April 2nd


Ronald Acuna – Extension

Yesterday the Braves announced an 8 year, $100MM extension with star OF Acuna. While breaking onto the scene last year at only 20 years old, he won the Rookie of the Year award for the National League, and even was 12th in MVP voting. Acuna batted to a 144 OPS+ in 487 PA after getting his call up. This deal also includes two options which could bring this to a 10 year, $134MM if exercised. The two options both have $10MM buyouts so there is at least $110MM guaranteed. 


German Marquez – Extension

Ace and sleeper for the Cy Young award (in my book) German Marquez has inked a 5 year extension with the Colorado Rockies that is worth $43MM. While he really set himself apart in the second part of 2018, he is nearly getting the same money that Blake Snell ($50MM) got after winning the Cy Young. Marquez and Snell have the same amount of service time, making them pretty good comparables to each other. 


Kevin Pillar – Traded

The Blue Jays and Giants completed a four player trade involving stellar outfielder Kevin Pillar on Tuesday. Newly minted GM Farhan Zaidi has been looking for some OF studs to roam the expansive field at Oracle park since taking over at the helm. The Giants sent three prospects back to Toronto: P Derek Law, IF Alan Hanson, and righty Juan De Paula. Pillar is a below average hitter against righties, but offers a 100 wRC+ against lefties making for a good platoon with Steven Duggar. Pillar is an elite defender and could see time in both corners as well as mainly being deployed in CF. 


Trea Turner – Injury

DO NOT TRY TO BUNT FOLKS!! In Tuesday’s game, Trea Turner tried to bunt and caught a 92 MPH Zach Eflin fastball right to his hand. When he did not even get to finish the at bat, you knew it wasn’t going to turn out good. X-Rays showed the fracture, we will update you when a timetable surfaces on when the exciting shortstop will start getting back in action.


Randal Grichuk – Extension

There have been a surprising amount of extensions happening even though the season has started! Usually they really slow down once the season starts. Not the case in 2019! Grichuk and the Blue Jays have come to terms on a 5 year, $52MM deal with several escalators as well. While his on base skills have never been his strength, he is a speedy outfielder which allows him to have great defensive numbers. This extension is on par with many several players with the same amount of service time. 


Notes 

  • Superstar Francisco Lindor is eyeing to be back by May with his calf strain
  • Rockies lefty Jake McGee has been placed on the IL with a left knee sprain
  • Jacob Nix of the Padres has decided to only rehab his injured elbow instead of undergoing Tommy John. 
  • After the Pillar Trade today, the Blue Jays have acquired OF Scorates Brito from Padres

PITCH OF THE DAY

Blake Snell NASTY slider



Business of Baseball – Contract Renewal

Definition

Players who haven’t signed a long-term contract extension or accrued the MLB service time necessary to be eligible for salary arbitration can have their contracts renewed by their clubs as one-year deals for the coming season.

These pre-arbitration players can negotiate their salaries but have little leverage, as clubs can choose to renew a contract for the Major League minimum if they cannot come to an agreement with the player. Of course, clubs may choose to sign their pre-arbitration players to one-year deals for more than the Major League minimum to build good will for future negotiations, but they are under no obligation to do so.

Clubs cannot reduce players’ salaries by more than 20 percent of what they earned in the previous MLB season — including a player’s base salary and additional payments such as performance bonuses, signing bonuses and deferred compensation — or 30 percent of what they earned two seasons prior, per the Maximum Salary Reduction clause in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Examples

The Red Sox were not able to come to an agreement with Mookie Betts on a salary for the 2017 season, so they renewed his contract for $950,000 — up from the $566,000 he earned in 2016. The Astros renewed Alex Bregman’s contract for the 2018 season, giving the third baseman $599,000 after he earned $539,400 in 2017.

Conversely, the Cubs and Kris Bryant came to an agreement on a $1.05 million contract for the 2017 season in Bryant’s last year before salary arbitration, setting a record for the largest one-year deal ever given to a pre-arbitration player.


Pitch of the Day Curtesy of @PitchingNinja

Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of MLB.com

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 24th


Jose Ramirez – Injury Scare

In the third inning of Sunday’s game Jose fouled a ball off his left knee and was CARTED off the field. Stunningly the X-Rays came back negative on a break in the bone. News still hasn’t come out if this would require an IL trip to start the season. If it does, it could be a major blow to the Indians who are already down Lindor and Kipnis.


Erik Kratz – Traded

After being out of options, and being third on the depth chart in Milwaukee, they knew he had to move. The Brewers have found a suitor, getting SS C.J. Hinojosa from the Giants. 


Brad Miller – Signed 

The Indians have signed some IF/OF depth with the signing of Brad Miller. Miller’s best season came in 2016 when he had 30 balls hit over the fence, but over his whole career he owns a 99 wRC+, good for basically league average. His defense has always been below average, but his versatility has always been his strength. 


Daniel Hudson – Signed

After releasing John Axford, the Blue Jays have signed a major league deal with Daniel Hudson for one year worth $1.5MM. 

Notes

  • Hanley Ramirez has a really good chance to make the opening day roster
  • Matt Duffy will start the year on IL
  • Sandy Leon has been placed on waivers by the Boston Red Sox. 
  • Nick Green will be returned to the Yankees after being selected in the rule 5 draft by the Diamondbacks
  • Jordan Romano has been returned to the Blue Jays after being selected in the rule 5 draft by then Rangers



Business of Baseball – 25 Man Roster

A club’s 25-man roster is its full roster of active Major League players. Typically, a club will have some combination of 12 position players and 13 pitchers or 12 pitchers and 13 position players. Players on the 25-man roster (or the Major League injured list) accrue Major League service time. All players on the 25-man roster must also be on the 40-man roster. Teams are required to have a minimum of 24 players on their 25-man roster.

In the case of doubleheaders, clubs are allowed to recall one additional player who is on the 40-man roster to serve as the 26th member of the active Major League roster only for the day of said doubleheader. That player accrues one day of MLB service time and is returned to the Minor Leagues following the completion of the doubleheader.

Upon being optioned to the Minor Leagues, a player must remain there for a minimum of 10 days before he is eligible to be recalled to the Major League roster, unless he is serving as the 26th man for a doubleheader or replacing a player who has been placed on the injured list. In these exceptions, there are no minimum number of days in which the optioned player must remain in the Minors.

On Sept. 1, teams can carry up to 40 players on their active roster until the start of postseason play, at which point the maximum reverts back to 25. All players added to the active roster during this period must be on the 40-man roster.

THIS IS ONLY FOR 2019 – 2020 ROSTERS WILL EXPAND TO 26 MEN


Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Minor League Ball

🚨 ALERT COOKIE🚨 – March 14th


major deal – rule changes

A BIG DEVELOPMENT HAPPENED TOAY: Jeff Passan of ESPN announced several changes to the game we love. In a rare mid-CBA agreement, MLB and the Players Union came to the agreement that three majors things will happen: 3-batter minimum, single trade deadline, and changes to All-Star weekend including bonuses to the winner of the HR Derby.

Steve Adams from MLB Trade Rumors gave a great concise update to what is happening now, and in 2020:

Effective Immediately

  • There will be no trades after July 31. August trade waivers have been eliminated, though players can still be placed on and claimed from outright waivers, as they would throughout the rest of the year.
  • All-Star voting will still be conducted by fans online, but the top three players at each position, in each league, will now participate in an All-Star Election Day. The top three vote-getters at each position, in each league, (top six in the case of outfielders) will receive bonus payments.
  • The Home Run Derby will now come with $2.5MM of prize money, including a $1MM prize for the winner.
  • The maximum number of mound visits per game will be reduced from six to five.
  • Commercial breaks between innings are reduced to two minutes in length for all games.
  • The MLB and MLBPA will form a “Joint Committee” to discuss further issues and rule changes.

Effective Beginning in 2020

  • The standard roster size in regular season games and postseason games will increase from 25 to 26 players. Beginning on Sept. 1, roster size will expand further to a 28-player maximum (as opposed to the current 40). A maximum number of pitchers will be designated by the Joint Committee. (Passan reported that the league has proposed no more than half a team’s players can be pitchers.)
  • Position players are only eligible to pitch in extra innings or when a team is leading or trailing by seven or more runs. Certain position players may be designated as “two-way players,” but to be eligible, they’ll need to have accrued at least 20 innings pitched and started 20 games as a position player/designated hitter in the current season or the preceding season (including at least three trips to the plate in each of those lineup appearances).
  • A pitcher must face at least three batters per appearance unless he is removed due to injury or the half-inning in which he is pitching ends before three batters have come to the plate.
  • The minimum length of stay for pitchers who are optioned to the minors or placed on the injured list will increase from 10 days to 15 days. This change is still “subject to input” from the newly formed Joint Committee.

Michael Fulmer – Injury

After last fall’s surgery to repair his knee, today Manager Ron Gardenhire announced that they will be shutting Fulmer down to revamp his lower half mechanics. He had drastically lower velocity so far this spring, so it’s apparent that the Tigers see something different, or new in his mechanics which could be surgery aftermath, or that is just now exaggerated after his knee getting repaired.


Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – sent down

Today the Blue Jays officially sent down top prospect and phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to minor league camp. While it was expected that he would not begin the year in the majors, due to service time issues; because of his oblique injury, it is a bit sooner than anticipated.




Stat of the Day – Pop Time (POP)

On steal or pickoff attempts by a catcher, Pop Time represents the time elapsed from the moment the pitch hits the catcher’s mitt to the moment the intended fielder is projected to receive his throw at the center of the base.

When a throw’s flight path ends in front of or beyond the base’s midpoint, Statcast accounts for the thrown ball’s speed and projects how long the throw would have taken to reach the center of the intended base.

Pop Time is a combination of a catcher’s footwork (getting into throwing position), Exchange (glove to release), and Arm Strength (velocity of throw). Pop Time is a much better assessment of a catcher’s ability to throw out baserunners than the strength of his arm alone. A catcher with a great arm isn’t going to throw out many baserunners if it takes him a while to transfer the ball to his throwing hand and then release the throw.

A catcher with a good Pop Time doesn’t always throw out baserunners, however. A large part of his success is dependent upon the runner’s speed, the throw’s accuracy and the pitcher’s delivery length. But with a quick Pop Time and an accurate throw, a catcher is doing what he can to stop the opposing running game.

Below are the five best average pop times to second base on stolen-base attempts (min. 15 SB attempts at 2B) from the 2017 season. The MLB average in 2017 was 2.01 seconds.

TLDR: Pop time measures how fast the catcher received, and then got the ball to the intended receiver. Anything below 2 seconds is above average, and anything below 1.9 seconds is considered elite.


Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Cubs Insider

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



March 3rd


Zack Granite – Traded

“The Rangers have acquired outfielder Zack Granite from the Twins for minor league pitcher Xavier Moore and cash, Phil Miller of the Star Tribune tweets. Texas has placed outfielder Scott Heineman on the 60-day injured list to create 40-man room for Granite, per a team announcement.

The 26-year-old Granite had been in limbo in Minnesota since Feb. 25, when the club designated him for assignment after signing free agent Marwin Gonzalez. Granite had been a member of the Twins since they used a 14th-round pick on him in 2013. The fleet-of-foot Granite was successful at times during his tenure with the Minnesota organization, including during a 56-steal season with its Double-A affiliate in 2016 and an outstanding offensive campaign (.336/.392/.475 in 313 plate appearances) with its Triple-A team in 2017.” – Connor Byrne, MLBTR

Vladimir Guerrero Jr – Prospect Watch

Today in a normal Blue Jays-Yankee matchup, phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Son of hall of famer Vladimir Guerrero Sr.) hit a double off the LF wall. Nothing special, right? Watch how effortless this swing is:

Vlad Jr. has crazy power. Some evaluators have him hitting 40+ homers his rookie season. He just one handed a low pitch almost out.

Bobby Wahl – Torn ACL

“When your pitching plan revolves around the bullpen, depth is important, and the Brewers lost an important depth reliever Friday afternoon. Hard-throwing righty Bobby Wahl managed to tear the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while throwing a pitch … A baseball player tearing his ACL is not all that uncommon in and of itself. In Wahl’s case, he managed to tear it while throwing a pitch, which is extreme rare. How rare? On Sunday Brewers GM David Stearns told reporters, including Fox Sports Wisconsin’s Sophie Minnaert, that Wahl is only the third pitcher in MLB‘s central injury database to tear the ACL in his push-off knee. This injury is one of the rarest in baseball history.” – Mike Axisa, CBS Sports




Stat of the Day – WPA

WPA (Win Probability Added) quantifies the percent change in a team’s chances of winning from one event to the next. It does so by measuring the importance of a given plate appearance in the context of the game. For instance: a homer in a one-run game is worth more than a homer in a blowout.

As an example: When Josh Donaldson came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth on May 26, 2015, the Blue Jays trailed by two and had men on second and third with no one out. That gave them a 43-percent win expectancy. After Donaldson’s walk-off homer, their win expectancy jumped to 100 percent. Because Donaldson boosted the Blue Jays’ chances of winning by 57 percent, his WPA for that plate appearance was 0.57.

A player’s WPA can also be affected on the basepaths. It will increase if he steals a base but decrease if he is caught stealing or picked off.

WPA should not be used as an indicator of future performance. But WPA is a fantastic “story stat” — meaning it does a good job of putting context to what has already happened. Its best use is for deciphering the impact of a specific player or play on a game’s outcome.

TLDR: WPA gives the number of how a specific play contributed positively or negatively to winning the game.

Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Zimbio

February 28th

Bryce Harper – Signed

Okay guys I promise. This is the last time i’ll post about him. Maybe, just until he does something really cool. Jeff Passan of ESPN has tweeted that the Phillies owner’s private jet has been seen back in Vegas, his guess is to shuttle him to his physical to make it official.

13 years…. $330 million…. wow.

Clay Buchholz – Signed

The Toronto Blue Jays has come to an agreement with right hander Clay Buchholz. After spending parts of 2018 with the Diamondbacks, he posted great (3.47 FIP, 2.01 ERA) numbers, but as always: he got hurt. The Diamondbacks had to shut him down mid September for a “flexor mass strain.” Buchholz can be a great pitcher no deniably, but the question is always if he can stay on the field.

Bud Norris – Signed

The Blue Jays have been busy today: signing two starters. The Jays have also signed veteran righty Bud Norris. After being a starter most of his career, in 2018 the Cardinals used him a a closer most the time. Having a sub 4 FIP, earned him another chance. While it is a minor league deal, if he makes the team he has $3MM with $1.25 in incentives.




Stat of the Day – LIPS

[Late-inning pressure situations are defined as any at-bat in the seventh inning or later where the batter’s team trails by three runs or fewer, is tied or is ahead by only one run. If the bases are loaded and the batting team trails by four runs, this also counts as a late-inning pressure situation.

There is much debate among people within baseball regarding “clutchness” and how to determine whether certain hitters or pitchers are clutch. LIPS is one way of doing so, although it can be highly unreliable because the sample sizes are often small, and because not all late-inning pressure situations are equal when it comes to determining how clutch a player is.

LIPS was developed by the Elias Sports Bureau in 1985 in an attempt to answer the question, “Do clutch hitters exist?”] – MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy by SI.com

Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com