Author Archives: Zach Links

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Lawrie, Pearce, Robertson

On this date in 1974, In a Class A minor league contest, Portland Mavericks manager Frank Peters rotates his starting nine so each player takes a different position on the field for every inning. The innovative strategy works as Portland posts an 8-7 victory over the Tri-Cities Ports, their Northwest League opponents.  Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere.

Please send submissions to Zach at ZachBBWI@gmail.com.


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Young, Gordon, Duda

On this date in 2006, Sean Casey grounded out to left field.   Yes, that’s right.  The unique 5-7-3 play was the result of the batter starting to head back to the dugout, believing he was robbed of a hit, when the ball actually glanced off White Sox third baseman Joe Crede‘s glove reaching left fielder Pablo Ozuna.  Ozuna’s throw to first base just beat the runner to the bag.  Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere.

Please send submissions to Zach at ZachBBWI@gmail.com.


Padres Release Brooks Conrad, Hector Ambriz

THURSDAY: The Padres have released Conrad, according to the team’s transactions page.

Additionally, the Pacific Coast League’s transactions page reveals that the Padres have released right-hander Hector Ambriz. After spending 55 2/3 innings in the Astros’ bullpen from 2012-13, the 30-year-old Ambriz saw just two innings with the Friars this year. Much of his season was spent at Triple-A El Paso, where he posted a solid 3.93 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 55 frames. He had signed a minor league deal with the Padres back in Spring Training.

TUESDAY: The Padres announced that they have designated Brooks Conrad for assignment.  In related moves, left-hander Frank Garces will be called up from Double-A San Antonio and right-hander Jesse Hahn is on his way back to San Antonio.

Conrad signed a minor league deal with the Padres in January after spending some time in Japan.  The infielder has spent the bulk of the year in Triple-A, slashing .278/.349/.529 with 18 homers in 337 plate appearances.  In a limited sample size of 34 major league appearances in 2014, he hasn’t been able to produce the same results.  For his career, Conrad owns a .200/.271/.660 line across parts of six big league campaigns.



Quick Hits: Atchison, Rapada, D’Backs, McLouth

Indians pitcher Scott Atchison, 38, has himself a new deal which gave manager Terry Francona a meatball of a joke setup.   “What’d they give him?” Francona asked reporters, including Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. “A year, an option, and an AARP card?”  More from around baseball..

  • MLBTR (Twitter link) has learned that Clay Rapada will take 2-3 weeks to let his injured ankle heal before pursuing his next contract.  The left-hander struggled with the Orioles‘ Triple-A affiliate in large part due to that bad ankle.  Rapada had a 5.63 ERA in 38 1/3 Triple-A innings this season, a far cry from the 2.82 ERA he posted in 2012 for the Yankees.
  • The Diamondbacks‘ record $115MM payroll isn’t a one-time thing, but rather a sign of what’s to come, president/CEO Derrick Hall tells Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona. “It is safe to say it will be $100MM-plus,” Hall said of the payroll for next year. “We definitely want to be close to where we were. Will we get to $115MM? I don’t know. But I don’t know if that is necessary.”
  • The Nationals announced that outfielder Nate McLouth will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair the labrum in his right shoulder and will miss the remainder of the season.  McLouth, 33 in October, signed a two-year, $10.75MM deal with the Nats in December that contains a club option for a third season valued at $6.5MM.
  • A.J. Burnett was on the hill tonight for the Phillies and even though he lost, he’s got a reason to smile.  As Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (on Twitter) notes, tonight was his 27th start of the season, which bumped his player option from $8.5MM to $10MM.  With 30 total starts, he can bump that number to $11.75MM.  If he reaches 32 starts, that number goes to $12.75MM.

AL West Notes: Altuve, Morales, A’s, Jackson

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is just 5’6″, but he doesn’t allow his height, or lack thereof, to be a disadvantage, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.  “He’s an anomaly,” said David Stearns, the Astros’ assistant GM. “He’s tough to explain, other than the fact he works as hard or harder than anyone, he’s got freakish hand-eye skills, he loves baseball and he wants to be great.”  More out of the AL West..

  • Bob Dutton of The Tacoma News Tribune (on Twitter) believes that the Mariners have interest in keeping Kendrys Morales beyond this season but, of course, it’ll depend on the price.  The M’s acquired Morales from the Twins in exchange for right-hander Stephen Pryor late last month.  Morales batted just .234/.259/.325 for Minnesota and has slashed .207/.280/.329 for Seattle across 22 games.
  • As commissioner Bud Selig makes his farewell tour, he readily admits that he wishes the A’s stadium situation would be resolved and over with, writes Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com.  “One of the reasons for the resurgence of this sport are the new stadiums, there’s no question about it,” Selig said. “I know better than anybody (that the A’s need a new stadium). It was and is complicated. I know people don’t understand that, but it is. And if it was easy, just like if it was easy in Tampa, I’d have been 24 out of 24. But I have hopes in both places. Do I wish it’d been solved? Of course I do. I wish it had.
  • Who’s the best corner outfield prospect in baseball?  Jim Callis of MLB.com says that distinction belongs to Alex Jackson, whom the Mariners selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2014 draft.  Jackson was the consensus top position prospect in his class and received the third-highest draft bonus of anyone this year.  He’s got company at the top, however.  MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo says the Pirates’ Josh Bell is the game’s best corner outfield prospect.

NL West Notes: Sabean, Padres, Dodgers, Gonzalez

Earlier today, we learned that the Dodgers are interested in adding a reliever, as well as a bench bat.  The club has already added two right-handed starters this month, acquiring Roberto Hernandez and Kevin Correia. Now, comes word Zack Greinke has skipped his between-starts side session with what manager Don Mattingly called “some soreness and things like that,” reports ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Mark Saxon. The Dodgers, who have lost starters Josh Beckett and Hyun-Jin Ryu to the disabled list, are hopeful Greinke will make his next start Thursday.  Here’s more out of the NL West..

  • Giants GM Brian Sabean said he is skeptical making of any roster additions in August, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.  Heading into tonight’s slate of games, the Giants trail the Dodgers by 3.5 games in the NL West and hold a thin lead on the second Wild Card spot.
  • New Padres GM A.J. Preller has successfully pried veteran executive Don Welke away from the Rangers, two sources tell Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News.  The Padres have confirmed the hiring announcing Welke will serve as their vice president of scouting operations.  The Rangers had the right to refuse but chose not to get in Welke’s way of taking a job with San Diego.  Welke, a long-time scout under Pat Gillick in Toronto, was in his eighth season with the Rangers after coming over from the Dodgers.
  • Earlier today, the Padres optioned right-hander Jesse Hahn to Double-A San Antonio as a way to taper his workload, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The 25-year-old has tossed 110 1/3 innings this season between San Diego and San Antonio and is expected to rejoin the parent club when rosters expand in September.
  • The Dodgers are having bullpen problems, but acquiring a quality reliever at this point of the season is downright impossible, writes MLB.com’s Sarah D. Morris.  The Dodgers’ bullpen has been performing below expectations all season long, but losing both Paul Maholm and Chris Perez weakened it even further.
  • Carlos Gonzalez underwent left knee surgery today (his third different operation this year) and says “everything went perfect,” reports Nick Groke of the Denver Post. The rehab, however, is expected to extend into Spring Training as the Rockies outfielder will be in a walking brace for three months and a determination on his status won’t be made for another two months after that.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


AL East Notes: Jimenez, Red Sox, McCann, Rays

Red Sox manager John Farrell says you have to take the good with the bad when it comes to mid-season acquisition Yoenis Cespedes.  “With it will come some quick outs, but at the same time the ability to impact the baseball is a result of the aggressiveness as well,” Farrell said of Cespedes’€™ plate approach, writes Katie Morrison of WEEI.com. “€œHe hasn’€™t become more aggressive since coming over here. This is the player we were well aware of and pursued heavily. We’€™re fully accepting of the style of player he is.”  So far with Boston, Cespedes has a .219/.231/.406 line.  Here’s more out of the AL East..

  • Orioles skipper Buck Showalter announced that the club is moving Ubaldo Jimenez to the bullpen, Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com writes.  Needless to say, this isn’t how the O’s expected things to pan out when they signed Jimenez to a four-year, $50MM deal this winter.
  • Earlier today, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that he would consider trading prospects this winter in the right deal.  With that in mind, Jason Mastrodonato of The Springfield Republican looks at some of the youngsters Cherington could possibly part with.  If the Red Sox can’t find a way to utilize catcher Blake Swihart, who is doing well at the plate in the minors and catching 48% of base stealers, he could be made available in a deal.  Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo is another promising prospect, but there’s already tons of young rotation talent in the organization.
  • It was unthinkable just months ago, but Yankees catcher Brian McCann couldn’t be given away for free right now, writes Mike Petriello of Fangraphs.  It’s unknown whether McCann has been placed on waivers, but no team would risk putting in a claim on him and getting stuck with his $17MM annual salary, Petriello opines. So far this year, McCann has a .235/.291/.380 slash line.
  • The deal the Rays made on July 31 will always and forever be known as the day they traded away David Price, but, someday, it could also be known as the day they got Willy Adames, writes Marc Topkin for Baseball America.  “The guy that’s really intriguing to me is Adames,’’ manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s the kind of guy there, when you make a trade like this, people are always going to look at who’s coming to the big leagues primarily, but you got to look under the surface. … To be that young and that proficient, he sounds very exciting.’’

Red Sox Rumors: Bogaerts, Cespedes, Cherington

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington chatted with reporters just minutes ago and it’s no surprise to hear his admission that the club was not expecting Xander Bogaerts to struggle to this extent in 2014 (via Tim Britton of The Providence Journal on Twitter).    Still just 21, Bogaerts has slashed .226/.293/.339 in 472 plate appearances this season.  Earlier this week, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote that the struggles of Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. have left many around the game wondering how good each player truly is.    Here’s more out of Boston..


Quick Hits: Harvey, Rodon, Dodgers, Astros

After going through a number of difficult times with MLB, Rob Manfred is more than ready to take over as commissioner, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer. Manfred started working for MLB as an outside counsel in 1994, so he definitely knows what a crisis situation is all about.  More from around baseball..

  • In a radio interview last week, Matt Harvey reiterated that he is eager to get back to action for the Mets and said he is throwing in the mid-90s in his sessions. Later, manager Terry Collins got in touch with the star hurler. And I explained to him, I understand that,” Collins said of Harvey’s desire to get back to pitching, according to Newsday’s Marc Carig. “But the process is right now, you’ve got to understand it’s the big picture, and the big picture is 2015. So back off.” 
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post explores why the Mets and Cubs, who seem perfectly suited to swing a trade (pitching for a shortstop), have yet to take the leap. A NL executive tells Sherman the Mets “don’t make a lot of trades and that is because they really don’t like to give up what they perceive as their big talent, unless they can convince you to give them $2 for their 35 cents.
  • White Sox manager Robin Ventura told reporters, including MLB.com’s Scott Merkin, he will consider promoting Carlos Rodon (the third overall selection in this year’s draft) when the rosters expand in September. “If he’s doing well enough to come up here, yeah,” Ventura said. “If he’s available and he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go. I would like to see it but he’s got to be ready to go.” Rodon, who is not on the White Sox’s 40-man roster, was promoted to Triple-A yesterday.
  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (on Twitter) if the club can “find a reliever that can help us late in the games we will consider it.”
  • The Astros have decisions to make on a pair of injured right-handed relievers, reports MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Matt Albers (out since April with shoulder tendinitis) has a 2015 club option and Jesse Crain (who has been sidelined since undergoing surgery for biceps tendinitis last October) signed a one-year deal in January and Astros GM Jeff Luhnow would like to see them pitch this season before deciding their fates. “It would be nice to have those two guys in the bullpen in September to help us win some games.” said Luhnow. “I’m sure they want to do that as well so they can establish something going into next year.” 

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


AL Notes: Hamilton, Twins, Dunn, Yankees

Angels skipper Mike Scioscia is less-than-thrilled with Josh Hamilton and feels that he’s not quite the player he was when he was with the Rangers, writes Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News.  “Josh is not the same that we saw when we were looking at the other dugout,” Scioscia said. “He’s not in the batter’s box with the confidence we know he has. He’s not attacking the ball like he can. He’s working hard to try to find it …but we need him to do what he’s capable of doing, or close to that.” More out of the American league..

  • The Brewers and other clubs are looking for relievers, but a Twins official tells Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter) that another August deal is doubtful.
  • White Sox skipper Robin Ventura knows that Adam Dunn has a tough decision on his hands as he considers retirement after the 2014 season, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.  “That’s always a tough decision for guys,” Ventura said. “When they get where he’s at and Paul and all those guys that are of age, you get close and you might see the end. You don’t know. It’s a tough decision. This is something he’s done most of his adult life. It’s important. It’s still fun. You just never know. I’ve also heard guys talk that way and end up playing five more years.”
  • In case there was any doubt about his intentions, George A. King of the New York Post writes that Alex Rodriguez has been spotted working out at the University of Miami, where the baseball stadium is named after him, and at UCLA in Los Angeles.  The 39-year-old former MVP has three years and $61MM remaining on his contract with the Yankees.
  • The Yankees aren’t rushing Masahiro Tanaka back, but they are favoring an approach more proactive than protective, writes Brendan Kuty of the Star-Ledger.  “I think it’s important that we know he is healthy,” manager Joe Girardi said, “and the only way to find out is to get him in games.”  The Yankees’ $175MM investment threw fastballs from flat ground last week.