December 31, 2012


Best wishes for a happy and peaceful new year!

December 28, 2012

Atlanta Brings Back Racist "Screaming Savage" Logo

The Atlanta Braves have changed their batting practice caps for next season, getting rid of the "A" and bringing back the "screaming savage" logo that the organization debuted nearly 60 years ago.

The "screaming savage" logo first appeared in 1954 (when the team was based in Milwaukee). Various strories report that Atlanta has not used the logo since 1989.

Last year, when the team wore 1966 replica jerseys, they seemed to understand the logo belonged to an ignorant past. The Screaming Savage was replaced on the sleeve by two crossed tomahawks.

Paul Lucas (Uni Watch) offers a preview of all 30 teams' batting practice caps.
The re-emergence of the questionable logo is surprising given that the Cleveland Indians have been distancing themselves from Chief Wahoo in recent years. (This year's Indians BP cap features the increasingly familiar block 'C'.)
Timothy Rapp, Bleacher Report:
What in the world are the Atlanta Braves thinking? ...

Maybe somebody in the team's marketing department incorrectly surmised that the city of Atlanta loves stereotypical depictions of entire races of people.

Perhaps ownership was sick and tired of the Washington Redskins and their culturally insensitive name remaining the most offensive rendition of Native American culture in this country.
Tom Ley, Deadspin:
That's the old Chief Noc-A-Homa—get it?—mascot. He is captured here in mid-shriek as he watches either a Braves home run or the forcible uprooting and assimilation of his culture.
I'm dismayed that this idea was actually okayed at even the lowest levels of the Atlanta organization, and shocked that it was green-lighted all the way to the top. With any luck - and after enough people register their disgust (404-522-7630) - the team will come to its senses and toss this shit into the trash bin where it belongs.

December 22, 2012

Red Sox Trade For Pirates Closer Joel Hanrahan

UPDATE, December 26: Finalized deal:
Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt from the Pirates for Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimentel, Ivan De Jesus, and Jerry Sands.
It looks like the Red Sox have acquired Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan. The right-hander is 31, has spent the last four seasons in the City of Bridges, and is a free agent after 2013.

Sources say that at least two players are going to Pittsburgh - outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands and right-hander Stolmy Pimentel - but that the deal may be slightly expanded. (One report has the Red Sox sending four players and getting two back.)

Francona's Book - "The Red Sox Years" - Coming in Late January

Due January 22, 2013!


Also: Gordon Edes reports that the Red Sox are "moving toward acquiring closer Joel Hanrahan from the Pittsburgh Pirates". ... Free agent Cody Ross signed a three-year deal with Arizona today (3/28).

Happy Howlidays!

And best wishes for the new year from Tala and Diego!

December 21, 2012

Looking At Some Links re 2013

We all assume the Red Sox will finish 2013 with a better record than they managed last season (69-93). They almost have to. But how much better? If they improve by 12 wins, that will get them only to .500. For the optimists among us:
Worst to First - Since 1991
Worst First Team        Win Diff
1990  1991  Atlanta       +29
1990  1991  Twins         +21
1992  1993  Phillies      +27
1996  1997  Giants        +22
1997  1998  Padres        +22
1998  1999  Diamondbacks  +35
2006  2007  Diamondbacks  +14
2006  2007  Cubs          +19
2007  2008  Rays          +31
2010  2011  Diamondbacks  +26
An improvement of 20 wins would give Boston a 89-73 record and an outside shot at a wild card spot.

ESPNBoston: "Execs rank Sox 2nd-most improved team"

Marc Normandin, Over The Monster: "Just what is Boston's plan this off-season?"

Matt Clement of Alexandria, Sox Therapy: "A Hundred Fifty Million Dollars for This"

Tony Massarotti, Globe: "Do Red Sox have something big in works?"


James Gentile, Beyond The Box Score: "Do hitters 'step it up' when their ace is on the mound?"

Matthew Carruth, Fangraphs: "The Size of the Strike Zone by Count"

In what he happily terms a "useless" exercise, SG (Replacement Level Yankees Weblog) projects AL East wins, with R.A. Dickey in Toronto, Stephen Drew in Boston, and a few other small changes (Boston's projected wins were unchanged from the simulations SG ran on December 10):
Blue Jays (90), Yankee (88), Rays (87), Red Sox (84), Orioles (77)
Here's a sobering thought: The Red Sox could rebound in 2013, have a very good season, and still finish fourth.

December 20, 2012

A Reminder

The world will end tomorrow.

December 18, 2012

FJM: The Inside Story

UPDATE!: Part 2.


A must-read, obviously.

Rob Trump, The Classical:
Fire Joe Morgan (2005-2008) has a cult reputation that can seem intimidating to those not already in the cult. Like Mystery Science Theater 3000 in more ways than one, the short-lived, much-beloved baseball blog took aim at subpar sports journalism, heckling bad math and and lazy received wisdom with a call-and-response format that many others still imitate. The writers of FJM were never looking for their site to be influential, successful, or even read by anyone outside their close circle of friends. But they were way too good at what they did — and way, way too funny — for the site to stay undiscovered. Though the site is now dormant, the three statistically inclined baseball fans who wrote the majority of the posts are all now writers for NBC's Parks and Recreation. I took a trip to the offices of that show, where Dave King ("dak"), Alan Yang ("Junior"), and Mike Schur ("Ken Tremendous") filled me in on how FJM became an unexpected hit.
Here is Part 1. Parts 2 and 3 will be posted later this week.

December 17, 2012

Stephen Drew Joins The Red Sox

The Red Sox have signed shortstop Stephen Drew to a one-year deal, worth $9.5 million.

This is a nice move for 2013, since Jose Iglesias, currently training in Arizona with Dustin Pedroia, has not proven he can major league pitching (a paltry .624 OPS in AAA last year). Actually, Iglesias's status in Boston could be in doubt, if top prospect Xander Bogaerts continues to develop quickly.

GM Ben Cherington: "We feel Jose is ready to compete for the job. We're not ready to give it to him."

Drew will be 30 years old next season.

December 15, 2012

Mr. Green Feet

An amusing picture, for the weekend. Last summer, after I had mowed the back yard, Diego went running around - and stained his paws. (A few days ago, L posted a video of Diego and Tala playing.)

December 13, 2012

Red Sox Sign Ryan Dempster For Two Years

The Red Sox solidified their starting rotation for 2013-14 this afternoon by signing free agent Ryan Dempster to a two-year deal (2/26.5).

Dempster, a right-hander who will turn 36 next May, takes his place alongside Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, and John Lackey. (Dempster is also seen as a good clubhouse dude.)

Dempster posted a 3.38 ERA in 173 innings last year with the Cubs and Rangers; his post-deadline, Texas-only ERA was 5.09 (though two gruesome starts in which he allowed eight runs each caused some inflation). It was the first time in five seasons that the durable Dempster did not pitch 200+ innings.

This deal is similar to the other contracts the Red Sox have offered this winter: short-term deals for reasonable money to above-average players. GM Ben Cherington continues to build a team that should be reasonably competitive, while not hampering the development of (or trading away) the team's top prospects.

December 12, 2012

Youkilis Joins Yankees For 2013

Kevin Youkilis has signed a one-year contract with the Yankees, worth $12 million. Yook, who hit only .235/.336/.409 last season with Boston and the White Sox, will fill in at third base for Alex Rodriguez, who is expected to miss at least the first half of the season after having hip surgery.

Bill Madden, Daily News:
Little by little, the Yankees' old-age home is filling to capacity, so much so that the word now is they are already in the process of filling the clubhouse with rocking chairs.

Until Tuesday, the Yankees' only off-season business, other than passively watching the free agent defections of Russell Martin, Eric Chavez and likely Nick Swisher, was the re-signing of 37-year-old Hiroki Kuroda, 40-year-old Andy Pettitte and 43-year-old Mariano Rivera. Now they have begun to address the gaping holes in their lineup, first by replacing one broken-down, formerly iconic third baseman — 37-year-old Alex Rodriguez — with another in 33-year-old Kevin Youkilis. Next up: Right field, where 39-year-old Ichiro Suzuki is expected to return on a one-year deal.

The Youkilis signing is, of course, the most intriguing of all these Yankee comings and goings in that, for the better part of the last seven seasons, the bald, goateed, glowering "Youk" has been about the most loathed opposing player to venture into Yankee Stadium as the gritty personification of the cowboy-upped arch-rival Red Sox. ...

He's still a grinder, but the skills have greatly eroded, as evidenced by the way the Red Sox so easily sent him packing last year ...

More importantly, this Youkilis signing by the Yankees, like the Ichiro one expected to come, is emblematic of the real problem they have — and refuse to acknowledge. They are by far the oldest team in baseball, made so because their player development system has failed to produce any players to replace the aging core from their championship teams. And so, they are left with no choice but to patch the tire with more geezers.

December 11, 2012

Edes: Sox Looking at Swisher If They Can't Lure Hamilton

Gordon Edes reports that the Red Sox are interested in signing Nick Swisher if they cannot lure Josh Hamilton to Boston.
Privately, the Red Sox have said they won't go beyond a three-year deal for Hamilton, and Monday a baseball source it was "doubtful" that Hamilton will get fewer than four years in a new deal. ...

The switch-hitting Swisher would appear to be a more plausible alternative for the Sox, although to date he reportedly is seeking a five- or six-year deal. ...

The Red Sox, of course, would only sign him for a shorter term, as is the case with their interest in Hamilton.
Swisher is a consistently good hitter, with an OPS+ in the 120s in each of his four seasons with the Yankees (and a .367 OBP). But I'd rather not have to root for him.

December 8, 2012

Report: Phillies Reject Boston's Ellsbury-For-Cliff Lee Proposal

Jim Salisbury, CSNPhilly:
According to multiple sources, the Red Sox approached the Phillies about a Jacoby Ellsbury for Cliff Lee deal and were told that Lee was not available. The Phils won't break up their Lee-Cole Hamels-Roy Halladay trio.
WEEI's Alex Speier adds:
The Phillies needed a center fielder, but instead of trading for Ellsbury or pursuing any of the prominent free agent center fielders, the team traded for Twins center fielder Ben Revere. Red Sox team sources have said that the team would consider a trade of Ellsbury (in the aftermath of signing Shane Victorino) only if it meant a considerable upgrade to the team's rotation.
Pedro Martinez expects to be working in some capacity for the Red Sox in the future.

December 6, 2012

Newest Member Of The Bullpen: Koji Uehara

The Red Sox and right-handed reliever Koji Uehara have agreed on a one-year contract ($4.25 million), pending a physical.

Uehara, who will turn 38 years old on April 3, has pitched for four seasons since coming over from Japan. In 2012, he had a 0.639 WHIP in 37 games for the Rangers. In 36 innings (injuries cut his season short), he walked only three batters, while striking out 43.

Peter Abraham says that the Red Sox "have coveted Uehara for years".

Marc Normandin, Over the Monster:
Despite spending his entire career in the AL East and AL West, in parks that favored hitters while in Camden and Arlington, he owns a 2.89 ERA, 153 ERA+, has struck out just under 10 batters per nine innings, and, most eye-poppingly, has punched out eight times as many hitters as he has walked.

December 4, 2012

Red Sox Sign Shane Victorino

The Red Sox have signed outfielder Shane Victorino to a 3/37.5 contract.

Victorino, who turned 32 on November 30, will most likely play right field.

December 3, 2012

Napoli Agrees To 3/39 Deal With Boston

Mike Napoli has agreed to a three-year contract with the Red Sox, worth $39 million. Napoli wanted a fourth year, but Boston held firm on its offer of only three.

Napoli has a .931 OPS the last two seasons. Among righthanded hitters, only Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp are higher.
That impressive two-year OPS is helped out by the career year Napoli had in 2011.
       AVG   OBP   SLG    OPS
2011  .320  .414  .631  1.045
2012  .227  .343  .469   .812
Even so, that .343 OBP would have tied Napoli with Adrian Gonzalez for third-best on the 2012 Red Sox, after David Ortiz (.415) and Dustin Pedroia (.347).

December 1, 2012

Post: "Jeter Packing On The Pounds"

The hot stove isn't throwing off very much heat at the moment, so let's make fun of Derek Jeter for apparently putting on some weight while he recovers from left ankle surgery.
There are some amusing comments at Baseball Think Factory's thread.
Your shortstop is so fat, he eats ground balls like it was ground beef - or he doesn't because he is too fat to get to them.. or something. Damn-it.

Overheard at a Manhattan cocktail party-
"What are your hopes, what are your dr... ooh, is that pudding?"

You guys are all haters. Count the rollzzzzzz....I mean ringzzzz...