Archive for the ‘Link Dump’ Category

rj2004

This wasn’t my intention, I assure you. When I set out to write this post, I was trying to cleanse the Hall of Fame palate with some idle speculation. Some innocent thought experiments. “Will we ever see another 300 strikeout pitcher?”, the headline was set to wonder.

There would be pseudoscience and bad projections and all sorts of fun. “But YU!”, they’d shout. “Max effort!”, others exclaimed. Good clean fun. Just what we all need.

But a cursory look into 300 strikeout seasons lead me down a dark path. It sent me to a dangerous place – Randy Johnson‘s baseball reference page.

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Detroit Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski and newly named Tigers manager Brad  Ausmuspose together during a press conference in Detroit

Yesterday the man tasked with taking over for Jim Leyland, Brad Ausmus, took to the airwaves for a “get to know you” session with the local radio crew in Detroit. Tigers blog Bless You Boys have the rundown, which includes two very important quotes.

The first of which is in response to a SABR-based question. Despite a birth certificate that looks the part, Ausmus admitted he is “really not” a sabrmetrician. And you know what? That’s okay.

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San Francisco Giants v St Louis Cardinals - Game Three

Pitching wins ballgames, we’re always told. You need pitching to win, specifically an all-world ace. A horse. Last week, I looked at some numbers from recent history that suggested maybe it wasn’t the case. Maybe four able and healthy bodies go a lot further towards playoff achievement than one generational talent.

It sparked some debate on twitter as the lure of an ace or a lockdown pitching staff endures. It sent me back into the history books, all the way back to the year 2013.

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks are nothing if not newsworthy. One of the most active teams over the last two offseasons, they seem to straddle the line between productivity and activity. Like sharks, in their own benign way. Trading prospects willy nilly and building the most average team an average amount of money can buy.

Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the Diamondbacks want to be players for Masahiro Tanaka, employing an “in for a penny, in for a pound” philosophy after coming up empty on the big ticket free agent market. The idea that the Snakes would go in heavy for an international player jibes with their recent attempts to grow their brand beyond the borders of the lower 48 (though adding fans beyond the borders of Chase Field would be a much more realistic start).

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Japan's pitcher Tanaka pitches against the Netherlands in the fifth inning at the WBC second round game in Tokyo

With the agreement between Major League Baseball and the Nippon Professional Baseball association finally in place, there is finally a new set of standards in place for passage of top professionals from Japan to the North American game. Rather than a blind bid, the Japanese side sets their “release fee” and any MLB team can meet it. The release fees can reach a maximum of $20 million USD, rather than the escalating blind binds of the previous agreement, resulting in astronomical fees for players like Yu Darvish – for whom Texas bid more than fifty million USD.

Any or all of the 30 MLB teams can the release fee, it is then up to the teams to work out a contract with the player. Only the “winning” team must pay the release fee, provided the player and MLB team are able to agree to terms within 30 days of the posting date. Whew.

No sooner was the ink dry on the fresh agreement before Masahiro Tanaka of the Rakuten Eagles told his team that he’d like to be posted and bring his talents to North America for the 2014 season. No more debate, no more hemming and hawing – Tanaka is coming and the interested teams must prepare their best offer if they hope to land the top Japanese pitcher since Darvish.

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MLB: Oakland Athletics at Boston Red Sox

Day Two of the Winter Meetings is in the books and there is…slightly more to talk about? Still a lot of smoke but not too much in the way of fire. The slow-developing trades like the Trumbo Extravaganza and the long-rumored Brett Anderson swap finally came to fruition.

What about today? Who knows. Hit the jump for a rundown/recap/rethinking of some of yesterday’s highlights.

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MLB: NLCS-St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers

Twins Begin Slow Ascent with Nolasco Signing

Right now, the Minnesota Twins are not a good baseball team. They haven’t been for a while, if we’re being honest. An odd fixation on players with limited skill sets and a poor development record doomed Minnesota for a few years in the AL Central woods.

But things are looking up in the Twin Cities. They still have Joe Mauer and, even as a first baseman, he remains one of the very best hitters in the game today. And they also feature one of the very best farm systems in baseball.

By the time Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano are ready to contribute significantly at the big league level, the Twins will need a pitcher like Ricky Nolasco – the very idea his four-year deal is built on. He is a reliable starter who notches strikeouts and makes 30 starts a year. Perfect for a team on the rise.

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