NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, longtime umpire Hank O’Day and barehanded catcher Deacon White have been elected to the baseball Hall of Fame for their excellence through the first half of the 20th century.
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From Joel Sherman:
Alex Rodriguez was playing late in the regular season and playoffs with a re-tear in his surgically repaired right hip, The Post has learned.Just when you thought that contract couldn't look worse, it does. By the way, in case you were wondering, he's still owed $113 million over the next five seasons.
Rodriguez is expected to need a second surgery in the coming days and will miss, at minimum, a piece of the 2013 season. Still, the hope is that the procedure will allow A-Rod to return as a full, successful player as early as the ?13 season and for the rest of a contract that takes him through the 2017 campaign.
The expectation is that Rodriguez wants to play on, not retire. The surgery is expected to be performed in Colorado by Dr. Marc Philippon, who performed the initial surgery in 2009. Rodriguez came back from that operation to play well, driving in 100 runs in just 124 games and starring in a postseason that culminated with the Yankees? only title during his tenure.
The recurrence of the hip tear potentially helps explain why Rodriguez suffered through such a miserable postseason, which ultimately led to his benching. He was 3-for-25 with no extra-base hits and 12 strikeouts during the playoffs. However, Rodriguez also is 37 and so age could be a factor in the decline and also his ability to recuperate well from another surgery.
We have now entered December and if the Rockies are going to make any sizeable moves to shake up the roster come 2013, we should see signs of it in the next couple of weeks. Sometimes it's hard for Colorado fans to see their club making any real impact transactions but three of the last four off seasons have seen the club do just that by mid-December.
In 2008, the action started early as Matt Holliday was dealt in exchange for Carlos Gonzalez, Greg Smith, and Huston Street in November.
Two years later, the Rockies were active on several fronts. Most notably, they took the remarkable step of committing to Troy Tulowitzki through the end of the decade when he was still four years away from free agency. Within hours of that move, the Rockies also announced the resigning of Jorge De La Rosa who briefly tested the free agent waters.
The early off season deals didn't stop there (although they probably should have) as Colorado also traded away Clint Barmes to Houston for Felipe Paulino, acquired Jose Lopez from Seattle, and signed Ty Wigginton from the free agent market.
More early off season moves commenced last year as the Rockies traded away Chris Iannetta, Ty Wigginton, Houston Street, and Ian Stewart as part of four separate deals that landed Tyler Chatwood, Tyler Colvin, and DJ LeMahieu. These deals also cleared enough payroll for the Rockies to sign both Ramon Hernandez and Michael Cuddyer to multi-year contracts.
All of these things are relevant to today because every single deal I just mentioned happened by December 16th of its respective offseason. The only recent year we didn't see the front office make any real significant moves by this date was 2009 (unless you count the resigning of Rafael Betancourt), and even that spoke volumes because the Rockies entered 2010 with largely the same roster they finished with the previous season.
In other words, we should have a pretty good idea about the direction the Rockies want to go in next season within the next 14 days. We obviously won't know all the details, and there will still be the possibility of big moves in January, but if recent history is any indication, several pieces of the puzzle should fall into place in the next couple of weeks.
The dilemma the club faces is not an easy one. After a 98 loss season, some fans may want radical change, but it's just not that simple. The biggest potential step forward for this club actually exists within the pieces it already possesses. If that step forward does come, it will come in the health of players like Troy Tulowitzki, as well as the growth of a bevy of young but raw talent.
The tricky part comes in figuring out just how close the Rockies are to contention if A) they remain mostly healthy and B) a few of their young players start to mature and make positive impacts on the 2013 club. The way the Rockies interpret this information will likely drive their decision making for the rest of the off season.
Senior vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett and new manager Walt Weiss will be in Nashville this week for the Winter Meetings while Dan O'Dowd and Colorado scouts will work the phones from Denver.
Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post goes into more detail about the Rockies pitching plan for next season. Again, we see the grow from within theme.
Also from the Denver Post, Terry Frei discusses both his hope and frustration as it pertains to the Rockies.
Anthony Castrovince is looking at the trade market for what could be a very eventful week at the Winter Meetings across MLB.
Justin Upton. Justin Upton. Justin Upton.
The Diamondbacks are said to be one of the most aggressive teams here so far... Execs with other teams have thought they will trade J.Upton.
If J-Up is available, then one would think the Braves are all over it. Of course, unless the D-Backs have moved off their offer of Simmons in return, then it might be a non-starter. Still, it's heating up...
Besides Pagan and Victorino, there is another high-profile free agent with plenty of leadoff experience: Ichiro Suzuki. The former Seattle Mariners icon turned 39 in October and is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he posted career-worst OBPs of .310 and .307, but Suzuki did seem rejuvenated after a July trade to the Yankees. He hit .322 with a .340 OBP and 17 stolen bases in 67 games for New York, and will probably end up signing for a relatively low salary and a deal of one or perhaps two years.
He's older, but still has speed, and if he can get his on-base ability back he could be a valuable lead-off man. I also like the idea of adding a veteran like Ichiro to what is a very young Braves lineup. As far as Ichiro is concerned, here is his agent on the status of talks with the Yankees:
"At the beginning we talked a lot but since that time, zero,’’ agent Tony Attanasio said of discussions with the Yankees. "As far as we are concerned we don’t care what the Yankees do. We have had conversations with multiple clubs. If we see something we like he will go through with it.’
One would think Ichiro, at 39, would fit into the Braves budget, and still leave them with money left in the kitty. It would be neat to add a future Hall of Famer like Ichiro to the team, and possibly have him finish his career in Atlanta.
Baseball Card Show Purchase #3 – Lot Of 2 Randy Johnson Rookie Cards There always seem to be a few rookie cards lurking in the dime bins at the card show. Some are rookies you would not want for your … Continue reading →
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One of the most difficult things, for me, about the Hall of Fame season is feeling like I don't have a say. I'm not a member of the BBWAA and I don't have a vote. Luckily, there are smaller polls on blogs where I can voice my opinion on Hall of Fame matters. But it sure would be nice to feel like a part of something bigger.
That's what I love about Graham Womack's Hall of Fame projects over at Baseball: Past and Present. He just unveiled his third annual poll where you are invited to name the 50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame. I've voted each year so far and I've already written about my planned vote this year.
When you vote, you are also asked to denote whether or not you believe each player on your list should actually be in the Hall. For example, maybe I'd add Tim Raines and believe he belongs. But perhaps I'll also list Tommy John, without believing he should actually be inducted.
So, go ahead and vote! And feel free to share your votes in the comments.
Beyond The Box Score's staff Ace Glenn DuPaul has been doing some very interesting work regarding the differences between starters and relievers over at THT the past few weeks. In the first article of the seires, Glenn asked if relievers across baseball were consistently improving, citing an ever-narrowing RA9 gap between RP and SP as evidence.
1.) More same-handed match-ups for relievers.
2.) Shorter outings.
I decided to draw up a few quick queries on the matter, starting with the history of same-handed match-ups.
I began by querying the retrosheet database for the percentage of match-ups where the batter and the pitcher were of the same handedness dating back to when this information was first recorded in 1960 (I eliminated from the calculation all Plate Appearances where handedness data was not available). Remember a higher percentage here creates an advantage for the pitcher, a lower percentage favors the hitter:
Now, I'll admit this was not exactly what I was expecting. I was expecting the percentage of same-handedness PA's to increase as time went on. But it is important to remember that as the pitcher's managers grew wiser over time and began opting for same-handed match-ups, so did the opposing manager in charge of drawing up that line-up card. The ultimate effect of all this is a sort of neutralization of the pitcher's advantage. And while it's true that same-handed match-ups have been on the rise since the early 1990's, they've really only been restored to their 1970's levels in recent seasons. In fact, baseball saw much more of a pitcher's advantage in the 1960's than at any other time.
But perhaps, the relievers have been disproportionally accounting for more of the same-handed at bats than the starters? To test this I then broke up the percentage of same-handedness at-bats into the two roles-- starters and relievers. Surprisingly, the trends remained consistently parallel with one another:
Maybe the effect of LOOGYs in particular has allowed the relievers to make up ground on their game-opening counterparts? I queried the percentage of LHP vs LHB and RHP vs RHB plate appearances in each season, but found no dramatic increase in lefty on lefty match-ups for relievers:
So if relief pitchers haven't been gaining their advantage from increasingly favorable match-ups, I had to turn to popular theory two.
The next logical explanation to test for was shorter outings. Perhaps by employing more relievers, and delegating fewer responsibilities upon the reliever in terms of batters faced, the modern RP is therefore allowed to exert more energy into his abbreviated performances? To test this I separated all Relief Appearances dating back to 1950 into 5 groups: appearances involving one Batter Faced, two BF, three BF, four BF, and five or more Batters Faced.
Interestingly, the percentage of relief-appearances that consist of facing just one or two batters has remained consistently steady over the last half-century. While, as you might expect, those legendary long relief appearances have become increasingly rare events in recent years, verified here by the sharp drop in the "5 of more BF" RP outings.
To visualize this another way, I've also put together a similar chart based on appearances by their length in Innings Pitched. What immediately stands out is the meteoric rise of the singular 1 IP reliever outing as baseball entered the Era of the Save Opportunity.
To what degree these changes explain the widening gap in performance that Glenn described between starters and relievers I'll leave for another article. I would expect, however, that the effect of shorter outings from relievers in recent seasons plays more of a role in that discrepancy. But at the very least I thought this sort of information might be useful to you.
For more on RP/SP differences you can check out this mega-google doc I put together this summer.
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All the Atlanta Braves rumors from the Winter Meetings wrapped up in one place.
The baseball world is descending on Nashvegas for their annual Winter Meetings -- a time when General Managers and club executives come together and trades get done and free agents get signed. The Atlanta Braves, though, have already signed their big free agent, and made a big trade. So what, if anything, is left to do?
B.J. Upton is in place in center field for Atlanta. Tommy Hanson is out of the rotation, and Jordan Walden is in the bullpen. The Braves have even done one of their annual waiver claims of a random pitcher, selecting right-hander David Carpenter off waivers from the Red Sox last Friday.
The Braves have stated that they would still like to get a left fielder, and after trading Hanson they likely have an extra $3 to $4 million on top of the rumored $10 million they had left after signing Upton. That's a pretty good chunk of change to work with.
One of the fancier rumors -- that would use up all of that change and more -- came from Jon Heyman of CBS, who reported that Braves President John Schuerholz said not to count out Atlanta on Zack Greinke. Sounds crazy, but if Greinke wants a less stressful environment closer to home and is willing to accept less money, then he would definitely be in the Braves wheelhouse. That move would eat up all the Braves available cash, and perhaps tie their hands on doing anything else, so one would think a move to free up salary would also need to happen, unless they severely backloaded the contract -- something the Braves don't like to do.
As for left field, there's still that lingering flirtation with Justin Upton that everyone keeps bringing up. But as long as the Diamondbacks are insisting upon Andrelton Simmons, I don't see how Atlanta makes that move, having no ready replacement for their young shortstop.
The Braves could take a run at one of the free agents to fill left field. Shane Victorino would fit with the Braves desire to stay speedy in the outfield, and he would fill their leadoff void. Ryan Ludwick or Cody Ross would add more right-handed power to the lineup, though there probably wouldn't be any bargains in that group.
It certainly seems like the Braves are primed for action over the next few days. They've already been one of the most active teams, and moving Hanson could signal a desire to do some radical remaking of their roster after hardly making a move last off-season.
Here's a link to the audio from part of the interview. I've transcribed it and some other parts of the interview here as well.
Schuerholz: "I can't say talent; Michael's an awfully talented player, although age is on B.J.'s side of course as a 28-year old vs a guy in his early thirties. We liked the talent of both guys, we just felt like B.J. was a guy we could hopefully bring in and tie up for a number of years. He's at the age (of) peak career productivity as we all believe. We thought he was the right guy for us going forward."
On whether lineup construction and his place in the batting order was a concern of Upton's:
"How the lineup lines up is going to determine on how our roster is put together ultimately; how (General Manager) Frank Wren and his guys get finished constructing the roster. That's some work to be done. Martin Prado's likely going to fill one of those spots, although I'm not making those decisions today. He's that kind of player, and wherever he goes or whoever else we acquire, then that batting order will be determined by (manager) Fredi (Gonzalez), and whose talents fit best and we'll see where B.J. falls into that."
On if it's more likely the Braves sign a free agent left fielder or trade for one:
"I really don't know. Frank and his group have been working hard and they've got out ahead of this process pretty well in order for us to get B.J. and then make the Tommy Hanson deal. So, I know they're attune to what people will have and what they're looking for and what the free agent possibilities are out there; whether it happens to be a third baseman or a left fielder."
On Atlanta's trend of making trades and deals early in the offseason the past few years:
"I think you have to be comfortable in your own skin doing those kind of things. I've made deals as early as the General Managers meetings... If you can match up and you feel like your getting quality and the need that you want back, you just do it. If you've done your due diligence and you got through your evaluation process and all of that, just do it. If you think it's the right thing, do it. If you happen to be able to get something done, you're in far better position going forward ahead of the curve, in terms of all the other conversations you want to have, because you've got the piece you really wanted to really get and move forward. I think Frank Wren and his guys felt that way, and things lined up."
On Tommy Hanson and the reasoning for the trade:
"Tommy is healthy; he's worked very very hard. He had some shoulder issues; it wasn't anything in the joint but it was in the shoulder area. But he worked very very hard and he got himself back, he's a very deliberate delivery guy. He's very upright, and in his younger days he could get all of that working and throw mid-90's and had a great curveball, and that worked.
He didn't have that capability the last year or so, but I'll say this. This is a top-notch person, a top-notch, hard working, professional guy. A classy guy, great teammate. I hope he succeeds and comes back with the Angels, his hometown in Southern California. He's a great kid, I hope it works for him, but we didn't feel comfortable going into the construct of our team for this coming season to have him (be) a (big) part of it.
That doesn't mean he can't come back, because a lot of guys his age can bounce back, and I hope Tommy does. We didn't feel like he would rank in the top five starters for us right now. It would be tough for him, and so that's why we made the decision."
On Jordan Walden:
"Plus, we got a power arm back. We got a guy who, two years ago, had 30-something saves. He has a kind of a crazy, in your face jumping off the mound kind of a delivery, and throws it in the mid-90's. So to add a guy like that to our bullpen, which is already pretty substantial, gives us an additional strength in an area where we're already strong."
"We believe so. I mean, we believe it's their time to step forward. They're pitching in the Dominican Republic, and we have eyeballs on them down there. We see progress being made, continual progress being made. That's the one thing about prospects: they're prospects until they either become part of your team or they can't do it. We have a confidence that either one of them or both of them can make their way onto our roster this year in one role or another, starter or relief pitcher."
On if Bowden can eliminate the Braves from the chase of Zack Greinke:
"I don't think you can eliminate us from everybody, but it's unlikely. I'll say that. What our focus is now, what Frank (Wren) and his guys are working on...Zack is a tremendously talented guy and we've had interest in him, as everybody has for a long time. I don't know that he's on Frank's list at the top of the list right now, but, I wouldn't say no to anything."
"I love Andrelton Simmons. Anytime we can get a player from Curacao, we're going to try to get him and keep him. We love players from Curacao."