Archive for the ‘Link Dump’ Category

Rays Rodney celebrates his save against the  Blue Jays during their MLB baseball game in Toronto

The Mariners signed Fernando Rodney to a two-year, $14 million contract yesterday. That is a pretty good move for a team with playoff aspirations and a pressing need to improve if they wish to get there. This deal for Rodney seems like a fair deal for a 37-year old reliever, one with a pretty stellar record over the last few years.

Paying through the nose for relievers might be over but there is no harm in paying a fair price for a good reliever.

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Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers don’t have too many holes in their lineup. We might quibble over the actual value and production that Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford might provide, but even without Matt Kemp in their lineup the Dodgers are able to put together a pretty nice batting order.

It came out this week that manager Don Mattingly could use Yasiel Puig as his everyday leadoff hitter, a move that…well it’s a move that just sort of makes sense. Which is weird, coming from Mattingly.

Considering all the Dodgers weapons, is putting Puig at the top of the order the best use of these toys. It’s the Dodgers and another First World Problem but it it worth a look.

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URL Weaver: Options

MLB: San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants

Even though we all should know better, the instant a player and team agree to a long term contract or extension, everybody races out to declare a winner. Team friendly or player friendly, good deal or bad deal, the ink is barely try and columnists and commenters alike weigh in with their opinion.

There is a lot more attention given to those who slam deals than those who shrug their shoulders and say “meh. Could go either way.” There is no sex appeal in a column that says “let’s wait and see how this plays out.”

Long-term extensions for players still years away from free agency are the new normal in the baseball world. Players sell off potential future earnings in exchange for the security of a guaranteed paycheck. Sometimes, it backfires on the player. Tim Lincecum probably wishes he signed one of the seven-year deals the Giants slide across the table to him. Evan Longoria might feel otherwise, having “lost out” on millions of dollars by signing his eternal soul and first born child to the Rays minutes after his big league debut.

For teams, the risks are different. The more guaranteed money, the more risk on the club’s part. Injury or underperformance can cut into a deal and make it seem positively foolish after just a few years (looking at you, Colorado. Manny Corpas? Not your finest hour.)

Yesterday, the Padres announced left-handed starter Cory Luebke will miss the entire 2014 season as he requires Tommy John surgery to replace a torn UCL in this throwing elbow. This, of course, comes on the heels of missing the entire 2013 season after another Tommy John procedure in 2012. Yikes.

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Michael Young officially announced his retirement yesterday, with a form press event scheduled for later today. Young will retire as a member of the Texas Rangers – the uniform he wore for 13 of his 14 Major League seasons.

Young retires with a big pile of cash to land on and stellar career upon which to reflect. He has the love and respect of Rangers fans to his dying day. The rest of baseball? Well, that’s something of a mixed bag.

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MLB: World Series-Boston Red Sox at St. Louis Cardinals

Just about every pro ballplayer can claim to have played shortstop at one point or another. Growing up, an alarming percentage of your favorite ballplayers split time between shortstop and pitcher. Everybody is a shortstop because it is the most difficult position on the diamond, the one demanding the most athleticism and baseball instincts and so on and so forth.

As players ascend the baseball ladder, to high school, college and beyond, the pool of viable shortstops winnows down. Too big, too slow, insufficient footwork, whatever the reason, those who can’t hack it at short are moved to other spots on the diamond – center field or third base and then down the line from there.

Because the barrier for entry at the shortstop position is so high, the position is increasingly difficult to fill. The defensive demands are so high that many poor hitters can remain as big league prospects thanks to their glove alone.

The scarcity of good shortstops is reflected in the recent top prospect lists, namely those put out by Baseball Prospectus and Though they differ in order, both groups of evaluators agree on one thing: a good shortstop is a valuable commodity indeed.

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MLB: Seattle Mariners at Pittsburgh Pirates

If there is one consistent thread running through the long, storied, history of Getting Blanked, it is a befuddled appreciation of A.J. Burnett. Always one of the most entertaining pitchers in the game, Burnett is now something of a marvel. Injury-prone strikeout artist dogged by overrated and “.500 pitcher” claims for years, Burnett figured it out for a while. His walk year with the Blue Jays was tremendous, working on short rest when needed (or “needed”) and putting up a career year. Then he played a central role for the World Champion Yankees in 2009.

Then he was bad (so bad) for a year. Then he was a Pirate. And he was born again! Two years in Pittsburgh, one good and one very good, leading the Pirates back to the playoffs for first time in a generation.

Now he’s a free agent. He’s also 37-years old and contemplating retirement. The Pirates want him and, frankly, need him if they hope to return to the postseason again before 2033, at which time Andrew McCutchen will be the disgraced all-time home run champ if history teaches us anything.

But with this need and a waning desire to play in more places than just Pittsburgh and near his Maryland home, Burnett gets to be choosy. Which means the Pirates need to go on something of an offensive.

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MLB: Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros

The Houston Astros will be a better team in 2014 than they were in 2013. In 2013, like 2012 and 2011 before, they were dreadful. Terrible. Embarrassing. They lost 111 games after losing 100 games in each of the two previous years. They’re on track to post the worst four year stretch in baseball history.

These loses all came in service of a greater good, of course. The Astros stripped their big league roster down of all viable talent, trading it to rebuild a crumbling farm system. This off-season, the Astros began changing gears, picking up legit big leaguers like Dexter Fowler and, to a lesser extent, Scott Feldman and a bunch of relievers. Upgrades for sure but their depth chart is still a ghost town.

More of their premium prospect talent is closer to the big leagues now. Better days are certainly ahead in Houston. Well, better days are probably ahead in Houston. Hopefully.

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