Uncategorized Rumors

$400K NFL Contest At DraftKings

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Arbitration Breakdown: Rick Porcello

Over the next few weeks, I will be discussing some of the higher profile upcoming arbitration cases. I will rely partly on my arbitration model developed exclusively for MLB Trade Rumors, but will also break out some interesting comparables and determine where the model might be wrong.

Rick Porcello enters his fourth and final arbitration year coming off of a career year — and heading to a new team. With a 3.43 ERA, he bested his career ERA by over a run, and he had personal records with 15 wins and 204 2/3 innings too. Porcello had never had an ERA better than 3.96—and that was his rookie year—and he had gotten 14 wins a couple times, although not since 2011. Porcello had also never thrown more than 182 innings, yet he beat that handily this year. After establishing himself as a slightly below average starter whose best characteristic was that he was durable, Porcello emerged as an important contributor in 2014.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers

Those three key statistics for which Porcello had a career record in 2014 (ERA, wins, innings) are by far the most important ones for starting pitchers in arbitration. Furthermore, in general only the most recent season counts towards a player’s arbitration raise once they have reached their second year of eligibility or later. The previous years’ performances only really matter in as much as they affect the salary base from which the player will earn a raise. As a result, Porcello is likely to get a healthy raise from his $8.5MM salary in 2014, and my model projects his raise to be $3.7MM, putting him at $12.2MM. By looking at other comparables, this looks like a reasonable estimate.

Shaun Marcum in 2012 received a $3.30MM raise after going 13-7 with a 3.54 ERA in 200.2 innings. Although strikeouts do appear to have some effect on starting pitchers’ arbitration cases, and Marcum had 158 to Porcello’s 129, the rest of Marcum’s case seems to be slightly worse across the board. His ERA is barely higher, his innings are barely lower, yet he won two fewer games. As a result, Marcum is likely to be seen as floor for Porcello. This means that Porcello is likely to be able to argue that any agreement should give him a raise of more than the $3.3MM than Marcum received.

A possible ceiling for Porcello could be Justin Masterson’s $4.07MM raise last year. Masteron had a 14-10 record, so he did win one fewer game than Porcello, and his 3.45 ERA was similar. Masterson also had 193 innings, which is less than Porcello’s 204.2. However, all of those numbers are similar and Masterson had 195 strikeouts, beating Porcello by 69. If strikeouts are given any real weight in Porcello’s process (which does not always seem to be the case), they are likely to make Masterson look like a ceiling because of the similarity of his case otherwise. However, if they are not considered strongly, then Masterson would look more like an even comparable for Porcello.

Another possible comparable could be Jason Vargas from 2013, who got a $3.65MM raise—just $50K less than my model predicts. Vargas went 14-11 with a 3.85 ERA, so he had one fewer win and an ERA 0.42 higher. But Vargas had 217.1 innings, topping Masterson by 12.2 innings, and he struck out twelve more batters. The case is definitely similar, with the extra win and better ERA not necessarily giving a better case because of the 12.2 fewer innings and twelve fewer strikeouts. As a result, the $3.65MM seems likely to be close to what Porcello earns.

I suspect that the model will nail this case based on these three comparable pitchers. This would put Porcello at $12.2MM in his last year before free agency.


AL West Rumors: Rangers, Kemp, A’s, Kang

The Rangers are expected to talk to the Mets and Marlins about starting pitchers, tweets T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Sullivan mentions Jon Niese and Dillon Gee of the Mets and Andrew Heaney and Nathan Eovaldi of the Marlins as likely targets. Presumably, Texas would consider other targets as well. New York needs a shortstop while Miami could use first base help. The latest from the AL West..

  • There has been no recent progress in the Matt Kemp trade talks between the Mariners and Dodgers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
  • A’s manager Bob Melvin likes internal shortstop options, notably Andy Parrino, but he also said he wouldn’t be surprised if they added one before spring, according to Jane Lee of MLB.com (via Twitter).
  • Meanwhile, GM Billy Beane says that contrary to reports, the A’s are not among the teams with interest in Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang (link).
  • Beane confirmed that the A’s are targeting young shortstops in deals, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).
  • Astros GM Jeff Luhnow says he’s still very much focused on adding bullpen depth through free agency or trade, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (via Twitter).


AL East Notes: Sandoval, Ramirez, Rays

Red Sox owner John Henry made comments back in April that seemed to imply he was done with signing players over the age of 30 to monster contracts.  However, Boston’s signings of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez show that’s not quite the case.  “John Henry comes from a world where everything has a value,” General Manager Ben Cherington said, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. “Sometimes it’s worth investing a lot if you think you’re getting really good talent back or performance. The age thing, of course, is part of the conversation because we all know players age and when they get into their 30s, historically speaking, there starts to be a decline. But when we get in a room and talk about offseason planning, it’s never pursue this guy or don’t pursue this guy just for these rules. It’s all about what makes sense, what fits on the team.”  More from the AL East..


Trade Notes: Porcello, Ramirez, Upton, Kendrick, Padres

It’s already been a fairly active winter on the trade front, as we’ve seen the Brewers acquire Adam Lind, the D’Backs acquire Jeremy Hellickson, the Tigers acquire Anthony Gose and of course the Cardinals/Braves Jason Heyward blockbuster. All of this has come before the Winter Meetings, so action on the trade front only figures to increase over the next month. Here are some of the latest rumblings from around the league…

  • ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that in addition to Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and the Reds’ quartet of starters that are rumored to be available (Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon), Rick Porcello is believed to be attainable in trades. Rival evaluators feel that many players that are set to be free agents a year from now could be had for the right offer. The Tigers, of course, are aiming to contend in 2015, but Porcello is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $12.2MM in arbitration and could fetch a nice piece while freeing up some cash for GM Dave Dombrowski to address other areas of need.
  • Olney also hears (Twitter link) that the White Sox‘ asking price on Alexei Ramirez is “steep to the degree that you’d want to be buying in for two to three years.” Ramirez is guaranteed $10MM next season and has a $10MM club option for the 2016 season with a $1MM buyout.
  • The Mariners will surely make a run at either Justin Upton or Evan Gattis, if they haven’t already, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter links). O’Brien gets the sense that top prospect Taijuan Walker is not completely off the table in trade talks with Seattle, but it would probably take more than one year of Upton to acquire him.
  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto tells Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times that he’s had trade discussions regarding Howie Kendrick, but he’s in no way eager to move his second baseman. The Halos entered the offseason thinking they might be able to move Kendrick for a controllable, young rotation option but somewhat surprisingly did so by acquiring Nick Tropeano in the Hank Conger trade. “The only way we would move him is if we become a better club,” Dipoto tells DiGiovanna. “And it would take a heck of a deal for us to feel like we’re a better club by moving Howie.”
  • Though much has been made of the possibility that the Padres could trade Tyson Ross or Andrew Cashner to bolster the club’s offense, the team is now strongly considering hanging onto both pitchers, sources tell MLB.com’s Corey Brock. Interestingly, Brock’s report mentions reported trade interest in Ian Kennedy but does not state that the Friars are similarly likely to hold onto the 29-year-old. Kennedy will be a free agent next winter.

Data Entry Position Available At MLBTR

MLBTR is seeking a person for a data entry position.  The job requires entering MLB transaction-related data into our database on a daily basis, as well as related quality control tasks.  The job will generally require 10-15 minutes per day once you’re trained, but occasionally more.  The timing of the data entry must be consistent: the previous day’s transactions must be fully entered by noon central time, seven days a week.  Requirements for this data entry position:

  • Consistent long-term availability to enter the previous day’s data by noon central time seven days a week.  We would like someone who can stay in the position for more than a year, so if you anticipate your schedule changing and making it difficult to meet the requirements, please do not apply.
  • Attention to detail.  Data must be entered carefully and fully and double-checked for accuracy.
  • Quality control.  We want to ensure there are no errors or omissions in data from previous years, by checking against other sources.
  • Inquisitive, critical thinker.  If there are gray areas about certain transactions, we will expect you to inquire with the MLBTR team so we can resolve them.  We will also be looking for suggestions on ensuring our data-related tools at MLBTR are useful, thorough, and timely.
  • An understanding of the types of MLB transactions (DFA, extension, minor league signing, Major League signing, non-tender, waiver claim, etc.)
  • The position pays $100 per month and starts as soon as possible.  If you’re interested, please apply by emailing mlbtrdata@gmail.com and explaining why you are the best person for the job.

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Download Our Free App: Trade Rumors

Have you downloaded our new app yet?  The Trade Rumors is out now for iOS and Android!

The Trade Rumors app brings together content from our three sites: MLB Trade Rumors, Hoops Rumors, and Pro Football Rumors. You can easily scroll left to right and click on the image of the article you want to read. You can also filter your feeds to show only the top stories within that category, if you prefer.

Once you’re within a feed, you can swipe to read older or newer articles without going back to the home screen. Each article can be easily shared via Twitter, Facebook, email, or text message.

The Trade Rumors app is highly customizable. You can add feeds for any of the 92 MLB, NBA, and NFL teams, as well as for any of the thousands of players in our archives, by using the settings icon up top for iOS and the pencil icon up top for Android. You can create a multi-sport experience tailored to your specific interests, or you can limit your app entirely to one sport by removing the others.

Best of all? The Trade Rumors app is free! Download it for iOS or Android and leave a review!


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Free Agent Prediction Contest Deadline Tonight

Dust off your crystal ball again, it’s time for MLBTR’s fourth annual free agent prediction contest! Predict destinations for our top 50 free agents, with the chance to win fantastic prizes and bragging rights over your friends and the MLBTR writing team. Last year’s winner had 13 correct; can you beat that?

How To Play

  • Click here to make picks for our top 50 free agents. For each player you can choose any of the 30 teams, as well as Retirement or Japan.
  • A Facebook account is required to participate in this contest. You can log in with the button up top, or by using the Save Your Picks button at the bottom.
  • Feel free to leave your picks incomplete for now, as long as you save them using the button at the bottom. The contest is open now and runs until 11:59pm central time tonight. Make sure to have something chosen and saved for all 50 players by the deadline, or else you will not be eligible for the contest. We suggest you save periodically after every 5-10 picks in case it times out.
  • Players on our top 50 that sign before the November 7th deadline are considered freebies, although you still need to go in and make the correct pick. It’s kind of like getting points for putting your name on the test – seems like a no-brainer, but a few people still won’t do it.
  • The leaderboard will rank contestants by “batting average” on correct picks, once players start signing. The leaderboard will show everyone’s full names and Facebook profile picture.

Rules

  • Final picks must be saved by November 7th at 11:59pm central time – no exceptions.
  • MLBTR writers are not eligible for prizes.
  • One entry per person, please.
  • With regard to prizes, ties in batting average will be decided by totaling the ranking number of each correctly-guessed free agent and taking the lowest total, rewarding contestants for being right on better free agents. If people are still tied after that method is applied, prizes will be distributed at MLBTR’s discretion by choosing among tied contestants randomly.
  • Prize winners must respond to an email message within 48 hours.

Prizes

  • $1,000 in cash prizes to be distributed among the top five finishers
  • More prizes to come

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Introducing The Trade Rumors App

After many months of hard work, we’re very excited to bring you the new Trade Rumors app for iOS and Android devices!

The Trade Rumors app brings together content from our three sites: MLB Trade Rumors, Hoops Rumors, and Pro Football Rumors.  You can easily scroll left to right and click on the image of the article you want to read.  You can also filter your feeds to show only the top stories within that category, if you prefer.

Once you’re within a feed, you can swipe to read older or newer articles without going back to the home screen.  Each article can be easily shared via Twitter, Facebook, email, or text message.

The Trade Rumors app is highly customizable.  You can add feeds for any of the 92 MLB, NBA, and NFL teams, as well as for any of the thousands of players in our archives, by using the settings icon up top for iOS and the pencil icon up top for Android.  You can create a multi-sport experience tailored to your specific interests, or you can limit your app entirely to one sport by removing the others.

Best of all?  The Trade Rumors app is free!  Download it for iOS or Android and leave a review!

TradeRumors-Google-FeaturedImg


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NL Notes: D-Backs, Nationals, Braves, Mets, Pirates

The Diamondbacks expect new assistant GM Bryan Minniti to focus on the administrative side of baseball operations while also contributing to the organization’s analytical development, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic“I won’t say [administration is] a weakness for me, but it’s part of my job that I don’t necessarily want to embrace on a day-to-day basis,” said GM Dave Stewart. “He picks me up in that area and is very knowledgeable in that area. People in the industry say he’s one of the best in the business at that position.” Minniti said he is not an “analytics guy,” though he does have a statistical background and is said to have played an important role in that regard with the Nationals. Here are more notes out of the National League.

  • As Minniti settles into his new job, the Nationals have begun the process of replacing him, as Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. They made a variety of moves in their front office, including promoting director of baseball operations Adam Cromie to assistant general manager and hiring two analysts.
  • Braves president John Schuerholz says that he never approached Royals GM Dayton Moore about a return to Atlanta and would not have done so since Moore has two years left on his contract, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Twitter. Reports had suggested that the Braves were considering making a run at bringing back Moore as general manager, but the team ultimately convinced John Hart to take over baseball operations and says it has no plans of hiring a new GM under him.
  • The Mets have hired Kevin Long as their hitting coach, the club announced via Twitter. Long had served as the Yankees’ hitting coach before his recent firing after eight years with the team.
  • The Brewers have named a new hitting coach as well, hiring Darnell Coles to replace Johnny Narron, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports on Twitter. Coles served as the Tigers’ assistant hitting coach in 2014 and managed the Brewers’ Double-A Huntsville affiliate in 2012 and 2013.
  • As the Pirates look forward to 2015, the club faces a number of complicated arbitration decisions, as Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review discusses. Two of those were seemingly resolved this morning when the Bucs designated John Axford and Jeanmar Gomez for assignment, but the Pirates still have 11 arbitration-eligible players, including three first basemen (or likely first basemen) in Pedro Alvarez, Ike Davis and Gaby Sanchez.