after signing his original contract,” meaning that the 21-year-old will be wearing Padres colors for much of 2014 before switching uniforms.

That’s it. Have a walk-off Christmas and New Year’s Eve! The next Reveille will come your way on Monday the 5th.

Tags: MLB

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FIFA Ethics Boss Quits in Disgust



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“A new failure for FIFA.”

That was the response from FIFA vice president and UEFA president Michel Platini earlier today after Michael Garcia, the head of FIFA’s ethics committee, had quit in protest over the handling of his findings investigating the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding procedures.

Michael Garcia cited a “lack of leadership” at the top of FIFA in a resignation statement. He also said he has lost confidence in the independence of his ethics committee colleague, German judge Joachim Eckert.

Though Garcia did not identify Sepp Blatter by name, he also revealed that the FIFA executive committee — led by the longtime president — made a failed complaint of unethical conduct against the former U.S. Attorney in September.

Speaking at the Club World Cup in Marrakech, Morocco, Blatter told The Associated Press he was stunned by Garcia’s decision to resign.

“I’m just surprised,” Blatter said. “It’s all what I can say. Just that.”

Garcia quit a day after the FIFA appeals panel rejected his challenge of Eckert’s summary of the confidential 430-page investigation dossier. Last month, Eckert moved to close the case on the World Cup bidding contest because of lack of evidence.

Russia won the right to host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar was awarded the 2022 tournament.

After Eckert’s summary was made public, Garcia claimed that the German judge had misrepresented his work and then launched his failed appeal.

“(My) report identified serious and wide-ranging issues with the bidding and (World Cup host) selection process,” Garcia wrote Wednesday, adding that Eckert’s decision “made me lose confidence in the independence of the Adjudicatory Chamber, (but) it is the lack of leadership on these issues within FIFA that leads me to conclude that my role in this process is at an end.”

In his resignation statement, Garcia also questioned how FIFA can truly change after years of scandals and criticism.

“No independent governance committee, investigator, or arbitration panel can change the culture of an organization,” Garcia wrote.

Garcia also revealed that the executive committee tried to have disciplinary proceedings opened against him for “allegedly violating the Code of Ethics through my public comments.” The attempt was rejected by the chairman of the FIFA disciplinary panel, at a time when Garcia pressed for publication of key details from his report.

FIFA vice president Michel Platini, also the UEFA president, called Wednesday’s events “a new failure for FIFA.”

More here, courtesy of the Associated Press.

Tags: Soccer

The Life and Death of Brad Halsey



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Josh Peter of USA Today profiles former Yankee, Diamondbacks, and A’s southpaw Brad Halsey, whose corpse was found at the base of a Texas cliff some six weeks ago. He was 33 years old. Although the local police department has yet not ruled on a cause of death, it appears likely that suicide was the culprit.

It’s hardly an uplifting story but still worth reading all the way through:

Public records and interviews with former coaches, teammates and friends show Halsey was quiet, private, quirky, smart and witty. But his behavior changed as he tried to hang on to a fading baseball career and fell victim to prescription and recreational drug abuse.

Less than four months ago, police found Halsey walking chest-deep in the nearby Comal River and identifying himself as Lucifer. Officers had responded to a call about a man who fit Halsey’s description throwing rocks at people floating by on inner tubes and talking to people no one else could see.

Halsey said he was prepared to fight “Mitch,” but witnesses said they saw no other man. After Halsey exited the river and turned unruly, police put him in shackles and drove him to an area hospital for evaluation. The police report noted Halsey had mental problems due to drug use.

A few months earlier, according to two men who spent time with the former pitcher in the last months of his life, Halsey told them he had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The men also said Halsey made an outrageous statement, claiming he was on cocaine and other drugs when he gave up Bonds’ historic home run and had spent much of the $1 million he made during his baseball career on drugs.

“He always seemed like he was running from something,” said James Pankey, an instructional coach in the San Antonio area who along with an acquaintance, Tripp Deason, detailed Halsey’s alleged disclosures.

Halsey’s mother said the psychiatric diagnoses were “not accurate” but offered no further comment. Former teammates, including Jason Kendall, the A’s catcher when Bonds hit the home run, said they saw no evidence Halsey used drugs. 

More here

Tags: MLB

Redskins Fans Really Don’t Like Dan Snyder



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Bill Simmons of Grantland​ set the tone last week:

Over the past 10 years, Snyder’s football team transformed into the black sheep of the D.C. sports scene and a general laughingstock. Washington’s football team was fine until Daniel Snyder showed up. House derisively calls them “the Deadskins” these days. And he means it.

If you asked me in 1999 to name the five most important NFL franchises, I would have defined “important” by some admittedly murky formula that included long-term success, a storied history, the recognizability of its uniform/logo/name, the breadth/passion/support of a multi-generation fan base and its weight/power/influence compared to the other local teams in its city. And I would have given the following answer: Green Bay, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Washington and the New York Giants.

Mention that list to a Washington fan 15 years later and you can almost see the blood leaving their body. For the first time in franchise history, they’re thinking entirely in question marks. What do we do? How much longer? How do we stop this? When will this end? In general, fans are loyal as hell. We root for laundry and we know it — we don’t care. It’s part of our DNA. We’re always coming back. It’s just one of the things that makes human beings so freaking strange. We’ll divorce people before we divorce our favorite teams.

But an irredeemable owner? That’s the only person who can nudge a fan base to a collective breaking point. When you support a pro team with an unspeakably awful owner, at some point you take a step back, do the math and mutter things like, “I was 19 when he bought the team, I’m 34 right now, and I’m gonna be 54 in 2034 — AND WE ARE STILL GOING TO SUCK BECAUSE THIS GUY F-​-​-​-​-​-​ SUCKS AND HE’S NEVER LEAVING AND WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO?”  . . . 

Check out this seemingly ludicrous email from Paul Fischer in Arlington, VA . . . 

“Wouldn’t any rational Skins fan support Dan Snyder moving the team to LA, so long as the NFL promised DC an expansion team within three years — like what happened with the Browns and Ravens in 1996? I would gladly go without an NFL team for three years, then deal with a replacement level expansion squad for another few years, just to get Snyder out. Has there ever been another NFL team so dysfunctional that it causes its fans to daydream about their own team leaving town?”

Great question. I have some personal experience here. Patriots fans hit rock bottom just a few years after the ’85 Bears crushed us. We finished 5-11 in 1989 and 1-15 in 1990, endured a hateful sexual harassment locker-room scandal, traded down in two straight drafts and improbably turned the no. 3 and no. 1 overall picks into Chris Singleton, Ray Agnew, Pat Harlow and Jerome Henderson. The 1990 Pats actually caused me to start gambling just to stay interested in football. (In other words, thank you, 1990 Pats!) At some point, our idiot bankrupt owner (Victor Kiam) sold the team to a St. Louis billionaire (James Orthwein) who claimed he didn’t want to move the Patriots even though everyone knew he did. Me and every other Patriots fan were 95 percent mortified (“They’re trying to steal our team!”) and 5 percent hoping they were stolen away. Let the Patriots leave, blow up Foxboro Stadium, jettison 30-plus years of disappointment and incompetence, and then start over with an expansion team in downtown Boston and pretend the New England Patriots never happened. When Orthwein hired Bill Parcells, that 5 percent vanished. Robert Kraft saved the Patriots and the rest was history.

Anyway, that’s rock bottom. That’s the lowest you can sink — when you say to yourself, “I’d rather have the non-guaranteed chance at a real football franchise than the guaranteed reality of THIS football franchise.” I never realized Washington fans had reached that point until Paul Fischer sent me that email. I mentioned it to my Washington-fan friends. Three years of no team, then three years of expansion hell … would you do that? Everyone said yes. I couldn’t believe it. House even offered to drive everyone to the airport.

Just to be sure, I called the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg, an excellent writer with an exceedingly rational feel for the Washington sports scene. He thought 75 percent of Washington fans would take the deal, as long as the new expansion team assumed the old franchise’s history. Steinberg believes that Snyder’s age is the single most important X factor for Washington fans. He’s only 50 years old. What if he never sells? What if he owns the Skins until 2050? What then? What do you do?

Here’s what Steinberg wrote in response:

Anyhow, Simmons asked me what percentage of Redskins fans would make that deal. Off the top of my head, I said 75 percent. As we talked, though, I decided that estimate might even be low.

Because which Redskins fans, exactly, would say no to that offer? The ones who believe the current team is set to excel in 2016 or 2017? The ones who just couldn’t bear to miss Jay Gruden’s second season, or a full season of Colt McCoy? The ones who have enjoyed the last two dozen NFL Sundays, as their team has put together its worst 20-game stretch since 1964?

At last check, nearly 82 percent of those casting ballots at the WaPo website voted “yes.”

More here and here.

Tags: MLB

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Reveille 12/15/14



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Good morning.

First, a brief comment: 

It was probably Saturday morning when my head finally stopped spinning from all of the transactions that took place at MLB’s Winter Meetings in San Diego. If I recall correctly, 79 players changed teams during the week.

Some deals made perfect sense. For example, the Dodgers traded to the Padres a surplus outfielder – the sometimes-MVP candidate Matt Kemp — and got an upgrade at catcher in the name of Yasmani Grandal in return. The Cardinals signed Mark Reynolds, a masher of left-handed pitching, primarily to provide insurance at first base for Matt Adams, who has often looked lost against southpaws.

Others, not so much.

My head-scratcher of the week was the decision of Royals’ general manager Dayton Moore to replace his departed designated hitter Billy Butler, who signed a $30 million, three-year contract with the A’s, with Kendrys Morales, who, despite not being able to latch onto a team in 2014 until June, signed a $17 million, two-year deal

Kansas City could have merely exercised Butler’s option at one year at $12.5 million. Instead, the club paid him $1 million in order to decline the option. While a Moore defender might claim that Kansas City wanted to have an upgrade at designated hitter — in OPS+, the Royals ranked a lowly 24th in the bigs last season — but Morales is a curious choice. While neither player had a 2014 to remember, Butler clearly had the superior campaign (.271/.323/.379; -0.3 fWAR vs. .218/.274/.338; -1.7 fWAR). Also, he’s three years younger than Morales (28 vs. 31).

Sure, Morales may not have been a bad bet at one year and $5–7 million for a team that had no other options at the position. Except that the Royals merely could have stuck it out with a fan favorite, someone who had spent his entire career with KC, stayed healthy, and posted a .351 wOBA, but instead sent him packing.

With that out of the way, here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday at the office a bit more bearable: 

  • Which of the 2014 postseason entrants is most likely not to play October baseball next season? According to ESPN SweetSpot’s David Schoenfield, it’s the __________. (Okay, okay, here’s your hint: See my brief comment above.)
  • Contrary to popular belief, writes Matt Swartz in the Hardball Times​, the ill-advised contract extension given to Ryan Howard isn’t the reason the Phillies are a mess of an organization today, nor is it the byproduct of the win-now trades:

Instead, the issue was a series of terrible drafts that have yielded almost no fruit for the last eleven years. This is even more shocking when juxtaposed against their incredible success in the draft during the eight years prior.

The Phillies’ total career WAR among all drafted players from 2004 through 2014 is only 27.8 compared to a league average of 100.0. This is not just league-worst, it is less than half of the second-worst Blue Jays at 60.5. The following chart shows the total WAR by drafted players for each organization, ranging from the Phillies up to the Red Sox at 169.1.

One interesting thing about mentioning a Miami team in the 1989 film is this: There was no approved expansion team for the Miami area until December 18, 1990, and since the film was shot and completed before release, the filmmakers would have had to be prescient to think a team was even going to be awarded to the Miami area. There were a number of other contenders, including Tampa–St. Petersburg, Orlando, Denver, Buffalo and Washington, D.C., several of whom got teams in future expansions or by franchise moves. (I still think my realignment proposal [which included, among other things, having the Marlins move to the AL East] would have worked better than the one they eventually did.)

That’s not why I’m writing this, though. With the Cubs’ signings and trade this week, bringing Jon Lester, Jason Hammel and Miguel Montero to the North Side, they’re in strong position to contend for at least a wild-card spot, if not the division title. The Cubs played near-.500 ball for four months last year (60-62 after a 13–27 start), and while 90-plus wins might be a pipedream (though other teams have gone from 73 wins to 90-plus in one year with moves like the ones the Cubs have made), playing at an 85-win pace for much of the season will get the team into the wild-card conversation.

  • According to Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan, writing at Fox Sports’ Just a Bit Outside, the Reds had the best week of all during the meetings, considering the “difficult waters [GM Walt Jocketty had] to navigate.”
  • Via the Associated PressAlex Rodriguez isn’t quite at spring-training weight, according to Brian Cashman. It’s a relief to learn that the Yankee GM isn’t too hot and bothered, given that A-Rod’s not due in Tampa for another two months. Also, it’s not as though he had freaked out during the days of Derek Eater. . . . 

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Tags: MLB

Reveille 12/8/14



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Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday at the office a bit more bearable: 

The Yankees have said that they’re still interested in re-signing D-Rob if his price comes down, but does anyone really think that he’ll take less money after seeing Miller’s contract? If anything, it seems to solidify that he will get a deal worth quite a bit more, since he successfully took over the closer role from Mariano Rivera, and has pitched well for the Yankees for years. Miller has been a good reliever for a few years since moving from the rotation to the ‘pen, but he doesn’t have closer experience. Now that Robertson’s a ”proven closer,” and after a postseason where the bullpen was everything, there’s bound to be a team out there that will pay him the ”Papelbon money” that he supposedly wants. It could be the Astros, since they had been linked to Miller (and he supposedly turned down their offer of 4-years/$40 million) and have been linked to Robertson. Now that the Yankees have Miller, the Astros might be willing to throw D-Rob all the money.

Werth, 35, was found guilty of misdemeanor reckless driving Friday for the July 6 incident, and Fairfax County General District Court Chief Judge Penney Azcarate sentenced him to 10 days in jail.

“Speed kills and does not discern what he or she does for a living,” Azcarate told Werth. “[Interstate] 495 is not a racetrack.”

Werth’s attorney, Rodney G. Leffler, said he planned to appeal his client’s conviction, and Werth probably will not serve his sentence before that appeal is resolved. Leffler argued Werth could not have been traveling as fast as Green said and attacked the calibration of the trooper’s speedometer but to little avail.

Werth, who wore a charcoal suit and glasses along with trademark long hair and bushy beard, testified in his own defense, saying he was not sure how fast he was going at the time of the offense but believed it was less than 100 mph.

“It’s possible I exceeded 90 miles per hour,” Werth said in court.

Green said the incident began around 9:40 a.m. on a Sunday. He heard the engine of Werth’s Porsche rev on the Georgetown Pike on-ramp for the Beltway. Werth drove onto the Beltway, and Green said he began pacing the player’s vehicle.

Green testified he pulled Werth over on the exit for the George Washington Parkway a short time later.

Green said he approached Werth’s vehicle with his gun unholstered but not pointed at Werth.

He asked Werth what he was doing, and Werth told him: He was “pressing his luck.”

  • Writing in Sports on Earth, Brian Kenny makes a pitch for Dick Allen’s entry into Cooperstown through the Veterans Committee Golden Era balloting. According to Kenny, Allen (.292/.378/.534, 61.3 fWAR) put up outstanding offensive numbers, racked up during a period of pitcher dominance, which haven’t received sufficient attention. (Interestingly, while the MLB Network anchor discusses Allen’s reputation of a “malcontent,” he surprisingly offers no mention of Allen’s poor defense.) The vote results will be revealed later today.

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Tags: MLB

5 Points About Today’s 3-Way Trade



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MLB Trade Rumors’ Steve Adams has the 411: 

9:21am [CST]: The Yankees, Diamondbacks and Tigers have completed a three-team trade that will send Didi Gregorius to the Yankees, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Rosenthal adds that Robbie Ray will indeed go from the Tigers to the Diamondbacks and Shane Greene will be heading to the Tigers. WFAN’s Sweeny Murti first reported the potential framework and noted that Greene would head to Detroit if the deal were to be completed. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic first tweeted that Ray could be headed to Arizona. 

Here’s what else you need to know about the three-way deal:

  1. Like you, I’m dreading Yankee radio announcer John Sterling’s call of a Gregorius home run. (Let’s all hope Didi doesn’t hit more than a handful.) My guess: ”That wasn’t just gorgeous. It was GREGORIUS!”
  2. Is this Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski’s way of saying to Detroit fans ”My bad?” for dealing away Doug Fister, one of the game’s top starters, to the Nationals for peanuts (i.e., Ray and two other disposable parts)? By acquiring Greene, he’s acknowledging that the Tigers, soon to lose superstar Max Scherzer, are desperate for ready-to-contribute starting pitching.
  3. On a related note: In addition to relinquishing Ray, Dombro had to part too with a highly-regarded middle-infielder prospect, Domingo Layba. The 19-year-old switch hitter will join Ray in the desert.
  4. The willingness to part with Greene suggests that Yankees GM Brian Cashman is pretty confident he’ll bag one of the starting-pitcher elephants on the free-agent market, presumably Scherzer.
  5. From a poster at Baseball Think Factory: “Remember when [former Diamondbacks GM] Kevin Towers said that Gregorius reminded him of a young Derek Jeter? Someone was listening.” Response from a poster at BTF: “Didi’s bat reminds me of an old Derek Jeter.” Zing!  

More here

Tags: MLB

Reveille 12/1/14



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Good morning afternoon.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your post-Thanksgiving Monday at the office a bit more bearable: 

  • Will the slower-than-expected outfield-bleacher renovations at Wrigley Field result in April games without fans beyond the fences? According to Brett from Bleacher Nation, Crane Kenney, Cubs president of business operations, is optimistic that the work will get finished on time, but ”there are contingency plans in place to accommodate season ticket holders within the rest of the stadium if they cannot sit in the bleachers by Opening Day.”
  • Mets fans of a certain age remember fondly Neil Allen, both for being a solid closer — not to mention his awesome windup! – during the dark days of the early 1980s, but ultimately for being the bait needed to acquire Keith Hernandez from the Cardinals in June of ‘83. Allen was just named the Twins’ pitching coach, and Mark Simon of ESPN’s SweetSpot applauds the decision:

“I’ve got to find a way to reach each individual,” Allen said during a conference call on Tuesday, explaining his approach to working with pitchers.

Allen, 56, is finally getting a chance to impart his pitching wisdom in the big leagues. That personal approach is one of Allen’s strengths, according to one of his star pupils. “Neil is the most positive person I’ve encountered in baseball,” said [Chris] Archer, now a starter for the Rays, in an e-mail. “Every day, whether you threw a gem or gave up 10 runs, he brought a smile and optimism to work. Since he had such a great big-league career, his knowledge of situational pitching helped propel my career.” 

It’s not just current major leaguers who speak highly of his work. Ten-year minor-league vet Brian Baker pitched two seasons for Allen, including one in which he racked up a 6.62 ERA. 

“He didn’t care if you were a top prospect or an innings eater,” Baker said via Twitter. “He treated everyone the same. Every day, he had a story from back in his playing days, ready to make you laugh. If you were having a (bad) day, he could make you forget about it. If you needed help on the mound, he was the guy who could fix it. He knew his stuff. 

“He had pitching drills, little tweaks of mechanics, towel drills, different philosophies to get you going back in the right direction on the mound. And they always seemed to work for you. He wanted you to succeed and he did everything he could every day to help make that happen.”

I’ll get into this in more detail in a later post, but this year’s Hall of Fame ballot is a logistical mess. For me, there are many more than 10 qualified Hall of Fame candidates on the ballot. A couple — Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez for instance — will sail into the Hall of Fame by landslide this year. A couple more — Craig Biggio for example — will need every vote he can get for election (Biggio fell shot by two votes last year). Others like [Roger] Clemens and [Barry] Bonds won’t get elected, not a chance, but they were the best players on the ballot.

Then some will need help just to get the 5% necessary to stay on the ballot. What do you do? Do you give Mike Mussina a vote to make sure he falls off the ballot and take it away from Clemens because he’s not getting in anyway? DO you pass on Pedro, knowing full well he will have plenty of wiggle room, and vote for Sammy Sosa to be sure he doesn’t fall below 5%?

These last considerations should NOT be part of this process. I’m now beginning to believe that this, more than anything else, is the worst part of the Hall of Fame voting. The 5% rule is a lousy one. And my recommendation (like anyone cares about my recommendation) is that the BBWAA and Hall of Fame eliminate it immediately.

  • Now that the Red Sox have fortified their lineup via free agency, expect them to make some trades in the coming days, particularly to address the outfielder surplus.

  • Nothing Billy Beane does these days ought to surprise us, even when he ships an MVP candidate who’s both cost-controlled and still not 30 years old. In trading Josh Donaldson to the Jays on Friday night in exchange for Brett Lawrie and three prospects, the A’s general manager hopes to continue keeping Oakland competitive while keeping costs low. Before analyzing the names and motives behind the dealBeyond the Boxscore’s Nick Ashbourne proclaims: “Put as simply as possible, the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics just pulled off a trade that has more angles than a dodecahedron.” (Now that’s a word I haven’t heard in maybe a few decades.)

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Tags: MLB

How to Be Like Mike (Trout) This Offseason



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Big League Stew’s Mike Oz recently chatted with Mike Trout about a variety of topics, including how the AL MVP takes care of himself during the offseason and if sitting down for two big dinners this Thursday impacts his workout routine in any meaningful way:

MO: You’re home in New Jersey, right? What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

MT: I usually go to two dinners. At my parents’ house, then my girlfriend’s house. They have a dinner too. Nothing too crazy.

MO: Since you’re the youngest of three kids, do you think having an MVP will give you extra clout at Thanksgiving this year? Biggest piece of pie? You get to eat the last roll?

MT: It’s first come and first serve in my house and in my family. That’s why I love ‘em. They stay the same. They’re always joking with me.

MO: What’s your favorite thing to eat at Thanksgiving?

MT: It’s gotta be the turkey. Turkey and mashed potatoes.

MO: Since I know you’re training for next season already and you said you have two Thanksgiving dinners, how do you balance that out in the gym?

MT: Thanksgiving, it’s a day you can cheat a little bit. You don’t want to be sitting at dinner and not eating anything. To me, it’s not that bad the next day, working out. I think the biggest thing is in the morning, waking up, you can tell when you ate too much the day before. But it’s only one day.  . . . 

MO: In general, what’s your training schedule like during the offseason? Do you give yourself a break at all?

MT: I played something like 158 games, so I like to take two or three weeks off to let my muscles relax.

MO: From a training standpoint, are you focusing on anything particular this offseason?

MT: There are always things you can improve on. Obviously speed is part of my game. You want to get quicker feet. I’m just working on my agility and trying to get stronger. are always things you can improve on. Obviously speed is part of my game. You want to get quicker feet. I’m just working on my agility and trying to get stronger.

More here.

Happy Thanksgiving, folks! See you next Monday.

Tags: MLB

Where at Fenway Will Hanley Ramirez Play?



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Before hitting the sack last night or after waking up this morning you learned that the Red Sox were poised to sign both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, this offseason’s top position-player free agents.

Marc Normadin of Over the Monster highlights a pretty important issue: Where on the diamond will the former Dodger shortstop and third baseman play? According to Normandin, Ramirez may find himself manning a corner outfield spot at Fenway:

Hanley Ramirez has played all but 112 of his 1,175 career games at shortstop. He’s a poor defensive shortstop despite all that practice, though, and as he’s now on the wrong side of 30, it’s hard to believe he’s going to get much better. Just because he’s been a shortstop doesn’t mean he’s going to be one going forward, however: ESPN’s Enrique Rojas reported that the Red Sox will decide where Hanley Ramirez will play sometime after they finalize their signing of him.

Ramirez has stated that he’s open to playing third base, a position he was not happy about moving to back when the Marlins signed Jose Reyes before the 2012 season. This is a different situation, though, one Ramirez is in control in, and there shouldn’t be any issue about where he is playing if he and the Red Sox have discussed that this is a question yet to be answered. Given the Red Sox are also trying to land third baseman Pablo Sandoval, it doesn’t sound as if that’s the only position Ramirez is willing to play.

The Red Sox have a glut of outfielders, but none of them haven proven they possess Ramirez’s bat. Obviously, some trades would need to be made to accommodate Hanley Ramirez, Outfielder, but that’s why the Sox haven’t settled on where it is Ramirez will play just yet. His position ultimately depends on which spot they open up, and unless the Sox suddenly plan on trading Xander Bogaerts, we’re likely talking about sticking Hanley in left or right field. Remember, trading Bogaerts doesn’t necessarily make sense in a world where the Sox have Ramirez, Sandoval, and whatever pitchers they end up paying, as its his low cost (and the low cost of other homegrown pieces) that allows for that kind of spending in the first place. The Sox could deal Bogaerts for a pitcher who is similarly talented, youthful, and cost-controlled, but then they’d still be left with Hanley’s glove at shortstop, and position players are better bets than young arms, to boot.

More here.

Tags: MLB

Reveille 11/24/14



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Good morning.

First, a brief comment:

When evaluating the free-agent landscape for the Bronx Bombers, keep in mind that, for the first time since Brian Cashman assumed the role of general manager in 1996, the Yankees no longer have all that much to offer, other than a healthier Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Piñeda, an upgrade at shortstop (yeah, I said it . . . again), and at least modest improvements from Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. Oh yeah, and A-Rod.

Once upon a time, the Yankees were able to lure top free agents by bundling offers of riches no team could match with promises of October baseball. 

No longer. 

Several other franchises appear to be making credible runs at either Jon Lester or Max Scherzer, this offseason’s marquee names.

So what’s the selling point today? If a premier free agent wants to play for a winner, the Tigers, Cardinals, Orioles, and Nationals expect to be the favorites in their respective divisions next season. If he wants to play for the green, the Red Sox and Dodgers have among the deepest pockets in the game. If he desires a little of both, I’m pretty sure Arte Moreno and the Angels can’t wait to meet him.

Before shouting in response, “It’s New York! It’s playing in the House That Ruth Matsui Built! It’s Madison Avenue!” keep in mind that being a part of a winning team is, first and foremost, what makes the Bronx a coveted place to play. (Come on, don’t tell me you fail to recall the good ol’ days when George Steinbrenner was making rather loud noises about moving the team to Jersey?)

To be clear, I’m not saying Cashman has no chance of signing either player. Only that it’s no longer a foregone conclusion.

And with that . . . here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday at the office a bit more bearable: 

The single biggest hurdle between Swisher and productivity in 2015 is health. His season ended in August as both his knees gave him trouble all season long, a problem he first observed towards the end of Spring Training. In the end, he required “debridements” in both his knees, cleaning up all manner of mess and scar tissue. How much did Swisher’s physical issues contribute to the worst season of his career?

It’s easy to dismiss everything as a product of a weakened lower half, but a rough 2014 together with his 2013 season suggests a player in decline. just not as steep as he fell off last year. The uptick in strikeouts — and subsequent drop in walk rate — is the ledge upon which his entire bounce-back teeters.

Swisher’s increasing whiff rate as the year went on, coupled with the increase in breaking balls thrown his way, is a matter of perspective. A sympathetic soul might chalk all his struggles up to injury. A weakened base slowed his bat, causing him to cheat on the fastball and leaving him exposed to the larger doses of breaking balls. If he’s healthy and able to produce more rotation with his lower half, suddenly he has a quicker bat and voila! Swisher’s fixed! He did chase more in 2014, a fact the optimists among us happily brush under the injury rug.

On top of more strikeouts, fewer walks, and more chases, Swisher managed to hit more pop-ups and generally made worse contact as the year wore on and his knees wore down. Suddenly there is a mounting pile of evidence suggesting this hitter just isn’t that great anymore. Any expected regression gets held down by the weight of rapidly deteriorating 

 

 

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Tags: MLB

Brian Cashman Goes Homeless for Charity



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ESPN New York has the details of Brian Cashman’s night on the street in Manhattan to boost dollars and awareness for homeless youth:

For the fifth consecutive year, the New York Yankees general manager planned to sleep outside in the blustery West 41st Street courtyard of Covenant House as part of an annual nationwide event to raise money to benefit homeless children and adolescents.

“I don’t know how any human beings can deal with this on a daily, weekly, monthly basis,” Cashman said. “There’s no comfort on that ground. Even one night is terrible. With all the elements, with nature. It’s not right. No one should have to live like that.” 

Along with dozens of other participants, Cashman was heading out to his concrete bed with just a sleeping bag and his arm for a pillow. “The first year, I didn’t get a wink of sleep,” he said. “But after Year 1, I brought a sleeping pill with me. I don’t know if that’s cheating or not.”

Cashman, did, however, have a cell phone, his lifeline to the rest of the baseball world. And he did admit that in past years, he has taken calls from agents and even proposed a trade or two.

But Cashman, citing collective bargaining agreement rules prohibiting GMs from discussing free-agent negotiations, could offer no specifics on what he might be able to get done from his chosen spot on the cold pavement. So far this winter, the Yankees have traded Francisco Cervelli for pitcher Justin Wilson, sold the rights to Zelous Wheeler to the Rakuten Golden Eagles, Masahiro Tanaka’s former club, and added four minor leaguers — outfielders Tyler Austin and Mason Williams and right-handers Danny Burawa and Branden Pinder — to the 40-man roster.

Other than that, all quiet on the free-agent front.

“Lots of calls, lots of texts, but nothing to show for it yet,” he said. “It’s certainly taking its time, but it’s been busy. Certainly a lot of conversations. Hopefully they’ll lead somewhere positive.”

Kudos to Cashman for his dedication to the plight of homeless children and teens, although I’m sure there are Yankee fans also wanting to know whether he’s found next season’s starting shortstop, either via text messages or in the adjacent sleeping bag.

More here.

Tags: MLB

Snow Drives Jets–Bills Game Out of Buffalo



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Ralph Wilson Stadium will be quiet this Sunday.

The Jets and Bills had been scheduled to play a 1 p.m. EST game in Orchard Park, but the existence of some six feet of snow on the ground in the Buffalo suburb has forced the NFL to move the game to a yet-to-be disclosed location.

Initially, the Bills hoped to clear the stadium in time for Sunday’s scheduled kickoff, offering $10 per hour and free game tickets to fans who could help shovel out Ralph Wilson Stadium.

“It is not practical to play a game in Orchard Park in the condition that our community is in,” [team president Russ] Brandon said. “It really wasn’t an option to try to play the game at any point Sunday, Monday or even potentially Tuesday based on what the forecast is.”

Possible alternate locations, according to sources, include Detroit, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. The Lions and Redskins are on the road this weekend; the Steelers have a bye. It’s 215 miles from Buffalo to Pittsburgh, 256 miles from Buffalo to Detroit and 389 miles from Buffalo to FedEx Field in Washington.

Coaches for the teams are preparing with the belief the game will be moved to Monday evening in one of those three cities, sources said. The Bills have been unable to practice for the past two days and will have to leave Buffalo to do so.

Under consideration for the Bills is flying to the alternate site Friday and holding their first practice of the week in that city. However, about 85 percent of players live in the towns south of Buffalo, hit hardest by the storm.

“We’re working through that right now,” Brandon said. “The logistics are very difficult. We’ve had a lot of brainstorming sessions, and really trying to target all of our guys that are in very difficult situations. Some of the guys have been in apartment complexes that are not plowed in any shape or form and very difficult to get out.”

More here.

Tags: NFL

Two Teens Scoop Ken Rosenthal



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Craig Calcaterra of NBC Hardball Talk applauds Ken Rosenthal, known by some as “Robothal” for his tireless reporting and ability to be the first to announce breaking news on Twitter, for being scooped yesterday by two teenagers, one a mere 13-year-old.

The news in question was, first, free-agent designated hitter Billy Butler’s being close to signing a deal with the A’s and, second, the terms of the contract ($30 million over three years):

[Transaction news] is, by definition, single data point news that does not necessarily require reporting savvy and experience. It usually does, of course — you gotta get yourself into a place where people trust you with information — but it doesn’t have to. Sometimes people just hear things. And yes, that someone can be a 13-year-old kid if he’s in the right place at the right time. The key isn’t getting one scoop. It’s getting hundreds and hundreds of them over years.

It’s quite refreshing, then, to see Ken Rosenthal — a guy who feeds his family on the scoops he gets — having a great sense of humor about it all. He went on MLB Network and broke down how these kids scooped him.

Watch the segment here:

I agree with Calcaterra: Way to go, Robothal!

More here.

Tags: MLB

Reveille 11/17/14



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Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday at the office a bit more bearable:

  • Actually, this fascinating piece from John Dewan in BillJamesOnline.com got posted the week before last. Dewan argues that, while Madison Bumgarner’s World Series Game 7 performance was indeed spectacular, those responsible for San Francisco’s defensive positioning also deserve major kudos.

When Nori Aoki slapped a line drive down the left field line that was slicing away from the left fielder, it seemed like Bumgarner had done just that. Aoki’s liner was in the air for just 2.6 seconds. It is a play that Baseball Info Solutions’ Plus/Minus system expects to never get made. However, even as the ball quickly fell out of the sky, Juan Perez came out of nowhere to reach the ball and snag it before it touched down.

That out was made possible by the Giants’ decision to play Perez close to the left field line, which is not at all an obvious decision with a left-handed hitter at the plate. But it was no lucky break for the Giants. They knew that Aoki had a tendency to hit his line drives and flyballs the other way and often down the line. You can see that trend in Baseball Info Solutions’ Defensive Positioning software, which highlights red the sections of the field that Aoki’s most recent balls in play have been hit to.

  • I don’t agree with Ben Lindbergh of Grantland that Mike Trout’s winning this year’s AL MVP vote is akin to Martin Scorsese’s finally winning Best Picture for The Departed. Come on, Ben, I agree with your overall concern about Trout’s future, but he had a really good season, even if his previous two campaigns were markedly superior. As for The Departed, well, let’s just say that film was way closer in quality to Kundun than Goodfellas.
  • Victor Martinez re-signed with the Tigers, but the designated hitter, who turns 36 later next month, didn’t come cheap: $68 million over four years.
  • Who needs Panda the most?” asks A. J. Cassavell of Sports on Earth. He looks at several teams who could use free agent Pablo Sandoval’s bat in their lineup.
  • Writing in SB Nation, Eric Stephen introduces us to Cuban sensation Yasmany Tomas, who is expected to sign a contract with a big-league club in the coming days. Stephen expects Tomas will command a pretty penny:

Because Tomas is at least 23 years old and has played at least five years in a professional league, as stipulated per the collective bargaining agreement, he is considered a professional free agent and not subject to the international bonus pool limits imposed on signing international amateurs.

That has Tomas in line for a payday similar to the $68 million over six years received by [Jose] Abreu, or the $72.5 million over seven years given to outfielder Rusney Castillo by the Red Sox. Gone are the days of grabbing a potential impact slugger like [Yoenis] Cespedes for four years and only $36 million, or [Yasiel] Puig for seven years and $42 million, as their success gave teams the confidence to invest more heavily in Cuban hitters.

[Agent Jay] Alou said an eight-year offer was already turned down, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, with Tomas preferring a shorter contract so he can cash in again on another big free agent deal when he is still somewhere between ages 27-30. Cespedes employed a similar strategy when he turned down six-year offers to sign with Oakland for only four seasons at a higher annual value.

  • Courtesy of Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan, you’ll never guess who in 2014 led MLB in attempts to bunt for a base hit. Never. Ever.
  • Another Cuban, infielder Yoan Moncada, has been cleared to test free agency by MLB, according to ESPN’s Keith Law, although the Office of Foreign Assets Control will have to give its okay before any team signs the 19-year-old.

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Tags: NHL

Report: Giancarlo Will Sign a $325M Contract



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Giancarlo Stanton, who finished second in this year’s NL MVP voting and is two seasons away from free agency, appears poised to become the recipient of the richest contract in MLB history.

Here’s Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors:

The Marlins and Stanton are close to agreeing to terms on a 13-year, $325MM contract that is expected to contain a no-trade clause and an opt-out clause, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Count Matt Snyder, Heyman’s CBS colleague, as being very impressed with an owner with a less than stellar reputation across the sport:

Remember, [Jeffrey] Loria bought the Marlins before the 2003 season, watched the club win the World Series with a young core and blew it up as fast as he could. They haven’t sniffed the playoffs since, but Loria has made a ton of money and spent taxpayer dollars to get a new stadium built.

And ever since that Toronto deal [involving Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes], it has seemed unlikely the Marlins would lock up Stanton long-term, and many big-market teams have been pestering them about a potential deal for the MVP-caliber youngster.

Even if Stanton was given a deal, I would have been skeptical without the no-trade clause. “Window dressing” would have been my immediate reaction along with a yawn. Surely the Marlins would have been signing Stanton just to show they aren’t averse to that before dealing him a few years later. After all, a long-term deal would increase his trade value, because the acquiring team would know how long they’d have him along with the dollar amount.

The no-trade clause, though, has me on the opposite end. This is a great deal for the Marlins and, more importantly, their fans. Forget the money (seriously, MLB teams wipe their figurative backsides with $25 million a season — and would you rather Stanton or Loria get that? C’mon). This is the Marlins saying for once that they are committing the franchise to a young superstar, like they didn’t do with [Miguel] Cabrera and others. They are telling Stanton he has no-trade protection, so he won’t have to vent on Twitter about being “pissed” again — at least when it comes to a trade.

More here and here.

Tags: MLB

R.I.P. Alvin Dark, 92



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Former star shortstop and manager Alvin Dark (.289/.333/.411, 35.6 fWAR) died earlier today. A native of Comanche, Okla., he won two World Series rings, one as shortstop for the 1954 New York Giants, the other while piloting the 1974 A’s. He was 92.

Daniel Brown of the Sacramento Bee:

Dark emerged as a Giants star while the franchise was still in New York, serving as the captain of the 1951 team that toppled the Brooklyn Dodgers on Bobby Thomson’s pennant-winning “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”

Dark was also on the field three years later when Willie Mays made his legendary catch against the Cleveland Indians in the ‘54 World Series.

Regarded as one of the best hit-and-run artists of his time, Dark finished his 14-year playing career with a .289 average, 126 home runs and 757 RBIs. He made the All-Star team in 1951, ‘52 and ’54.

Giants owner Horace Stoneham gave Dark his first managerial job in 1961, three years after the team had transplanted to the West Coast. Dark’s ‘62 team, featuring stars such as Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda and Juan Marichal, nudged the Dodgers for the National League pennant.

While managing the Giants, Dark got mired in racial controversy:

Behind the scenes, however, Dark struggled to navigate baseball’s shifting demographics. Dark prohibited Latinos from speaking Spanish to each other, a ruling that upset many of the team’s best players, including Dominican Republic native Felipe Alou — whose brothers, Jesus and Matty, played on the team.

Dark also prohibited Latin music, which alienated Cepeda, the player nicknamed “Cha-Cha.” Cepeda had been second in voting for the MVP award in ‘61 and was the team’s leader among Latin players.

In July of 1964, Newsday quoted the manager as saying that the minorities on the Giants were “just not able to perform up to the white ballplayers when it comes to mental alertness.” The team’s black and Latin players threatened an indefinite boycott until Dark was replaced. It took Mays, the manager’s long time teammate, to quiet the rebellion.

Dark, meanwhile, insisted he was misquoted by Newsday — and players of various ethnicities rushed to his defense. Jackie Robinson, the Dodgers star who had broken baseball’s color barrier, said: “I have found Dark to be a gentleman and, above all, unbiased. Our relationship has not only been on the ball field but off it.”

The incident forever rankled Dark, who was 90 years old when he told the Chronicle: “Let me say this: Some reporters always tried to find a reason that a manager like myself wouldn’t like people from different countries. We have 25 on the ballclub, and every one is important to me. I don’t care where they came from.”

More here.

Tags: MLB

Why Did Corey Kluber Win the Cy?



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Mind you, Corey Kluber is a deserving American League Cy Young Award winner. I was mildly surprised that he edged out Felix Hernandez for the hardware, however. (ESPN had also predicted a King Felix triumph.)

Both starters were durable, having taken the mound 34 times. Hernandez threw 236 innings for the Mariners while Kluber gave the Indians 235 2/3.

Hernandez posted a better strikeout-to-walk ratio: 5.39 to 5.27. He also had a better ERA: 2.44 to 2.14.

So what may have tipped the scales in favor of Cleveland’s hurler?

Do you want the new-school stat reasoning? Kluber led King Felix in both Baseball-Reference WAR, 7.4 versus 6.8, and Fangraphs WAR, 7.3 versus 6.2.

Or is old-school stat reasoning your cup of tea? Kluber led King Felix in wins, 18 to 15.

David Schoenfield of ESPN’s SweetSpot suggests another factor may have been at work:

How much do you factor in that Kluber had a big September — when five of his six starts came against the Twins, Astros, Rays and White Sox, five teams out of the race and playing their share of September call-ups. How much do you factor that in arguably the biggest start of Hernandez’s career, in the final week in Toronto, he got bombed and gave up eight runs? 

More here.

By the way, congrats to Clayton Kershaw, the unanimous choice of the BBWAA voters for the Cy in the National League.

Tags: MLB

Reveille 11/10/14



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Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday at the office a bit more bearable:

2. The October Roster Is More Important Than the Regular-Season Record

[Mike] Trout’s 98-win Angels took major blows to their pitching staff this season, with young ace Garrett Richards suffering a season-ending injury in August and breakout arm Matt Shoemaker pitching at less than 100 percent in the playoffs. The 96-win Orioles lost two pivotal players to injury in Matt Wieters and Manny Machado, and then lost Chris Davis to suspension, making them far less formidable in October than they would have been at full strength. Meanwhile, the Royals entered the postseason with all of their key players healthy, then fared far better than their record or reputation suggested they would.

The expanded playoff format implemented in 2012 again served its purpose this year, getting two additional teams into the field and positioning those wild-card clubs as heavy underdogs. Maybe it’s time to consider the possibility that the wild-card teams aren’t as puny as we prognosticators make them out to be, though. Baseball carries the smallest home-field advantage of any major North American professional team sport, meaning a wild-card team that sneaks in with 88 regular-season wins can go from afterthought to genuine danger if it’s healthy, fully stocked, and built for October.

Martinez’s breakout was suitably astonishing, and most were willing to dismiss it as lucky for the first few months of the season (for the record, I believed in him early on). But Victor Martinez is also 35 years of age, and a pure hitter with no defensive position. His impending free agency will no doubt beget a hefty contract, but it is unlikely he will continue to perform like this season’s edition. We have four consecutive prior years of data to suggest he’s something like a good, maybe even a great hitter, and then one aberrant, miraculous year in which he tore the cover off the ball. This year shades his forecasts towards greatness, but it likely doesn’t set the pace for all Victor Martinez seasons to come. . . . 

The proper remedy would be to price Victor Martinez not on his 2014 success, but on the player he’s likely to be going forward. That’s a task easier stated than done, however. Even though breakout players don’t systematically outperform their forecasts in the next year, they do deviate from them to a greater degree, both positively and negatively, than you would expect by chance. These players are simply more difficult to predict.

The task is made more dangerous still by the free agency bidding process. If we assume that each team has independent and slightly different projection systems, then they will all come to marginally distinct views on someone like Victor Martinez. At that point, it only takes a single team with an over-optimistic projection to drive a player’s price beyond reason. That team may win the auction for the player’s services, but, because their projection lies outside the consensus, they are also the most likely to have made an error in valuation (this paradoxical effect is called the winner’s curse).

  • Just a Bit Outside is losing one of its star authors, Gabe Kapler. The Dodgers have tapped the former big-leaguer as its new farm director. Before packing up his things, Kapler penned a farewell note. He concluded:

Clubhouse chemistry may not be quantifiable, but it is certainly palpable at its most potent. Our team at FOX Sports is a savory blend of innovative and traditional, tolerant and pressing, studious and fun. I was proud to call the members of this crew my teammates. I learned valuable lessons from each of them.

As I move on to work with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, I say farewell to a special group of people. In baseball, clubhouse chemistry matters. Apparently, it does in media too.      

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Tags: MLB

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