Every day until Opening Day, Baseball Prospectus authors will preview two teams—one from the AL, one from the NL—identifying strategies those teams employ to gain an advantage. Today: unsolvable-yet-succeeding Oakland Athletics and the solvable-yet-losing Colorado Rockies.
The first line of LaTroy Hawkins' comment in Baseball Prospectus 2015 says, "Hawkins is the only pitcher in every Baseball Prospectus Annual ever." You can take this as a testament to the Annual or as a testament to Hawkins. Let's look at the tale of the tape over the last 20 years:
[Hello. Once upon a time, I tried to avoid writing about the A's because they are "my team" and I have a blog about them, and I'd been a reader here long enough to have seen some ugly, ugly wars over writers being accused of favoring particular teams when they chose topics. So "just don't write about Oakland at all" was my policy. But now you don't see me every week, so [expletive] that policy.]
A rundown of why we left Roenis Elias, Ender Inciarte, and Andy Marte out of the 2014 Annual.
Look, this is Sam's thing. He finds three guys who should have made the Annual and tells you about them. Or five guys sometimes. But Sam has a new job. Congrats on your new job, Sam! So I have been tasked with trying to be as interesting and funny as him in telling you about three players who did not make the Annual in 2014.
Looking at the players who should be in the MVP conversation who have never been in the MVP conversation.
A thing I do is steal from my betters. Two of my betters, Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller, spent some time a few months ago on Effectively Wild discussing the idea of unlikely MVPs. Now that we're halfway through the season, let's pick that up and bring in a quasi-formal definition that will get us a pool of interesting players to look at. What follows are the top five players by WARP in each league who have never received an MVP vote and (here's where some squish comes in) who are not very recently megaprospects. (The latter may be displeasing to some, especially Orioles fans, but if the point is "genuine surprise," then it would be weird to include Manny Machado, who was, after all, a no. 3 overall pick—that's the spot of Paul Molitor and Robin Yount and Matt Williams and Lonnie Smith. There's no pick from which you are "supposed" to get an MVP, but there are picks from which you are less surprised when you wind up with one.)
Alternating by league, then, from "bottom" to top:
Jason dives into San Jose's case against MLB in the city's ongoing pursuit of the Oakland Athletics.
You've heard about it at this point: The City of San Jose sued Major League Baseball for not letting the A's move to their fair municipality. You can find the complaint, which was filed in federal court in San Jose, here (pdf). It's long, though I've seen longer. The PDF is 188 pages, but that's with exhibits. The text of the complaint itself is 46 pages. It's 203 paragraphs.1
One reason it's so long is that the first six pages (23 paragraphs) are essentially a narrative background of the case. The point of a complaint in the federal courts (warning: I'm about to vastly oversimplify a contentious area of law) is to notify the other party of the claims against it. That's what it boils down to. That does not mean that a complaint saying, "I'm suing you for breach of contract" would be sufficient. Which contract? How was it breached? When was it breached? In order to inform the other party of the claims, then, the complaint has to actually allege facts.
Jason, a labor lawyer, trains his eyes on the Biogenesis disputes.
When news broke on June 4th that MLB would be seeking to suspend a slew of players connected to the Biogenesis clinic in Miami, I was on an airplane back from Pittsburgh, where I was attending a labor lawyers conference. So, a week later than you might have hoped to have it, what I'd like to do, building on the ESPN report linked above as well as Maury Brown's very good piece discussing some of the financial and personal issues raised by the case, is lay out the key contractual provisions and some of the quasi-legal doctrines surrounding this case to provide some idea of the groundwork that the massive structure of strategy and politics covered by Maury, the ESPN team of T.J. Quinn, Pedro Gomez, and Mike Fish, and others is built on.
I'm not a reporter. I don't have inside knowledge about the union, individual player, or management strategies and tactics. What I have are the two basic documents, the collective bargaining agreement (technically called the Basic Agreement, but I'll call it the "CBA") and the joint drug agreement ("Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program"—that's a mouthful, so let's just say "JDA"), read with a labor lawyer's eye. (To inform you of my biases: I am, specifically, a union-side labor lawyer, and not by accident.)