Link-O-Rama: Maddon says Ed Hardy was so 2008

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* Earlier this week I made a joke about Joe Maddon dying his hair black to go with his trademark hipster glasses, noting that “earrings, Ed Hardy t-shirts, and a tribal tattoo could be next for the 55-year-old Rays manager.” Turns out, he already went through the Ed Hardy t-shirt phase last year!
* Shockingly, a retired former major leaguer thinks that things were better when he played. In related news, elderly people don’t like children playing on their lawns and most people who’re older than you had to walk five miles in the snow to school every morning when they were kids.
* After being designated for assignment by the Mets yesterday Livan Hernandez has now played for five teams in four seasons while posting ERAs of 4.83, 4.93, 6.05, and 5.47. He also turns 35 years old soon. Odds that he’ll sign with another team and end up in their rotation? Probably not as bad as you’d think, at least judging from the last half-dozen years of Sidney Ponson’s career.
* It’s been quite a fall for Chris Duncan, who was released yesterday by the Red Sox just a month after they acquired him in the Julio Lugo trade. Duncan had a .952 OPS as a 25-year-old rookie in 2006, but since then his yearly OPS totals are .834, .711, and .687. And that doesn’t even count his horrible .549 mark at Triple-A following the trade.
* Stephen Strasburg met his public this afternoon. They liked him.

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.