Rangers exec Thad Levine says team gets trade ideas from Twitter

Rangers logoTexas Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine admitted the team gets trade ideas from Twitter, which means he’s not completely different from me or you.

Levine conducted an “AMA” (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit last week to promote his fantasy sports charity, “Meaningful Wins.”

Levine answered just about every single question he was asked, and he gave insightful responses. Among the ones that stood out to us were his admission that the team uses Twitter for trade ideas.

From his AMA:

Q. How difficult has social media made it to keep trade or signing negotiations private? Has this impacted your approach to these things?

A. You identified one of our biggest challenges. This has impacted us unfortunately quite negatively. Used to be that we could tell all the players involved in trades before it became public. Now, that is extremely difficult to do. Last year, Ian Kinsler found out through the media that he had been traded. We felt awful, but someone called the media literally before we were able to complete a call to Ian.

That being said, at the trade deadline, we are all on twitter, because you may be surprised how many trade discussions are inspired or refined by tweets

A lot of times Twitter can be an effective tool because it’s such a good marketplace for information. Execs can use it to find out what players supposedly are available, who’s talking with whom, and what the latest rumors are. Don’t forget — an MLB.com reader predicted the Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder trade, so you can never discount crowd sourcing as an effective tool.

In addition to Twitter, Levine also says the Rangers use popular baseball sites Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference as resources.

Q. How much information do teams have access to beyond what we have as fans through sites like B-Ref, Fangraphs, and so on?

A. We scour the entire sites, and several others. We are not too proud. If there is cutting edge information out there, we want to know about it.

Those sites, and others, have done such a phenomenal job. I believe that is why you see so many clubs hiring their employees. Really the only thing that we have access to that they do not is an extensive database from our scouts. We use those sites extensively in our analysis.

In addition to those revealing responses, Levine shared some other insight about the club. He said he believed a lot of Josh Hamilton’s success with the Rangers had to do with the outfielder’s relationship with manager Ron Washington.

“Truth be told, a large part of his success here can be attributed to how open he was with Ron Washington and how much chemistry the two had.”

He also said this of relief pitcher Neftali Feliz, who used to be one of the hardest throwers in the game before injuring his arm.

“Feliz continues to regain arm strength, but i do not anticipate him returning to throwing 96-100 mph.”

Warning to any teams: if you get a call from the Rangers saying they’re looking to deal you Feliz, now you’ll know why.

Pete Rose screwed up his reinstatement plan from Bud Selig

Pete Rose jacket

Pete Rose had a reinstatement plan set up for him by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, but a book he put out in March derailed those plans, so says Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.

Schmidt, who has lobbied for his former teammate many times in the past, wrote a column for the Associated Press Sunday in which he argued for Rose’s reinstatement by Major League Baseball. Schmidt defends Rose, argues that a bad entourage got to the Hit King regarding the gambling, and ultimately says he wants Rose’s name to appear on the Hall of Fame ballot.

One thing to come out of Schmidt’s column that I previously was not aware of is that Selig actually had a reinstatement plan for Rose that was ruined when Charlie Hustle put out a recent book.

From Schdmit’s column:

Following Pete’s apologetic admittance to gambling after 14 years of denial, Commissioner Selig seemed in a cooperative and forgiving mood, actually helping to map out an itinerary for Pete’s possible reinstatement.

Over the following few months, things went sour, as did the commissioner’s attitude.

Pete’s penchant for bad decisions and relationships, plus a need for money, caused a premature book release in New York, which conflicted with the Hall of Fame election news conference. This was a direct hit to baseball and couldn’t have come at a worse time for Pete.

Commissioner Selig never returned to this issue with the same attitude he had that day in Milwaukee, and the Rose case file hasn’t been opened since.

I’m trying to piece together the timeline laid out by Schmidt here. The publication date of the recent Rose book, “Pete Rose an American Dilemma,” is March 11, 2014. The first review I saw for it was Jan. 12, 2014. The results of the 2014 Hall of Fame class voting were announced on Jan. 8, 2014. Seems like Rose had his book reviewed around the same time the Hall of Fame class was announced.

We don’t know all the details of the situation between Selig and Rose. Selig recently said he still has five months to think about reinstating Rose before his tenure as MLB commissioner ends. It seems like he is more than open to the possibility of reinstating Rose, but Pete just can’t get out of his own way. For younger fans, I imagine this is not too dissimilar from working with Jose Canseco, who we all know can be extremely flaky. I still bet Selig reinstates Rose for his last act as commissioner.

Bud Selig: I have five months to think about Pete Rose

Pete Rose TimeWill Bud Selig’s last act as MLB commissioner be to reinstate Pete Rose, the same person who was banished from baseball for life in 1989 after it was found he gambled on the game while managing?

Selig was in Cincinnati on Friday and knew the question would come up. Bud Light said he still has five months to contemplate what — if anything — he will do.

“How it ends, eventually, I do not know,” he said via FOX Sports Ohio. “I’ve taken it seriously, talked to a lot of people. It is one of those situations that is difficult and you wished it didn’t exist. I have to think about this. I have five months to think about it.”

Selig gave a rambling, filibustering type of answer to the questions. But it does sound like he will at least consider the possibility of reinstating Rose.

“All factors enter my mind on this,” said Selig. “I’ve spent many hours talking to people, a lot of players, some of whom I’m very close to. I’ve spent an enormous mount of time on this. And in the end I’m going to say what I say to people on any subject. I have to do what I’ve always been trained to do. Do what I think — what I think — is in the best interest of this sport. That transcends everything else.”

That’s hardly a convincing answer from Buddy Boy. One of the big issues is that reinstating Rose would undo all the work done by Bart Giamatti, Selig’s close friend. Bud Light’s got such a stick up his butt you know he probably would feel too much shame to overturn Giamatti’s punishment. He should, though. It’s been long enough.

George Brett once pooped his pants and told the story about it (Video)

George Brett once shared one of the greatest stories you will ever hear a Hall of Fame baseball player tell, and I will do my part to make sure as many people as possible hear about it.

I happened to be out with my dad and sister last night and we were talking late ’80s/early ’90s baseball since the last time my sister followed MLB was back when Ryne Sandberg and Mark Grace were manning the right side of the Chicago Cubs’ infield. One name that came up was George Brett, so naturally I had to ask whether they had seen this great video. They had not. Make sure you do.

Brett was hanging out with the Royals one spring training and decided to volunteer to one of the players that he sh-t his pants the night before. Brett, who stated that he’s good for pooping his pants about twice a year, then broke into a story about the time he crapped his pants at the Bellagio in Las Vegas a few years earlier.

The whole story is so brown it’s golden.

George Brett shit himself story

Brett says he got food poisoning from some crabs at a steakhouse and was unable to control his bowels while walking through the hotel. He called a friend to come help him and had to describe the exact spot in the hotel where he was standing because he was afraid of moving any further lest more crap come out. The friend brought him a towel and pair of pants. They went to a bathroom where George toweled off, left his clothes behind and walked through the hotel barefoot in some size 48-inch waist pants.

Think about how awesome that video is. You’ve got some poor player who obviously feels uncomfortable about the whole thing — so uncomfortable that he moves away — and Brett follows him to finish telling the story. It’s like the guy’s as proud of this story as he is about his 1980 MVP award.

What’s truly incredible is that of all the incredible details Brett shares, the way he ends it has to be the peak.

“Got up in the morning, took the most perfect double-tapered sh-t I’ve ever taken in my life. True story.”

Hang on, what the heck is a double-tapered deuce? I’d never heard that before Brett.

After Brett coins the term “double-tapered sh-t,” which by the way has made it into the Urban Dictionary, he then transitions to real baseball in the most casual manner possible.

“Who’s the pitchers in this game?”

George Brett, who poops his pants, just wants to know who’s pitching in the game. Great way to wrap up this story,. Brett.

Seriously, though, how awesome was that tale? It’s so amazing it needs to be added to Brett’s Hall of Fame plaque in Cooperstown:

“George Brett, 13-time All-Star, 1980 MVP Award winner, led the league in hitting three times and had one of the purest swings in baseball. A corner infield who spent his entire career playing for the Kansas City Royals, Brett is good for sh-tting his pants twice a year.”

I wonder what happened with the clothes he left behind in the bathroom. You think those made it onto eBay? I mean it’d be easy to DNA test and authenticate them as the real defecated clothes. I’d buy ‘em. I’d frame ‘em and toss ‘em in my living room and tell everyone that these here are the clothes George Brett was wearing the night he sh-t himself in the Bellagio. Heck, I’d pay more money for those than his pine tar bat.

Someone later created an autotone version of the story. That is below.

Joc Pederson giving away his beater of a car to fan (Video)

When it comes to ballpark giveaways, it doesn’t get much better or personal than this.

The Albuquerque Isotopes will be giving away outfielder Joc Pederson’s car to a lucky fan next week as part of an awesome giveaway. The car is a 1994 Buick Century with 166,000 miles on it and will be given away after the team’s game on Aug. 29.

The Isotopes, which is the Dodgers’ Triple-A team, had a great press release about the giveaway:

Joc Pederson car

The car, nicknamed “Little Chucky,” has only 166,000 miles on it and has at least one operable window, which is really all you need. It is perfect for cruising around during the New Mexico summers with its “awesome” stereo system and lack of air conditioning. Kelly Blue Book estimates the value at nearly $1,000 (depending on if it has a full tank of gas). Little Chucky will also come with two complimentary air fresheners and whatever else Pederson forgets to clean out.

The Isotopes guarantee 100 percent that this distinctive car will carry you all the way to your next destination out of the Isotopes Park parking lot. A satisfactory safety inspection has been completed on the vehicle.

They made even more jokes about the car, saying that the lucky winner could drive away or tow away the car after the game.

Pederson is the top prospect in the Dodgers’ system and is working on a 30-30 season — he has 31 homers and 28 stolen bases this year. It won’t be long before he’ll be making the minor league minimum and able to afford a sweeter ride. Or at least one a little more reliable than Little Chucky.

You know, this is really what Alfred Morris should have done with his 1991 Mazda.

Report: Red Sox sign Rusney Castillo

Rusney-CastilloThe Boston Red Sox have reportedly agreed to sign Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a record-setting contract. WEEI.com reports that the deal is worth $72.5 million over seven years.

Castillo, 27, will sign the largest MLB contract ever signed by a Cuban player. The 5-foot-9 outfielder has not played organized baseball in over a year but showcased his talents for MLB scouts and front office personnel last month. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington was among those in attendance.

“He’s a player we’ve seen and we’ve talked to, but we’€™re just one of several teams that have done that,” Cherington said earlier this week. “There’€™€™€™s nothing more I can say.”

As Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald noted, the Red Sox have been extremely impressed with the smooth transition Cuban players like Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes have made when coming to America. Castillo has tremendous speed and an above-average glove. He could player either center field or right field for the Red Sox, depending on what moves they make during the offseason.

The Red Sox, who are currently in last place in the AL East, are already planning for 2014. If they can re-sign Jon Lester and possibly trade a couple prospects for an impact player, they should be right back in the mix. Cespedes and Castillo — assuming he transitions smoothly — should already give Boston great offense in the outfield.

Matt Shoemaker’s wife calls Will Middlebrooks a ‘butthole’ for breaking up no-hitter

Matt-Shoemaker-wife-DanielleLos Angeles Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night. The 27-year-old rookie ended up allowing just one hit in 7 2/3 innings of work to pick up his 12th win of the season. That lone hit was a double by Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

While Shoemaker was still seven long outs from completing the no-no, his wife Danielle was clearly thinking about it. Her reaction to Middlebrooks’ double was hilarious. Deadspin shared it with us after Danielle deleted it:


Naturally, Danielle caught a Twitter earful (eyeful?) from a bunch of salty Boston fans.

I’m sure Middlebrooks wasn’t offended. Have you ever been golfing with your buddy and called him an a–hole after he bombed a drive down the middle of the fairway? Do you really think he’s an a–hole? Probably not.

Mrs. Shoemaker seems like a funny lady.