117 thoughts on “More sign-stealing thoughts

  1. There’s some interesting analysis of the Astros’ trash-can banging at this site:Sign Stealing Scandal.

    I got the link from this article at The Athletic.

    A tale of two very different seasons: In 2016, Astros hitters struck out 1,452 times. That was the second-most in the American League, the fourth-most in baseball and the eighth-highest total in the history of baseball. In 2017, they set out to change that.

    They changed it, all right.

    They didn’t just strike out less — or even a lot less. They struck out so much less, it’s fair to use the word “historic” to describe it.

    They cut their strikeouts by 365 whiffs — in one year. They went from punching out 1,452 times in 2016 to a mere 1,087 in 2017, which meant they transformed themselves from a team that was striking out at one of the highest rates in history to a team that struck out less than any team in baseball that season. And they made that transformation in just one year — not to mention a year when the other 29 teams combined to strike out nearly 1,500 more times than they’d whiffed the year before.

    So how unusual is it for any team to cut down on their strikeouts by that much? We asked STATS Perform to take a look. How many other teams in the entire live-ball era (1920 to present) have ever reduced their team strikeout total by 365 in one year in non-strike-shortened seasons?

    That would be none. In fact, no other team in history has even come within 80 strikeouts of doing that.

    Charts follow.

    If you see a subscription offer from The Athletic, I’d say look into it. If you subscribe to Sports Illustrated and are annoyed that it’s now a monthly rather than a weekly, use that subscription money for The Athletic instead.

    • Would be interesting to know more about this specific case. I had read someone where it was to be an MLB representative arguing the case, and not one from either the Dodgers or Angles. These things are well studied, however, so Dodgers may have passed over their briefing book.

      • That was from a tweet that Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. He had heard that in cases like this MLB would have a third party lawyer present the team side.

      • “Of course, the ultimate price point will in some ways impact how the two
        teams value Pederson. It’s highly unlikely that the outcome of the
        hearing will torpedo the trade, but it could determine which secondary
        pieces the Angels send to the Dodgers to finalize the arrangement. Given
        that additional layer of complexity, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County
        Register tweets
        that an exec with another club “suspects” that MLB is having a
        third-party lawyer present the other side of Pederson’s case, thus
        entirely removing the Dodgers and Angels from the equation.”

  2. I still can’t figure out the Angels deal. Joc is in there as a salary dump, so ok, but if all you’re gonna get back is Luis Rengifo (OPS+ of 84 in 400 AB, which is in line with his performance in the minors) why does Stripling (a cheap, yet serviceable pitcher with some upside) have to go, too? Two good to very good players for Luis Rengifo? What am I missing?

    • His market value seems to have declined very rapidly. Just last season he seemed like someone who might fetch an MLB regular (that Pirates catcher for example). Internally his value has certainly gone down with the rise of Gonsolin and May on starting depth chart. Plus Nelson is seen with a higher upside, if he pans out. There would seem to be a place for him in the pen, where he might be the 5th-6th option from the rightside, depending on how he compares with Floro, but then again they might want Gonsolin/May out there. He does have options, so flexibilty. A head scratcher for sure. FO won’t be able to share their thinking on this until the deal is official, if they are so inclined.

      • According to MLB TradeRumors Joc’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for today. That would be awkward. The story states that in similar situations a representative from MLB represents the team.

    • Jeopardy answer: Two hitters in 2019, 29 dingers OPS+135; 35 dingers OPS+ 133. One will be paid $27 million for one season, the other $26 million over three seasons. Question: Who are Mookie Betts and Max Muncy?

  3. Meanwhile, Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe says:

    The bottom line on this is . . . the bottom line. The Red Sox just traded one of the best players in franchise history because they were unwilling to pay the hefty price for his future services. It’s clear that the Sox owners and their analytics folks decided they did not want to get into the $350 million-$400-million sweepstakes for Betts. They did not think he was worthy of being the second-highest-paid player in baseball (Mike Trout will rightfully remain No. 1). They elected not to compete financially for their best player. It’s a dubious narrative when you play to a full house every night, charge the highest ticket prices in baseball, and bombard fans with promotions and sales pitches.


    …you have a team with not enough pitching, no manager, a depleted farm system, and potential sanctions coming when Major League Baseball rules of cheating allegations from the 2018 season.

    • Is this true? Mookie said he wanted to test FA market and wouldn’t sign an extension, so really no sweepstakes for them to enter at this point. Nothing keeps them from going after him next season. In fact, by dumping Price they are in a better position to do so.

  4. All eyes on his Rengifo kid. Did manage WAR 1.6 in 101 GS as a rookie at 22 yo. Don’t see any room at the inn, so OKC bound I suppose.

  5. I was never opposed to trading Joc in the right deal (like Joc instead of Alex for Mookie),but the return here seems awfully light. It’s not like they couldn’t afford him (even considering the tax). Rengifo only hit 238/.321/.364. I gotta believe he’s headed for OKC.

    Edited to add: The Dodgers apparently also threw in prospect Andy Pages, who hit .298/.398/.651 as an 18 year-old in rookie ball last year. That’s nuts.

    • Certainly strange on the face of it. Expecting FO to be questioned on this. I just assumed it was a luxury tax move.

    • Moreover, there is still talk about a pitcher also going over to the Angles. Chicken Strip!?

    • Trying to find rhyme or reason, don’t know what role it played but just realized Joc is an FA after this season, as are Justin, Petey and Quique.

  6. I plan to watch more Angel games now that Joc may be going there and that means I will see more of Trout. Let’s have a Dodger Angel World Series.

  7. Angels Working To Acquire Joc Pederson
    By Connor Byrne | February 5, 2020 at 10:40am CDT

    TODAY: The deal is expected to send righty Ross Stripling to the Halos and also involves other prospects going to the Dodgers, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). It has yet to be finalized, though, and “a lot of moving parts” remain.

    YESTERDAY, 10:30pm: The Angels will also acquire outfielder Andy Pages, Kiley McDaniel of ESPN reports. The 19-year-old Pages slashed a phenomenal .298/.398/.651 with 19 home runs in 279 plate appearances at the rookie level last season. FanGraphs rated the Dominican Republic native as the Dodgers’ 29th-best prospect last May.

  8. I will miss Verdugo and Joc, since I saw them play in the minors for a couple of years, but getting a player with enough confidence to go by the name Mookie, will ease the loss.

  9. Joc to Angles it appears for an infielder. A switch hitting infielder, who doesn’t ring a bell, but puts them under luxury tax.

  10. Well I guess Roberts and the FO was right when they said there would be some roster turnover this off-season.

    I will miss Joc and Maeda – and wonder what might have been in terms of Verdugo. He seemed like he was a spark plug kind of player. Different sport but reminded me of Fred VanVleet from the Toronto Raptors. Not the leading star but a key cog in the machinery.

    However, getting Betts is amazing and Price might still have some use.

    • I don’t understand Southern California’s obsession with burger chains, which I avoid like the plague. That said, he performed pretty well as a Dodger but was the victim of the roster crunch.

  11. The hits keepa coming. Dodgers landed 6 on the Baseball Prospectus top 101: Lux-3, May-8, Gray-61, Vargas-65, Ruiz-79 and Gonsolin-81. Vargas is a newbee for me. 20-year old 3b, who rose from Rookie ball to Cucamonga during 2018-19

  12. According to several reliable sources, Betts talks heating up. Price (David, that is) apparently the issue.

    • The Athletic has this to say about a Betts trade:

      The article offers two lineups. One with and one without Betts. They say the one w/o Betts is so strong that it mitigates how much Friedman will offer.

      Here is a lineup the Dodgers could unveil on Opening Day:

      Mookie Betts, RF
      Max Muncy, 1B
      Justin Turner, 3B
      Cody Bellinger, CF
      Joc Pederson, LF
      Corey Seager, SS
      Gavin Lux, 2B
      Will Smith, C

      “The Dodgers are not incentivized to take on Price’s money just to land Betts. Want to know why? Let me show you something else. Here is another lineup the Dodgers could unveil on Opening Day:”

      Pederson, RF
      Muncy, 1B
      Turner, 3B
      Bellinger, CF
      Seager, SS
      Lux, 2B
      Verdugo, LF
      Smith, C
      “The lineup featuring Betts is better. Obviously. But either lineup would be the most dangerous in the National League West. Either lineup would likely be the best in the entire National League.”

    • He is set up to manage the AL in the ASG at DS. Sure to get a warm greeting. Asterisk players, not so much.

    • Set up to fail. Baker has not been well-treated by several of his employers, in my opinion. The Nats fired him despite winning two consecutive division titles for not getting further in the playoffs than they did. Getting one year for this job smells like a fig leaf to me.

  13. Bryant lost his suit against the Cubbies. Expect trade talks on him to heat up. He is no Arenado, but for the right price…what you say Bums?

    • He might be the left fielder for 2020 and then move to 3B in 2021 if Turner isn’t re-signed. That adds to the crowd in the outfield so Dodgers might want to trade an outfielder. Cubs might prefer Verdugo due to his cost and control plus prospects.

      • On the plus side, he has three years before FA (which is what he was fighting about).

      • I suspect that, in the coming years, Turner will assume the David Freese role, and he will excel at it.

  14. Old friend Dusty B appears in line to manage the Asterisks’ attempted return to respectability.

  15. From a Red Sox pundit re Price and Betts:

    In order to exchange salary, the Red Sox would likely take on the contract of A.J. Pollock and potentially Joe Kelly. The return would also likely feature a major league arm such as Ross Stripling or Kenta Maeda, as opposed to the promising right-hander Dustin May.

  16. Betts trade still alive. If Price or Evaldi included it would seem $$ wise, Pollock would be too.