April 11th


Ozzie Albies – Extended

Well, it is STILL extension season. Yesterday the Atalanta Braves extended their all star second basemen to a 7-year, $35MM deal. Yes, while that is still a *ton* of money, it is quite controversial because of how it could potentially severely limit the earnings power of Albies, but also his young teammate Acuna who just got extended also. 


Jeff Passan – State of the Market

After the Albies extension yesterday, Passan of ESPN.com had a series of tweets explaining his position on why the Brave’s duo of extensions could very well hurt baseball. It was a series of 9 tweets; basically stating that because these young players have singed so many free agent years away for comparatively little money, they are not only hurting their own earning power, but for so many generations of ball players to come. 

He also goes on to blame the Braves, but really the market overall, for scaring these young players in taking a smaller amount than they are really worth. They see how sparse the free agent market is, and they don’t want to test it out; therefore taking less money. 

Click HERE for the thread


Clayton Kershaw – Return

Bill Plunkett of the Orange Contry Register tweeted today that Kershaw will be activated Monday and start for Los Angeles. Great news for the generational pitcher to get back on a major league mound after two minor league rehab starts!


Notes 

  • Victor Caratini to undergo a CT scan for his hand
  • Former Red Sox reliever Ben Taylor picked up by Diamondbacks
  • Bud Norris’ deal with the Nationals fell through

PITCH OF THE DAY



Lou Trivino with the NUTMEG! Pretty sure a nutmeg warrants an automatic PotD honors…




Business of Baseball – Non-guaranteed Contract

Definition

Players who are on arbitration (unless specified at the time of the agreement), Minor League or split contracts are not fully guaranteed their salaries.

Players on arbitration contracts who are cut on or before the 16th day of Spring Training are owed 30 days’ termination pay (based on the prorated version of his agreed-upon arbitration salary). A player cut between the 16th day and the end of Spring Training is owed 45 days’ termination pay (based on the prorated version of his agreed-upon arbitration salary). The arbitration salary becomes guaranteed if the player is on the 25-man roster when the season begins.

A player on a split or Minor League contract will earn the prorated portion of his Major League salary for time spent on the Major League roster. Clubs can also sign players to non-guaranteed contracts but still place them on the 40-man roster. Those contracts become guaranteed upon the player making the Major League roster out of Spring Training, but he may also be cut prior to Opening Day. Such cases are identical to arbitration contracts in that the club would owe either 30 or 45 days’ worth of termination pay, depending on the time at which the player is released.

Examples

Prior to the 2016 season, the Angels signed Craig Gentry to a split contract and Al Alburquerque to a non-guaranteed contract. Each player was added to the 40-man roster, but neither player’s contract was fully guaranteed at the time of the signing. Both contracts were contingent upon the players making the Major League roster in Spring Training.


Pitch of the Day Curtesy of @PitchingNinja

Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of La Vida Baseball

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 15th


Luis Severino – Shoulder Update

Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reported today that Brian Cashman told the media that Ace Severino will not see major league action until at least May. Thats a major blow to the Yankee rotation. Newly traded for Paxton will look to be the star of the staff until Severino comes back. Paxton is a great pitcher in his own right when healthy, he is no Severino.


MIchael A. Taylor – Injury

Today manager Dave Martinez told the media that OF Michael A. Taylor has a sprained knee and hip. While of course that is not good news, Martinez said that Taylor is expected to miss a significant amount of time. Jess Doughtery of the Washington Post was the bearer of bad news here. Unless Adam Eaton comes back healthy soon, I could easily see them turn to a trade; if this had happened a few days previous, I could have seen Washington spend $3 for Adam Jones.




Stat of the Day – Hard Hit Rate

Statcast defines a ‘hard-hit ball’ as one hit with an exit velocity of 95 mph or higher, and a player’s “hard-hit rate” is simply showing the percentage of batted balls that were hit at 95 mph or more.

Why 95 mph? Because, as the image below shows, that’s when exit velocity begins to “matter.” Another way of saying that is that balls hit at 40 mph or 70 mph will affect your average exit velocity differently, but in terms of outcomes, they’re just two varieties of weakly hit balls. For true production, you need to get to 95 mph.

You can see the value when you look at the 2018 MLB outcomes for hard-hit balls (95 mph+) and weakly-hit balls (below 95 mph).

Hard-hit balls
.524 BA, 1.047 SLG, .653 wOBA

Weakly hit balls
.219 BA, .259 SLG, .206 wOBA

TLDR: While this may seem like common sense to some people, the number REALLY support this. Look at this chart. The harder you hit a ball, it’s extremely more likely to be a hit.


Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of CBS Sports

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 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 6th

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MAJOR NEWS:

Jeremy Hellickson

The Washington Nationals have resigned Jeremey Hellickson to a $1.3MM deal with escalators up to $4MM. Hellickson gets a $200K bonus for every other start from his 3rd to 21st, and $300K for every start between his 25th and 30th, should he reach those. Hellickson had a rather average season for D.C. in 2018 posting a 4.22 FIP over 91.1 IP computing to a 1.2 fWAR. Hellickson did post a career high in GB% at 45.9%. After the Patrick Corbin signing it looks as though Hellickson will slide into the 4 or 5 spot in the rotation: depending on how you view Anibal Sanchez.

NEWEST RUMORS

Bryce Harper

A new team enters the mix! Farhan Zaidai (GM) of the Giants sees some new value (or fallen cost) of Bryce Harper. Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports tweeting the meeting between the two. Pavlovic also mentioned owner Larry Baer and Manager Bruce Bochy attended said meeting. Zaidi is known in the industry for his skill in finding value in players.

J.T. Realmuto

As the third day in a row that Realmuto has made the site, now the Phillies are in on him. As Scott Lauber has reported, the Marlins want to deal him in the very near future. The Marlins are demanding top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez in any deal. Hopefully we see a deal very soon.

MINOR NEWS

Carlos Ramirez

After the Cubs have released their non roster invitees today, one notable name that wasn’t known was Carlos Ramirez. Ramirez who has worked with the Blue Jays in 2017 and the first half of 2018, and spent the last half of the year with Athletics, has his known command issues, but still worked to a 3.27 ERA. Which could be on the conservative side considering a 5.56 FIP.

Tom Koehler

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed Tom Koehler to a minor league pact today. It will not include an invite to Major League Spring Training. The lack of the invite is more of a reflection of his current injury status as he underwent shoulder surgery in July. While there still isn’t an anticipated return date, they still believe he could contribute to the majors this year as he has a club option for 2020 as well as $250K in incentives if he reaches certain milestones.

Tim Collins has signed a minor league deal with the Twins

Justin Nicolino signed a minor league deal with the Twins

Nick Franklin has an agreement to the Pirates for a minor league deal.

Ty Kelly will be heading to the Angels on a minor league pact.