April 7th


Yasiel Puig – Fights Entire Pirates Roster

Quite the image above, wouldn’t you say? Chris Archer, who is known for showboating after a big strikeout, throws a pitch to Derek Dietrich who takes him out of the stadium into the river. Dietrich pimps the HR with a bat drop and takes a second to admire his work. Archer does not like that and throws BEHIND Dietrich the next AB and the benches clear. Puig takes exception to some words that catcher Francisco Cervelli said and runs out there basically alone to what makes for an awesome picture. 5 total players were ejected. This is what started it all ⬇️


Dallas Keuchel – FA Update

Already a week and a half into the season and starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel is still unsigned. Yesterday a report came out from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal telling that the 6 or 7 year deal approaching $250 MM that he was looking for is not going to happen and that his price is now dropping. Rosenthal reports that if he does indeed sign a one year deal, he still wants it to be more than the $17.9 MM qualifying offer he declined when he left Houston. 


Notes 

  • Reds acquire Rob Refsnyder from Diamondbacks for PTBNL or cash
  • Brewer’s RP Jermey Jeffress is projected to join team next weekend
  • Ervin Santana will get back in the bigs on Tuesday in a start against the Rays

PITCH OF THE DAY

Diego Castillo vs Pablo Sandoval. Sorry Pablo but you don’t even have a chance. 100 mph with that movement, good luck. I love his reaction!



Business of Baseball – Guaranteed Contract

Definition

Players who obtain Major League contracts — either via free agency or extensions — are guaranteed the full amount of money promised by those contracts. Conversely, players signed to Minor League contracts must earn a spot on the roster in Spring Training or via an in-season promotion in order to have their contracts guaranteed. Arbitration contracts are not guaranteed either, as a club can release a player on or before the 16th day of Spring Training and be responsible for only 30 days worth of pay. Players cut between the 17th and the final day of Spring Training must be compensated for 45 days worth of pay (at the prorated version of their arbitration salary). But if a player that agreed to an arbitration salary breaks camp with the club, his contract is fully guaranteed.

Example

Right-hander Josh Johnson signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Padres prior to the 2014 season. Despite the fact that he did not throw a single inning for the Padres, he earned the entirety of that $8 million because he had signed a Major League contract.


Pitch of the Day Curtesy of @PitchingNinja

Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of

April 1st


Mike Trout –  Announces Retirement

In a surprising turn of events, Mike Trout has announced his retirement after 9 seasons in the bigs, paving his way to 2 MVPs, 7 All Star appearances, and a Rookie of the Year award. He will conclude his no doubt hall of fame career with a .307/.417/.573 slash line. Congrats to Mike Trout on a successful career.


Miguel Andujar – Injury

Yesterday the Yankees announced a labrum tear in Andujar’s shoulder. He will be shut down for two weeks, but season ending surgery is not off the table. With Didi still not expected to come back until the middle of the season, and Giancarlo Stanton hitting the IL with a bicep strain the Yankees have really taken a hit with their injury bug. 


Hunter Greene – Injury

Top pitching prospect and top draft pick Hunter Greene will undergo the needle on his elbow sidelining him all of 2019 and probably much of 2020. While only 19 years old, this is a huge setback to one who has turned so many heads. Greene has always been known for, and probably drafted for, his heater which reaches over 100 mph regularly. 


Giancarlo Stanton – Injury

The Yankees have placed Stanton on the IL with a bicep strain. Prospect Clint Frasier has been called up to take his place. Manager Aaron Boone told the media that Stanton could be out considerable time, as he is shut down for at least 10 days, and then will begin a rehab process. The goal they have set for him to return in by the end of the month. 


Daniel Murphy – Injury

After some speculation the past few days about a finger injury to Murphy, the Rockies have indeed placed Daniel on the IL. A fractured left index finger will sideline the infielder for at least “several weeks” writes Nick Groke of The Athletic. There is also some worries that the finger could have some tendon or ligament damage. 


Xander Bogaerts – Extended

The Red Sox announced an extension with their star shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Six years and $120 MM with an opt out after year 3, he will earn $20 each year, with some incentives based on award finishes. The second extension the Red Sox have given since the conclusion of 2018, the Red Sox are looking to keep their core players before several of them all hit free agency about the same time. Jackie Bradley Jr. looks to maybe be the next one as Mookie has said he wants to test free agency. 


Notes 

  • Jokes on you! Mike Trout isn’t retiring! April Fools lol 

PITCH OF THE DAY

Cardinal’s Jordan Hicks vs Pirates’ Corey Dickerson



Business of Baseball – Competitive Balance Tax

Definition

Each year, clubs that exceed a predetermined payroll threshold are subject to a Competitive Balance Tax — which is commonly referred to as a “luxury tax.” Those who carry payrolls above that threshold are taxed on each dollar above the threshold, with the tax rate increasing based on the number of consecutive years a club has exceeded the threshold.

The threshold was $189 million from 2014-16, but the following increases were put in place per the 2017-21 Collective Bargaining Agreement:

2017: $195 million*

2018: $197 million

2019: $206 million

2020: $208 million

2021: $210 million

*For 2017 only, clubs that exceed the threshold shall pay the average between what their luxury tax would be under the 2017-21 Collective Bargaining Agreement rules and what it would have been per the previous CBA.

A club exceeding the Competitive Balance Tax threshold for the first time must pay a 20 percent tax on all overages. A club exceeding the threshold for a second consecutive season will see that figure rise to 30 percent, and three or more straight seasons of exceeding the threshold comes with a 50 percent luxury tax. If a club dips below the luxury tax threshold for a season, the penalty level is reset. So, a club that exceeds the threshold for two straight seasons but then drops below that level would be back at 20 percent the next time it exceeds the threshold.

Clubs that exceed the threshold by $20 million to $40 million are also subject to a 12 percent surtax. Meanwhile, those who exceed it by more than $40 million are taxed at a 42.5 percent rate the first time and a 45 percent rate if they exceed it by more than $40 million again the following year(s).

Beginning in 2018, clubs that are $40 million or more above the threshold shall have their highest selection in the next Rule 4 Draft moved back 10 places unless the pick falls in the top six. In that case, the team will have its second-highest selection moved back 10 places instead.

History of the rule

The 2012-16 Collective Bargaining Agreement required clubs to pay a 17.5 percent luxury tax for first-time overages. Clubs that exceeded the threshold for two, three and four consecutive years were taxed at 30, 40 and 50 percent rates, respectively.

Example

In 2013, the Los Angeles Dodgers exceeded the Competitive Balance Tax threshold with a payroll well over $200 million in total. The Dodgers also exceeded the luxury tax threshold in 2014, 2015 and 2016, incurring progressively steeper penalties each year as a result.


Pitch of the Day Curtesy of @PitchingNinja

Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Halo Hangout

March 23rd


Justin Verlander – Extension

The Astros and Justin Verlander have come to terms on a 2 year deal that will now pay Verlander the most per year for a pitcher in baseball history. Making $33MM a year breaks the record currently held by Zack Greinke who makes $32.5MM per year. Verlander who is 36, has made quite the comeback with the Astros. Working to a 2.35 ERA in 2018, he is still pumping in his high velocity and nasty curveball. 


Scooter Gennett – Injury

Reds star second basemen will hit the IL to start the year. After making an awkward slide into second on Friday, apparently straining his right groin. They anticipate this to last 8-12 weeks… Not what Reds fans wanted to hear. The Reds had one of the busiest offseasons in the league, who had hoped for the same awesome production that Gennett had last year batting his way to a 124 wRC+ and an Alll Star appearance. 


Jason Hammel – Announces Retirement

Wow, this was a shocker. A day after being told he made the Ranger’s roster out of ST, he decided that it was best to attend to his family instead. Past quotes before he signed earlier in the offseason were that he was going to be in the Majors or retirement, but he got his wish to remain in the bigs, but still decided to retire. Hammel retires with 13 years with 7 teams, a 4.26 FIP pitching in 377 games. 


Ruben Tejada – Signed Minors Deal

While this would probably warrant to be in the notes section, I believe this attention. Tejada who was a staple at SS for the Mets from 2011-2015, he famously was taken out by Chase Utley who broke his leg on contact. A rule was immediately implemented changing the contact allowed at 2B, basically removing that aspect of the game. This could really turn out to be a feel good story if he can make any measure of a comeback. 


Notes

  • Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis will not be ready for the season. Lindor faced a calf strain in February and especially with muscle injuries they shouldn’t rush it going back into the cold of Minnesota and Cleveland. Its not like they are fighting for the division, it is theirs barring all but the most extreme of situations
  • Melky Cabrera, Francisco Liriano will make Pirates opening day roster
  • Carlos Gomez, Rajai Davis will not make Mets roster
  • Braves acquire Matt Joyce from the Giants
  • Cubs release RP Junichi Tazawa
  • Pedro Alvarez, Bryan Holaday opted out of their Marlins deals 
  • Yankees got OF Tauchman from Rockies for southpaw Phillip Diehl (read more here)



business of Baseball – 10-and-5 rights

As we have basically gone through all the important stats of baseball, Mookie’s Cookie will now be giving you a daily dose of a different aspect of daily baseball talk. From what the difference is between the 25 and 40-man rosters, International posting systems, and what a PTBNL is.


10-and-5 Rights: Players who have accrued 10 years of Major League service time and spent the past five consecutive years with the same team are awarded 10-and-5 rights. Under these circumstances, a player can veto any trade scenario that is proposed. In essence, 10-and-5 rights function as a full no-trade clause.

Example

In February 2017, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips waived his 10-and-5 rights to approve a trade to the Braves.


Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Climbing Tal’s Hill (RIP Tal’s Hill)

March 21st


Ichiro Suzuki – Announces Retirement

In a Mariners press release, Ichiro released this statement: 

I have achieved so many of my dreams in baseball, both in my career in Japan and, since 2001, in Major League Baseball. I am honored to end my big league career where it started, with Seattle, and think it is fitting that my last games as a professional were played in my home country of Japan. I want to thank not only the Mariners, but the Yankees and Marlins, for the opportunity to play in MLB, and I want to thank the fans in both the U.S. and Japan for all the support they have always given me.

There is not many words that can describe just how important Ichiro has been to this game. Just looking at his numbers in the MLB, he is a sure hall of famer. Add in the 6 years he played in the NPB in Japan, and he has the most hits ever. Just a glance at his baseball reference page, he was not only a perennial all star, but always in the race for MVP. After winning MVP in his rookie season, he AVERAGED 13th in MVP voting over his first 10 years; also being an All Star and Gold Glover in each of those 10 years. 


Paul Goldschmidt – Extension

Wow, this has been quite the extension season the past two weeks or so. This time, it will be the newly acquired Paul Goldschmidt with the Cardinals. 5 years and $130MM sounds about right for a 1B who has been an all star almost every year since he got to the bigs. I would rate Goldy and Arenado two of the most underrated performers in the game. Last offseason the Red Sox signed JD Martinez who is a little better hitter, but a worse fielder for 5/$110MM. This deal will not include any opt outs, but JD’s did given the dollar differences. Goldy’s deal with the Cardinals does have full no trade protection, so any deal moving him would require his permission. 


Blake Snell – Extension

Yes, another extension. After being disappointed with such a pitiful raise since winning (only) the Cy Young award in 2018; Blake Snell has come to terms with the Rays on a 5-year, $50 MM deal with several incentives and bonuses depending on his placement in the Cy Young race. This buys out all his arbitration years, and one free agent year. It looks like he will become a free agent in his age 30 season. Primed for another big payday if he continues this pitching dominance. 


Corey Knebel – Injury

Today it was reported that Brewers RP Corey Knebel has a tear in his UCL. UCL injuries scream Tommy John, but apparently the aren’t sure if it is bad enough for that. This is probably why they have entered into the Kimbrel market. If Kimbrel has lowered his ask to only one year, it would only make perfect sense for the Brewers to fill the void from Jeffress and Knebel starting the year on the IL. 


Sandy Leon – Trade Rumors

Marly Rivera of ESPN reports that the Red Sox are “actively shopping” catcher Sandy Leon. We have known since the beginning of ST that the Sox’s plan was to only carry two catchers this year. Last offseason they hashed out a multi year extension with starter Christian Vazquez, and so the battle really came down between Blake Swihart and Leon. Leon has never hit well, while when given ABs Swihart has a near average batting line. It has been clear to me that Swihart should be given the ABs when his average potential is clearly better, and has some defensive versatility: playing 1B, 2B, 3B and some OF. Sandy Leon is well regarded as a terrific defender and is heralded for handling a pitching staff. Those intangibles can only take you so far, as we are seeing here. 


Connor Joe – Traded

Today the Giants and Reds paired up to make a trade: Connor Joe will be going to the Giants, and the righty Jordan Johnson and cash will be going back to the Reds. To make room on the 40-man, Drew Ferguson will be DFA’d. In yesterday’s cookie, I talked about how Ferguson was part of the outfield logjam of guys trying to make it. It seemed like the Giants saw that logjam and turned it into a utility infielder.


Notes

  • Brad Miller Opts out of his minor league pact with the Dodgers
  • Braves Outright Sam Freeman
  • Phillies release Drew Butera, Andrew Romine
  • Hunter Pence has made Rangers’ roster




Stat of the Day – LEAD

Lead Distance represents the distance between the base and the baserunner’s center of mass as the pitcher makes his first movement — either to home or to the base on a pickoff attempt.

Lead Distance might be the most overlooked aspect of stealing bases. Certain baserunners — those who can react quickest to a pitcher’s move — take leads that are longer than an average player. In doing so, the distance between the base stealer and the base he is trying to swipe is cut down.

Sure, Maximum Speed, Acceleration, a catcher’s Pop Time and a pitcher’s delivery all have a major impact on stolen bases, too. But on a bang-bang play, the runner’s initial Lead Distance can sometimes make all the difference. (The same can hold true even when the runner is not attempting to steal, but rather when there is a close play at the next base after the ball is put in play.)


Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Photo Curtesy of 500ish Words

February 26th


Nolan Arenado – Extension

I hope you enjoyed today’s special cookie! It is news like that that really keep us reeled into loving baseball. Arenado is the face of the Rockies, and to some, the face of baseball. Also, it has now surfaced that there should be a correction to my special cookie: Arenado’s extension was 8 years and $255MM; not $260 as in the special cookie.

Miles Mikolas – Extension

Right hander Miles Mikolas has an agreed to a 4 year, $68MM deal that starts after this year is completed, bringing the Cardinals team control to 5 more years. Mikolas has an interesting past. After four seasons in the minors, he broke into the big leagues with the Padres in 2012, but was sub replacement over 32 IP. In 2014 he was with the Rangers, but again, did not perform to the level he would have liked to.

In 2018, he was spectacular for the Cardinals. Turnings in a 3.07 FIP over 200 and two thirds innings, culminating in 4.3 WAR. Since Mikolas has impeccable control, the Cardinals are thinking that his control will not change.

Matt Weiters – Minor League Contract

“The Cardinals have agreed to a minor-league deal with veteran catcher Matt Wieters, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). Salary terms are not yet known.

While he held out in hopes of securing a MLB commitment, the 32-year-old Wieters will settle instead for a chance to serve as a backup to Yadier Molina. The competition is fairly limited. Francisco Pena seemingly held the edge at the outset of camp after re-joining the organization on a minors pact. Joe Hudson is the only other backstop in camp with MLB experience.” Jeff Todd, MLBTR

Sonny Gray – Scratched from Start

Reds right-hander Sonny Gray, who was scratched from his spring debut due to some elbow stiffness, is expected to throw a bullpen session Thursday, writes MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. The team’s most notable offseason addition to the rotation, Gray will also throw from flat ground at a distance of 120 feet today, per the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay (Twitter link). Manager David Bell told Feinsand that Gray was initially concerned about the elbow discomfort but is in vastly better spirits and has felt improvement each day since being scratched.

Logan Forsythe – Minor League Deal

Veteran infielder has entered into a minor league pact with the Rangers. Forsythe has spent parts of 9 seasons in the league, culminating in a .309 wOBA and 9.5 WAR.


Stat of the Day – Range Factor (RF)

Range Factor is determined by dividing the sum of a fielder’s putouts and assists by his total number of defensive games played. More recently, Range Factor per nine innings has evolved as the more prevalent statistic because it addresses the discrepancies between a player who plays one inning in a given game and a player who plays the full game.

There are flaws with Range Factor — namely that the circumstances for fielders can vary greatly. With ground-ball pitchers on the mound, for example, an infielder is bound to receive more opportunities to boost his Range Factor. The advent of defensive shifts has affected Range Factor further. For instance, a third baseman who is used frequently in shifts will likely have a higher Range Factor than one who isn’t — even though defensive positioning is generally determined by the manager or bench coach.

Still, Range Factor answers a pivotal question that went long unanswered when fielding percentage was used as the primary evaluative defensive metric: How many plays can a given fielder make? Or, put more simply, how much range does a fielder have?

Origin: Noted sabermetrician Bill James coined Range Factor as a means of assessing a player’s defensive capabilities outside the realm of his fielding percentage. As many now agree, fielding percentage often produces a deeply flawed number, but at the time of James’ invention of Range Factor, fielding percentage was the primary evaluative metric for defenders.

TLDR: Range Factor is a better way to evaluate defense than fielding percentage.

Stat of the Day curtesy by MLB.com

Header Photo curtesy by The Denver Channel

February 23rd

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Craig Kimbrel – Rumor

There have been some contradicting rumors surrounding Kimbrel today. At first there was a tweet by Jim Bowden of The Athletic that stated that Kimbrel’s price was not coming down and that he might consider sitting out a year to get that deal. Just two hours after that tweet came out, Ken Rosenthal of the same company said that he had talked to David Meter (Kimbrel’s agent) and the rumor of him potentially sitting out a year is “utterly false”. Kimbrel has yet to sign a deal and spring training games have already begun.

 

Bryce Harper – Update

According to several Jon Heyman tweets, Harper had meetings with two teams on Saturday, but apparently they got somewhere with the Phillies. Sources say that they will be finalizing a 10-year deal with him on Monday. With Spring Training games already started, I’m sure they want Bryce to get to know his new teammates soon.

 

Hanley Ramirez – Minor League Deal

The Indians have agreed to a minor league deal, pending a physical, with free-agent first baseman Hanley Ramirez, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.

Cleveland’s the first team for the 35-year-old Ramirez since Boston unceremoniously released him last June 1. Ramirez drew little reported interest after the Red Sox cut ties with him, owing to back-to-back seasons of subpar production at the plate and an inability to add value in the field or on the base paths. Formerly a superstar with the Marlins and a quality player with the Dodgers, Ramirez combined to hit a meager .245/.318/.421 (91 wRC+) with 29 home runs and minus-0.7 fWAR in 748 plate appearances from 2017-18.

 

Jose Martinez – Signed for 2 Years

Jose Martinez is used to being the odd man out in St. Louis, where his inability to play defense has limited his starting opportunities with the Cardinals. Despite effectively serving as a walking trade rumor for most of the last seven months, Martinez remains with the Cardinals — and on Saturday he received a pay bump after agreeing to a two-year deal worth more than $3 million” – CBS Sports

 

 

Jose Iglesias – Minor League Deal

Jose Iglesias has joined the Reds on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He could earn $2.5MM if he makes the roster, plus another $1MM based on games played!

“Iglesias, 29, is one of the game’s premier defenders at shortstop and actually had an improved year at the plate in 2018, hitting .269/.310/.389 in 464 plate appearances — good for both a 90 OPS+ and wRC+ (essentially indicating that his bat was about 10 percent worse than that of a league-average hitter after adjusting for his home park and league). For a player with his defensive prowess, that level of offense is more than acceptable, which is why both Fangraphs (2.5) and Baseball-Reference (2.2) both felt that Iglesias was worth more than two wins above replacement last season.” – Steve Adams, MLBTR

 

Kaleb Cowart – Re Claimed by Angels

“The Angels have claimed RHP/IF/OF Kaleb Cowart from the Tigers, per a team release. The 26-year-old Cowart has spent his entire playing career with Los Angeles, but was claimed by both the Mariners and the Tigers earlier this offseason. Right-hander J.C. Ramirez has been placed on the 60-day DL to make room for Cowart on the 40-man roster.

The former first-rounder has worked all over the diamond in his four big-league stints with Los Angeles, appearing at 3B, 2B, SS, 1B, and LF in 2018 alone. Now, like Seattle and Detroit before it, the club has plans to try him as a two-way player.” – Ty Bradley, MLBTR

 

MLB Trade Rumors Minor Roundup: Click HERE


 

Stat of the Day – UZR

UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) is an advanced defensive metric that uses play-by-play data recorded by Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) to estimate each fielder’s defensive contribution in theoretical runs above or below an average fielder at his position in that player’s league and year. Thus, a SS with a UZR of zero is exactly average as compared to a SS in the same year and in the same league. If his UZR is plus, he is above average, and if it is minus, he is below average.

It is similar to offensive linear weights, where each event is assigned a number of runs, or fraction of a run, which is equal to the average value of that event as compared to a generic PA, generally for that year and for that league. With UZR and offensive linear weights a player gets credit for the theoretical value of an event (for UZR, those events are turning a batted ball into an out, allowing a batted ball to drop for a hit, making an error – or a fielder’s choice – that allows the batter to reach base, or making an error that allows a base runner to advance one or more bases) rather than what actually transpired during or subsequent to that event, in terms of any scoring on that play, base runner advances, etc., and regardless of the score or inning of the game.

 

Stat of the Day Curtesy by FanGraphs

Header Photo Curtesy by NBC Sports

February 13th

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Photo Credit – MLB.com

MAJOR NEWS

Aaron Nola

Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies has hit a payday after quite the spectacular year in 2018. After coming into his own the past few years, Nola will now be cashing in a check for a 4 year, $45MM with a club option. This now buys out his remaining arb years, and potentially two free agency years. Nola has been an interesting case stats wise. While his peripherals have remained steady, more traditional stats have changed greatly. This is a great lesson on why we use FIP instead of ERA. So if you judge by FIP, he has basically been the same pitcher, but by ERA you’d think he’s a new man.

2016: 4.78 ERA | 3.08 FIP

2017: 3.54 ERA | 3.27 FIP

2018: 2.37 ERA | 3.01 FIP

Robbie Grossman

The Athletics have come to terms with outfielder Robbie Grossman to a one-year deal worth $2MM with incentives reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. While here is another case that traditionalists might have overlooked him. The past 3 years he has posted an average of .266, but what he really excels at: getting on base. Posting an OBP of .371 puts him well above average in that category.

getsonbase-moneyball

Xavier Cedeno

After Theo Epstein wanting to squeeze one more reliever in their apparent tight budget, its looking like they succeeded. The Chicago Cubs have signed Xavier Cedeno to a minor league contract with incentives. After posting an impressive 2.95 FIP over 33.1 IP, with a career best HR/FB, its not looking like a blip. Getting Cedeno on a minor league deal looks like a bargain.

Jake Diekman

The KC Royals have announced they have signed southpaw Jake Diekman to a one year contract with a mutual option for a year 2. Known for being “effectively wild” he had a 27% K% (impressive) but a 12.8% BB% (eek!) in 2018. This will be his first full year back after he had colectomy surgery in 2017. He adds the needed lefty in the Royals pen.

Doug Fister

Veteran Doug Fister announced his retirement today via Jon Morosi of MLB.com. The right hander ends his career with 10 years in the bigs, his best year came in 2011 when he finished with a 3.02 FIP and 216.1 IP in the season he was traded to the Tigers. He received 8th place in the Cy Young voting in 2014; but if you go by WAR, that would be tied for his 5th best season. He was part of the mega rotation in Detroit when the Tigers had Max Sherzer, Justin Verlander, David Price, Rick Porcello and Fister, which ended up not getting to that elusive title.

Brett Anderson

The Oakland Athletics have come to terms on a 1 year, $1.5MM with up to an additional $1MM based on incentives. There have been quite a few ups and downs over the years for the southpaw, who is now 31 years of age. Once a highly promising young hurler in Oakland, Anderson has often been effective on the mound but has dealt with countless injuries, particularly to his back. All told, he has made about half of the starts he might have over his decade in the majors. Anderson dominated at Triple-A to earn his way back to the A’s staff, missed some time with a shoulder injury, and ultimately turned in 80 1/3 innings of 4.48 ERA ball over 17 starts in the big leagues. – MLBTR

Caleb Joseph

The Diamondbacks announced today that they have agreed to a one-year deal with catcher Caleb Joseph. It’s a split deal that would pay $1.1MM in the majors or $250K in the minors, per Zach Buchanan of The Athletic (Twitter link). He has at times been a palatable performer on offense, but has also struggled badly in two of the past three seasons. Last year, Joseph slashed just .219/.254/.321. – MLBTR

STAT OF THE DAY

wRC+

Weighted Runs Created (wRC) is an improved version of Bill James’ Runs Created (RC) statistic, which attempted to quantify a player’s total offensive value and measure it by runs.

Similar to OPS+, Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) measures how a player’s wRC compares with league average after controlling for park effects.  League average for position players is 100, and every point above 100 is a percentage point above league average. For example, a 125 wRC+ means a player created 25% more runs than a league average hitter would have in the same number of plate appearances. Similarly, every point below 100 is a percentage point below league average, so a 80 wRC+ means a player created 20% fewer runs than league average.

wRC+ is park and league-adjusted, allowing one to to compare players who played in different years, parks, and leagues.  Want to know how Ted Williams compares with Albert Pujols in terms of offensive abilities?  This is your statistic. – FanGraphs

TLDR: Someone posting a 191 wRC+ is 91% above average. It also adjusts for park, and different eras. (Mike Trout posted a 191 WRC+ in 2018)

MINOR NEWS

Jacoby Ellsbury

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman announced to the media Wednesday that outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury won’t be reporting to camp until next month, as he’s currently being slowed by a case of plantar fasciitis (link via Dan Martin of the New York Post). It’s not yet clear whether Ellsbury will be ready for Opening Day, nor is it clear how much playing time would be available to Ellsbury considering a Yankees outfield mix that features Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton (with Clint Frazier also looming in the minors). Ellsbury seems poised for a bench role after missing the entire 2018 season due to injury (most notably including hip surgery). – MLBTR

Arbitration Case Winners

Trevor Bauer of the Indians, Gerrit Cole of the Astros, and Alex Wood of the Reds have all been awarded the contract values they sought by their respective arbitration panels, per ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan (Twitter link). Bauer will take home $13MM, a full $2MM more than the Indians had sought to pay him. Cole’s $13.5MM salary was about the same amount higher than the Astros’ $11.425MM filing figure. And Wood secures a $9.65MM payday that tops the $8.7MM the Reds defended. – MLBTR