Report: King Felix gets his payday

Looks like Yankee fans will have to cross Felix Hernandez off their wish lists. The Mariners and their ace close to agreeing upon a $175M deal making Hernandez the highest paid pitcher in Major League Baseball history.

The deal is for seven years and Hernandez will be making an average of $25M per year.

Hernandez was scheduled to earn $19.5 million in 2013 and $20 million in ’14. Instead, his new contract will take effect this season and pay him a record average annual value of $25 million through 2019.

Hernandez, who has been part of the Mariners ballclub since 2005, will reach ten years of service in 2015 which will give him a no-trade clause for the rest of the deal. He will also only be 33-years-old when the contract expires – he made his MLB debut at just 19.

Last year, Hernandez finished with a 13-9 record, 3.06 ERA and a threw 232.2 innings. He also pitched a perfect game in August.… Click here to read the rest

Wait, why shouldn’t the media cooperate with MLB?

As the Biogenesis scandal moves into its next phase, the obvious question is what repercussions, if any, the players associated with Tony Bosch will face. MLB would like to investigate the matter, but most of the records are in the possession of the Miami New Times, and they aren’t sure they want to hand them over to MLB:

Here’s the truth: We haven’t yet decided what do with the records from Tony Bosch’s clinic. We’ve shared many of them already, posting them online last week after carefully redacting names of people we didn’t think were well enough confirmed or sufficiently newsworthy.

The question of whether to release the records is thorny, and there are few precedents. They were given to us by a source who requested anonymity. We will not divulge that person’s name. We take this responsibility very seriously.

Moreover, reporters are not law enforcement. Nor do we discipline anybody for anything. Our job is to transparently lay out the facts and let the public — and responsible parties — decide whether action is needed.

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Miami New Times explains cautious PED reporting

Via Dayn Perry, the Miami New Times has released an editorial explaining why their initial reporting on the Biogenesis scandal included only some of the players apparently implicated in Anthony Bosch’s records. I don’t really have anything to say about it, but I have voiced some feelings to the effect that they may have sensationalized the first reports over the past few days, so it’s only fair to re-post the statement here:

Yahoo!’s story raises an obvious question. If Braun’s and Cervelli’s names appear in the Bosch records at the heart of New Times’ investigation — and indeed, Yahoo!’s report does appear to match New Times’records — why didn’t we report them in our first story?

Simple: an abundance of caution.

As Yahoo! notes, the records do not clearly associate either Braun, Cervelli, or a third player who this morning denied all ties with Bosch (Orioles third baseman Danny Valencia) with use of supplements. Yahoo! apparently obtained copies of just these page of Bosch’s notebooks independently of New Times.

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The Run Prevention Puzzle

For the purposes of this article, we’ll need to agree on something. It’s not exactly controversial, but asking for agreement on anything baseball related is probably asking a bit too much. This something s the old truism that “a penny saved is a penny earned,” but with a baseball twist: a run prevented is a run scored. Indeed, half of the game is dedicated to preventing runs from crossing the plate. Despite our troubles with accurately quantifying the defensive skill and impact of individual players, we all know that those things are tremendously important on both the individual and team levels.

Run prevention is a task shared by a team’s pitching staff and its defensive player. An imbalance in one of these areas can lead to a lot of runs. But, of course, this is baseball; you can hardly have anything wholly complete or perfect. Having a roster that allows you to excel in just one of those areas can be a defensive blessing.… Click here to read the rest

Nova confident of place in rotation

2012 was not a good year for Ivan Nova. After a very strong finish and 3.70 ERA in 2011 catapulted him into the role of number two starter for the 2011 ALDS, Nova became an extra base hit allowing machine and saw his ERA balloon to a whopping 5.02 before a shoulder injury ended his season early. So after coming into camp as a hot commodity, this year he’s damaged goods fighting a battle for the final spot in the starting rotation with David Phelps, who will be playing that same darling role Nova occupied last spring.

Nova, however, remains confident in his abilities, and isn’t outwardly worried about his place on the team. “I’m going to be there,” Nova told Anthony McCarron after a workout in Tampa yesterday. “Just do my work. It doesn’t cross my mind that I’m going to be in the minor leagues. I’m going to be in the rotation, that’s what I’m working for.”  Nova also told McCarron that he falls into a habit of throwing pitches even though he knows he can’t command them, which is probably not a good approach.… Click here to read the rest

Dante Bichette Jr’s Swing

Prospect season has arrived, and on Tuesday, Keith Law revealed his top 100 prospects for 2013. The Yankees fared well, with Gary Sanchez at 18 overall, Mason Williams at 35, Tyler Austin at 52, and Slade Heathcott at 57. Jose Ramirez also earned a spot in his list of players that just missed the top 100. The Yankees’ farm system ranked 10th overall, and Law had plenty of positive things to say about Mark Montgomery, Dellin Betances (as a reliever), Ty Hensley, and even Benjamin Gamel. The Yankees two previous first round picks failed to make any lists, and in Law’s followup chat, he had this to say about Dante Bichette Jr.

“Borderline NP at this point. Can’t play third at all. Swing regressed back to its amateur state. He’s not on my Yankees top 10, and wouldn’t have been in the top 15.”

With two polar opposite seasons under Bichette’s belt, it would make some sense that the third baseman made some sort of change to his mechanics.… Click here to read the rest

One more for the Braun-over-brains file

I’m pretty sure we’ve reached the pinnacle of incredibly hysterical things that can be said/written about doping in baseball today and, wouldn’t you know it, it was Mike Lupica who took us there. There are so many terrible things about today’s column, and that is to be expected, that it’s almost worth gliding right over, but, like comparing a union defending guaranteed salary benefits to “gun nuts,” much of it goes past the point of inanity and into the realm of the offensive.

For example, his attack on Shyam Das, the longtime MLB arbitrator who heard Ryan Braun appeal, is something even for Lupica:

The appeal Braun is talking about came after he tested positive a year or so ago for testosterone, with record-breaking numbers still discussed around baseball the way tape-measure home runs are. He was given a suspension for 50 games and appealed and won the appeal, apparently because the arbitrator decided that because Braun’s samples were kept over the weekend at the collector’s house, the guy having missed the last weekend pickup for FedEx, they had somehow been compromised.

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