As Drew Fairservice noted on this very site back in October, Brandon McCarthy, baseball pitcher for the Oakland Athletics, is your new favourite player. Brandon has everything you want in a baseball player: He’s an “underdog” as illustrated by his surprise re-invention and breakout season in 2011 (he led the league in FIP. No seriously.); He’s a smart baseball person in that he was not only self-reflexive enough to know that he needed to be re-invented, but he also has a strong grasp on advanced stats (nerd swoon); And, oh yeah, he’s hilarious.

If you don’t already follow Mr. McCarthy on Twitter, fire up the Tweety Machine and do so. You shan’t be disappointed. He says funny things and is also adept at pointing out stupidity among those in the sports media who seem to revel in it.

Further exemplifying his status as “your new favourite player,” McCarthy was asked to write a guest spot on SI.com’s Hot Clicks blog and the results, as you’d expect, were most excellent.

Some highlights:

In his explanation of three things baseball players hate about Spring Training:

The sun: Maybe this is just for those with spring training in Arizona (I’ve never had it in Florida), but I’m assuming it’s universal. The sun is just a pain in the ass when you’re out in it for six weeks because it’s trying to kill you. It’s either going to dehydrate you or burn you to a crisp. It’s a neverending game of “did I put sunscreen on?” Every spring training clubhouse smells like a distinct mix of sunscreen and coffee farts.

Jimmy Traina, the person usually responsible for writing the Hot Clicks blog, has a section called “Lovely Lady of the Day” and McCarthy (who is married to a supermodel, by the way) contributed this for his version of the section:

A week ago, when I agreed to take over the page, Jimmy asked me “Who’s gonna be your LLOD?” I genuinely couldn’t decide, so I asked my wife for help. “Hey hun, who’s a better choice for the LLOD? Kate Beckinsale, Jaime Edmondson or Marisa Miller?” After days of ‘discussion’ and a visit to a marriage counsellor [sic] ironically named Joy, I’ve come to the realization that today’s LLOD should be my wife Amanda. Not that those others aren’t great candidates, but Amanda is gorgeous, and most importantly, she’s the only one who keeps keying my car.

What’s not to like?

And the rest:

Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino took to the satellite airwaves to chat about the 2012 team. Among the topics he discussed were the apparent Red Sox cheapness (surusly?) and whether or not Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield would be back this season. He confirmed that both were invited training camp, but neither has accepted. I get the feeling there’ll be some retirement announcements coming in the next few days.

Roy Oswalt has still not signed a contract with just a week remaining before pitchers and catchers are set to report to Spring Training (!) and it appears as though the Rangers and Phillies have been ruled out as potential landing places for the 34-year-old. This leaves the Cardinals (who don’t have a real need for another starter), the Reds (who don’t appear to be too interested) and the Red Sox (who Oswalt doesn’t appear too high on). For a pitcher who I think will provide a tremendous amount of value on a one-year deal, it’s odd to see him having to settle for a one-year deal at far less than what he’s worth. The longer he goes without signing, the less he stands to make.

Dustin and Drew each wrote pieces this week regarding former Jays pitcher and noted rake A.J. Burnett and his relative value. Drew revealed in his piece that this whole “A.J. to the Pirates” thing might just work. Today we “hear” from Ken Rosenthal that Pittsburgh is just one of four teams in on Burnett; although one of those teams is on Burnett’s no-trade list.

Ozzie Guillen claims to have known from Spring Training that Adam Dunn was going to have a terrible 2011 season. I wonder how many more of his former players he’s going to throw under the bus before the season starts. I like Ozzie’s incoherent ramblings as much as the next guy, but sometimes I just wish he’d, you know, shush.

It looks like the potential landing places for Manny Ramirez has been narrowed down to one. OriLOLes GM Dan Duquette says he doesn’t see a fit for the team with Ramirez. Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane, however, says he’s looking to sign a middle-of-the-order DH, which would seem to preclude Manny or Maggio Ordonez. Mind you, just about anybody could be a middle-of-the-order DH in Oakland.

Ottawa could be primed for a return to professional baseball. Rumour has it that the Binghamton Mets (the AA affiliate of the New York team of same moniker) could be sold and moved north. It’s expected that the Blue Jays would be the team who would take over the affiliate. Mr. Stoeten has the details over at DJF.

Matthew Pouliot of NBC Hardball Talk projects the top 10 leftfielders for 2012. Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez and Matt Holliday come out as the top three.

Getting Blanked contributor Matt Klaassen expands upon a Twitter debate concerning the relative value of Troy Tulowitzki and Evan Longoria by comparing the calibre of pitchers each faced and asking whether or not that truly makes a difference.

Max Marchi of Baseball Prospectus looks at the potential cumulative value of Jose Molina.

Tyler Wasserman of Field of Ignorance continues his series on the Effects of Luck by looking at unlucky pitchers. He dubs Burnett, Zach Greinke, Ricky Nolasco, Derek Lowe, Ryan Dempster, and Chris Capuano the least lucky pitchers from 2011.

Finally, a handy-dandy countdown machine that lets you know exactly how long the offseason has left.