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

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 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 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 10th


Adam Jones – SigneD

Dontrelle Willis (twitter) reports that veteran outfielder Adam Jones has signed a one year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks worth $3MM. Some said that it’s the biggest shame that no one had signed Jones, many speculating Cleveland for the landing spot for him, it did not end up as his home for 2019. We are still now waiting for the last two major dominoes to fall: Keuchel and Kimbrel.


Valdimir Guerrero JR. – Injury

Top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has suffered a left oblique strain. The team has said that they will wait 3 weeks to reevaluate the injury. MLB. Trade Rumors has broken it down:

The injury to Guerrero officially takes him out of the running to open the season in Toronto, though he wouldn’t have stood much chance to crack its roster even if he remained healthy. Not only will the Blue Jays gain an extra season of control over Guerrero by keeping the 19-year-old in the minors until mid-April, but general manager Ross Atkins indicated last month that the big-bodied third baseman’s not yet suited for a major league promotion. Since then, Guerrero has batted a meager .211/.250/.316 in 19 spring at-bats.

Conner Byrne, MLBTR

Blake Snell – Contract Update

The Tampa Bay Rays renewed Blake Snell at $573,700 for the 2019 season. After such a stellar season which earned him the American League Cy Young award, it could have been easy to see a larger raise. Since the lefty is still pre-arbritration, the team decides his salary as long as its over the $555K minimum. You can see that Snell was not particularly happy with only a $18,700 pay increase as seen is this quote:

The Rays have the right under the collective bargaining agreement to renew me at or near the league-minimum salary. They also have the ability to to more adequately compensate me, as other organizations have done with players who have similar achievements to mine. The Rays chose the former. I will have no further comment and look forward to competing with my teammates and field staff in our quest to win the World Series in 2019.


Blake Snell

This is not the first time a team has given minimal raises to star players. After a second place finish in the MVP voting, Mookie Betts was given $950K, and Carlos Correa was given $1MM and both were in the same situation. You can still see a rather big difference in pay, Betts and Correa both almost got their salary doubled.

Clayton Kershaw – Update

After resting for the past two weeks after his shoulder issue, manager Dave Roberts stated today that Kershaw will try throwing today. If you remember, this was probably caused by a new routine Kershaw is trying intended to increase his velocity.

Best Blogs of the Week

This is something I want to start featuring on Sundays. MLB Trade Rumors does a post, highlighting the best blogs of each week. I will add my favorites, and then link to their post:

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/03/baseball-blogs-weigh-in-braves-rockies-brewers-keuchel-harper-phils.html

Header Photo Curtesy of Call to the Pen



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