June 20, 2013
And here's the full roster.
Now availableHardball Times Baseball Annual 2013, with 300 pages of great content. It's also available on Amazon and Kindle. Read more about it here.
Or you can search by:
THT E-bookThird Base: The Crossroads is THT's e-book, available for $3.99 from the Kindle store. The good news is that anyone can read a Kindle book, even on a PC. So enjoy the best from THT in a new format.
our CafePress store. We've got baseball caps, t-shirts, coffee mugs and even wall clocks with the classy THT logo prominently displayed. Also, check out the THT Bookstore. Please support your favorite baseball site by purchasing something today.
All content on this site (including text, graphs, and any other original works), unless otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Following are the one hundred most recent articles for the category News .
06/19/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
06/19/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 12, Vol. IIby Karl de Vries
06/19/2013: Roy for ROYby Frank Jackson
06/19/2013: Currently historic: Helton doubles!by Jason Linden
06/19/2013: You can’t take it with youby Derek Ambrosino
06/19/2013: Trending youngby Alex Connors
06/18/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
06/18/2013: The Verdict: absolute power corrupts absolutelyby Michael Stein
06/18/2013: All-time two-first-names teamby Greg Simons
06/18/2013: AL East division update: June editionby Nick Fleder
06/18/2013: THT Awardsby John Barten
06/17/2013: Closer watchby Karl de Vries
06/17/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
06/17/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 12, Vol. Iby Jack Weiland
06/17/2013: 30th anniversary: Bob Welch does it allby Chris Jaffe
06/17/2013: The Hot Seatby Scott Strandberg
06/17/2013: Red Line doubleheaders (part I)by Chris Jaffe
06/14/2013: The daily grind: 6-14-13by Brad Johnson
06/14/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
06/14/2013: 18 again!by Shane Tourtellotte
06/14/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 11, Vol. IIIby Karl de Vries
06/14/2013: Traders Corner: Oakland Elixir, V is for Victorby Jonah Birenbaum
06/14/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Amos Otisby Bruce Markusen
06/13/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
06/13/2013: The daily grind: 6-13-13by Brad Johnson
06/13/2013: The clutchiest hitter of all?by Carl Aridas
06/13/2013: The all-decade team: the ‘50sby Richard Barbieri
06/12/2013: The daily grind: 6-12-13by Brad Johnson
06/12/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
06/12/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 11, Vol. IIby Jack Weiland
06/12/2013: Helping their own causeby Shane Tourtellotte
06/12/2013: Hub fans bid Kid redoby Frank Jackson
06/11/2013: The daily grind: 6-11-13by Brad Johnson
06/11/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
06/11/2013: Call-up season is upon usby Jeff Moore
06/11/2013: THT Awardsby John Barten
06/11/2013: 10th anniversary: Houston no-hits the Yankeesby Chris Jaffe
06/11/2013: The Steel City power outage of 1917by Dave Vocale
06/10/2013: The daily grind: 6-10-13by Brad Johnson
06/10/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
06/10/2013: NL East division update: June editionby Brad Johnson
06/10/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 11, Vol. 1by Karl de Vries
06/10/2013: When a $9 ticket costs $20by Chris Jaffe
06/10/2013: The Hot Seatby Scott Strandberg
06/09/2013: Visualization: the 2013 MLB draftby Dan Lependorf
06/08/2013: Four teams, 38 innings, one historic dayby Shane Tourtellotte
06/07/2013: The daily grind: 6-7-13by Brad Johnson
06/07/2013: Jose Canseco’s independents dazeby Frank Jackson
06/07/2013: Roster Doctor: Two to sell highby Jonah Birenbaum
06/07/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 10, Vol. IIby Karl de Vries
06/06/2013: The daily grind: 6-6-13by Brad Johnson
06/06/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
06/06/2013: The Roto Grotto: catching up with pitcher statsby Scott Spratt
06/05/2013: Ignoring suspension noiseby Derek Ambrosino
06/05/2013: Does MLB have a case this time?by Eugene Freedman
06/05/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
06/05/2013: The daily grind: 6-5-13by Brad Johnson
06/05/2013: Currently historic: So many walks and strikeoutsby Jason Linden
06/05/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 10, Vol. Iby Jack Weiland
06/05/2013: Three True Outcomes too common?by Alex Connors
06/05/2013: BOB: Spring training war updateby Brian Borawski
06/04/2013: The Verdict: not all trades are created equalby Michael Stein
06/04/2013: The daily grind: 6-4-13by Brad Johnson
06/04/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
06/04/2013: 25th anniversary: three-run walk-off errorby Chris Jaffe
06/04/2013: Revisiting pre-arb contractsby Greg Simons
06/04/2013: Ike Davis and comfort at the plateby Matt Filippi
06/04/2013: The Hot Seatby Scott Strandberg
06/04/2013: Astros set to repeat their draft philosophyby Jeff Moore
06/04/2013: THT Awardsby John Barten
06/03/2013: The daily grind: 6-3-13by Brad Johnson
06/03/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
06/03/2013: AL West: pretty much what we thought going inby David Wade
06/03/2013: 10th anniversary: Sosa’s corked batby Chris Jaffe
06/03/2013: What WPA can tell usby Chris Jaffe
05/31/2013: Traders Corner: Conundrums Kemp and otherwiseby Jonah Birenbaum
05/31/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/31/2013: Shut ‘em out, hit a home run: “Pappas games”by James Gentile
05/31/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 9, Vol. IIIby Jack Weiland
05/31/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Joe Pepitoneby Bruce Markusen
05/30/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/30/2013: Lohse goes for pitching history tonightby Chris Jaffe
05/30/2013: Trapped in the minors: Dean Annaby John Kochurov
05/30/2013: The Roto Grotto: z-scores appliedby Scott Spratt
05/29/2013: On Jon Heyman and the Oakland Coliseumby Dan Lependorf
05/29/2013: Job opening at Bloomberg Sportsby Dave Studeman
05/29/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/29/2013: BOB: A new chapter in the spring training warsby Brian Borawski
05/29/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 9, Vol. IIby Karl de Vries
<< Click here to return to the category list.
January 20, 2013
The greatest Cardinal is goneFor Cardinals fans of the past 15 years, the greatest player they've ever witnessed wearing the birds-on-a-bat jersey obviously is Albert Pujols. For fans such as me who grew up watching Whitey Herzog's runnin' Redbirds, it was Ozzie Smith. A generation before that, it was Bob Gibson or Lou Brock.
But the greatest St. Louis Cardinal of all time undoubtedly was Stan "The Man" Musial, who passed away Saturday at the age of 92.
Musial was the definition of what it means to be a Cardinal, the epitome of striving for success in that classic Midwestern manner. For the Simons family, our Cardinals fandom goes back at least to the beginning of Musial's career, as it and my father's early life matched up quite nicely.
Dad was born in the spring of 1940, and the next season Musial made his major league debut. At that time, no one knew what to expect from either of them, my dad because he was just learning to walk, Musial because he was fresh-faced, 20-year-old kid with all of 239 plate appearances in Double-A.
By the time my father turned nine years old, "The Man" had earned three Most Valuable Player awards and a trio of batting titles. While Musial would win another four batting championships, he could muster "only" four more second-place finishes among his 18 seasons of receiving MVP votes.
Dad was too young to appreciate the three World Series titles the Cardinals brought home by the time he'd started first grade, but he had another 17 seasons to follow the greatness of Musial. Consistently, relentlessly, Musial portrayed excellence year after year, batting well over .300, walking a bunch, striking out very little, and clobbering plenty of pitches over the walls of Sportsman's Park.
When Musial's career was complete, he had compiled a .331/.417/.559 BA/OBP/SLG line with 3,630 hits (an NL record at the time), 475 homers, 1,951 RBI, 1,949 runs scored and 24 All-Star Game appearances (thanks to a stretch of seasons with two games a year). His strikeout-to-walk numbers were an astounding 696-to-1,599, his OPS was 976 (13th best all-time), and his OPS+ stood at 159 (15th best all-time).
When Musial's career was complete, my dad's childhood had officially ended, as he married my mom in the summer of 1963, Musial's final campaign. I don't think she knew it at the time, but my mom was being indoctrinated into the Simons family Cardinals fan club. Lucky her.
One of the greatest attributes of Musial's career was his balance, his consistently. See those RBI and runs scored totals up above—1,951 and 1,949, respectively? Put those on a scale, and it will hardly sway one way or another. And then there's his home and away hit totals of exactly 1,815 each. Recalling those near-perfect pairings reminded me again of my parents, matched together so well that they'll be celebrating 50 years of marriage this summer.
It might seem odd that a player's passing immediately brings to my mind thoughts of my family, but the Cardinals are ingrained in us, part of the ebb and flow of our everyday lives. A large majority of the conversations my dad and I have touch on the Redbirds at least briefly. I was granted full membership in the club before I was even born, and I'm forever grateful for it.
My family has loved the Cardinals for over seven decades, and Stan Musial was the ideal representation of a Cardinals player all that time. There is no one to take his place, but we all have the memories to cherish.
I called home last night to ask my dad if he ever saw Musial play in person, but he was asleep, so I'll have to check again today. I did speak to my mom, and she told me they did see Musial in spring training a few years ago, and he was ambling around the field, chatting with players and waving to the fans. Another great memory, another delighted fan.
The enduring images of Stan Musial are of him rapping a solid hit, playing his harmonica, thanking the fans. Whatever mental picture you have when Stan "The Man" Musial comes to mind, it's almost certainly a pleasant one.
For "baseball's perfect warrior ... baseball's perfect knight," his enduring legacy will be one of consistently bringing unwavering commitment to the field and joy to the fans, day after day after day. That's true for my parents, many other family members, and millions of Cardinals fans everywhere.
Thanks for the memories, Stan Musial. You are, and always will be, "The Man."
Posted by: Greg Simons
October 23, 2012
A few playoff nuggets
— How have the Tigers and Giants fared against each other in previous postseason encounters? Actually, they've never faced one another in the playoffs. Heading into the League Championship Series, this was the only one of the four potential World Series match-ups that never had happened before.
The Yankees and (New York and San Francisco) Giants have met seven times (1921, '22, '23, '36, '37, '51, '62), with the Bronx Bombers holding a 5-2 advantage. The Cardinals and Yankees have faced off five times (1926, '28, '42, 43, '64), with St. Louis winning three titles. The Cardinals and Tigers have squared off three times (1934, '68, 2006), with the Cards emerging victorious twice.
— Could we be watching both Most Valuable Players in this year's Fall Classic? Buster Posey seems to be the favorite in the National League, while Miguel Cabrera has a strong shot in the American League if those nerdy stats geeks focus just on the numbers.
You know, the Triple Crown, which contains one category (home runs) of obvious value, another (batting average) that is worthwhile in limited situations, and a third (RBI) that has as much to do with the guys hitting in front of a player as with that player's actually ability.
— The Giants are the second team in history to win three do-or-die games twice is a single postseason, joining the 1985 Royals. Kansas City came back from 3-1 deficits against Toronto in the ALCS and St. Louis in the World Series. As we just witnessed, San Francisco overcame a 2-0 hole in this year's best-of-five NLDS against Cincinnati and rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the NLCS.
— In its four League Championship Series wins, San Francisco outscored St. Louis, 27-2. The Cardinals and Yankees combined to score eight runs in their eight LCS losses, with New York looking like a relative powerhouse by plating six runners.
— The Redbirds are the first team to lose four playoff series after having a three-games-to-one lead. They also were the first, and still only, team to lose in three such scenarios. In addition to this season and the '85 World Series mentioned above, St. Louis dropped the 1968 championship to Detroit and the '96 NLCS to Atlanta.
— Boston is the only team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit three times, including the remarkable comeback from a 3-0 hole versus New York in the 2004 ALCS. The Red Sox also rallied against the Angels in the '86 American League Championship Series and the Indians in the 2007 ALCS.
The Royals the Pirates have achieved this feat twice each. KC's triumphs were mentioned above, while Pittsburgh defeated the Washington Senators in the 1925 World Series and Baltimore in the '79 Fall Classic.
Posted by: Greg Simons
April 16, 2012
Enough with the blowhard managersBobby Valentine, being Bobby Valentine, spouted off about Kevin Youkilis' game prep to the Boston Globe's Pete Abraham:
I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.
Anyone expecting him not to say things like this doesn't understand Valentine's M.O. He's bombastic, confrontational and publicity-seeking. In other words, he's Boston's version of Ozzie Guillen. You know Guillen, the guy who recently said he loves and respects Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
I get that these two managers enjoy stirring the pot. They love to be the center of attention. They prefer to call our their players in the media instead of addressing their issues face-to-face in the privacy of the clubhouse. What I don't get is why, at least regarding that last point.
Sure, generating controversy boosts their notoriety and helps land them broadcast gigs when they're not in the dugout. That's smart (if annoying) business, helping set them up professionally and financially when their managerial schticks finally wear out their welcome.
But embarrassing their players in public, as Valentine just did and Guillen often did in Chicago, serves only to create a divide between themselves and their players. Who wants to listen to a manager who questions your integrity in public? Who wants to play for a manager who doesn't have your back?
I know these antics bring attention to a team, and as the old saying goes, there's no such thing as bad publicity. And plenty of people seem to revel in these controversies. But it seems the negative impact of this behavior in the clubhouse—and by extension, the playing field— would outweigh the positive impact of a few more ears and eyeballs focused on the team.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, I wish Valentine and Guillen would just shut up.
Posted by: Greg Simons
March 28, 2012
Extremely early awards votingSure, it's only one game (Mariners 3-1 over the A's in 11 in Tokyo), but a few players already have set themselves apart from the competition, establishing themselves are early front-runners for the American League MVP and Cy Young awards. Here's a look at the candidates and their credentials.
1. Dustin Ackley is slugging 1.000 and on pace for 162 homers, the same number of stolen bases, 324 RBI, and an equal number of runs scored. Naturally, all of those would be major league records. He had the game-winning RBI in Wednesday's contest, too, so he has the clutchiness factor working for him.
2. Ackley's 324-hit pace would shatter the current record. However, Ichiro Suzuki is looking to protect his status as the record holder in that category by getting off on a 648-hit pace, nearly 400 base knocks over the current record of 262 safties. Also, Ichiro's .800 batting average would make Ted Williams' .406 mark look pathetic in comparison.
3. A distant third, Cliff Pennington is batting .400 with a stolen base. Hey, someone has to get those third-place votes.
If you prefer to put one of the pitchers below in the MVP discussion, that's completely understandable. For now, I'm keeping the hitters and hurlers separate.
AL Cy Young
1. He didn't get the Opening Day win, but a low win total didn't stop Felix Hernandez from bringing home the hardware a couple of seasons ago. His eight-inning, six-strikeout, one-run, five-hit, no-walk performance enabled the Mariners to stay in the game long enough for Ackley to execute his heroics. And Hernandez's 1.13 ERA would be just off Bob Gibson's 1968 record of 1.12.
2. Brandon McCarthy did his best to keep pace with King Felix, but he managed to twirl only seven innings of six-hit, one-run ball. He also didn't walk anyone (nor did any other pitcher on either staff), but his mere three punchouts hint at a lack of dominance that could weaken his case as the season progresses.
3. Brandon League preserved the M's win, throwing a shutout frame in the 11th inning, whiffing two batters while allowing one hit. Sure, saves are overrated, but League's peripheral numbers show he's more than just an accumulator.
Posted by: Greg Simons
January 23, 2012
Carmona points out an MLB inequityGoodbye Fausto! Hello Roberto!
As reported last week, 28-year-old Fausto Carmona is Roberto Hernandez Heredia and perhaps 31 years old.
There are implications here for Carmona-Heredia, for the Indians and, most importantly, for professional baseball and the uneven way it deals with international players.
Since being released on bail, The Sinkerballer Formally Known as Fausto has been apologetic but tight-lipped. He reportedly paid for a false identity that may have incorrectly represented his age. He may have been making periodic payments to maintain the false identity. He eventually balked at paying and somebody talked, leading to his arrest.
He is not the first Latin-American player to take this route. (Last year's most publicized example was Leo Nunez.)
So Heredia lied. But did he do anything wrong to the game of baseball? Does lying about your age and name affect anything about playing the game?
It does not.
While the lies are certainly deplorable, they do not affect the player's ability on the field. People will say that, because his age is uncertain, it could be advantageous for him to have people think he is younger. It could lead to larger bonuses and salaries. He’ll appear more successful since his ability will be compared to that of players younger than him.
But these are issue of deceit based on the current economic model and do not affect the play on the field.
If the same player was actually three years YOUNGER, would we be willing to rectify the situation financially? What happened, as before, is a player found a way to take advantage of the economic system in baseball. For him to be successful, he still had to demonstrate ability and skill.
In doing so, he allegedly broke laws in at least two countries* but he never de-skilled the game. While the misreported younger age would have been helpful during his development, the lying did not give him specific extra ability, or his ability to ignore Lake Erie Midges that Joba Chamberlain could not. Carmona’s lies do not hurt the on-field play of baseball.
* I have no idea if Canada would say anything about a player such as Carmona entering the country with false paperwork. I’m not even sure Canada would prosecute, but I am fairly certain that it is against Canadian law.
When looking at a situation like Carmona’s, I look directly at those running Major League Baseball and the teams. Lying about one’s identity is so advantageous for a specific set of players that it outweighs the risk of punishment. Instead of demonizing players like Carmona and Nunez, it is time to look at the system.
In Japan, younger players are able to develop in a system that gives them the ability to play in their homeland with the possibility of moving to the major leagues in America. In Latin America, players feel the need to break the law to be part of the system. So in one week, Yu Darvish, who has never pitched in even the minor leagues in America, got a $60 million contract after a team paid $51.7 million for the right to give him that contract. During that same week, we learned that, once again a player lied about his identity in an effort to get a portion of that amount of money.
In the end, both players will succeed or fail based on what they do on the field. How they got the opportunity doesn’t affect their ability on the field.
Major League Baseball needs to address the differences. If baseball officials are going to continue to encourage teams to deal individually with international players, they need to address the extreme differences in the system. It is not an easy task. How can baseball expect players not to take the route of Carmona and Nunez when the Darvish situation points out the inequity?
As for the Indians:
While Carmona has not lived up to the promise he flashed in 2007, he has shown, when healthy, to be able to provide a decent set of 30-plus starts and 200-plus innings each year.
In conjunction with this news, it appears the Indians finally pulled the trigger on obtaining Kevin Slowey. The Indians have been interested in him anyway, so this was not in direct relation to Carmona’s issues, but the trade was probably hastened. Carmona will likely end up on the restricted list, leaving the Indians with a hole in the rotation but with an extra $7 million. The Indians gave up Zach Putman, a young pitcher who may have competed for a bullpen position this year.
The Indians have other options for the rotation. David Huff and Jeanmar Gomez will be among those who compete with Slowey for spots behind Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Tomlin and Derek Lowe. In the end, the Indians' depth should be able to cover for Carmona's absence with limited hardship.
Posted by: Mat Kovach
Click here for more THT Notes.