Barry Bonds is back in baseball today, coaching up the San Francisco Giants at spring training. Before attending to his duties — seven days of coaching with his former club before he heads back to his home in San Francisco — Bonds addressed the media for the first time as an official baseball man since his retirement.
Posted by Jack Moore under Barry Bonds, Play of the Week on Mar 10, 2014
Posted by Drew Fairservice under Monday Morning Memo, R.A. Dickey on Mar 10, 2014
It was never going to be easy for Ervin Santana. The draft pick compensation attached to his name and the stink of allowing 39 home runs just one year ago all but assured he wouldn’t receive the nine-digit payday for which he longed.
It was the longing for that novelty-sized check that helped land Ervin Santana here in limbo. The same limbo that he still calls home just three weeks away from the start of the season. His long time agent broke away from the Bean Stringfellow umbrella and it appeared the timeline shortened considerably. Deadlines and reported offers and Santana narrowing his choices down to two teams – it looked as though Santana wanted to get into camp in hurry.
But still he waits.
Posted by Drew Fairservice under Getting Blanked Special, Yasiel Puig on Mar 07, 2014
Spring Training is the opposite of memorable. It happens and then the real games begin. Hopefully nobody gets hurt. That’s the ultimate goal for most players and fans – keep everybody on the field. As such, it makes very few spring moments unforgettable.
Spring Training lolls like a ship in a gentle current, listing side to side until the season begins and real excitement spills over for most fans. It takes a lot for spring memories to persevere.
An ominous headline graced the title page of the June 10, 1967 issue of The Sporting News: Athlete Union? STORM BREWING:
Posted by Drew Fairservice under Los Angeles Dodgers, News And Notes on Mar 07, 2014
Does a surgeon belong in baseball Hall of Fame? Does a man who never set foot on the field and never filled out a lineup card or engineered a big trade deserve enshrinement in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown?
As far as people who changed the face of baseball, you could look long and hard without turning up a single soul whose actions more directed changed the face of baseball. Doctor Frank Jobe, who died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 88, is that rare innovator. Dr. Jobe pioneered, developed, and disseminated the revolutionary ligament transfer surgery best known as “Tommy John surgery”, named after his first successful patient. This terrific 30-for-30 short tells their story.
Posted by Drew Fairservice under Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals, Trades And Signings on Mar 06, 2014
If you’re looking for a player to bet on long term, you could do worse than Matt Carpenter. There is something about Matt Carpenter’s particular skill set that is somewhat underwhelming but still incredibly valuable.
The Cardinals leadoff man is fresh off a great season, where he ranked among the best hitters in the National League while learning a new position. Carpenter posted a .318/.392/.481 line and a season that ended up worth 7 Wins Above Replacement.
It is more the way that Carpenter goes about his business that might seem underwhelming. He doesn’t hit for a lot of power and his “no batting gloves” look is disarming. But no hitter managed more doubles than Carpenter last season as the Cards second baseman overtook Manny Machado during the seasons’ final weeks. He churned out hits and walks and scored more runs than anybody, even Mike Trout!
Carpenter makes contact – lots of it. Hard contact. He has the Cardinals line drives gene, whether he was born with it or they spliced it into genome in their run scoring foundry. Line drives falling out of bed. Line drives the other way and line drives pulled over the first baseman’s head. Line drives that fall for hits. Lots of hits. Even if he doesn’t record a hit, Matt Carpenter turns in terrific at bats, one after another. This is what a .300 hitter looks like, he said in his least condescending voice.
Posted by Blake Murphy under Analysis, Joey Votto, Sample Size Theatre on Mar 06, 2014
Opportunity isn’t a given. When a baseball player signs a contract, there is no language that ensures the player will be given ample opportunity to succeed and work through struggles. It’s why the option system exists, so teams are free to churn players at the end of the roster, looking to catch lightning in a bottle.
Mathematically, this makes little sense, of course. Chasing small samples with more small samples does not give you a larger, more reliable sample. Roster churn for the sake of “finding something that works” is an exercise in randomness, albeit one that occasionally pays off.
Despite the proliferation of sabermetric analysis in baseball, teams and players still mostly operate in inefficient ways. Decision making will never be perfectly rational in baseball, owing to tradition, moving statistical targets and, perhaps most importantly, psychology.