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

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 31st at 12:55pm 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.

Wednesday (Disappearing and reappearing Kyle Gibson) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 30th at 8:59am 269212321

gibsonA strange split-personality season for Kyle Gibson, one more extreme than we can ever recall seeing, continued Tuesday.

The balance of it adds up to a fully acceptable and even good first full season as a starter, as he is 9-8 with a 3.94 ERA after holding Kansas City scoreless for seven innings in a 2-1 victory.

But how he has arrived at those numbers is simply crazy. It stands to reason that pitchers will have better numbers in their wins than losses, but here is how it breaks down for Gibson in his 20 starts:

Wins (9) and no-decisions (3): 81.1 IP, 53 hits, 1 HR allowed, 5 earned runs allowed for a 0.55 ERA.

Losses (8): 33 IP, 56 hits, 45 ER, 6 HRs allowed, 12.27 ERA.

For frame of reference, let’s go back to 2010 and Carl Pavano’s season, which ended with a 3.75 ERA. He had a 2.32 ERA in wins and a 5.40 ERA in losses. That’s a pretty reasonable split — really good in wins, bad but not blowout bad in losses.

Gibson, though, is basically unhittable in 12 starts the resulted in wins or no decisions and historically bad in the other eight starts.

He has eight starts in which he finished with at least six innings pitched and ZERO earned runs allowed. He also has four starts in which he didn’t make it past three innings and allowed at least five earned runs every time.

We’re not sure what to make of it. Maybe it’s a question of command, and when he has it he is great and when he misses with his location he gets hammered. Maybe it’s just one of those fluky set of circumstances.

We’re not even sure what we would rather have — a guy who throws seven innings a game and allows three runs every time or a guy who has been like Gibson, either lights-out or terrible.

All we know is that it’s bizarre. If he can harness “good Kyle” more often, he’ll be an All-Star. If he descends into “bad Kyle” more often, he’ll be out of the league.

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Chicago WSox 3 Top 4th Inning
Detroit 4
Colorado 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
St. Louis - S. Miller 2:40 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
Philadelphia - C. Lee 6:05 PM
Washington - G. Gonzalez
LA Angels - T. Skaggs 6:05 PM
Baltimore - B. Norris
Seattle - C. Young 6:05 PM
Cleveland - Z. McAllister
Cincinnati - J. Cueto 6:10 PM
Miami - T. Koehler
Minnesota - K. Correia 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Toronto - D. Hutchison 7:10 PM
Houston - J. Cosart
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Arizona - J. Collmenter
Atlanta - J. Teheran 9:10 PM
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Buffalo
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Montreal
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Montreal
Hamilton 8/8/14 9:00 PM
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Ottawa 8/9/14 6:30 PM
Calgary
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