The Pirates are learning some lessons from the Golden State Warriors

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This is interesting: Clint Hurdle made a comment about possibly resting Andrew McCutchen more this year. And it’s not just about rest. It’s something based in analytics learned from, of all places, the NBA:

“I read an interesting article a while ago on the Golden State Warriors, how they get maximum production with their players,” Hurdle said. “They’re actually playing less, and they’re playing better collectively as a group.”

And it’s not just a random comment from Hurdle. Jayson Stark reports that the Pirates’ front office has been studying minutes maximization in basketball and hockey and are thinking about how it might apply to baseball. How, from an overall production perspective, you may get more from your star playing 153 games and his backup playing in nine instead of 159 from the star and three from the backup. Which is an interesting thing to study that not a ton of folks who think casually about baseball have thought too much about.

This is a good example, by the way, of how that stuff we talked about earlier this morning regarding Jeff Samardzija works. There is literally no need whatsoever for, say, Andrew McCutchen to know how the formulas or calculations behind the metrics that may explain how playing time is best maximized. Let Neal Huntington’s staff figure that stuff out. Once they figure it out, they can tell Clint Hurdle, who can tell McCutchen that he’s going to get a bit more rest this year so he’s sharper when he plays. And Cutch will likely say “cool, Skip.”

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.