Lee-cliff-101031

142 players became free agents last night

12 Comments

Under a recent agreement, players no longer need to file for free agency. Rather, free agency-eligible players automatically became free agents as soon as the World Series ended.  The MLBPA wasted absolutely no time last night telling us who those players are, issuing a press release while the Giants were still jumping around on the field (see the list of all the players below).  There will be others who join the list, of course, as arbitration-eligible players are non-tendered and stuff like that happens.

Teams have only a five-day exclusive negotiating period, down from the 15 days of years past, so there won’t be much time to breathe before the hot stove news starts up hot and heavy.  Lucky for you none of us here at HBT have lives, so we’ll be on the news and rumors like white on rice.  Make sure to keep an HBT window up at all times between now and, oh, February, because we’ll have the latest stuff up faster than just about anyone.

Here are the free agent-eligibles. Some of them — like Bronson Arroyo, for example — have options and may be off the list soon. Most of them, however, will be coming to a new team near you in the next several months.

Troy Glaus 1B Braves
Eric Hinske OF Braves
Derrek Lee 1B Braves
Kris Benson P Diamondbacks
Mike Hampton P Diamondbacks
Aaron Heilman P Diamondbacks
Rodrigo Lopez P Diamondbacks
Brandon Webb P Diamondbacks
Cesar Izturis SS Orioles
Julio Lugo 2B Orioles
Kevin Millwood P Orioles
Corey Patterson OF Orioles
Koji Uehara P Orioles
Ty Wigginton 1B Orioles
Mike Lowell 1B Red Sox
Victor Martinez C Red Sox
Jason Varitek C Red Sox
Xavier Nady OF Cubs
Willie Bloomquist OF Reds
Miguel Cairo 3B Reds
Jim Edmonds OF Reds
Michael Lincoln P Reds
Arthur Rhodes P Reds
Ramon Hernandez C Reds
Russ Springer P Reds
Joe Beimel P Rockies
Jorge de la Rosa P Rockies
Octavio Dotel P Rockies
Jason Giambi 1B Rockies
Melvin Mora 3B Rockies
Jay Payton OF Rockies
Freddy Garcia P White Sox
Andruw Jones OF White Sox
Paul Konerko 1B White Sox
Mark Kotsay DH White Sox
A.J. Pierzynski C White Sox
J.J. Putz P White Sox
Omar Vizquel 3B White Sox
Jeremy Bonderman P Tigers
Johnny Damon DH Tigers
Gerald Laird C Tigers
Magglio Ordonez OF Tigers
Bobby Seay P Tigers
Will Ohman P Marlins
Jorge Sosa P Marlins
Chad Tracy 3B Marlins
Geoff Blum SS Astros
Brian Moehler P Astros
Bruce Chen P Royals
Hideki Matsui DH Angels
Scot Shields P Angels
Brad Ausmus C Dodgers
Rod Barajas C Dodgers
Jay Gibbons OF Dodgers
Reed Johnson OF Dodgers
Hiroki Kuroda P Dodgers
Vicente Padilla P Dodgers
Manny Ramirez OF White Sox
Jeff Weaver P Dodgers
David Bush P Brewers
Chris Capuano P Brewers
Craig Counsell SS Brewers
Jesse Crain P Twins
Randy Flores P Twins
Brian Fuentes P Twins
Matt Guerrier P Twins
Orlando Hudson 2B Twins
Ron Mahay P Twins
Carl Pavano P Twins
Nick Punto 3B Twins
Jon Rauch P Twins
Jim Thome DH Twins
Henry Blanco C Mets
Elmer Dessens P Mets
Kelvim Escobar P Mets
Pedro Feliciano P Mets
Fernando Tatis 1B Mets
Lance Berkman 1B Yankees
Derek Jeter SS Yankees
Nick Johnson 1B Yankees
Austin Kearns OF Yankees
Chad Moeller C Yankees
Andy Pettitte P Yankees
Mariano Rivera P Yankees
Marcus Thames OF Yankees
Javier Vazquez P Yankees
Kerry Wood P Yankees
Justin Duchscherer P Athletics
Ben Sheets P Athletics
Jose Contreras P Phillies
Chad Durbin P Phillies
J.C. Romero P Phillies
Mike Sweeney DH Phillies
Jayson Werth OF Phillies
Chan Ho Park P Pirates
David Eckstein 2B Padres
Jerry Hairston Jr. SS Padres
Matt Stairs OF Padres
Miguel Tejada 3B Padres
Yorvit Torrealba C Padres
Kevin Correia P Padres
Josh Bard C Mariners
Chris Woodward SS Mariners
Jamey Wright P Mariners
Pat Burrell OF Giants
Jose Guillen DH Giants
Aubrey Huff 1B Giants
Guillermo Mota P Giants
Juan Uribe SS Giants
Pedro Feliz 3B Cardinals
Jason LaRue C Cardinals
Mike MacDougal P Cardinals
Aaron Miles 2B Cardinals
Brad Penny P Cardinals
Dennys Reyes P Cardinals
Jeff Suppan P Cardinals
Jake Westbrook P Cardinals
Randy Winn OF Cardinals
Rocco Baldelli OF Rays
Grant Balfour P Rays
Joaquin Benoit P Rays
Randy Choate P Rays
Carl Crawford OF Rays
Brad Hawpe OF Rays
Gabe Kapler OF Rays
Carlos Pena 1B Rays
Chad Qualls P Rays
Rafael Soriano P Rays
Jorge Cantu 3B Rangers
Frank Francisco P Rangers
Cristian Guzman 2B Rangers
Cliff Lee P Rangers
Bengie Molina C Rangers
Matt Treanor C Rangers
John Buck C Blue Jays
Scott Downs P Blue Jays
Jason Frasor P Blue Jays
Lyle Overbay 1B Blue Jays
Miguel Batista P Nationals
Adam Dunn 1B Nationals
Willie Harris OF Nationals
Kevin Mench OF Nationals
Rick Ankiel OF Braves
Kyle Farnsworth P Braves
Alex Gonzalez SS Braves
Omar Infante 2B Braves
Adam LaRoche 1B Diamondbacks
Mark Hendrickson P Orioles
Adrian Beltre 3B Red Sox
Bill Hall OF Red Sox
Felipe Lopez 3B Red Sox
David Ortiz DH Red Sox
Aramis Ramirez 3B Cubs
Bronson Arroyo RHP Reds
Orlando Cabrera SS Reds
Aaron Harang P Reds
Jeff Francis P Rockies
Miguel Olivo C Rockies
Jhonny Peralta 3B Tigers
Scott Podsednik OF Dodgers
Doug Davis P Brewers
Trevor Hoffman P Brewers
Gregg Zaun C Brewers
Jose Reyes SS Mets
Eric Chavez DH Athletics
Coco Crisp OF Athletics
Mark Ellis 2B Athletics
Jon Garland P Padres
Chris Young P Padres
Erik Bedard P Mariners
Russell Branyan 1B Mariners
Edgar Renteria SS Giants
Dan Wheeler P Rays
Vladimir Guerrero DH Rangers
Kevin Gregg P Blue Jays
Adam Kennedy 2B Nationals

Don Mattingly thinks pace of play can be improved by changing views on strikeouts

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly sits in the dugout prior to a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Monday, April 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo
3 Comments

Marlins manager Don Mattingly has one potential solution to the pace of play issue: change the way people value strikeouts, the Associated Press reports.

Strikeouts have been rising steadily since 2005. Then, a typical game averaged 6.30 strikeouts. In 2016, there were 8.03 strikeouts per game. There are many explanations for this phenomenon. For one, teams are searching specifically for young pitchers who can throw hard — like triple-digits hard. They figure they can teach them the other pertinent skills in the minors. Second, Sabermetrics has shown that a strikeout is only marginally worse than an out made on a ball put in play. Sometimes, the strikeout is preferable, especially if there’s a runner on first base with less than two outs and a weak hitter at the plate. Sabermetrics has also shown home runs to be the best and most efficient way to contribute on offense. Furthermore, younger players tend to focus more on power in order to get noticed by scouts. Unless it’s paired with other elite skills, a scout isn’t going to remember a player who hit the ball into the hole on the right side, but he will remember the kid who blasted a 450-foot homer.

Here’s what Mattingly had to say:

Analytically, a few years back nobody cared about the strikeout, so it’s OK to strike out 150, 160, 170 times, and that guy’s still valued in a big way. Well, as soon as we start causing that to be a bad value — the strikeouts — guys will put the ball in play more. So once we say strikeouts are bad and it’s going to cost you money the more you strike out, then the strikeouts will go away. Guys will start making adjustments and putting the ball in play more.

[…]

If our game values [say that] strikeouts don’t matter, they are going to keep striking out, hitting homers, trying to hit home runs and striking out.

Simply believing strikeouts are bad won’t magically change its value. However, creating social pressure regarding striking out can change it. Theoretically, anyway. Creating that social pressure is easier said than done.

There is a dichotomy here as well. Home runs are exciting. Strikeouts and walks are not. Often, though, the three go hand-in-hand-in-hand. A player actively trying to cut down on his strikeouts by putting the ball in play will also likely cut down on his strikeout and walk rates. There doesn’t seem to be an elegant solution here. Wishing for fewer strikeouts, walks, and homers doesn’t really seem to give way to a more exciting game.

Sean Doolittle: “Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans.”

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 25:  Sean Doolittle #62 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
30 Comments

In the past, we’ve commented on Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle and his girlfriend Eireann Dolan’s community service. In 2015, the pair hosted Syrian refugee families for Thanksgiving and their other charitable efforts have included LGBTQ outreach and help for veterans.

Athletes and their significant others have typically avoided stepping into political waters, but Doolittle and Dolan have shown that it’s clearly no concern to them. In the time since, the Syrian refugee issue has become even more of a hot-button issue and Doolittle recently discussed it with Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

I think America is the best country in the world because we’ve been able to attract the best and brightest people from all over the world. We have the smartest doctors and scientists, the most creative and innovative thinkers. A travel ban like this puts that in serious jeopardy.

I’ve always thought that all boats rise with the tide. Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans. But if we include them, we can make the pie that much bigger, thus ensuring more opportunities for everyone.

Doolittle, of course, is referring to Executive Order 13769 signed by President Trump which sought to limit incoming travel to the United States from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. A temporary restraining order on the executive order was placed on February 3, a result of State of Washington v. Trump.

Doolittle spoke more about the plight refugees face:

These are people fleeing civil wars, violence and oppression that we can’t even begin to relate to. I think people think refugees just kind of decide to come over. They might not realize it takes 18-24 months while they wait in a refugee camp. They go through more than 20 background checks and meetings with immigration officers. They are being vetted.

They come here, and they want to contribute to society. They’re so grateful to be out of a war zone or whatever they were running from in their country that they get jobs, their kids go to our schools, they’re paying taxes, and in a lot of cases, they join our military.

Around this time last year, Craig wrote about Doolittle and Dolan not sticking to baseball. They’re still not, nor should they be. Hopefully, the duo’s outspokenness inspires other players and their loved ones to speak up for what’s right.

[Hat tip: Deadspin’s Hannah Keyser]