A formula to predict injuries? That's cool, for many, many reasons

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This is rather interesting for several reasons:

The ability to predict how players’ bodies will fare is a holy
grail. With an actuarial approach, [Dodgers’ trainer Stan] Conte seems
to have a head start in the pursuit. He is trying to build a formula
that will give teams a competitive advantage and help them avoid
players who spend their days in the training room and not on the field.

Interesting because, obviously, if there’s any merit to the research, it could revolutionize the game.

Interesting because Conte makes a big point that he’s coming up with
this formula “on his own time,” rather than during business hours,
which suggests to me that he’s going to try and make a buck off it
himself someday rather than have it be the intellectual property of the
Los Angeles Dodgers. As your attorney, Mr. Conte, I advise you not to
put any down payments on phat real estate yet, because the law has a
very different idea of what belongs to you and what belongs to your
employer in such situations.

Interesting because, if it works and benefits the Dodgers, it will
necessarily harm their division rival, the Giants. Why is that
interesting? Because Conte was the Giants’ trainer back in the Barry
Bonds years. Moreover, Conte was famously undercut by his boss Brian Sabean
when Conte went to him complaining about drug dealers hanging out in
the locker room back in 2000. Basically, he asked Sabean if it were OK
to kick Greg Anderson out of the locker room because he was a known
steroids dealer. Sabean didn’t object. But then Conte, no idiot, asked
Sabean if he’d have Conte’s back if Barry Bonds got angry about it and
tried to have him fired. According to the Mitchell Report, Sabean
basically told Conte that he was on his own if that happened. You don’t
have to be genius to see that Sabean’s baloney in this regard set up
Conte as a potential scapegoat in the event someone ever raised a
ruckus about the Giants’ tolerance of Anderson, Bonds and steroids (“I
told the trainer to do what was necessary. If he didn’t . . . “). It is
for trying to throw his own people under the bus, more than any dumb
trade he’s ever made, that everyone should loathe Brian Sabean, and it
is for that reason that I hope Conte’s little formula works and ends up
killing the Giants.

Finally, it’s interesting in that, no matter how good this ends up
being, it’s going to be of somewhat limited utility because of the
prevalence of sheer dumb chance and freak accidents.

Speaking of which, check out the kid on the far right of this picture
laughing at Ryan Dempster breaking his toe. I wonder if Conte can
figure out a formula that calculates the severity of the beatings he’ll
take from the kids at school once the pic starts circulating.

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

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After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.