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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Scenario for Mike Trout being traded: he's owed $34,000,000 each year 2018, 2019, 2020.

Angels owner Arte Moreno blinks.

Can Mike Trout ever get traded?
by Mark Feinsand / MLB.com | @feinsand | April 28th, 2017

Mike Trout is the best player in baseball. He's also the most untradeable.

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Start the relief pitchers, alternating lefty/righty. Close with the starter.

From the original 2006 document:

Radical Baseball
By
Kenneth Matinale June 9, 2006; posted Wednesday, February 20, 2008
  1. Start the closer.
  2. The Real scandal of the last 16 years: propagation of non-uniform playing areas.
  3. Four leagues, no divisions.
  4. Walks: a terrible rule.
  5. Designated Fielders and the Six-Player Batting Order.
  6. Clock, time-outs, … you know, like the other sports.
1. Start the closer.
Last night the Yanks were leading the Red Sox 3-2 in the sixth, bases loaded, no outs. Starter Jaret Wright was done. With the game on the line manager Joe Torre called for not his best relief pitcher, Mariano Rivera, but his third best (at best) Scott Proctor. Proctor did an OK job allowing two of Wright’s runs to score. Unfortunately, in the next inning Proctor allowed three of his own.

Torre should have brought in Mariano Rivera, his best. Since Tony LaRussa created this nonsense called the closer with his use of Dennis Eckersley in the late 1980s, managers have adhered to this formula like their jobs depended on it. Part of the orthodoxy is: who will pitch the ninth inning? The closer is used almost exclusively to pitch one and only one inning, which he starts, and only with a lead. Save the game in the sixth and take your chances in the ninth. Is Scott Proctor more likely to allow runs entering a game with bases loaded and no out or when starting an inning?

This brings up another piece of nonsense. The closer is the only pitcher who probably will not need to pitch with runners on base. Why doesn’t he wind up? The starter is the only pitcher who winds up, yet he is the most likely to pitch with runners on base because he pitches the most innings. About 25 years ago people realized that relief pitchers often pitched with runners on base, so relievers abandoned the wind up. But the closer could and probably should wind up. How come nobody has realized that? It’s pretty simple.

In another recent game Torre announced before the game that he would pitch Rivera no matter what because Rivera needed work. Aside from the silliness that a pitcher needs to play catch in a game rather than just do it on the sideline (hey, it’s nothing like a batter needing to face game pitching), why wait until Rivera’s usual time in the ninth? Start him! Here are three advantages:
  1. Rivera pitches to the top of the order. The batters in the ninth are random. Rivera is as likely to face the bottom of the order as the top. Pitch Scott Proctor against the bottom.
  2. In the first inning the game is almost always close. Always at home. On the road it might not be close if the closer’s team scores a bunch in the top of the first inning.
  3. Rivera can pitch more than one inning. If Rivera retires the side in the first inning on six pitches, he did not get the work that Torre wanted. However, Rivera can pitch at least one more inning. If Torre waits until the ninth inning, Rivera may throw those six pitches, get little work and Torre may have already used Scott Proctor for an inning or two when he may have avoided using Proctor at all. Let pitch count dictate how long Rivera works, not the arbitrary wall of the ninth inning. You know, like they do for starters.
Rivera pitches in about 70 games and throws about 80 innings in a season. Why not start him every other game? He would get regular rest and the three advantages listed above would apply in every appearance. I’ll bet that Rivera’s contribution to the Yanks winning would be at least as great as it is with Torre blindly following the formula. OK, now it’s time for you to run around and scream: he blasphemes!
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Along the way I further suggested that the "starter" be scheduled to enter in the fourth inning and set to pitch through the 9th, thus finishing or closing the game with little or no relief help. The extended idea was that three "relief" pitchers would pitch the first three innings and might alternate lefty/righty.

Now let's put this on steroids, so to speak. DEFINITELY, alternate lefty/righty and do so to reflect the handedness of the "starter" as much as possible.

This would paralyse the other team, whose manager would be unlikely to react. If the "starter" is a lefty, the other manager will be inclined to start righty batters and/or adjust his batting order to "protect" his vulnerable lefty batters. So, then the pitchers scheduled to pitch the first and third innings would be righties. If the opposing manager tries to compensate by mixing his lineup, have the second inning pitcher be a righty.

If the opposing manager replaces players in the 4th inning when the "starter" enters, his meager bench will be depleted early.

It's an aggressive common sense strategy that allows a team to take the initiative, something seldom done in baseball, which is limited by its refusal to allow re-entry, which football and basketball do. Yes, re-entry can be done in baseball, just do it within the construct of the batting order: players are locked into a batting order position.

Why doesn't an owner tell his players to stop jerking around?

One, just one of thirty. Aren't all thirty as bored as the rest of us? They must be. So why doesn't an owner of a major league team order his players to stop jerking around?

The other night two top starting pitchers engaged in a classic pitcher's dual: Masahiro Tanaka and Chris Sale. And yet as quickly as they tried to work, the game still took 2:21. That's ridiculous. Both could have done more to move things along.

With two strikes in him Yankee slugger Aaron Judge relaxed but stayed in the batter's box, looking down. Judge did not ask for time and the plate umpire did not indicate time out. The catcher also relaxed and looked away. None were paying attention. I couldn't understand why Sale didn't simply fire the ball down the middle without waiting for a sign. There were no base runners. Maybe if he had been ordered to speed up even more, Sale would have had the basic common sense to do it.

Then batters would take on the attitude of boxers: defend yourself at all times.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Derek Jeter may buy Marlins ... with plenty of help and estate planning.

Giancarlo Stanton $325 million 13 year contract: legit or scam? Thursday, November 20, 2014

Giancarlo Stanton signed that contract yesterday.  He can opt out but not until year six, which by then may be not such big bucks or may be no bucks if his team, the Florida Marlins, default.

Yesterday when I first heard that the contract was back loaded I thought that the Marlins owner was doing estate planning and intended to sell within a few years or until the contract started to benefit the player and not the owner.  The owner doesn't care if there are big bucks owed in several years if he does not expect to be the owner when stuff hits the fan...

I can see that Stanton had to take all that money.  What I don't understand is why he and his representative allowed the team to pay him so relatively little in the first few years.

In 2014 Stanton received $6.5 million.  In 2015, the first year of the new 13 year contract, Stanton will receive $6.5 million.  Say what?  Same pay after an MVP quality season.  No raise.  What the heck?

Stanton thinks this will let the team add good players so that they can build a winner.  Or it could be that Stanton is being played for a fool.  Then Stanton gets $9 million in 2016, then $14.4 million.  Then in 2018 at age 28 Stanton starts to receive pay that ranges between $25 and $32 million through 2028, age 38.
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Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush Are Said to Move Closer to Purchase of Marlins By TYLER KEPNER APRIL 25, 2017 nytimes.com

Derek Jeter has always said that his long-term ambition was to own a major league team. Now, less than three years into his retirement, he appears to be closing in on his chance.

A group including Jeter and Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and presidential candidate, has reached a tentative agreement to buy the Miami Marlins ...

The Miami Herald reported that the sale price would be $1.3 billion. There are said to be multiple members of the ownership group, but Bush, who failed in his bid to win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, would apparently be the control person...

Jeter earned more than $265 million in salary over his 20-year career, spent entirely with the Yankees ...


The Marlins have been owned since 2002 by Jeffrey Loria, a New York art dealer with a fondness for former Yankees. Loria succeeded in getting a new ballpark built for the franchise in 2012, but the Marlins have been plagued by low attendance and distrust of the ownership by the team’s fans.

While sometimes giving out lavish contracts — including a record 13-year, $325 million deal to the slugger Giancarlo Stanton — Loria has also, at various times, reversed course and slashed payroll with little warning. The Marlins have not reached the postseason since their 2003 championship, and their current playoff drought is the longest in the National League.

Even so, Loria stands to turn an enormous profit if the sale to the Jeter-Bush group goes through. He bought the Marlins for $158 million after Major League Baseball had purchased his previous team, the Montreal Expos, for $120 million and lent him the rest to complete the deal for the Marlins.

Forbes recently valued the Marlins at $940 million, but the reported $1.3 billion price for this deal would be the second-highest ever paid for a baseball franchise, behind only the sale of the Dodgers for $2 billion in 2012.

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This is how at least some of those really long, really expensive contracts can make sense for the team owner.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Fielders catch 99.99% of flies hit near them. So why pay big bucks for a running catch?

Duh. Well if outfielders knew where to stand, then, obviously, they would catch almost everything. Only the pitcher, who is not even a baseball player, and the catcher are required to be in specific positions when a pitched ball is put into play. The other seven players, who do most of the fielding, may play anywhere in fair territory. (Why is it called territory?).

So now that teams are placing those seven fielders in nontraditional locations, the better that teams do that, the less skilled the fielders need to be and the less teams must pay big bucks for fielding. Reviewing a recent conventional wisdom:

Baseball’s Data Revolution Is Elevating Defensive Dynamos
By BEN BERKON APRIL 17, 2017 nytimes.com

When the Tampa Bay Rays gave outfielder Kevin Kiermaier a six-year, $53.5 million contract extension last month, they were not rewarding him so much for his prowess at the plate. He is a career .258 hitter who hits few home runs.

What most compelled the Rays to hang on to Kiermaier was his ability to field his position.
______________________

Kevin Kiermaier will turn 27 Saturday and his career OPS+ is 105 (5% better than league average) so he's better at the plate than the Times writer suggests but, hey, why ruin a good story line? But he's hardly Willie Mays, perhaps the best combination ever of a great fielder and great hitter, one who hits and hits for power (660 career home runs).

In 1954 Mays returned from nearly two years (34 games in early 1952) in the Army and played his second major league season. Mays hit 41 home runs and led the National League in batting average (.345), triples, SLG, OPS, OPS+. Mays was voted NL MVP for leading his New York Giants (97-57) to the pennant.

In the World Series the Giants swept the Cleveland Indians (111-43). In those four WS games Mays batted OK: four hits, including a double, and four walks for an on base average of .444. But his SLG was only .357 for OPS .802 compared to OPS 1.078 in the regular season.

Mays is remembered in that WS for a great clutch catch and throw in deep center field in the Polo Grounds in game one in the 8th inning tied 2-2. The ball was hit by cleanup batter Vic Wertz. The old black and white film was shown on TV for years and still shots were printed many times. Mays was chiseled onto the Mount Rushmore of great fielders. You can read more details here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Catch_(baseball)

... the Polo Grounds was larger than average, and Mays, who was playing in shallow center field, made an on-the-run, over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track
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Now consider that Wertz drove in Cleveland's only runs of the entire game with a long first inning triple to deep right center with two outs. Why didn't Mays simply move back in the 8th inning when Wertz again batted with two runners on base? Had Mays been playing back just a few steps, he would have caught the ball easily. Was it that Mays played in the same spot pretty much all the time? Was it because starting pitcher Sal Maglie had been replaced by lefty Don Liddle to pitch to lefty batter Wertz? Was Mays shallow to prevent Larry Doby, who was on second base, from scoring on a single?

On the other hand, there were no outs, so any hit could have led to multiple runs scoring. The Giants eventually won 5-2 on a three run pinch hit home run by Dusty Rhodes. Mays had walked and stolen second and scored the winning run.

Mays had 18 plate appearances (PA), including his four walks. In each PA Mays needed all his batting skill. However, in the field Mays needed his super powers only on that one play and that opportunity might not have happened at all while the odds that Mays would bat in a critical situation were pretty good considering that Mays was the Giants cleanup hitter.

By rule the pitcher is required to throw pitches in the strike zone or suffer the penalty of the batter getting a base on balls, a walk. But there is no requirement that batters hit the ball anywhere other than in fair territory. In fact, it's in the batter's interest to hit fair balls where fielders are not standing.

Even with lots more fielding stats than fielding percentage (errors per play) we still tend to be overly influenced by the few spectacular plays, particularly since they are replayed so often that they seem much more numerous. Most plays are routine and most difficult plays occur because the fielder starts far from where the ball eventually nears the ground. Other than that, most other difficult plays are when the ball takes a bad hop, which is usually in the infield. This post was really considering fly balls to the outfield.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Does a major league manager need to be able to speak English? ESPN doesn't think so.

Yadier Molina was shown in an interview during yesterday's Sunday night game between the Yankees and Cardinals.

What was that nonsense showing the Molina interview at length taking up half the screen with the game in progress and, most absurdly, asking him about becoming a manager? The guy didn't speak English. He spoke Spanish. He had subtitles. What planet is ESPN on? I watched the rest of the game with the sound off.

Is this some form of open mindedness?


I've thought for some time that it might make sense to consider a person's ability to speak Spanish as an attribute when considering that person for the job of field manager. But that was Spanish in addition to English, not in place of English.


Hideki Matsui played for the Yankees for seven seasons. He seemed like a good guy but never spoke more than a few words in English and used an interpreter. Would anyone in his/her right mind think that the Yankees should consider Matsui as a candidate to replace field manager Joe Girardi?


espndeportes.espn.com


That's the Spanish language website for ESPN. ESPN also broadcasts games on a separate channel with announcers speaking Spanish. Would it make sense for ESPN to have announcers speaking English on those broadcasts?

So what sense did last night's interview make, except to provide some silly attempt for some silly ESPN employee to be silly?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Yankees: first two innings zero balls in play. The apocalypse approaching?

The horror. The horror.

St. Louis Cardinals at New York Yankees Box Score, April 15, 2017
Yankees 3, Cardinals 2


Bottom of the 1st, Yankees Batting, Tied 0-0, Cardinals' Carlos Martinez facing 1-2-3
b10-00---7,(3-2) NYYBrett GardnerCarlos Martinez3%58%Walk
b10-001--5,(3-1) NYYAaron HicksCarlos Martinez5%64%Walk; Gardner to 2B
b10-0012-3,(0-2) ONYYChris CarterCarlos Martinez-5%59%Strikeout Swinging
b10-0112-2,(1-0) NYYJacoby EllsburyCarlos Martinez5%63%Passed Ball; Gardner to 3B; Hicks to 2B
b10-01-236,(3-2) ONYYJacoby EllsburyCarlos Martinez-7%56%Strikeout Swinging
b10-02-231,(0-0) RNYYStarlin CastroCarlos Martinez8%63%Wild Pitch; Gardner Scores/No RBI; Hicks to 3B
b11-02--35,(3-1) NYYStarlin CastroCarlos Martinez1%64%Walk
b11-021-36,(3-2) NYYChase HeadleyCarlos Martinez2%66%Walk; Castro to 2B
b11-021235,(0-2) ONYYGreg BirdCarlos Martinez-6%60%Strikeout Looking
1 run, 0 hits, 0 errors, 3 LOB. Cardinals 0, Yankees 1.

Bottom of the 2nd, Yankees Batting, Ahead 1-0, Cardinals' Carlos Martinez facing 8-9-1
b21-00---4,(0-2) ONYYKyle HigashiokaCarlos Martinez-2%64%Strikeout Swinging
b21-01---3,(0-2) ONYYRonald TorreyesCarlos Martinez-1%62%Strikeout Swinging
b21-02---5,(3-1) NYYBrett GardnerCarlos Martinez1%63%Walk
b21-021--6,(3-2) NYYAaron HicksCarlos Martinez2%65%Walk; Gardner to 2B
b21-0212-3,(0-2) ONYYChris CarterCarlos Martinez-4%61%Strikeout Swinging
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB. Cardinals 0, Yankees 1.

All walks and all strike outs. No fielders involved. Baseball is devolving.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Showing posts with label Jackie Robinson.

Jackie Robinson day is here again. I may take the day off. Watching all the players in the same number is mind numbing. This may be the final lunacy of the previous commissioner, Allan Huber "Bud" Selig, still annoying us. May Jackie Robinson rest in peace.

http://radicalbaseball.blogspot.com/search/label/Jackie%20Robinson

There are 18 posts. When you get to the bottom of a web page, click "Older Posts" to see the next ones.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Clint Frazier: OPS under .700 in AAA in both 2016 and 2017.

Small sample size!

Small sample size!

Yeah, yeah, we know. But it's not encouraging. Minor league plate appearances (PA):
Aaron Judge 1,513  Born: April 26, 1992 (Age: 24-353 days)
Clint Frazier 1,875  Born: September 6, 1994 (Age: 22-220 days)

Judge is about 2.5 years older and starting in right field for the Yankees. Through his first nine 2017 games Judge seems to have adjusted to major league pitching, which Frazier has yet to see.

Why is Clint Frazier rated 34th best prospect by fangraphs.com? How valuable are "prospects"? Sunday, March 19, 2017

Frazier OPS in 158 AAA PA: .664
Frazier OPS in 2017 in 29 AAA PA: .693; zero home runs

So, is Frazier still a kid? Yankee fans should hope that Frazier has a career as good as Brett Gardner.

Aaron Judge has cut his strike out rate in half but has he turned the corner?

In a dozen days Aaron Judge will be 25, hardly a kid as often described by Yankee fans too long deprived of real kid wonders.

YearAgeTmLgGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSOPS+TBGDPHBPSHSFIBBPosAwards
201624NYYAL27958410152041001942.179.263.345.6086129210109
201725NYYAL933296810370047.276.364.621.9841761820001*/9D
2 Yrs36128113162330717011349.204.289.416.705894741011

So far in 2017 Judge has cut his strike put rate in half, which is a big deal since he was striking out in half his at bats (AB) in 2016.

In 2017 Judge has played 9 games. In games 6 through 8, Judge had one single and one home run in each. OPS through 9 games: .984.

In 2016 Judge homered in his first plate appearance (PA) and again in his second game. Home run number three did not come until game 15. Through his first five 2016 games his OPS was 1.228 but through his 9th it was .793. Judge then plummeted to .572 in game 22. He finished at .608.

So the obvious question is: has Aaron Judge turned the corner or is he due for yet another fall?