April 14th


Sean Newcomb – Demoted

After back to back seasons as a competent major league starter, Sean Newcomb is now facing himself back in AAA to work on his control. Always having good stuff, he has always seem to lack some control. In 2019 so far, he has really lost the strike zone. Walking more than striking out, it seems that the Braves are now looking to give his spot in the rotation to newly recalled Touki Toussaint while Sean works on his control in the minors. 

David Freitas – Traded

On a rather quiet Sunday, the Brewers and Mariners swapped players. Veteran catcher David Freitas has been acquired by the Brewers for a minor’s pitcher Sal Biasi. While rather interesting because he looks to be blocked on the surface, with Manny Pina, and starter Yasmani Grandal already in the majors, with Jacob Nottingham already on the 40-man, Freitas looks to be the fourth string catcher.

Notes 

  • Mike Trout will return to the lineup on Monday 
  • Jeremy Jeffress will return to the roster on Monday
  • Matt Moore will undergo knee surgery and will be shut down for 6-8 weeks

PITCH OF THE DAY

In honor of his complete game, one hitter with 9 Ks – Check out this nasty curveball by German Marquez



Business of Baseball – No-trade Clause

Definition

A no-trade clause is a contractual clause that allows players to veto trades to certain teams. No-trade clauses are often worked into contract extensions and free-agent contracts as a perk for the players signing such deals.

Some contracts include partial no-trade clauses, which allow a player to block trades to a specified list of teams. In the case of a partial no-trade clause, the player that agrees to such a clause will sometimes be allowed to update on a yearly basis the teams to which he cannot be traded without his consent. In other instances, teams will concede to a full no-trade clause that allows the player in question to block a trade to all 29 other teams.

Beyond that, a player that has accumulated 10 years of Major League service time and has spent the past five consecutive seasons of that service time with one team gains the right — termed 10-and-5 rights — to veto a trade to any team.

Examples

Per the terms of his contract extension signed in 2011 — which spans the 2016-20 seasons — Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was given the ability to block trades to 23 of the 29 other Major League teams. On the other end of the spectrum, Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco agreed to a very limited no-trade protection as part of his four-year, $49 million contract with Minnesota. As of December 2015, Nolasco was reportedly able to veto trades to just three teams.

The Reds’ Brandon Phillips reportedly invoked his 10-and-5 rights two separate times between the 2015 and 2016 seasons, blocking trades that would have sent him to the D-backs and to the Nationals.

The Nationals had interest in trading for Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon in July 2015, but Papelbon had a no-trade provision in his contract that allowed him to block a deal to 17 clubs — including Washington. Papelbon also had a vesting option for 2016 in his contract with Philadelphia that would be exercised if he finished 48 games. As a means of enticing the right-hander to waive the no-trade clause, the Nationals offered to exercise that vesting option in advance, and Papelbon agreed to a slightly reduced rate of $11 million as a compromise. With those roadblocks worked out, the Nationals traded Minor League right-hander Nick Pivetta to the Phillies in exchange for Papelbon to complete the deal.


Pitch of the Day Curtesy of @PitchingNinja

Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Chicago Tribune

March 29th


Justin Upton – Injury

Friday news broke that Angels LF Justin Upton will miss 8-12 weeks with turf toe. While he has been resting the past few days from it, after further inspcection he will need several months for it to heal. This is the longest I’ve heard of taking for healing turf toe; so hopefully this does not take the full 12 weeks to heal. The Halos really need that middle of the order bat with Ohtani still not back in the lineup. 


Corey Knebel – Injury

Another injury, I always hate typing these blurbs when they are on injuries. Closer/ Relief Ace Corey Knebel will now miss all of 2019 and most of 2020 with Tommy John surgery. It was reported that he went to multiple doctors to ensure there was nothing else they could do to fix his elbow without having to go full blown TJ. Agreeing to $5.125MM this year makes for potentially the same salary next year in arbitration; meaning that would be really expensive for (maybe) less than half a years worth of a recovering TJ patient: They could non-tender Knebel next year. With Kimbrel and Keuchel out there, that money could easily be re-invested in the free agents. Rumor has it that the Brewers are in talks with Kimbrel, and with this news regarding Knebel, it makes even more sense. 


Notes 

  • Dipoto of the Mariners has acquired Tom Murphy from the Giants. 
  • Mason Williams signed minor’s deal with Orioles, will report to AAA
  • Cameron Maybin finds another team with the Indians. Minor’s deal



Business of Baseball – Competitive Balance Draft picks

Competitive Balance Draft picks were implemented in the 2012-16 Collective Bargaining Agreement to create an additional way for small-market and low-revenue clubs to add talent to their organizations. The process to assign picks was amended in the 2017-21 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The 10 lowest-revenue clubs and the clubs from the 10 smallest markets are eligible to receive a Competitive Balance pick (fewer than 20 clubs are in the mix each year, as some clubs qualify under both criteria). All eligible teams are assigned a pick, either in Competitive Balance Round A or Round B. Round A falls between the first and second rounds of the Rule 4 draft, while Round B comes between the second and third.

Under the 2017-21 CBA, six clubs will be awarded picks in Round A based on a formula that considers winning percentage and revenue. Those six teams will pick in Round A in 2017, 2019 and 2021. The remaining teams — estimated to be between six and eight — will pick in Round B in those years. The groups of teams, which will not change for the duration of the 2017-21 CBA, will switch picking in Round A and B in alternating years based on their initial assignment of round in 2017.

Clubs drafting in the Competitive Balance Rounds also receive more international bonus pool money than the minimum of $4.75 million. Those drafting in Competitive Balance Round A will receive $5.25 million, while those in Competitive Balance Round B will get $5.75 million.

Unlike other Draft picks, Competitive Balance Draft picks can be traded. However, they cannot be dealt simply in exchange for cash, and can be traded only by the club to which it was awarded. In other words, the picks may be traded no more than once.

History of the rule

Under the 2012-16 Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 10 lowest-revenue clubs and the clubs from the 10 smallest markets were entered into a lottery. The first six clubs selected in the lottery received a Draft selection in Competitive Balance Round A, while the next six clubs selected received a pick in Competitive Balance Round B.

Example

On June 1, 2014, the Marlins traded their Competitive Balance Round A selection to the Pirates in exchange for right-hander Bryan Morris. The Pirates received the 39th pick in the Draft that followed just days later.


Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of LA Times

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

March 13th


Tony Sipp – signed

Today the Nationals inked a $1.25MM deal with the southpaw Tony Sipp today. Primarily a LOOGY the past several years, he has more than excelled in that role. Last year with Houston he racked up a 2.41 FIP in 38.2 IP. What can be looked at though, is the 0.9 WAR in only that many innings is pretty impressive. Sipp’s primary role could be in danger though if the rumored 3 batter minimum for pitchers goes into effect. Sipp’s deal also includes a $2.5MM mutual option for 2020 with a $250K buyout.


Charlie Morton – Last Contract

In a rare missed story by Mookie’s Cookie, yesterday Charlie Morton told Jon Morosi of MLB Network that this contract he has with the Tampa Bay Rays will be his last. While he is getting up there in age, this will only be his 35th season. After being a middle of the pack starter, and fighting some injuries for most of his career, the past two years he has really come into his own. Posting back to back 3+ WAR seasons in Houston, he turned that into a 2 year deal worth $30MM with Tampa.


roster manipulation

Today both the White Sox and Mariners have sent down prospects with what seems to be fronts to keep the player for an extra year. The Mariners sent J.P. Crawford, who is only 5 weeks in the minors away from giving his team an extra year. The White Sox sent one of their very much ready prospects down to AAA too; Eloy Jimenez who CRUSHED the minors last year. MLB Trade Rumors has this to say about him:

[Jimenez, 22, is not only considered to be among the game’s premier prospects but is also largely believed to be ready for MLB action. The Dominican-born slugger obliterated Double-A and Triple-A pitching in 2018, posting ridiculous slash lines of .317/.368/.556 and .355/.399/.597 at those respective levels.] – Steve Adams, MLB Trade Rumors




Stat of the Day – Win EXPECTANCY

Win Expectancy (WE), otherwise known as Win Probability, indicates the chance a team has to win a particular game at a specific point in that game.

Expressed as a percentage, Win Expectancy is calculated by comparing the current game situation — with the score, inning, number of outs, men on base and run environment all considered — to similar historical situations. More specifically, the percentage is derived from the number of teams that faced a comparable situation in the past and went on to win the game.

Win Expectancy is the basis for Win Probability Added (WPA), which quantifies the percent change in a team’s chances of winning from one event to the next. For example, if a team’s Win Expectancy jumps from 30 percent before a home run to 70 percent after, the player who hit the homer would have a WPA of 0.40 for increasing his team’s chances of winning by 40 percent.

TLDR: While this stat does not help you predict the future value of player, its really fun use it to see how great that awesome comeback was that your team made.


Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of MLB Youtube

March 11th


Kyle Seager – Injury

Seattle’s Kyle Seager has an injured tendon in his left hand Greg Johns of MLB.com reports and will be having surgery to repair it. Greg says that the Mariners will miss their third basemen for all of April. While Seager has been an above average batter all of his career, he had his first season struggling a bit in 2018.

Mike Foltynewicz – Elbow Not Ready

All Star starter Mike Foltynewicz will not be ready to start the season. While breaking on the scene in 2018 in his first all star appearance, he experienced elbow soreness in February, pushing back his spring training starts. Braves GM said today that they will start building out a throwing program to get him back on track.

ESPN had this to say: “Atlanta Braves ace Mike Foltynewicz will not be on the team’s Opening Day roster as he continues to recover from soreness in his pitching elbow. Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters Monday that Foltynewicz is “getting close to throwing off a mound” but emphasized that the team wants to remain cautious with the hard-throwing right-hander.”

Drew Smith – Injury

After leaving his fourth appearance of the spring with elbow discomfort, manager Rickey Calloway reports that Smith will undergo Tommy John Surgery. Mike Puma of NY Post talks about the current situation of the bullpen now: [All indications are the Mets will open the season with seven relievers and not eight due to the number of built-in off days in April. Lefties Luis Avilan and Hector Santiago have emerged as strong candidates for those last two bullpen jobs behind Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Justin Wilson.]




Stat of the Day – tERA

True Earned Run Average, like FIP, attempts to quantify a pitcher’s performance based on what he can control. But unlike FIP — which factors only home runs, strikeouts, walks and HBPs — tERA also accounts for batted-ball tendencies. That means pitchers who record mostly ground balls and popups, as opposed to line drives and fly balls, are rewarded for inducing weaker contact.

For example, if a pitcher has a high FIP but has also gotten a lot of weak contact on balls put in play, his tERA will be lower than his FIP.

Why it’s useful: ERA places a value on a pitcher’s performance, but it doesn’t factor misfortune into the equation (the timing of hits, poor defensive positioning, etc.). FIP, while focusing on strikeouts, walks, hit by pitches and home runs, ignores the fact that a pitcher does indeed have some influence on balls in play. tERA accounts for that element.

TLDR: tERA attempts to give a more accurate picture of a pitchers true talent level. tERA gives more credit to pitchers who have the ability to induce weak contact.

Stat of the Day curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo curtesy of Lookout Landing