March 25th


Francisco Lindor – Ownership Status

During an interview with Zack Meisel of the Athletic (subscription link) Zack met with Indians Owner Paul Dolan. Zack asked Dolan some pretty interesting questions, but the question that got the most interesting answer was one referring to Star Shortstop Francisco Lindor. Zack asked him about whether or not there are plans to spend some big money, referring to the Machado, Harper, and Trout deals, on Lindor, and his quote was “enjoy him and then we’ll see what happens.” Dolan then said that they will be spending $300 MM deals once other teams are spending one BILLION dollar deals. That right there is not what it should be like folks.


Lucas Duda – Signed

After taking his opt out from the Twins last week, Duda has now signed with the KC Royals. Kansas City has told him that he will make the opening day roster, who he was with for the first half of 2018. Duda hit .242/.310/.413 with the same club last year before he was traded to the Braves. 


Notes

  • Andrew Romine resigns with Phillies, to avoid paying him a $100K bonus to keep him in the minors
  • Orioles select contract of Jesus Sucre; Announce Trumbo and Cobb will be placed on IL
  • Devin Mesoraco might not make the Met’s opening day roster, and will retire if not in the bigs. Mets sign Rene Rivera to take his place
  • John Axfora resigns with the Blue Jays. This time a minor league pact, he will be recovering from injury and still has hopes to make the club once recovered



Business of Baseball – 40 man Roster

The 40-man roster includes a combination of players on the 25-man roster, the 7- and 10-day injured lists, the bereavement/family medical emergency list and the paternity leave list, as well as some Minor Leaguers.

In order for a club to add a player to the 25-man roster, the player must be on the 40-man roster. If a club with a full 40-man roster wishes to promote a Minor League player that is not on the 40-man roster, it must first remove a player from the 40-man roster — either by designating a player’s contract for assignment, trading a player, releasing a player or transferring a player to the 60-day injured list.

A player who is on the 40-man roster but does not open the season on the 25-man roster must be optioned to the Minor Leagues. Only one Minor League option is used per season, regardless of how many times a player is optioned to and from the Minors over the course of a given season. Players typically have three option years, although a fourth may be granted in certain cases (usually due to injuries). Out-of-options players must be designated for assignment — which removes them from the 40-man roster — and passed through outright waivers before being eligible to be sent to the Minors.

The 40-man roster is also an important distinction in the offseason, as players who are on the 40-man roster are protected from being selected by another organization in the annual Rule 5 Draft, held each year in December at the Winter Meetings.


Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of

March 9th


Martin Maldonado – Signed

Veteran catcher Martin Maldonado has signed a one year deal with the royals. It looks to be the insurance move with the loss of Salvador Perez. He will earn $2.5MM with $1.4MM in incentives.

This union was destined ever since the Royals lost starter Salvador Perez for the season to Tommy John surgery. The Royals were left with only Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria atop their depth chart, which easily would have been the most inexperienced duo in the league. The Maldonado signing likely gives Viloria more time to season in the minors, as he had not appeared above High-A before getting 29 plate appearances with the Royals last season.
While Maldonado has a good chance of becoming a trade chip before the end of July – he’s a good one, one of the most accomplished defensive backstops in the game, and he should help buoy a young Royals staff.

TC Zencka, MLBTR



Stat of the Day – SIERA

SIERA quantifies a pitcher’s performance by trying to eliminate factors the pitcher can’t control by himself. But unlike a stat such as xFIP, SIERA considers balls in play and adjusts for the type of ball in play.

For example, if a pitcher has a high xFIP but has also induced a high proportion of grounders and pop-ups instead of line drives, his SIERA will be lower than his xFIP.

Why it’s useful: A more advanced version of tERA, SIERA is meant to remove the volatility of ERA, while also allowing for the notion that balls in play are somewhat in the control of the pitcher. It also weaves together different aspects of pitching. So walks are a bit less harmful to pitchers who induce ground balls at a high rate, as ground-ball pitchers are more likely than fly-ball pitchers to have a walk erased by a subsequent double play.

Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Halos Heaven

March 7th


Luke Heimlich – (Maybe) Mexican League

Oregon ace Luke Heimlich is looking outside the country to pitch. Jeff Passon of ESPN reports that Luke Heimlich has signed with the Dos Laredos Tecolotes of Liga Mexicana de Beisbol. While this was reported, more news have come out that the league may not approve this deal, New York Times’ James Wagner reported. While some have said that he could pitch in a Major League Rotation right now, teams have not drafted him because of a guilty plea he took as a 15 year old. He was accused of the molestation of his 6 year old niece. He still maintains his innocence and says “nothing ever happened.”


Dallas Keuchel – FA Update

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has tweeted today reporting that Keuchel has received multiple offers from the Astros: both a one and two year deal.


Trevor Oaks – Injury

Righty Trevor Oaks will have his a torn hip labrum repaired. The Royals have not announced a timetable for his return, whether that will be in the MLB or not, is still up for talks. Jeff Todd from MLBTR breaks it down:

Oaks was primed to compete in camp for a rotation spot — or, more likely, a place on the depth chart at Triple-A. Having debuted in the majors last season, his first with the Royals after an early-2018 trade, he was certainly a candidate to see substantial time in a K.C. rotation that will enter the season with loads of uncertainty.


Instead, Oaks will miss most or all of the coming season while working back from a procedure that turned out to be “a little more extensive” than originally anticipated. It is believed that he’ll be able to get back to baseball activities in four months’ time, though the timeline up to and past that point will depend upon his actual progression.




Stat of the Day – Run Support per 9

Run support per nine innings measures how many runs an offense scores for a certain pitcher while that pitcher is in the game. That number is then set over a nine-inning timeframe. So the stat essentially answers the question, “How many runs of support does a pitcher receive per nine innings?”

RS/9 is an important tool for evaluating pitchers in the context of their records. Often times, pitchers who haven’t pitched well have good records simply because they’ve received solid RS/9. A similar concept holds true for pitchers who have pitched well but have low RS/9; they sometimes have less impressive records despite their effectiveness.

In no way is RS/9 something a pitcher can control. (On the mound, at least. In National League parks, a pitcher can help his cause as a hitter.) Instead, RS/9 is a nice way of adding context to a pitcher’s win-loss record. Does a given pitcher’s winning percentage seem a bit too high or a bit too low given his other stats? RS/9 is often the culprit.

It’s important to note that for this metric, run support constitutes only the runs that are scored for a pitcher while he is in the game. A few other run-support metrics will take into account how many runs a team scores for its starting pitcher over the course of an entire game. In that vein, RS/9 also works for relief pitchers (although those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, because relievers have such small sample sizes in terms of innings pitched).

TLDR: This stat shows how good the offense performs while a certain pitcher pitches on a per 9 innings basis.

Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Daily News

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