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Friday, January 24, 2020

Baseball

White Sox OF Eloy Jimenez not open to DH’ing: ‘F— that’

White Sox

Eloy Jimenez was a revelation for the Chicago White Sox last season, but he believes that he can provide value beyond just his bat.

Speaking with reporters on Friday, the 23-year-old outfielder said that he was committed to improving his defense in left, per James Fegan of The Athletic. When asked if he would be OK with being a designated hitter, Jimenez bluntly replied, “No, f— that.”

Jimenez had a breakout rookie season in 2019, hitting .267 with 31 home runs and 79 RBIs in just 122 games. Those numbers were good enough for a fourth-place finish in American League Rookie of the Year voting.

The White Sox just signed former All-Star slugger Edwin Encarnacion earlier this month, so Jimenez’s repugnance towards DH’ing is probably a good sign. His dedication to his defense is also a positive considering the long-term commitment that the White Sox have already made to him.

Ozzie Guillen wants answers after receiving no manager job consideration

Ozzie Guillen managed the Chicago White Sox to a World Series in 2005, but hasn’t worked as a manager since 2012 and doesn’t come up as a candidate for job openings anymore. He would like to know why that is.

Guillen attended the White Sox fanfest Friday and admitted that, while he isn’t losing sleep over his lack of opportunities, he’d still like to manage again. He added that he felt like he was “banned from the game” but didn’t know the reason for it.

Still only 56, Guillen’s name pops up as a candidate from time to time, but never seriously. Part of that may be down to his long history of controversial comments, including some that alienated Florida’s Cuban population while managing the Miami Marlins. He also clashed with players, which is a huge issue for any manager. Guillen is a colorful character and certainly wouldn’t be boring, but in a sport where teams increasingly desire front office-driven strategy and managers who aren’t attracting excessive attention, he doesn’t really fit the mold anymore.

Ex-Astro Dallas Keuchel apologizes for role in cheating scandal

Dallas Keuchel

Dallas Keuchel has become the first member of the 2017 Houston Astros to apologize for his role in the team’s sign stealing scandal.

Now a member of the Chicago White Sox, Keuchel apologized Friday, adding that the team didn’t use the sign stealing operation in every game they played.

As a pitcher, Keuchel would have gained fewer benefits from the system the Astros had in place. He’s also no longer a member of the team, which likely made it easier for him to own up to his role without having to answer to home fans anymore.

Astros players surprised some observers with a lack of contrition in their first public comments, especially after how blatant the cheating was shown to be. Ownership has promised apologies next month, but the reality of the situation is it shouldn’t have taken this long for one of the players who was part of the player-driven scheme to say sorry. It definitely shouldn’t have been a pitcher who isn’t even on the team anymore.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Atlantic League umpires say computerized strike zone not ready for MLB

Major League Baseball will begin testing a computerized strike zone during spring training this season, but those most familiar with the system believe it isn’t close to being ready for use in MLB games.

Strike zone technology has been tested in the independent Atlantic League, and that technology will be tested this spring at the MLB level. Atlantic League umpires, however, told Bob Klapisch of the New York Times that the system simply is not ready for meaningful competition.

It’s been suggested that this technology may be in use at the highest levels of the minors as soon as 2021 ahead of its introduction to MLB. Based on this feedback, this may be optimistic. The league will have ample opportunity to test and tweak the technology, but adopting it in MLB before it’s completely perfected and ready would be a massive mistake that would severely undermine any faith in it both inside and outside the game. The spring training testing should be telling in just how close we really are to making this technology a reality in the majors.

Report: Brad Ausmus interviewing for Astros manager job

Brad Ausmus

Another experienced candidate has emerged as the Houston Astros hunt for a new manager.

According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, former Tigers and Angels manager Brad Ausmus is a candidate for the Houston manager job, and is in town to interview for the position on Friday.

Ausmus was very closely linked to the Astros during his playing days. He spent parts of ten seasons there, and was a member of their National League championship team in 2005. He’s 386-422, and his only playoff appearance came in 2014 with a talented Detroit team he inherited from Jim Leyland. Perhaps that will help his cause, as the Astros will be looking for someone to win with a championship-caliber roster assembled and guided by the new manager’s predecessors.

The Astros have been speaking to a host of experienced candidates as they work to replace A.J. Hinch, who was fired for his role in the team’s sign stealing scandal. Ausmus is one of the more prominent names involved, but not the most prominent interview so far.

Blake Snell feels Astros stealing signs is worse than PED use

Blake Snell

Tampa Bay Rays pitchers Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow can be added to the growing list of players who feel some members of the Houston Astros organization got off too easy.

Snell and Glasnow discussed the Astros’ cheating scandal following a workout at Tropicana Field on Friday. Glasnow said he feels Major League Baseball was “relatively lax” in not punishing any players who knowingly cheated, while Snell compared the act to using performance-enhancing drugs. The 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner said he believes the way the Astros used electronics to steal signs is worse than a player taking steroids.

“If you think about all the things that have happened with likes PEDs and stuff, they get punished. I feel like cheating is worse,” Snell said, via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “Steroids, you got all big and buff but you still had to hit the ball, you didn’t know what was coming.

“When you know what’s coming, it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. I feel like you have to do something about that.”

Glasnow is one of several pitchers who were believed to have been tipping pitches against Houston when he was knocked around for four runs in the first inning of Game 5 of the ALDS last season. MLB’s investigation uncovered no evidence that Houston illegally stole signs in 2019, but Glasnow does not sound convinced.

“I’d lie if I told you I didn’t think about it like after all the stuff came out, and like how on they were on every pitch … I don’t know, there’s a couple different possibilities,” Glasnow said. “I’m not ruling anything out but I’m kind of just rolling with it at this point.”

For what it’s worth, graphics that were shown on TV and exchanges that were overheard between Astros players appeared to clearly show that Glasnow was tipping his pitches. He also settled down after he fixed the issue following the rough first inning.

Everything the Astros do now will be met with skepticism, and that was to be expected. They appear to be motivated to show the world they can win even without cheating, but the criticism will only increase if their numbers are down in 2020.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Report: Dodgers exaggerated MLB’s supposed gag order over Astros scandal

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone spoke about the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal on Thursday, which seemingly went against how Major League Baseball told clubs to handle the situation. As it turns out, however, MLB did not give teams any specific orders.

The Los Angeles Dodgers lost to Houston in the 2017 World Series, and the findings MLB released earlier this month stated that the Astros stole signs electronically during the regular season and postseason in 2017. While they are undoubtedly furious, the Dodgers have refused to comment on the situation as a team, noting that they were following orders from the league.

Does that mean Cashman and Boone ignored MLB? No. According to Ken Rosenthal, the league only “recommended” that teams not comment publicly on the punishment handed down to the Astros.

The Yankees were also defeated by the Astros in the 2017 postseason, and CC Sabathia openly said he feels cheated. Both Cashman and Boone both said Thursday that they hope Houston being caught will be a big step toward cleaning up illegal sign-stealing.

While the Dodgers have chosen to abide by MLB’s recommendation, some of their players have not remained quiet about the topic. We expect that theme to continue with spring training just around the corner.

UPDATE: Rosenthal later corrected his report, stating that MLB asked the Dodgers not to comment on the Astros findings but recommended to other teams that they refrain from discussing it.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here: