Some rumblings from around the AL East…
- The Orioles have received some calls about Dylan Bundy and Alex Cobb, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reports. We’ve heard already about some level of trade interest in Cobb, and while this is the first time this winter that Bundy’s name has surfaced in trade rumors, it stands to reason that teams are checking in on every veteran name on Baltimore’s roster as the O’s are entering into a lengthy rebuild. Bundy would be the most obviously valuable target, as he still has three years of control remaining and has tossed 341 1/3 innings over the last two seasons, after struggling with injuries in the early stages of his career. Bundy posted a 5.45 ERA last season due in large part to problems (2.1 HR/9) keeping the ball in the park, as his overall peripheral numbers were more solid. Cobb pitched well in the second half of 2018 after enduring a rough first few months as an Oriole, though one would think the O’s might have to eat some money to accommodate a Cobb trade. The veteran righty is still owed $43MM over the next three seasons.
- Before Joakim Soria signed with the Athletics, the Red Sox had interest in the veteran reliever, NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich reports. Talks between the two sides “never got anywhere concrete,” Drellich writes, and Soria ended up going to Oakland on a two-year, $15MM deal. Boston has been linked to several relievers this offseason as the team looks to replace Joe Kelly and (potentially) Craig Kimbrel at the back of the bullpen, though president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has thus far held off on making any major additions. It wouldn’t have been the first time that Dombrowski had acquired Soria; the Tigers traded for Soria in July 2014, back when Dombrowski was Detroit’s general manager.
- There was a lot of mutual interest between Charlie Morton and the Rays, the right-hander told reporters (including MLB.com’s Richard Justice) after his two-year deal with Tampa Bay was officially announced. Beyond what the Rays offered on the field and contract-wise, they had the added bonus of proximity to Morton’s offseason home in Bradenton, Florida. “The thought of being able to play close to home and with such a talented group, a young group, an exciting group, seemed something too good to be true,” Morton said. “I guess I was looking for a really good situation overall more than a dollar amount, more than a year amount. The quality of the character in the clubhouse, those things are really important to me.”
- The Rays’ use of the “opener” was one of the major baseball stories of 2018, and MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince details how the strategy not only aided in Tampa’s on-field success, but also how many other teams around the game are considering (or have already deployed) openers of their own. Of course, the Rays’ own pitchers first had to get used to the idea, and that required the participation of the initial opener, longtime reliever Sergio Romo. “What if I knew that I wasn’t going to be the only one asked to do this?” Romo said. “What if I understood that part of the reason they asked me first was to maybe get the younger guys to say, ’Hey look, he bought into it. He’s supposed to be the veteran on our team, and he had no problem doing that.’ Yeah, I did see that and understand it. In a sense, I knew I wouldn’t be the only one.” It would be interesting to see if Romo’s experience as an opener becomes a selling point for the reliever in free agency, as teams planning to use an opener in 2019 could look to Romo to begin games in addition to serving in a more traditional late-game relief role.
I don’t care what the Os do with the rebuild Brady Anderson has his finger prints all over the Cobb and Ubaldo contracts. But trading Bundy would be a good idea.
dimitrios in la
This team has a lot of Fallon the system. Cobb and Bundy each have three years left. They can mentor the younger staff, drive their momentarily diminished value up (both are good pitchers and so will) and then decide whether to trade or keep.
Does it really matter what the Orioles do? As long as they play in that hone run derby ballpark, they’re gonna have problems. #BuildABiggerWall
Not a Fan but Like they’ve never won in that Ballpark! Do your research before you spout off or grow up and don’t wast the space
Yeah Colorado ought to just shut it down as well. A hitters ballpark is the reason a team isn’t successful. Why didn’t anyone else think of this? #CriticalThinker #Genius
When they play at home they play in the same ballpark as the visiting team. The advantage should be to the home team. #BuildABetterTeam
They obviously wanted the shorter home run distances when they built it. Buyer beware.
I don’t want the facts to get in the way of a good story but Camden is 9th in HR Factor, BR rates it 15th in most hitter friendly parks. Yes it’s a hitters park, no doubt, but it’s not top 5 on anyone’s list.
The problem with the Orioles has been the same for a LONG time. Not developing talent. The bedard trade netted Jones and Tillman(he fell off the cliff but for a couple years he was very good). Then there was 1 good International signing(Schoop) and one good draft pick(Manny), flipping Uehara for Davis and Hunter helped (then not talking about his contract now) and a few FA’s that produced above expectations (Cruz, Pearce). All that built a good enough core to be competitive for a few years but not be sustainable.
IMHO that Duquette was able to put that together with what Angelos gave him to work with is a testament to DD. I’m not saying the guy is a great GM but he put together winning teams off the scrap heap. And then Buck got them to perform. The two of them were the perfect pair to work under Angelos.
However, now it’s time to modernize, draft well for a change, sign international talent, develop it, use analytics. I’m cautiously hopeful with Angelos’ boys and Elias running things. See you guys in 3-4 years.
I know I’m probably going to be thrown through the ringer for this, but most of what you identified there was under MacPhail, not Duquette. Duquette did fine, but MacPhail dealt him a pretty nice hand to start. The problem was that Duquette (or whoever was actually running the team after 2014, since I hear it was not him) did not want to modernize and face the reality that after 2016, the window for contention was shut and the older assets needed to be jettisoned for younger assets. Now we have someone who seems to understand that and I for one, am very excited for the next 5 years to see how Elias constructs this franchise from the ground up.
If the Padres can grab any 2 of Stroman,Bundy or Gray in a trade i would be stoked. All 3 are ideal bounceback candidates.
I would have to agree, Soldier. A more pitcher friendly stadium would be a boon to any of those guys numbers.
Soldier, who would you give up for Gray?
No one is giving up much for Gray. A B-level prospect or two. Not sure who that would be on the Padres. Their farm system is so deep, that what would be a #10 prospect on most teams is not in their top 20, so maybe a Padres fan can tell us who a couple of 40-45 FV prospects they have near the bottom of their top 30 prospects might be.
Its a tough one because it its a 1 year pitcher and Yankees prob want a nice prospect back and i don’t see the Padres meeting the asking price.
Upvote on your name but suggest His name be capitalized.
maybe it’s not your god? who knows. doesn’t matter. go baseball.
I am really a fan of Bundy and really hope at some point everything can truly come together for him
No question he is the lone all star rep next yr
Wondering if there might be a deal w the Cubs on the horizon where O’s help them out by taking Heyward? Maybe something along the the lines of Chatwood, Heyward and Caratini for Cobb and Givens?
What benefit does that do for the Orioles? Caritini is nice, not not worth taking Chatwood and Heywards money.
Wouldn’t the Orioles need to get something of value in return for helping out the Cubs?
More like take Chris David back
So the Orioles give up one of the few good trade chips they still have left and Alex Cobb’s contract for the right to take on Heyward’s albatross, Chatwood’s contract (which is worse than Cobb’s), and only get Caratini out of it. That’s not gonna do it.
The O’s are going to have to eat some of Cobb’s deal to get anything in return for him. Would like to think that Elias can get at least one top 100 prospect for him, but I am not holding out hope after how bad he looked for most of last season. The Reds have a kid named Santillan that I saw play for the Lookouts that would be a nice pick up. That is probably the best we can hope for. Maybe Nix or Quantrill from the Padres? Who else has enough young players and a need for a RH starter?
You’re absolutely insane if you think we’re getting a top 100 prospect for Cobb. He has no surplus value on that contract. To get a prospect of that level we’d have to pay the entire deal. No chance. As for that kid Santillan you talked about that’s the only kind of return we’d get out of the names you mentioned. I’m not familiar with him at all but he doesn’t sniff the reds top 30 prospects
most prospect lists have Santillan somewhere between #5 and #10 in the Reds system and their second best pitching prospect after Hunter Greene, so mark that one down as unlikely too
You are correct. Was not familiar with him.
Santillan is not a top 100 prospect, but he is #5 in the Reds system and has an upper 90s FB. Lots of upside. I said that the O’s probably are not getting a top 100 prospect and Santillan isn’t. Neither are Nix and Quantrill of the Padres. I think I said that the O’s would have to eat a big chunk of Cobb’s salary to get anything of value back. Hoping his 2nd half will be enough to get the O’s a decent prospect like Santillan or Nix.
They didn’t give up a prospect that well regarded for a package of Wood and Puig together . Neither of them have an underwater contract and both have more value than Cobb. Shooting far too high here.
A top 100 prospect for Cobb is not happening
Maybe a top 100 organizational prospect
This opener business is nonsense. I get what the numbers say about the 3rd time through the lineup and all but heaven forbid starters be taught to make adjustments so they can pitch deep into games.
That’s just close minded thinking. If Jeremy hellickson or *insert your favorite back end starter here*and his cupcake heater have proved they can’t do it time and time why would you have an issue with it? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you have the arms then that’s great. But most people don’t a rotation of 5 guys that they can do that no matter how many times you’d like to try them out there.
Great strategy, just be better the 3rd time through the lineup. What adjustments are the pitchers supposed to make? Most pitchers only have so many effective pitches. These guys are professional hitters, and after they’ve seen a guy’s pitches, a few times it isn’t easy to fool them again. Even deGrom sees guys hit him better as the game goes on. 3rd time through the hitters have +51 points in BA from the 1st time through. They have +87 points in BA in the 4th time through. If it could easily be taught to pitch deeper into games guys would be doing it.
If interested teams fail to trade for Dylan Bundy, it is rumored that free agent Al Bundy is a fallback option.
He is not leaving Polk High
I hope Romo signs somewhere. I’m a big fan of the guy and he’s still a decent option.
Trade for Cobb? No way. One of the worst 4 year contracts ever.
I’ll trade you a right fielder named Fowler who is on an even worse 5 year contract lol. Both have 3 years left. Maybe they could match up, with money or a prospect going to the Orioles too.
Cobb wasn’t one of the worst 4 years deals ever. That’s absolutely ridiculous. He’s not even in the top 5 for worst 4 year deals in the last decade. Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, Wei Yen Chen, Jordan Zimmerman and Homer Bailey are a couple right off the top of my head. They were all 4 or longer. That’s just nonsense. It wasn’t a good deal for a number of reasons but it wasn’t far from a horrific one.
Worst ever? Lol. Nathan Eovaldi just signed an even worse one. Cobb came into camp very late and had a very good second half. It’s best to keep him until atleast the trade deadline. Look at the deal Lynn just got. Cobb with 2.5 years and $35m will be a relative bargain.
Yes, the pitcher who just pitched so well that his team won the World Series has a worse contract than the pitcher who missed 1/4 of the season and sucked for another few months. Right, gotcha
Your Lynn comp is a very poor one. Cobb has 3 years and more money left v Lynn who came off a better season. You also can’t say anything about Eovaldi either. By no means is Cobb the worst but he’s not any better than those 2.
Like everything else in the saber world, it seems, analysis of the “opener” leaves out only one thing; the pitchers themselves.
At the beginning of the year, the Rays had a load of guys they weren’t sure were either MLB or AAAA types. A ton of them. So they devised a plan to use them in a unique way. They found out that Stanek, Yarborough, Chineros, Castillo, e.g., were functional. Others (Schultz, Kittredge, Kolarek) weren’t.
The opener “worked” because of the quality of the pitchers; period, hard stop. Not to mention pitching coach Kyle Snyder might be the new Leo Mazzone.
As for the ‘3rd time to the lineup” fallacy, it’s simply a self fulfilling prophesy. Pitchers are no longer trained to go that deep; therefor most don’t even know how. Not to mention that once a starter gets to 100 pitches, the manager is besieged by the pitcher’s agent, his mommy, and the pitcher himself, that he is done.
The “opener” is here to stay for one reason, and one reason only. For the present, it suppresses starter values at the arbitration table. This will work itself in about 5 years or so, but for the time being it’s wonderfully economically advantageous to owners. As such, it has great popularity.
If you could convince owners that a batter should only bat 400 times a year, they’d adopt it in a New York minute. And all it would take is a couple of spread sheets and some computer gobbly-gook..
Your theory that the 3rd time through the lineup drop off is a fallacy was something you obviously pulled out of a body part. It’s clear no research was involved. Look at a pitcher that is able to go deep in games, Max Scherzer. Over the last 10 years he’s averaged over 206 IP per season. He’s gotten into the 4th time through the lineup in 115 games. The BA against each time through the lineup is: .204, .231, .232, .259.
Look at the BA against CY winner deGrom’s times through the lineup: .190, . 241, .242, .277.
You’ll probably bring up some earlier generation when you believe pitchers were more manly. OK, look at Warren Spahn, who has the most complete games in the modern era. 382. Look at the BA against in his times through the lineup: .225, .237, .255, .267.
Look at any pitcher’s splits and you’ll see they get hit more as the game goes along. For some guys it’s the 4th time through, but for most it’s the 3rd time. Name one pitcher whose effectiveness doesn’t decline as the hitters see more pitches. Otherwise you’re confusing cause and effect.
Bobbo has some interesting theories he throws up here. No doubt backed by opinions backed by nothing but his head.Theres nothing new about back end starters being backend starters. The quality didn’t suddenly fall off a cliff they’ve just found aore effective way to use these guys so far.
You got one thing right. Money. Owners will love suppressing arb salaries. Otherwise, as other above me point out, you are full of it. Probably time to get back to the nursing home and continue your hobby of screaming at clouds.
That’s absurd. Pitchers throughout history have always, statistically, gotten worse as games go on. Like, we can measure this stuff. It’s not a fallacy; it just took a team with the guts to try it and that wasn’t stifled by fantasy-baseball thinking about pitcher wins. Tampa has to compete with a limited budget and starting pitchers are expensive compared to the amount of value they bring. It obviously worked for Tampa last season.
I know old-school baseball fans keep whining about this “computer gogbbledy-gook” etc. but let’s just face it – the nerds won. The teams that are winning are doing it with large advanced analytics departments, and the teams that are stuck have been slow to adapt. It’s just baseball – there’s always somebody in some generation who hates change, going back to the 1890s when people were saying the hit-and-run would ruin the game.
Saber theory always looks at stats in a vacuum, missing the overall picture; improving in one area at the expense of another.
This “opener” stuff works when the opposing teams batters are not familiar with the pitchers.
Even if it’s different games, once a professional top/middle of the lineup guy has faced a pitcher 3-4 times, he has an idea what he throws and will make adjustments.
Let’s see how it plays this 2nd year – especially in inner-division games where teams play 19 games against each other.
As for the nonsense about starting pitchers doing worse the 3rd/4th time through the line-up…..another fad theory that is impractical……..
Today the best pitching staffs have 3 quality starters. Many now getting $20-25m a year. Most set-up relief pitchers make $4m and under. A team is supposed to pull their starter because batters hit .230, .238. and .245 instead of .200 as the starter goes through the line-up? Set-up guys and closers are guys not good enough to be starters. Most teams pens have guys that will not pitch as well the 1st time through the line-up as the starter does the 3rd and 4th. How many times can a team run these guys out there before they get tired and opposing teams hitters measure them? That’s why teams are forever calling up fresh arms from the high minors that batters haven’t seen. Highly paid starters have to eat innings to protect the pen.
Some other time I’ll write you about Jim Leyland and the 1997 WS.
“Stats in a vacuum”….a phrase that says it all. White kids do better than black kids on SATs… that means white kids are smarter than black kids. Sadly, many here don’t realize that their arguments are congruent with that one.
The opener worked for the Rays because of the quality of the pitchers; hard stop. That and the availability of low-service time pitchers that they could bounce between Durham and Tampa, thereby keeping fresh arms available. They were faced at the beginning of the year with about 15 guys who were “tweeners”; good enough for AAA, questionable at the MLB level. So they found a unique way to utilize them; kudos to them.
No, I’m not a Neanderthal….I have a great appreciation for how modern metrics have increased our knowledge of the game. And we’re really only at the beginning of that knowledge; much more work needs to be done.
Listening to some on this board, you’d think the proper move would be to replace Mad Max in the 7th inning with Andrew Kittredge, based SOLELY on the fact Max was on his 3rd trip through the order. And you hit on the major, if unspoken, reality that the unbalanced schedule has rendered most “pure” stats meaningless. And all historical comparisons, when the game has changed so much, are just silly. Walter Johnson indeed……
The open minded person looks at new data and tries to figure out the best way to make it useful; he doesn’t become slavishly devoted to it. You can understand life backwards, but you have to live it forwards.
You can’t change the fact that Jeremy hellickson and the like get absolutely creamed the third time through the order. Your statement on how pitchers aren’t prepared to go that deep has nothing to do with that.
You do realiize that the Rays won 90 games last season, right? I mean, isn’t this is what teams are trying to do? Win games? The A’s won 97 games with the lowest payroll in baseball by using a lot of innovative thinking about lineup and roster constructions and a massive, highly advanced analytics department. The Rays won 90 by doing the same thing, and they had a tiny payroll too. It’s absurd that the argument with these old-school people is “well, they aren’t winning in the appropriate way, so it’s invalid.” I mean, what more work needs to be done? Winning is the goal.
And your SAT analogy, while an interesting argument, is completely a red herring and has nothing to do with a baseball argument.
(By which I mean that teams aren’t using “stats in a vacuum; they are using them in conjunction with scouting and on-field personnel. Sure, advanced ways of thinking about baseball require some buy-in from coaches and players – The Rays are a great example. They are moving their head analytics guy, Jeff Ehrlichmann, into an onfield coaching role next season, while extending Cash through 2024 – they are on the same page with this stuff, obviously, and it works).
I just want to say that I personally am against the opener just due to enjoying the tradition of SPs and how they’ve been utilized. I think the jury is still out on whether it will be effective in a widespread way or if it will be something that passes on (like the wildcat in football) or a hybrid of both of those. I don’t think the MLB should legislate against it but it does bum me out to see it become a common thing, it just isn’t as fun for me.
I enjoy the debate here and how thoughtful and (largely) civil it has been
How would MLB “legislate” against it? Just curious. When the hit-and-run began being used in 1894 there was some talk about legislating against it – basically the rules that are often used in softball or little league now – that the runner must stay on the base until the pitcher releases the ball. Likewise with base-stealing; there was a faction of MLB people who thought the steal should be outlawed. And, of course, when Candy Cummings invented the curveball in the 1880s there were some in baseball who thought it shouldn’t be allowed.
In darker examples, obviously, a lot of teams were against integration in the late ’40s. When the ball changed in 1920 and home runs became a part of the offensive strategy there were some who thought a hitter should only be allowed one homer a game; after that, a ball hit over the wall was an out.
And let’s talk about walks – originally it was 7 or 8 balls for a walk, depending on the league. Eventually it was reduced to 4, and walks were no longer counted as base hits (as they were in the early days of baseball). Old-timers decried that too; thought it tilted the game in favor of the hitters. You see some of this kind of argument today against the shift (or “overshift”) in which some think it should be banned and players should have to play within certain parameters on the field.
The point is, innovation in baseball – whether on-field, with analytics or with both – has always been met with disdain. legislating out the opener would be, of course, quite impossible. I mean, what are you going to do, leave an injured pitcher out there or allow a guy to give up 40 runs in 5 innings? Talk about making a mockery of the game.
Baseball is mostly played by the rules it established in the 1920s; probably the biggest change since then, save for the Designated Hitter, has been the abolition of the spitball and the new intentional walk rule. Legislating out a strategy because it works to win games seems foolish to me.
I feel like this argument got so off track. Yes, Degrom and the like get worse the 3rd time through the order but no one was arguing that. Pitchers like that are good enough to go that deep because a .260 BA compared to a .190 this first time isn’t a big deal. This strategy is simply for your Jeremy Hellickson type back end starters who get tuned up to a .340+ BA the third time through. They should NOT be out there. I really don’t see how someone can make the argument that they should. You don’t need to have an advanced analytics team to know that these guys shouldn’t be out there. This isn’t a new revelation for back end starters. They really haven’t gotten any better or worse , this is just a new way to optimize what you have. Your original argument was “pitchers aren’t trained to go deep.” That’s nonsense. Were hellickson and wade Miley not at one point innings sponges? Miley used to soak up innings but now he’s being deployed differently. Saying he or any guy like that wasn’t trained to go deep is a load of crap.
I’m not sure how you could implement restrictions on it exactly, I know that restrictions on bullpen use to combat the length of games have been tossed around by journalists and pundits. I don’t think that MLB is particularly against the opener, I was just saying that while I don’t like it I don’t want to be outlawed or something.
I appreciate the historical examples, I wasn’t aware of many of those. I am younger but tend to be conservative when it comes to changes to rules. I am pro replay and pitch clocks but didn’t like taking away hitting the catcher and the takeout slide. I accept the changes though and the game is always evolving, I just hope it doesn’t become overly legislated like the NFL where it is a vastly different game
Yes, I think the NFL is the example of what NOT to do when regulating onfield play. I know quarterbacks are the league’s money players, but the rules to protect them make the game much more boring, in my opinion, Baseball hasn’t tampered too much with the onfield rules besides the few things I mentioned over the last century – innovations have been made organically, by specific teams, players and front offices.
If the Orioles had the option to unload Davis. I’d trade him for a can of tuna.
Apparently Dombrowski doesn’t think Soria is worth 2/$15M.
Oakland is likely to trade Soria for a draft pick in July anyway.