RandBall

Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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TFD: Suzuki signing shows how Twins feel about Pinto

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 31st at 6:56pm 269460621

News Thursday that the Twins have signed catcher Kurt Suzuki to a two-year extension (with a third-year vesting option) obviously says a lot about what they think of Suzuki.

He’s having a very good season, and they’re banking on at least some semblance of that production — and handling of pitchers — for the duration of Suzuki’s contract.

But perhaps the move says just as much, of not more, about the stalled progress of Josmil Pinto. We presumed going into the season that Pinto was the team’s catcher of the future. He showed plenty of pop in a brief stint in 2013. He hit well again this year before slumping and ultimately being sent down.

But if his defense — all phases: handling pitchers, blocking balls, throwing runners out — isn’t close to major-league ready, and the team doesn’t have confidence it will get there … well, that’s when they make a move like today with Suzuki.

The free agent catching market figures to be barren, and with a bunch of young arms waiting in the wings, there is value in having a catcher who can work with them. Did the Twins overpay? A little. Have they been swayed by four good months from Suzuki? Probably. Is it worth it? Quite possibly. Does it tell us Pinto isn’t ready for prime time? Definitely.

Mid-day talker: Trying to make sense of Sam Fuld for Tommy Milone

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 31st at 6:55pm 269416071

miloneDid the Twins really just trade an outfielder they added in the middle of the year for nothing for a 27-year-old left-handed pitcher with 31 major league wins, 442 innings pitched and a 3.84 ERA since 2012?

Yes they did. The trade was with Oakland and genius GM Billy Beane, so we are immediately suspicious of this Sam Fuld for Tommy Milone magic.

Fuld was waived — waived! — by Oakland (!) just a few months ago. And now he is worth to them a pitcher who, though nowhere near great, is coated at least with the scent of MLB competency – a very sweet perfume when used to combat the tire fire odor that so often wafts upward from the Twins mound.

The negatives: Oakland didn’t want Milone, so maybe there’s something wrong with him (even though he had a 3.55 ERA in 16 starts before being sent to the minors this season, oh the embarrassment of pitching riches some teams have). Also, the A’s had him for his cheapest years. He’ll be arbitration-eligible in 2015, due a raise from the $510K he’s making this year, but even so he will be a low-cost option for at least another season if not two. And also, this means we might have to watch Chris Parmelee play center field a few times. A Willingham/Parmelee/Arcia outfield. Wow.

The positives: Everything else. Really, everything else. One team’s gold is another team’s garbage. In this case, the Twins were able to spin Oakland’s old garbage into a few good months of Fuld, then trade him back to Oakland for another player the A’s somehow don’t need.

We’re tiptoeing away from this trade quite happily.

Thursday (Wolves reportedly only dealing with Cavs in Love trade) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 31st at 10:20am 269381811

lovelebronFresh reporting from ESPN on the Kevin Love trade situation only advances the ball a little and mostly just confirms what has been already reported or logically assumed, but there are a few passages worth noting:

Sources this week have described the Cavs as the only team in contention for Love. … (Andrew) Wiggins is not eligible to be dealt until Aug. 23 after signing his rookie contract last week, but numerous league insiders — some of whom are gathered in Las Vegas for this week’s Team USA training camp — have begun to describe a Love-to-Cleveland trade as a “when” transaction as opposed to an “if.”

This is good, of course, because it lets us all focus on one team, one trade. Even though a potential deal with Chicago is pretty good, too, we can stop talking about it. And we can certainly stop mentioning Golden State.

It’s believed the Wolves hope to convince Cleveland to take J.J. Barea as part of a Love trade or find a third team to absorb Barea’s expiring contract.

Again, this was an assumption after the Wolves signed Mo Williams, but it’s worth reiterating. We’d hate to see a deal blow up over the minor pieces, but if Flip Saunders can leverage this to not only add players he wants but subtract players he doesn’t want, that would be keen.

Although Love, 25, is expected to opt for free agency after next season even if he’s dealt to Cleveland, sources say that’s purely because he can secure a far more lucrative contract next summer than he could going the extension route.

That’s interesting. We had been operating under the assumption that Love would opt-in for the final year of his deal. Even if there is a handshake agreement that he will re-sign with Cleveland, that adds some burden to the Cavs.

So basically the sides have a little more than three weeks now to hammer out the details and perhaps find a third team willing to add more pieces to this puzzle. While we’d still rather have the deal done right now since cold feet can change any deal, we’ll just have to trust the process.

TFD: The Wolves lottery history would be even worse with proposed new format

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 30th at 6:08pm 269290421

The Timberwolves participated in the NBA draft lottery 16 times in which the pick was derived from their own poor record the season and they still held the pick on draft night.

In nine of those cases, they ended up picking at a lower spot than their pre-lottery position. In seven cases, they stayed the same as their pre-lottery position. In ZERO cases, of course, they picked at a higher spot than their pre-lottery position.

It made us wonder how they might have fared if the NBA had been operating for the past 25 years under the proposed new lottery system, as written about at Grantland a couple of weeks ago and now again in the news because the 76ers reportedly object to them:

Under the current system, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance of snagging the no. 1 pick, perhaps the most valuable asset in the entire NBA. The team with the second-worst record has a 19.9 percent chance of winning the no. 1 pick, and the third-worst team enters the lottery with a 15.6 percent chance of moving up to the top slot. The odds decline from there, with the final five teams in the lottery — the teams with the five best records — each having a 1.1 percent or worse chance of moving up to no. 1.

The league’s proposal gives at least the four worst teams the same chance at winning the no. 1 pick: approximately an identical 11 percent shot for each club. The odds decline slowly from there, with the team in the next spot holding a 10 percent chance. The lottery team with the best record will have a 2 percent chance of leaping to the no. 1 pick, up from the the minuscule 0.5 percent chance it has under the current system.

Of the 16 cases of the Wolves in the lottery mentioned above, the Wolves had a top-3 pre-lottery position seven times. Another five times, they had either the No. 5 or No. 6 position. The other four times they had a pre-lottery position of seventh or lower.

Without knowing the exact NBA proposal, it’s hard to figure this out with certainty, but our best guess is that in those seven times the Wolves had top-3 lottery position, their odds would have been considerably worse. In the five times they were No. 5 or No. 6, their odds would have been about the same. And the other four times they were seventh or lower, their odds would have improved by a few percentage points.

In other words, the Wolves — who have had historically bad lottery luck — would have been even worse off in this new system. But just for fun, we would be willing to invent a time machine and go back to 1990 to see if any of the drafts worked out in their favor despite the longer odds.

Shockingly, it sounds like Josh Gordon's second-hand marijuana smoke defense isn't going to work

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 30th at 6:11pm 269261401

joshgordonPer ESPN.com:

Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon‘s claim that secondhand smoke led to his failed marijuana test this offseason might not help him.

“A cornerstone of both of our drug testing programs has always been that you are responsible for what is in your body,” Greg Aiello, NFL senior vice president of communications, said via email Tuesday. “It is stated that way in the policies.”

Sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Gordon will attribute his one positive sample to secondhand smoke, and that he also will argue a disparity in the two samples he provided.

In other words, it doesn’t matter how the marijuana got in your system, Josh — not that anyone should have believed for a second that second-hand smoke was a plausible excuse.

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Philadelphia - WP: R. Hernandez 2 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 1
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 2
Texas 1 Top 9th Inning
Cleveland 12
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 4
Cincinnati - WP: M. Latos 5 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong 5 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
LA Angels 5 Top 9th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3 FINAL
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 4
Minnesota 5 Bottom 6th Inning
Chicago WSox 6
Toronto 1 Top 8th Inning
Houston 1
Milwaukee 7 Bottom 7th Inning
St. Louis 1
Kansas City 0 Top 4th Inning
Oakland 0
Pittsburgh 0 Top 4th Inning
Arizona 0
Atlanta 0 Top 2nd Inning
San Diego 2
Chicago Cubs 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Los Angeles 0
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/7/14 6:00 PM
NY Jets
San Francisco 8/7/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New England 8/7/14 6:30 PM
Washington
Cincinnati 8/7/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
Seattle 8/7/14 8:00 PM
Denver
Dallas 8/7/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
Winnipeg 27 FINAL
Hamilton 26
Toronto 31 FINAL
Montreal 5
Brt Columbia 0 6:40
Calgary 0
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Edmonton 8/8/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Hamilton 8/8/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/9/14 6:30 PM
Calgary
Connecticut 89 FINAL
San Antonio 79

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