Luke Scott

Tracking the non-tenders: Joe Saunders, Luke Scott, Hong-Chih Kuo

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Here’s the official list of players non-tendered prior to the Monday midnight deadline:

American League

Baltimore: OF/DH Luke Scott, LHP Jo-Jo Reyes, RHP Willie Eyre

Scott went from hitting .284/.368/.535 during an excellent 2010 season to .220/.301/.402 in 209 at-bats during a 2011 season shortened by shoulder surgery. The Orioles could re-sign him for significantly less than the $6 million he was due in arbitration. If not, he’ll enter the crowded free agent market as a lesser version of Jason Kubel.

Boston: LHP Rich Hill

Hill figures to miss at least the first month or two after Tommy John surgery, but since he did show promise as a sidewinding reliever last season, the Red Sox debated tendering him. They’ll make an attempt to re-sign him to a minor league contract.

Chicago: none

Cleveland: none

The Indians said they’ll tender everyone. Their only borderline arbitration-eligible player is third baseman Jack Hannahan, and he shouldn’t come in at much more than $1 million. Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Masterson and Shin-Soo Choo are due for bigger raises, though Choo’s rough year will cost him.

Detroit: 2B Will Rhymes

Rhymes quickly fell out of favor after opening last season as Detroit’s primary second baseman. He has a nice career line of .283/.341/.370 in 276 major league at-bats, but if anyone had much interest in him, he would have been traded. He’s making the minimum, so that wasn’t an issue.

Kansas City: LHP Aaron Laffey

The Royals claimed Laffey off waivers from the Yankees in October, so it seems they want him around. Still, they weren’t interested in risking arbitration. A sinkerballing lefty, Laffey has a 4.34 ERA in 373 2/3 career innings. He may get a guaranteed deal from some team, but it will be for less than $1 million.

Los Angeles: none

The Angels said they’re tendering all of their arbitration-eligible players, a list that includes Kendrys Morales.

Minnesota: LHP Jose Mijares

Mijares should be a hot name with so little left-handed relief available this winter. He was terrible last season, with a 30/30 K/BB ratio and a 4.59 ERA in 49 innings, but he had an 83/32 K/BB ratio and a 2.67 ERA in 94 1/3 innings between 2009-10. Although he has a reputation as a bit of a head case, he’ll get guaranteed money.

New York: none

Yankees GM Brian Cashman confirmed that he would have no non-tenders tonight.

Oakland: none

Daric Barton, Landon Powell and Adam Rosales all agreed to one-year deals today, and the A’s announced that they’re tendering everyone. Powell and Rosales risked being non-tendered if they didn’t sign today.

Seattle: RHP Dan Cortes, C Chris Gimenez

Cortes’ inclusion is explained by the fact that he underwent a previously unrevealed shoulder surgery in October, leaving his status for the beginning of 2012 in doubt. The hard-throwing-but-wild right-hander could be re-signed to a minor league deal.

Tampa Bay: RHP Andy Sonnanstine

Sonnanstine was expendable regardless, but the trade for Burke Badenhop on Monday made it even more obvious he had no place in the Rays’ plans going forward. He might have a chance of surviving as a swingman in the NL.

Texas: RHP Fabio Castillo

Good arm, bad year in Double-A. The Rangers will probably re-sign him to a minor league deal.

Toronto: none

Jeff Mathis took a paycut and thus avoided being non-tendered. Dustin McGowan is another one who might have been non-tendered had he not agreed to a one-year deal on Monday.

National League

Arizona: LHP Joe Saunders, RHP Micah Owings

Confirmed now. FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Saunders would be a non-tender after failing to come to terms with the Diamondbacks on either a one- or two-year contract. He might be able to get a two-year deal from another team, possibly for $7 million-$8 million per year.

Atlanta: RHP Peter Moylan, INF Brooks Conrad

Moylan will miss at least the first month or two after rotator cuff surgery. The Braves will probably re-sign the veteran setup man to a lesser deal.

Chicago: C Koyie Hill

Here’s a move that’s long overdue. Hill is pretty atrocious offensively and isn’t really exceptional on defense either. Welington Castillo should prove to be an immediate upgrade behind Geovany Soto for the Cubs.

Cincinnati: none

John Fay reports that the Reds will tender everyone. Paul Janish and Jose Arredondo were the only arbitration-eligible players somewhat in doubt. The Reds have been looking for a veteran backup shortstop, suggesting that Janish’s place on the team is still far from assured.

Colorado: OF Ryan Spilborghs, OF Cole Garner

Spilborghs spent five years as a really nice part-timer for the Rockies before collapsing last year. He hit just .210/.283/.305 in 200 at-bats for Colorado. At 32, he has a chance to bounce back and serve as a productive bench player elsewhere. The Red Sox have often been mentioned in connection with him when his name has come up in trade rumors.

Florida: RHP Clay Hensley

The Marlins opted to keep Chris Volstad, which qualifies as a minor surprise. Hensley had already been designated for assignment, so this non-tender was a given. He washed out as a starter last season, but he did have a 3.51 ERA in 25 2/3 innings out of the pen. In 2010, he had a 2.16 ERA in 75 innings as a reliever.

Houston: none

The Astros had just two arbitration-eligible players in Humberto Quintero and J.A. Happ, and they’ve already re-signed Quintero.

Los Angeles: LHP Hong-Chih Kuo

Kuo’s case of the yips and likely $3 million salary was viewed as a bad combination by the Dodgers. There will be several teams interested if Los Angeles can’t re-sign him; when Kuo is on, he’s as unhittable as any lefty in the game.

Milwaukee: none

New York: OF Mike Baxter, C Ronny Paulino

Paulino seems to be wearing out his welcome with teams pretty quickly, but he still offers a nice bat versus left-handed pitching. It could get him a backup gig. The Mets are leaning towards going with light-hitting Mike Nickeas as Josh Thole’s backup, though that could change if Jason Varitek or Ivan Rodriguez is willing to sign for $1 million.

Philadelphia: none

Pittsburgh: C Jason Jaramillo, INF Pedro Ciriaco

Those two were already removed from the Pirates’ 40-man roster last week. Right-handers Jason Grilli and Chris Resop were the two veterans the Pirates considered non-tendering. Grilli saved his job by agreeing to a one-year deal today.

St. Louis: INF Ryan Theriot

Skip Schumaker took a two-year contract and avoided being non-tendered. Theriot will try to find a starting job at second base somewhere. His poor play at shortstop really limits his value as a utilityman.

San Diego: OF Jeremy Hermida

Hermida had already been designated for assignment. The Padres also re-signed outfielder Chris Denorfia to a one-year deal today. They’ll hold on to right-hander Dustin Moseley, who was considered a possible non-tender after surgery on his non-throwing shoulder.

San Francisco: 2B Jeff Keppinger, C Eli Whiteside

Mike Fontenot signed a one-year deal, so he escaped this fate. It helped his case that he’s a better shortstop than Keppinger. Keppinger can hit, though, and might get a look as a starter at second base.

Washington: LHP Doug Slaten

Slaten was limited to 31 appearances by an elbow injury last season, but he was a nice lefty specialist in 2010, when he had a 3.10 ERA in 40 2/3 innings. Mark Zuckerman says this will be the Nationals’ only non-tender, meaning Tom Gorzelanny will stick around as the second lefty in the Washington pen along with Sean Burnett. Jesus Flores was also offered a deal.

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
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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
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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]