Archive for the ‘Craig Kimbrel’ Category

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs

theScore’s baseball editor Jonah Birenbaum wrote what you see below for our official app (which you should totally download) and I think it belongs on Getting Blanked, too. Follow Jonah on twitter and enjoy!

Baseball’s evolving economic landscape, with national television contracts effectively emptying barrels of cash around the league, privileges players who can hang around. Arbitration-eligible players are always victims of precedent, and the cost-controlling nature of the process limits the earning potential for players who have just a few years of big-league service time.

But there are no rules in today’s open market. Players with six years of service time who felt slighted by the arbitration process are now capable of landing lucrative, ludicrous multi-year deals from cash-rich teams diverting their new monies back into their payroll. It’s precisely this market that allowed Phil Hughes, the homer-prone author of a 5.19 ERA last season, to land a three-year, $24-million deal. It’s precisely this market that allowed Jason Vargas, the soft-throwing southpaw with a career 112 FIP- (where 100 is league average) to score a four-year, $32-million deal. You get the point.

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MLB: NLDS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves

There is nothing fun about baseball’s arbitration process. It is a necessary evil, an inefficient means to a satisfactory end. Nobody likes going the arbitration route, where dirty laundry is dredged up and the seeds of animosity can sometimes take hold.

It is a tool and a risk for teams, especially those that opt for the “file and trial” no-nonsense stance. If player and team cannot reach an agreement before the deadline, teams like Toronto and Atlanta shelve discussions until they’re making their cases to the arbitrator.

Eno Sarris of Fangraphs wrote an interesting piece on the subject, using the very slight difference between Jason Heyward‘s asking price and the number the Braves countered with as his framing device. He describes a “maturing of the process” as both sides do their best to avoid alienation by stating their case in good faith.

But money is money. Sometimes the two sides are arguing over a significant amount of money. Take Craig Kimbrel, for example. Kimbrel filed for $9MM, almost $2.5 million more than the team’s number of $6.55MM.

Just for fun, let’s play this out (like BP did last year but less smart). I’ll argue for Craig Kimbrel and, umm, for the Braves as well. Which side makes the most compelling case? With whom will the arbitrator (me again) side? Let’s bridge the divide!

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Cincinnati Reds v Pittsburgh Pirates

Every good reliever needs a nickname. It’s a requirement, a legacy to carry with them after their playing days are done. This is especially important for relievers, who have a much shorter lifespan than most other players.

A good nickname, an exploding scoreboard/fire and brimstone/mall metal intro and you’re set. For now, too many good relievers don’t have good nicknames or gimmicks. We here at Getting Blanked need to address this injustice.

Let’s start with the man seen above, Mark Melancon.

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Relievers. They’re certainly something. When we look at the amount of innings that a starting pitcher accumulates over the course of a season, and then compare it to the innings that a relief pitcher throws, assuming we’re of a sound mind, we’ll more often than not come to the conclusion that the contributions of starters outweigh that of relievers.

I wouldn’t dispute that. No one with any sense would. However, that doesn’t preclude relievers from being valuable members of a baseball team. With the recent popularity attached to looking into win probability added and measuring the leverage of situations on a game by game basis, we’ve come to understand that even though a relief pitcher is working less than a starter, his work tends to be in more stressful situations.

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