Why pitchers need to work more quickly

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Buehrle pitching.jpgI had no idea that former Royals catcher Brent Mayne even had a blog, but Buster Olney points it out this morning with a link to a great post.  Brent Mayne on why pitchers need to pick up the pace:

Here’s a question for you. From 2003 to 2009, can you guess who the five quickest working pitchers were? Just five schleprocks named Greg Maddux, Mark Buehrle, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Jake Peavy. I’m might be crazy, but I’ll take that starting staff.

Once again, let me reiterate that working quickly works . . . Pitchers who work quickly are more effective. The defensive players behind a fast working pitcher are more consistent. Hitters facing a quick pitcher are less effective. Girlfriends of pitchers who pitch quickly are happier. Short games are a thing of beauty.

He’s so, so right. As a fan, I certainly want the game to move more quickly. Not lighting fast, of course — I want some time to soak it all in — but at least back to the pace we used to see as recently as the 80s when guys would get the ball and fire it back in there in less than a minute or eight.

But as a manager, I’d definitely want my guys working faster too.  Sure, not everyone is Greg Maddux or Roy Halladay, but as Mayne points out in the rest of his post, hitters benefit way more than pitchers do from all that extra time.  Whaddaya need all that time for anyway? To think?  Don’t think, for God’s sake. It can only hurt the ball club.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.