CC Sabathia Wins 250th Major League Game

Posted June 20, 2019 by Burly
Categories: Baseball History, Houston Astros, New York Yankees

CC Sabathia won his 250th major league game, which, if he wasn’t already assured a place in the Hall of Fame, has assured him a place in the Hall of Fame.  250 career wins is almost certainly the contemporary 300 career win standard that guaranteed any pitcher (major scandals excepted) a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Future pitchers will win 250 games.  Justin Verlander will likely do it in 2021 or 2022, but it is certainly debatable whether any pitcher will again win 300 games.

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Manny Machado’s One-Game Suspension Seems About Right

Posted June 19, 2019 by Burly
Categories: San Diego Padres

I saw that the MLB Umpires Association is pissing and moaning about the fact that Manny Machado only got a one-game suspension after his tantrum on Saturday, so I actually bothered to watch the video of the incident just now.  Seems mostly like a big nothing-burger.

Machado contested a third strike call on a close pitch, turning to face and tell off the umpire, and the umpire properly rung him up.  Machado then vented, which is to be expected.  There appeared to have been contact, but it didn’t look intention or significant, what they call “incidental contact” as Machado was venting his spleen.

Perhaps Machado could have received a two-game suspension for making contact and throwing his equipment around like a spoiled brat, but that seems like the limit given the circumstances.  As I see it, the umpire should have turned and walked away five or ten feet before turning back to face Machado in order to de-escalate the situation, but some commentary I heard on espn.com to the effect that Manny should not have been ejected because he’s such a big star is full B.S.  Everybody who has watched baseball with any regularity over the last forty years knows that the player gets ejected when he turns and faces to the umpire to contest balls and strikes.

I hadn’t watched the video until this evening, because the initial reports made it sound like a run-of-the-mill player gets heated about a close call that goes against him and gets ejected for arguing balls and strikes.  In watching the video that was just about all it amounted to.  I want my five minutes back.

San Francisco Giants Squeeze the College Seniors

Posted June 19, 2019 by Burly
Categories: San Francisco Giants

In the 2019 amateur draft the Giants selected college seniors Simon Whiteman of Yale and Jeff Houghtby of the University of San Diego with in the ninth and tenth rounds.  It’s not unusual for the Giants to draft college seniors, but it appears clear that these two were selected solely because the Giants had prior agreements with each of them to accept way less than slot money that the Giants could then direct to some of the high school seniors they selected.

My suspicion was confirmed today (thanks McCovey Chronicles!)  Each of Whiteman and Houghtby signed by $22,500, freeing up $256,000, all of which has already been spent on high schoolers Grant McCray (3rd round), Garrett Frechette (5th), Dilan Rosario (6th) and Trevor MacDonald (11th round).  In fact, the bonuses given to these four youngsters will require the Giants to squeeze at least two of 1st, 2nd and 4th round picks Hunter Bishop, Logan Wyatt and Tyler Fitzgerald to avoid significant penalties even if all other high school draft picks sign for no more than the slot caps.

I don’t really see the downside is squeezing Whiteman or Houghtby, at least in terms of the fact that the Giants probably could have signed better prospects with these two picks.  The odds are slim that any 9th or 10th round draft pick (or both) will ever amount to anything, and the money saved enabled the Giants to sign Trevor MacDonald, generally considered a fifth round talent, who probably has a better chance of amounting to something than any other 9th or 10th rounders the Giants might have drafted combined.

Of course, it remains to be seen if any of the players the Giants selected after Hunter Bishop amount to much at the major league level.  Even Bishop might not make it, but if the 10th overall pick crops up a dud, then something seriously did not go according to plan and opportunity.

Houston Astros Sign Felipe Paulino

Posted June 18, 2019 by Burly
Categories: Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Independent-A Leagues, Mexican League, Minor Leagues

Remember Felipe Paulino?  He had a six year major league career with his last appearances for the White Sox back in 2014, and it wasn’t particularly memorable.  Paulino was mostly an ineffective major league starter with a career record of 13-34 with a 5.22 ERA.

He’s 35 now and has been effective closer in the Indy-A Atlantic League for much of the past three summers.  The Astros just signed him to a minor league contract which is notable solely because major league teams almost never sign players this old with such spotty past major league records out of the Independent-A leagues.  A pitcher who once an effective major league closer or legitimate No. 2 or 3 starter, maybe, not someone like Paulino who was never very good even at this best.

Paulino really has been good in what amounts to two full seasons played over the last three summers in the Atlantic League.  His ERA has been consistently under 2.00, he’s recorded 63 saves and 154Ks in 116.1 IP.  On its face, that would suggest he deserves another look at AAA from a team with a major league bullpen need.

However, Paulino was brutally bad in half a season in the Mexican League in 2017 and pitched poorly in the Venezuelan Winter League last off-season.  Neither league is significantly better than the Atlantic League or as good as other AAA leagues (the Mexican League is labeled a AAA league by MLB, but is really closer to a AA level of play).

It’s a rare thing indeed for a player like Paulino to get another MLB-system shot at age 35, so it’s worth taking notice of it, and I’ll certainly be rooting for him, even if I’m doubtful he can cut the mustard in the heavy-hitting Pacific Coast League.

Madison Bumgarner for Clint Frazier?

Posted June 16, 2019 by Burly
Categories: New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants

The New York Yankees just sent Clint Frazier down to AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre in order to create roster space for the newly acquired Edwin Encarnacion.  Frazier is slashing .283/.330/.513 in 209 plate appearances after going 1-for-5 in today’s game, so I can’t imagine he’s happy to be getting sent down when he’s been hitting as well as he has so far in 2019.

Clearly, the Yankees want Frazier to continue to play every day, and he could be called up in a few days if someone in New York gets hurt.  However, it sure seems likely that Frazier will be on the trade block for pitching, and Madison Bumgarner is near the top of lists of starters who are expected to be available this trade season.

Frazier would be a steep price to pay for a two or three month rental of Bumgarner, who becomes a free agent at season’s end, but the Giants could surely throw in a relief pitcher, or something else of value to even out the trade, as well as assuming some of the remaining $4M to $6M owed to Bumgarner this season to address what are likely to be the Yankees’ salary cap concerns.

Obviously, the Giants’ outfield situation would look a whole lot better with the 24 year Frazier and former No. 5 overall draft pick added to the mix.  I’d have no problem seeing the Giants trade away MadBum to get him, since the team can always be in the running to re-sign him in the off-season if they think he can still help the team going forward.

Anticipating Upcoming Giants/Dodgers Trades

Posted June 11, 2019 by Burly
Categories: Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants

The one weakness the 2019 Los Angeles Dodgers have is that their bullpen isn’t very deep or particularly good.  The one strength the 2019 San Francisco Giants have is their bullpen.  The Dodgers hope to go deep into the post-season; the Giants are obviously going to be sellers at the trade deadline.  Add to all this is the fact that the Giants’ new General Manager Farhan Zaidi came out of the Dodgers’ organization, and one would have to think that there will be at least one trade between the two organizations between now and the July 31st trade deadline.

The obvious bullpen candidates to be traded as of this writing are Will Smith, Tony Watson and Sam Dyson.  Smith becomes a free agent at the end of the season; Dyson has one more year of control and would be in line for a raise on the $5M he’s making this year through the salary arbitration process; and Watson has a player option at $2.5M, or he can opt out and accept a $500,000 buyout.  None would be particularly expensive as 2+ month rentals.  Both Smith and Watson are lefties, which the Dodgers in particular appear to need.

I could see a package deal with the Bums getting all three in exchange for a package of prospects who would amount to a lot more than what any one of the three relievers would bring alone.  Zaidi must have a good idea of whom in the Dodgers’ system he likes and would want in return.  Hopefully, discussions between the two clubs are already well underway.

As a Giants’ fan, I’m all for hating the the Dodgers, and even in a bad year like this one, beating the Dodgers in some important games in September.  This year, though, it isn’t likely to make any difference, as the Dodgers already have a 10-game lead in the NL West and will probably be leading the division by even more come the end of the season.  If the Giants can get some quality prospects from the Dodgers in this lost season, I wouldn’t mind seeing them trade half the roster to Los Angeles.  At least the Giants would then be in line for another top-ten draft pick in the 2020 June Draft.

San Francisco Giants Acquire Yet Another 4-A Outfielder

Posted June 11, 2019 by Burly
Categories: San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants

The Giants today traded for 29 year old outfielder Alex Dickerson from the Padres for 23 year old RHP Franklin Van Gurp, as new Giants general manager Farhan Zaidi seems determined to try to corner the market on not quite major league outfielders.

In theory the Giants have room for another 4-A outfielder now that Mac Williamson is no longer with the organization.  However, I’d rather see Austin Slater or Mike Gerber, both of whom are hitting great at AAA Sacramento and are three years younger, get major league chances before the new warm body Dickerson does.

Dickerson hit well for the Padres as a rookie in 2016, but then he missed all of the next two seasons due to back problems and a torn elbow tendon.  He missed most of the 2014 season to injuries as well.  He hit well in 26 games at AAA El Paso (1.075 OPS), but only 3-for-19 in San Diego.  Who does that sound like?  Basically, every AAA outfielder the Giants have called up this season, claimed in the Rule 5 Draft, claimed off waivers, etc.

Van Gurp is a former 25th round draft pick out of college who has a very live arm.  He’s struck out 174 batters in 128.2 minor league innings pitched, mostly in the low minors.  It remains to be seen if he can find enough command to amount to something, but he’s got the kind of arm the Padres should be happy to get for a player they had designated for assignment before making the trade.

It definitely feels like the Giants are going to continue to cycle through outfielders to see if any can get hot for more than a week or two in San Francisco.  Mike Yastrzemski, after a successful first week of major league games, is already beginning to look like another won’t-ever-be-ready-for-prime-time hitter.  At least he’s building up a resume to get a shot at major league money in Japan or South Korea next year.

The belief is growing stronger and stronger in my heart that Zaidi is secretly committed to the team continuing to tank in 2019 and 2020, in order to get the high draft picks necessary to rebuild a new competitor starting around 2021.  At this point, I don’t much care just how badly the 2019 team plays so long as the team works on developing a new core group of young players as quickly as possible.