UPDATE: Rays and Orioles no longer working on Bartlett for Reimold swap

2 Comments

UPDATE: So much for that. Multiple sources are now reporting that the Bartlett-for-Reimold talks hit a snag and the deal is unlikely to happen. Perhaps the Orioles came to their senses.

==========

It’s no secret that the Rays have been trying to trade Jason Bartlett and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that they’re close to sending the 31-year-old shortstop to the Orioles for Nolan Reimold.

According to Connolly talks between the two teams are “heating up” and “one source expects it to happen today.”

Bartlett is one season away from free agency and set to receive a raise from his $4 million salary in 2010 via the arbitration process despite an underwhelming performance, but the Orioles have been linked to various shortstop options throughout the offseason and are clearly looking for veteran help at the position.

Reimold had a strong rookie season in 2009 before undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn Achilles’ tendon and struggled to bounce back this year, spending most of the season at Triple-A. Tampa Bay presumably views him as the replacement for Carl Crawford in left field, or at least as part of the replacement plan along with top prospect Desmond Jennings.

Assuming the Rays feel confident about Reimold medically getting a 27-year-old potential impact bat who’s cheap and under team control for another five seasons for a mediocre 31-year-old free agent-to-be shortstop is a very nice move.

The Indians are unveiling a Frank Robinson statue on Sunday

Getty Images
3 Comments

The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.

Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.

Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.

Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.

Hey kids: don’t swing a weighted bat in the on deck circle

3 Comments

Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.

There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.

Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.