Daily Archives: March 24, 2016
Today, Dutch soccer legend Johan Cruijff passed away at the age of 68. Last year in October he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Earlier this year he was still hopefull and said that he felt that he was leading 2-0. But all of a sudden, he is no longer among us.
You may think “What on earth does this has to do with baseball?” Well, there was a time when baseball was considered the ideal summer sport for soccer players. There was a time that almost every soccer club had its baseball branch. When baseball was introduced in the Netherlands around 1908, there was a loose structure as the first real competition was played in 1922. One of the pioneering clubs, AHC Quick, sent people to soccer clubs to convince them to start a baseball branch. We can say that without soccer, baseball might not have developed as much as it did in the Netherlands.
Johan Cruijff, born in 1947, was also a gifted baseball player. As a kid, he played catcher at the baseball branch of Ajax Amsterdam. There is one team photo on which he is shown wearing his catcher gear. Yes even in his younger years, Cruijff wanted to be in control already.
Cruijff also represented the Netherlands as he played in one of the Dutch youth teams in those years.
At some point, Cruijff had to choose between soccer and baseball. The rest is history. But because of his playing days, he always remained interested in our beautiful sport. Several times he threw out first pitches at international tournaments like the Haarlem Baseball Week or the European Cup.
Cruijff’s soccer jersey number (14) has been retired by Ajax in 2008 already. At times Johan Cruijff could be a Mr. Know It All but he will always be remembered for his unparalleled sayings. With his passing, the Dutch sports community loses a legend that knew a lot about soccer and baseball as well.
No one puts a whole lot of faith in to spring numbers and rightfully so, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to look at the numbers as long as you don’t take them too realistically. I like to look at batting average, hits, hormers, and RBI for hitters and just ERA and strike outs for pitchers. ERA isn’t a great indicator with the innings restrictions on these guys but at least we get an idea what’s working and what isn’t. Here are the standouts as of 3.23…
With John Jaso firmly in place as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ preferred lead-off option against RHP, who should take that spot versus LHP?
The Pittsburgh Pirates have likely found a great lead-off candidate in John Jaso. With a career on-base percentage of .361, Jaso now seems like a fine, and perhaps obvious candidate for the honors. Yet it was not too long ago that many – including this very site – were debating between Gregory Polanco and Josh Harrison to lead off a potentially potent Pirates offense.
Is that still the case? Are those still viable options for the lead-off role?
As capable as Jaso has looked in the spot, history would indicate he should not be used there against left-handed pitching. The six-year veteran’s career splits against southpaws leaves a lot to be desired.
If the Pirates accept that hitting Jaso first against lefties is not an ideal situation, here are the candidates to fill that role.
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The new CBA forthcoming should be addressing on how player contracts work towards team salaries when it is due for suspension or retirement. Last week’s sudden packing in the cleats from Adam LaRoche will actually benefit the White Sox with $13 MIL in salary relief.
It is not the 1st time a guy has retired during a contract, and it is the latest where a team may be drawing a sigh of relief.
It wasn’t even the 1st instance of the winter. Earlier this off year, Mets OF Michael Cuddyer retired with one year of service left on his deal. This move led the Mets to have a few extra dollars in their seat cushion to re-ink Yoenis Cespedes to a 1 Year $27.5 MIL deal
Cuddyer was still expensive for New York with a 1sr RD Draft pick forfeit, but at least he only cost the club $8.5 MIL on 1 season, as opposed to an additional $12.5 MIL this upcoming campaign.
If the Mets are still under contract with this guy it makes re-signing Cespedes a tougher deal. Not only cash wise, but it was also clogging up another spot on the Roster if New York had to keep the under-performing former Rockies and Twins player.
Instead, all of the fans wishes were granted when Cespedes came back to Flushing Meadows, and you can add the fact they also re-upped with Bartolo Colon for another year as yet another extension of the Cuddyer decision. Read the rest of this entry
Throughout any given winter, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out what certain MLB front offices are trying to accomplish. The San Francisco Giants were definitely not one of them this past offseason.
After all, it’s an even year. They have a reputation to uphold. Following an 84-78 record in 2015, San Francisco was one of the winter’s biggest spenders, which doesn’t happen very often.
With so many major acquisitions made by the Giants, Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers, the NL West was undoubtedly one of baseball’s busiest divisions this past winter. On paper, the Giants are a favorite to return to the postseason and keep the even-year trend alive. However, these moves are the epitome of high risk, high reward.
Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports, via Reuters
Alex Rodriguez is calling it a career in two seasons. You will miss him when he is gone.
And soon Brett Gardner will be that strange odd lone figure: A World Champion Yankee.
It is a an end of an era episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast
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Ron Darling was a guest on Benigno and Roberts Tuesday afternoon promoting his upcoming book “Game 7, 1986: Failure and Triumph in the Biggest Game of My Life”. Along with talking about his disappointing performance, Ronnie had a few things to say about the upcoming season for the New York Mets.
On The Defense
“Céspedes in center which is his second best position, and Lagares in left which is his second best position, instead of playing them where they excel, so that’s the outfield. As far as the infield is concerned, what it comes down to is if you had told the Mets they would either have Daniel Murphy or Neil Walker on a one year contract, they would have loved to have Murphy back. But as far as a 3 year deal, they weren’t willing to do that with Murphy, so that’s why you have Walker.”