For a variety of reasons– the Hall of Fame announcement I mailed in a post about, some behind the scenes work on future posts, laziness, recovery from a king hell trip back to my old stomping grounds at the Roxton, and a deluge of actual links thanks to the walking human interest piece that is R.A. Dickey– I haven’t been able to get around to clearing out my RSS reader until just this very moment. The time has finally come, however, for today’s links…
Following yesterdays press conference, Alex Anthopoulos had a scrum with the various assembled media hordes, and as usual, Gregor Chisholm has done a fantastic job of scooping up whatever it was he said. There isn’t a full transcript as yet, but you can find all the nuggets at his North of the Border blog, including AA’s suggestion that the club is looking for a right-
handed hitting infielder of some sort (that was confusing? really?) as the final man on the roster (first base is an infield position, right???), though they may ultimately invite several players to Spring Training and allow them to compete for the role. He also called Sal Fasano’s new position a promotion, saying that they still look at him as a potential manager, long term, and he insisted that the club will look internally to replace Darren Oliver, should ol’ Black Magic decline the $3-million deal that’s on the table and choose to retire.
John Lott has a review of the scrum as well, in the National Post, adding that the GM made clear that, despite JP Arencibia’s eagerness to get to work catching RA Dickey’s knuckleball, there was a damn reason Josh Thole was included in the deal as well– and it’s not just the fact that, except for his concussion-marred 2012, Thole has been about as productive a hitter in the Majors (albeit in different ways) as Arencibia, and, as a lefty, has been better against right-handed pitching. “The thought is,” he explained, “Josh has had so much success with him, why break that up?” Indeed. And if– especially in the early-season games where Dickey’s opponent is a right-hander– Thole shows he may be back to where he was prior to last year, when he hit right-handed pitching to a .328 wOBA, I’d expect his playing time to go up.
Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun gets confident in his analysis of JA Happ’s situation. In the scrum with media Anthopoulos said that Happ will be used as a starter in Spring Training, and by the end of camp will either shift into the bullpen at the big league level, or “in a more unlikely scenario” will be optioned to Buffalo, in order to continue making starts in Triple-A. “Count on the latter,” Rutsey says. Uh… OK?
Twitterer @KrisBorgOlivier had the same question I did yesterday about Dan Shaughnessy’s odd Cito Gaston-Marvin Lewis analogy, so he says the he emailed him, and that the response was “Passive. Slow-moving. Quiet. Long-timers.” Again, uh… OK?
Jason Collette of Baseball Prospectus looks at Esmil Rogers from a fantasy perspective, suggesting that he might be a sleeper pick in deep leagues, as there’s a chance he quickly moves up the Jays’ bullpen pecking order, if– and it’s a big one– he really has started to harness his electric stuff. That’s especially so if, as he did when he moved to Cleveland mid-season in 2012, he’s able to hit his spots more effectively, not get behind in counts, and not have to rely so heavily on a fastball that registers impressive radar readings, but actually tends to get hit pretty hard. Collette, of course, looks much deeper into all this than that– get a BP sub and read the whole thing, is what I’m telling you.
Remember how I mentioned the walking human interest story that is RA Dickey? Well… uh… hey look, it’s stuff on him from the Star (Cathal Kelly, Curtis Rush, Brendan Kennedy, Richard Griffin), the Post (John Lott), MLB Trade Rumours (Benny Fresh), MLB.com (Gregor Chisholm), the Globe and Mail (Robert MacLeod), the Sun (Mike Rutsey), and probably a bunch of others I’ve missed.
Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail gets it entirely right on the Hall of Fame, I think, when he says “fear not for the legacy of Bonds and Clemens and the really aggrieved party here, Piazza, who was the most dominant offensive catcher since Johnny Bench, guilty apparently of having too much acne on his back. Don’t fear for the message that would be sent by a Hall of Fame shutout. Celebrate, instead, the induction of the late Tom Cheek, the long-time voice of the Toronto Blue Jays who was selected as this year’s winner of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence.” Hear, hear.
At Touch ‘Em All, Jonah Birenbaum laments Shawn Green’s quick exit from the Hall Of Fame ballot, highlighting some career numbers in what he calls a “sentimental tribute to Green, a player who had the misfortune of playing against a backdrop of steroids that effectively dwarfed his career numbers — numbers that would elicit a heck of a lot of giddiness these days.” Thing is, I’m not sure why [shifts into Herp-Derp Commenter voice] a guy who played with Canseco and jumped from 16 to 35 to 42 homers from 1997 to 1999 is so above suspicion. (Y’know, if you’re one of the types who does stuff like that.)
Lost in all the steroid nonsense has been some of the absolutely astonishing numbers put up by Barry Bonds over the course of his career. Jeff Sullivan goes through a bunch of them over at FanGraphs, and looks at a time in 2002 when he did the rarest thing of all: he actually made an out.
More Hall of Fame stuff: Jayson Stark of ESPN.com nails it, lamenting the shambles the Hall of Fame now lies in, and pointing out that the steroid era, and all the post-strike good feelings and hand-over-fist moneymaking that it wrought happened. “And how did it happen? The sport let it happen. That’s how.”
Jonah Keri of Grantland looks at the fallacy of the Hall of Fame, and figures that, as ridiculous as it seems now, the right guys will ultimately wind up getting in.
Colin Wyers of Baseball Prospectus goes searching for the era that Jack Morris was supposedly the best pitcher of, and comes up wanting. “The act of creating an era for Jack Morris to dominate is nothing more or less than gerrymandering, carefully setting your boundaries so that Morris doesn’t have to be compared to a set of pitchers he simply doesn’t match up to,” he ultimately concludes. “It’s the sort of thing you do if you start off with the idea that Morris is a Hall of Fame pitcher and work your way backwards to an argument for it.”
Tom Ley of Deadspin puts it as succinctly as damn possible why Ken Rosenthal, great as he is, is fucking ridiculous when he compares the Sabermetrics community to the Tea Party. “We don’t really need to explain why such an analogy is so stupid, do we?” he asks. “I mean, the Tea Party that Rosenthal is referring to is responsible for giving us stuff like this, whereas sabermetricians are simply baseball fans who like to apply things like math, logic, and quantitative analysis to the sport that they love. The two are very different.” Indeed, though, to be fair, hitting solely on racist under- or over-tones in the Tea Party doesn’t really account for half of why they’re a shit stain on the concept of intelligent thought.
National Post readers took an informal Hall Of Fame poll, and no one got in based on their ballots either– though Tim Raines did lead the way, with 68% of the vote.
The New York Daily News talks to a pumped up Travis d’Arnaud, now of the Mets, about hearing from David Wright on the day of his trade, and gives readers a bit of background on the former Jays prospect.
Lastly, a bunch of Getting Blanked stuff, as Scott has good-ish news for Xbox users: the MLB 2K series lives! And he also tells us that apparently MLB didn’t want to just stop at shitty batting practice caps for all 30 clubs, as players will now have specific caps to wear in interviews. Only the Mets’ one has leaked so far, and… ugh. Drew, meanwhile, passes along the message sent by the BBWAA to baseball fans today, and also looks at the Dodgers and their quest to throw their money at everything they possibly can– in this case, a new stadium– while quoting MLB’s Chief Technology Officer, who says that the league wants to have free wifi in all 30 stadiums by 2014. Hmmm, would a company Rogers even be capable of a thing like this? What is it they do again?