April 10th


Matt Carpenter – Extension

It apparently still is extension season folks. Slugger and long time Cardinal will remain in St. Louis for two more years. Spanning the 2020 and 2021 seasons, he will earn $18.5 each year plus a $2 buyout if a vesting option does not occur. Bringing the total value to $39MM. Hitting a career high 39 dingers in 2018, he has been quite the solid player manning the corner infield spots the past couple years.


Luke Heimlich – Mexican League Debut

According to MLB Trade Rumors, Luke Heimlich has made his debut in the Mexican league on Tuesday. As you may remember, or have a strong opinion about: Luke Heimlich is the player who has pled guilty in sexually molesting his niece when he was 15. He has since denied every claim that it ever happened. He has always said that he pled guilty just as a “family decision to move on”. Many evaluators have said that Heimlich could pitch in a big league rotation as of now. Because of the allegations he went undrafted in ’17 and ’18. 


Edwin Jackson – Minor’s Signing

Jackson is back with the A’s on a minor league deal. This comes as a regression for him as Heyman had reported that the A’s had offered him a major league contract earlier in the offseason that he declined to test the market. The market giveth and the market taketh. 


Notes 

  • Alex Bregman of the Astros is day to day still after pulling his hamstring
  • Backstop Russel Martin hits the IL with lower back inflammation

PITCH OF THE DAY



Colin Mchugh vs Aaron Judge – Sliders GALORE


Colin McHugh shoutout = Colin hosts a podcast called the twelve-six, in which he features many major leaguers and other prominent figures in baseball. He has interviews with Alex Bregman, Jeff Passan and Sean Doolittle which are all VERY good. Would recommend 10/10.




Business of Baseball – Mutual Option


Definition

A mutual option is an optional year at the end of a contract. In order for the optional year to become guaranteed, both parties must agree to exercise the option.

Mutual options are very rarely exercised. If a player enjoys a strong season, the club will exercise its half of the option in the hope of retaining the player on a one-year deal. However, the player, fresh off a high-quality performance, will likely wish to test the open market in search of a larger guarantee on a one-year or a multi-year contract. Likewise, a player whose stock is down might exercise his half of the option rather than test free agency, but his club may no longer view him as worthy of that salary.

Example

Though rare, the mutual option has been exercised in the past. Planning to retire following the 2015 season, Aramis Ramirez agreed to exercise his half of a $14 million mutual option with the Brewers. Perhaps viewing $14 million as a fair salary for a player of Ramirez’s ability, Milwaukee exercised its half of the option as well.


Pitch of the Day Curtesy of @PitchingNinja

Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Viva El Birdos

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 19th


I hope you liked today’s Special Cookie!! Trout is a beast and that contract looks to be an underpay, for a such an amazing player.

Alex Bregman – Extension

The Astros and Star third basemen have come to terms for a 5 year, $100 MM extension that will begin after this season. Spanning 2020-2024, that will buy out his three arb years, and two free agent years. Bregman is one of the primer players in the game and even got him enough recognition that earned him 5th in the MVP voting for the American League. Only 25, he has really ascended to the top of the ranks since being the number 2 overall pick in 2015 out of LSU. 


Craig Kimbrel – Signing Rumors

What could become one of the best bullpens of all time, the Brewers (the *one* team that probably doesn’t need another bullpen arm) are rumored to be talking to Closer Craig Kimbrel. One thing that really jumps out to me first off, is that Craig has voiced his opinions of being used as a 9th inning only guy in the past. The Brewers (and the Rays) have really pioneered the creative bull penning that strikes this game today. One has to wonder if he would change his opinions and come into a tight situation in the 7th inning, for example. Man, the backend of a bullpen with Josh Hader, Corey Knebel, Jeremy Jeffress and Craig Kimbrel sounds so daunting. Puts them atop the NL Central in my book if they can pull it off. 

At the beginning of the offseason, it was reported that Kimbrel was looking for a 6 year, $100MM contract. The Brewers are already projected to have a franchise highest payroll entering 2019: at $127.5MM, so it looks to be like Kimbrel has come down some from that, as a lower revenue team such as Milwaukee to be linked to him. Since they will already be surrendering their top draft pick in 2019, they would only have to give up their next pick to sign him. Less than most other teams. (Don’t get me started on having to surrender draft picks to sign free agents, rant for another day).


Ryan Pressly – Extension

Another Astro extension happened today. Setup man Ryan Pressly was inked to a 2 year/ $17.5 MM. Like Bregman’s deal, it does not kick in until 2020, making him cheaper for this year; allowing the Astros to make more in-season moves without going over the Luxury tax threshold. Since getting traded to the Astros this past trade deadline, he really came into his own. It looks as though that the Astros and their cutting edge tech saw something in him; Pressly pitched to a 0.77 ERA once he got to Houston. He turned into a legit bullpen ace. 


Brandon Lowe – Signed

This one is a shocker. Reported from Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter) Brandon Lowe only has 43 days of major league time. While this could have significant value for the team, it secures Lowe’s future in case of an injury, etc. He was widely regarded as a top 100 prospect in the game, and the Rays seem to think he is that valuable. This buys out basically all of the team control that the Rays have. While he would now have a raise the first three years, up from $525,000, he potentially could really be limiting his potential payouts throughout the arb process


Notes

  • Both Jeremy Jeffress and Jimmy Nelson will open the season on the injured list, Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed today. Jeffress is only trying to build up arm strength and is not injured per se.
  • In another Yankee ruled out for opening day (Sabathia, Severino, Ellsbury, Gregorious) and now Dellin Betances, he is facing an impingement and inflammation in his throwing shoulder.



Stat of the Day – PROJECTED HR DISTANCE

(HR-DIS) Projected Home Run Distance represents the distance a home run ball would travel if unhindered by obstructions such as stadium seats or walls. This metric is determined by finding the parabolic arc of the baseball and projecting the remainder of its flight path.

Projected Home Run Distance is a pivotal tool when comparing individual home runs. Looking at Hit Distance alone is not an optimal practice for comparing home runs. This is because each stadium has unique obstructions that prevent balls from completing a full flight path.

Of course, Major League stadiums have different climates, dimensions, wind currents and elevations, which affect the distance batted balls travel. But comparing the distances of monstrous home runs has long been a hobby of baseball fans. And Projected Home Run Distance gives us a slightly fairer way to do that.


Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Houston Chronicle

March 12th


Shohei Ohtani – Raise

2-way phenom Shohei Ohtani gets a raise to play in his second season here in America. Originally signed for much cheaper than he would have in free agency (because he is so young), he will now make $650K instead of the MLB minimum at $555K. Its is not a lot but it is more than the MVP candidate Alex Bregman got ($640,500).

Sammy Solis – Minor League Deal

Today the Padres announced a minor league deal with lefty reliever Sammy Solis. After mysteriously being released by the nationals, it came to light that it was all in good faith. Nationals manager Dave Martinez told reporters that he knew that he was not making the opening day roster this year, and wanted to give him a chance to make another squad. The Padres have a deep bullpen this year, but it is still possible to make their team.

Francis Martes – Suspended

Right hander Francis Martes has been found positive to have banned substance Clomiphene in his system. He will be suspended 80 games. MLB Trade Rumors has a great writeup of his profile:

[Martes was considered one of baseball’s premier pitching prospects prior to the 2017 season, landing inside the top 40 on the pre-2017 rankings from Baseball America, MLB.com, ESPN and Baseball Prospectus. His stock has dropped since that time, however, as Martes pitched to an ERA well north of 5.00 in both Triple-A and the Majors in ’17 before logging a 6.75 ERA in four Triple-A starts last season. The arm injury that ultimately necessitated his Tommy John procedure limited Martes to just 19 2/3 innings in 2018.] – Steve Adams, MLB TR




Stat of the Day – Ballpark Factor

Ballpark factor, at its most basic, takes the runs scored by Team X (and its competitors) in Team X’s home ballpark and divides the figure by the runs scored by Team X and its competitors in Team X’s road contests. Often times, that number will be ever-so-slightly adjusted if a team doesn’t play the same opponents at home as on the road.

For example: In 2018, 849 runs were scored at Coors Field, and 676 runs were scored in Rockies games away from Coors Field. Coors Field had a park factor of 1.271, when looking at runs scored.

The same exercise can be done with other stats, such as home runs, triples, doubles, etc.

Why it’s useful: Park factor is a great way of determining the extent to which a stadium favors hitters or pitchers. It isn’t affected by the teams or players involved, because those teams and players are also playing games in other stadiums. It simply compares how easy it is to score, from one ballpark to another.

Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of ESPN.com

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

February 3rd

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Chris Devenski – Houston Chronicle

TOP NEWS

Chris Devenski

Bullpen arm Chris Devenski has reached a settlement with the Houston Astros for $1.525MM. The once highly dominant reliever had one really impressive year in 2016 where he was worth (surprisingly high for a reliever) 2.8 fWAR. In 2017 and 2018, he wasn’t his 2016 self, only pitching to a WHIP of 3.49 and 4.49 respectively. This deal can been seen as a buy low with upside for the Astros as the it also includes a club option for $2.625MM which can increase by $100K if he appears in 60 games in 2019.

LATEST RUMORS

J.T. Realmuto

With teams looking to upgrade their catching situation, many teams have reached out to the Marlins to kick the tires on what the trade would take. Some said that the Tampa Bay Rays were in on that talk. Accounting to the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin the Rays “appear content” with the other moves they have made.

MINOR LEAGUE NEWS

Ben Rowen signs deal with Braves

Christian Bergman signs with the Cubs