Friday, November 30, 2012

Hall of Fame Ballot (New Names)

The BBWAA released its annual Baseball Hall of Fame ballot on Tuesday, which includes a striking 37 names, with 24 of those names being new this year.  This year is notable for being the first in which Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds, the three most prominent players associated with steroids, are eligible.  Of course, that means that we fans will be subjected to plenty of sanctimonious hot air from the various card-carrying blowhards of the BBWAA about "preserving the integrity of the game".  Joe Posnanski had an excellent column about the three arguments that any anti-steroid era player defends: they're cheaters, they wouldn't be Hall-worthy without steroids, and they hurt the integrity of the game.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An Intriguing Trade Proposal (or Two)

I devoted a fair amount of pixels to an explanation of why the Nationals should attempt to pry James Shields (or another talented pitcher) loose from Tampa Bay in order to strengthen their rotation for 2013.  But the Rays are not the only team that has surplus pitching.  Counting current commitments and ready or soon-to-be-ready prospects, there are three other teams with an abundance of arms: Atlanta, Texas, and Seattle.  Atlanta we can obviously toss out because of the extreme unlikelihood that two contenders in the same division would conduct a trade, however mutually beneficial it might be.*  No, if the Nats are not going to, for instance, sign Zack Greinke or cross their fingers and hope for a bounce-back year from Dan Haren, their best options for upgrading the rotation will be a team with pitchers to spare, and Tampa, Texas, and Seattle are the three teams that fit the bill.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Perils of Free Agency

Over the weekend, ESPN's Keith Law published his rankings of the top fifty free agents in baseball this winter.  Law is an incredibly talented baseball mind, and very astute when it comes to evaluating players.  And this winter's list is, well, pretty grim.  This is because of the trend over the past few years for teams to lock up their best players with extensions that carry them through their three years of arbitration and the first couple of free agent eligibility.  A partial list of players who would be eligible for free agency this winter had they not inked extensions already would include the following: Matt Kemp, Dustin Pedroia, Nick Markakis, Troy Tulowitzki, Ian Kinsler, Adam Jones, Ben Zobrist, Andre Ethier, Cole Hamels, Jered Weaver, James Shields, and Ubaldo Jimenez.  That is a lot of talent that has already been taken off of the market.

Friday, November 2, 2012

NBA Conversation

The NBA season has just started, so it's time for my good friend Phil Schneider and I to trade some thoughts on the upcoming year.  This conversation started a month ago and has been condensed here, so some references are dated.