From the NY Daily News:
Alex Rodriguez is unlikely to ever wear the pinstripes again, sources familiar with the Yankees? situation with their troubled third baseman told the Daily News, no matter what happens regarding new allegations that he is again involved with performance-enhancing drugs.In other A-Rod related news, Dan Martin of the NY Post is reporting that Doctors have said that A-Rod's most recent hip injury was most likely not caused by PED use.
According to numerous baseball sources, the hip surgery Rodriguez is now recovering from will likely derail his playing career, leaving him in such a diminished role that he may consider a settlement or an outright retirement. He still has five years and $114 million left on his contract.
?I don?t know why he would want to go through the pain of rehabbing and trying to play up to the caliber of player he was, and come back to a game where nobody wants him,? said a baseball official.
?If he did that, he?d be a part-time player and presumably unable to achieve any of the incentive clauses in the contract or even the milestones.?
Even before the latest steroid allegations surfaced, Yankee officials had already privately begun preparing for the likelihood that Rodriguez would never finish out the mega-deal he signed in 2007. He underwent his second hip surgery earlier in the month and had begun rehabbing in Miami when the Daily News reported over the weekend that he had been involved with self-described Miami ?biochemist? Anthony Bosch, who is the subject of federal, state and Major League Baseball drug investigations.
The Yankees will likely wait until more information is gleaned from law enforcement and MLB about the veracity of the New Times allegations before deciding on exactly how to proceed.
?I still don?t think any PED would have had an effect on the injury or the surgery,? said Dr. David Geier, Director of Sports Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. ?They can impact tendons and muscles, but not what he had. They might impact recovery, but I don?t see the argument where the surgery itself would have been any different.?
?Even if this turns out to be true, it wouldn?t impact the hip joint. His problem was one of anatomy. I can?t imagine any effect.?
On December 3rd, we took a pass at what the Royals' Opening Day Roster might look like. One week later came the Myers-Shields trade, so now we have a somewhat different view of how the roster might shape up. Let's go through the exercise once more, shall we?
1. James Shields
2. Jeremy Guthrie
3. Ervin Santana
4. Wade Davis
5. Luke Hochevar
The Royals play nine games in ten days to start the season, but then play just ten games in the next fourteen days thereafter. They will need a fifth starter on April 10th, but could conceivably go without one until the last weekend of April. That entire exercise, however, is irrelevant given that the two guys currently slated to battle for that fifth spot, Hochevar and Bruce Chen, are going to be on the roster no matter what. Barring a trade, of course, which this type of column has a history of spawning: please, please, please!
The nuances of the April schedule, however, would allow the team to break camp with seven relievers as whomever wins the fifth starter spot could be used as the eighth reliever for almost the entire month. It is also worth noting that five of the Royals' first 14 games are on the road in National League parks and they may want an extra bench player because of it.
Curious in all the comments coming out of the organization is the almost complete lack of mention of Luis Mendoza as a player in the competition for the number five spot. All he gave the team last year was 166 innings with a 4.23 ERA and 4.28 FIP and was basically the team's most consistent pitcher until Jeremy Guthrie came along. Mendoza is out of options and given how nervous Dayton Moore was about losing him last spring, it is hard to imagine that Moore has suddenly fallen out of love with the Dozer.
1. Greg Holland
2. Kelvin Herrera
3. Aaron Crow
4. Tim Collins
5. Bruce Chen
6. Luis Mendoza
7. Juan Gutierrez
The trade for Shields and Davis made the battle for the final three spots in the pen all the more crowded. Chen's under contract, Mendoza's out of options and Gutierrez, should he pitch effectively, can refuse assignment to the minors. Others in the mix are Francisely Bueno (also out of options), Louis Coleman, Everett Teaford, Guillmero Moscoso, George Sherrill, Dan Wheeler and even Donnie Joseph.
This is a deep group, particularly if Sherrill were to 'get it back' and one wonders if a GM with some big question marks at second, right and even centerfield might want to utilize this depth to, you know, give himself some better options than Miguel Tejada, Endy Chavez and Xavier Nady.
As I mentioned above, the Royals really have no need to break camp with eight relievers given that they need a fifth starter once in the first three and one-half weeks of the year.
1. Salvador Perez
2. George Kotteras
There is a rumbling here and there that Kansas City might break camp with three catchers (the third being Brett Hayes, who is out of options). The Twins did this for a few years with Mauer, Redmond and LeCroy, but it is pretty rare for any team, much less and AL team, to carry three catchers who really cannot play any other position.
1. Eric Hosmer, 1B
2. Billy Butler, DH
3. Chris Getz, 2B
4. Alcides Escobar, SS
5. Mike Moustakas, 3B
6. Miguel Tejada, UIF
7. Irving Falu, UIF
Second base is still slated to be a battle between Getz and Johnny Giavotella, but given that Getz is the second most revered player on the roster (in the eyes of Yost and Moore) I think he has a decided edge. That, and the fact that Giavotella is likely to commit three to four just hideous defensive misplays during the spring that will send him to Omaha sooner rather than later.
I have a hard time believing Tejada does not have some assurance that he is going to make the roster as long as he does not cause any trouble and at least occasionally hits the ball. As for the final spot, and I think this is the final spot on the entire roster, I think Falu might have the inside track simply because he can play just about everywhere (including the outfield) and that might be the key point given that the Royals have those five NL games in the first couple of weeks.
1. Alex Gordon
2. Lorenzo Cain
3. Jeff Francoeur
4. Jarrod Dyson
If the Royals don't keep a second utility infielder (Falu) then look for Endy Chavez to get an Opening Day spot as the fifth outfielder. Now something kind of interesting to watch will be what Xavier Nady does. Keeping Nady as the fifth outfielder might be a sign that the Royals actually do have Jeff Francoeur on a short leash.
Of course, trading Hochevar and his salary to clear some room to sign Michael Bourn would be a better sign, but I digress into fantasy.
When I wrote a similar column at the beginning of December, my scientific 'feel' put that roster at around a 76 win club. Using the same exacting metric, this update version feels like 84 wins and that is based on an almost illogical optimism with regard to Ervin Santana AND Wade Davis.
Improved yes. Improved enough?
Michael Young’s walk rate is bad. Unlike Delmon Young’s, though, it’s not atrocious. And I think it’s more reasonable toRead the Rest...
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When Tiger Woods got in trouble with his wife and all of his injuries were building up, questions about his future in golf became a hot topic. I boldly predicted he would never win another major. So far I've been right, but judging by his win at Torrey[...]
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Sam Dyson, a 24-year-old former Freshman All-American at the University of South Carolina, was claimed off waivers by the Marlins on Wednesday. Dyson has already undergone Tommy John surgery in 2011 but he has a great arsenal of pitches. In July, Blue Jays manager John Farrell told the National Post that Dyson has "maybe the best overall stuff in our organization." Dyson has less than one inning of Major League experience, but he should get a shot at contributing to the Marlins as a reliever in 2013.
In 1988, Sam Dyson was born in Tampa, Florida. He attended Jesuit High School in Tampa, the same school that has produced MLB greats such as Lou Pinella and Al Lopez. Dyson was drafted in the 19th round of the 2006 MLB Amateur draft, but he decided to attend South Carolina instead of signing with the Nationals. In 2007, Dyson missed the Gamecocks entire season due to a surgery he was forced to get in order to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. Despite his age, Dyson has much, much less experience than most other 24-year-olds in professional baseball because of his lengthy injury history.
Dyson was drafted after his sophomore season at South Carolina in the 10th round of the 2009 draft. However, he smartly decided to forego his professional career once again, and stay at South Carolina. In Dyson's senior season, he pitched in 103 innings and led South Carolina to a national championship. The Toronto Blue Jays selected him in the 4th round of the 2010 MLB Amateur draft.
It is a shame that Dyson has always been held back by injuries. He throws a fastball in the low 90's, a slider with potential to be a slightly above-average pitch, and an okay curveball and changeup. Toronto decided that Dyson's arm simply wasn't going to hold up as a starting pitcher, so Dyson spent the entire 2012 season, his first professional season free from injury, pitching almost entirely in relief. It would shock me if Miami decides to convert Dyson back into a starter, as that seems like a recipe for disaster.
In 2012, Dyson pitched in Rookie ball, High-A, Double-A, and the majors. That's pretty impressive for a pitcher with absolutely zero minor league experience heading into the season. His longest stay was at Double-A New Hampshire, where he threw 45.1 innings and recorded 9 saves. In those 45 innings, Dyson only gave up two home runs. Once Sam Dyson got to Toronto, he didn't last long, pitching in less than one inning and giving up three earned runs.
I believe Sam Dyson will be able to provide value to a major league team in the future due to his ability to induce ground balls very frequently. The average GB% in the majors is right around 43-45%. I believe Dyson could produce a ground ball rate in the mid-50 percent. Thinking of Dyson as a middle reliever might be hard, as at one point it seemed like Dyson could be a first-round pick, but it is unliekly that Dyson will be able to do much more with his arm. Sam Dyson has not become the pitcher that he had the talent to be a few years ago. However, with his great arsenal and ability to keep the ball on the ground, Dyson looks like he could still have a bright future in Major League Baseball.
Happy Birthday Nolan Ryan!!! Nolan Ryan turns 66 years old today. One of the most dominant and competitive pitchers that the game has even seen, Nolan Ryan was a player admired by many. His hard work and dedication to his … Continue reading →
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Last week Ari Berkowitz wrote an article here at Beyond the Box Score exploring the reasons why Major League Baseball seems to be trending younger in recent seasons. While Ari showed that the average age of ballplayers is on a steady decline since 2004 or so, I was curious how Baseball-Reference's WAR might view the changing of the tide.
I grouped position players into four (admittedly) generic age groups, 21-25, 26-30, 31-35, and 36-40 from each season since 1900 and added up all the WAR earned by each age group. (In earlier versions of this chart I did leave in the "20 and younger" group as well as the "40 and older" group, but as it turns out neither has been very relevant).
The game has gone through many changes over the years, but the 26-30 age group has generally brought home around half of all position player WAR, especially since WWII. This group essentially represents the bread and butter of batters in the league, while the 21-25 and 31-35 groups seem to have been battling for superiority over the other for nearly the entire span of baseball's history.
We see the exact trend Ari referenced in his article when examining the 2005-2010 time frame, where the age 21-25 group has been steadily on the rise. But what we may often overlook is that this recent triumph of youth is really just a return to baseball's status quo beginning in the 1960's up until the onset of the 1990's.
It is perhaps not so much of a coincidence that the brief reign of 31-35 year-olds happened to coincide with what we often refer to as the unofficial steroid era. This spike that occurs roughly from 1995-2005 could certainly be viewed as evidence that players of that age may have had access to medical techniques that prevented the performance decline that players of that age form other eras experienced.
It is also worth noting that the 31-35 group also seemed to surge in the years immediately following World War Two from 1945-1955, but the reasons for this could have very little to do with baseball.
If we look at the evolution of Pitchers WAR for these four age groups, however, the unprecedented degree of strangeness in the range of years from 1995-2005 becomes undenyable:
In 1998, for the first time since the late 1930's, pitchers of the age group 31-35 amassed more WAR collectively than the 25-30 year-olds. This historic outlier was led by Kevin Brown (age 33), Roger Clemens (35), Kenny Rogers (33), Chuck Finley (35), and Al Leiter (32), and Gregg Maddux (32), all with at least 6+ WAR that season.
Young pitchers in the 21-25 group saw historic lows during this period, but their brand had been on a steady decline since peaking during expansion in 1961. Fortunately, however, the group has since recovered from their late nineties drought and have become increasingly relevant in recent seasons, perhaps even taking away from the traditionally dominant 26-30 age group.
. . .
So while it is certainly true that organizations seem to be targeting younger position players and especially younger pitchers, this trend is really nothing new. In fact Baseball's youth movement seems to be nothing more than a return to the way things were; a return to the game a number of us grew up with in the '60's '70's, and '80's.
Thanks to Baseball-Reference for supplying WAR data, and the Lahman database for birth year information.
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Since I'm the resident philosopher here at BtB, I'm going to throw down a little logical argument for you.
There you have it, dear readers. You have no choice in the matter. The decision is made. Simply follow your destined path, and everything will continue normally. Do not do so, and I will be forced to reconsider the assumption that you are all smart and good-looking.
On to the links:
Dave Cameron of FanGraphs considers a potentially undervalued type of player in the free agent market: Freddy Garcia and the Value of Broken Starters
You can’t build a winning team around 25 Freddy Garcias, nor should anyone try. But, for a fifth starter, Garcia’s actually pretty decent, and a lot of teams are going to go into spring training with a worse pitcher penciled into their starting rotation. Garcia will probably outpitch most of them. Garcia will probably land on the DL at some point. And then Garcia will be a free agent next winter, and likely sign another minor league contract with an invite to spring training.
Maybe it's just my Yankee fan bias, but I found Shane Toutellotte's piece - on how the Yankees and baseball would have been different had Lou Gehrig not died young - to be incredibly fascinating, thorough, and engaging. A must-read from The Hardball Times: Alternate baseball: chapter three
It is, thankfully, a rare few baseball players who are defined as much by how they died as by how they lived. Ed Delahanty; Ray Chapman; Willard Hershberger; Roberto Clemente; Thurman Munson; Lyman Bostock. A few others, surely, but the litany already feels too long. Atop that list, probably for all time, is Lou Gehrig, lost to a rare disease that not only took his life but claimed his name as a trophy.
Have you ever wondered which minor league prospects have 8 (the highest rating in scouting) tools? Well you're in luck, because Mark Anderson of Baseball Prospectus tells us: Youth Movement: Respect the 8
Even as baseball fans and those within the industry gain a deeper understanding of statistics, one number remains largely misinterpreted and misunderstood. The elite post atop the traditional 2-8 (or 20-80) scouting scale, the 8 represents the territory so far to the right on the scouting bell curve that few scouts dare to tread there. It represents only the most elite of tools and should always be respected.
Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk gives a fantastic commentary on PEDs and the Mitchell Report: George Mitchell speaks. And in doing so, illuminates how useless The Mitchell Report really was.
We study crimes like the ones Mitchell mentions in order to figure out why they happen and how best to combat them. Those studies do much to inform our law enforcement strategies. They go together. But George Mitchell and Major League Baseball — by treating the players like criminals rather than resources at the time of the Mitchell Report — blew their best chance to truly get a handle on the problem of performance enhancing drugs. Baseball has been playing catch-up ever since.
If you would like to submit an article for a future Sabersphere, please email Spencer at SpencerSchneier22@gmail.com.
In today'ss edition of BtB Retro, because I thought this was funny, Peter Bendix shows us that Francoeur was bad even back in 2008: Jeff Francoeur's Awful Season
Jeff Francoeur had some good seasons in his first three years in the majors, hitting 62 homers over two-and-a-half seasons. However, this power was accompanied by nearly unparalleled hacky-ness, as Francoeur managed only 62 unintentional walks during this span, good for one walk in every 26.7 plate appearances. For comparison’s sake, noted free-swinger Vladimir Guerrero averaged one unintentional walk in every 18 plate appearances during the same time period.
I wanted to do an additional post to point out a couple of things of interest that I noticed or came to realize during or after my Craig Kimbrel interview (check out the interview: Part 1 and Part 2). Overall, Kimbrel was extremely easy to interview. He gave thoughtful and sufficiently long answers to all of my questions, and even though it's hard to gauge someone's true tone on a phone call, he seemed very positive and upbeat during the entire interview.
The first thing that caught my attention as I got on the call with Kimbrel and the World Baseball Classic PR guy (who had arranged the interview), was that I was told two other people would be on the call as well -- Dan Queen, the MLB Marketing Director and David Meter, Kimbrel's agent. At first I thought, "whoa, I'm being monitored on this interview," but then in thinking about it after the interview I came to the conclusion that this was extremely smart of Kimbrel.
It's very easy for any ballplayer, especially young ballplayers, to say the wrong thing in an interview or get badgered by a reporter into saying something they didn't really mean to say (as another former Braves closer once did when speaking to a Sports Illustrated reporter).
So MLB and the WBC had their representation there, but Kimbrel also had his, in the form of his agent. This is either really good representation on the part of Kimbrel's agent, and/or a huge acknowledgement of still being a novice in this business by Kimbrel himself. As much respect as I already had for Kimbrel, it doubled after the interview.
Ballplayers can't always have representation, but to avail yourself of it when you can is the right way to go. I hope to talk with Craig again in the future, with or without his agent. As I said at the beginning, he was a great player to interview, and it made it a very enjoyable experience for me.
Over the weekend I was listening to the radio home of the Miami Marlins. One of their radio broadcasters was leading a Miami Marlins radio show. More than anything, it tries to build excitement or interest in the team leading up to the 2013 season. Guests come on the show and talk about the Fish. Other times there might be thought provoking predictions of what might happen in the future. But by far, the most interesting part is when fans are allowed to call in and voice their opinion. And as you can imagine, fans are not too happy right now. Some fans will remain positive. But after the latest fire sale, its hard to 'get up' for baseball.
At one point, the radio host tried to defend the situation by saying changes were needed after the team lost over 90 games last season. At another point, Larry Beinfest came on the show and said that the Double A Jacksonville team should be a very exciting team to watch this year. I even heard someone else say that the Marlins might surprise people in 2013. Either way, why are team officials or employees of the Marlins trying to spin this? Look, it is fine if you feel like the Marlins are building something towards the future or if you monitor the Marlins prospects' progress. But to sit there and try to justify the moves that were made this offseason is crazy. Think of how excited Marlins fans were this same time last year. It is not by mistake most fans are not interested in baseball now, or at any point this season. -
Joe Capozzi writes this week that the Marlins are hoping that an improved clubhouse culture will lead to more success on the field. Not necessarily more wins, but there could be an opportunity will guys will look out more for each other or encourage each other to be better. This would be a major difference from last year where the culture was one where players had their own agenda. Read more here.
- Larry Beinfest said this week that he is awaiting a competitive Spring Training from the Marlins, especially on the pitching side. Read more here.
- We've heard this before. Nevertheless, Jose Ceda could be a factor in the Miami Marlins 2013 bullpen equation. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery, but is currently throwing without restrictions. And he says he feels good. Hopefully he can get on track.
Around The League
- Francisco Liriano, Brad Hawpe, and Felix Pie are just some of the players on the Pittsburgh Pirates' non-roster invitee list. In fact, the team has 17 players on this list heading into Spring Training. Interesting to see if any of these hopefuls actually make Opening Day.
At Fish Stripes
- Read the Tales of a Fire Sale Survivor. Someone is actually called the Man of Teal. In reality, the story is refreshing. Click here.
- The Miami Marlins have the eighth-best farm system in 2013 according to John Sickels. Obviously this is a farm system that was vastly improved this past offseason. Read more here.
- This week Mr. Jong writes that Marlins players do not trust their owner. Obviously we know why. You cant assure a guy they will be here next year, then turn around and trade them. Read more here.