Does history give any clues as to how the Mets will perform with a lower payroll?
Late last month, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reported that the Mets are facing the largest one-year payroll cut in major-league history, at least in terms of total dollars. With owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz deprived of the profits they derived from decades of investing with Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, and struggling to find minority partners willing to provide a quick infusion of capital, the team is hemorrhaging money and facing a growing mountain of debt. According to general manager Sandy Alderson, the Mets lost $70 million last year, and made no real attempt to retain pending free agents Carlos Beltran (who was traded in midseason) or Jose Reyes (who departed for the Marlins in December). Barring even one additional midlevel signing, they could become the first team to drop $50 million in salary from one Opening Day to the next.
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Revisiting historical HBP rates in the wake of Alex Avila's plunking by Jered Weaver's hand.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
As Jered Weaver prepares to serve his six-game suspension, take in some trends in HBP rates over time, which originally ran as a "Schrodinger's Bat" column on May 4, 2006.
As Jose Bautista can attest, the percentage of pitches a batter sees in the strike zone tells us a good deal about his capabilities.
The pitcher begins each confrontation with a batter with the initiative. He alone controls when the baseball is thrown, how it moves, and where it is located. Thus, the batter is by nature placed in a reactive position. However, the batter, too, has a measure of control over how the plate appearance proceeds. He stands at the plate with a club, and it is within his discretion to swing his weapon or not.
A look at the first basemen on this year's Hall of Fame ballot.
Having kicked off this year's JAWS series with the starting pitchers, today we turn our attention to the first basemen, a slate which includes the ballot's best newcomer as well as its most controversial first-timer, and a few holdovers who aren't going anywhere for entirely different reasons.
Working the inside seam yet again, Dan looks at differences between the leagues and the impact of a few extraordinary gentlemen.
In the previous two weeks, we've been looking at historical hit by pitch rates and their trends, and investigating a variety of theories that have tried to explain the fluctuation of those rates. We've looked at a wide variety of theories that account for factors such as aluminum bats at the amateur level, changes in the strike zone, the increase in body armor, intimidation, retaliation, and even the win expectancy of the hit batsmen. While individual theories may lack explanatory power for a specific period of time, taken together they do provide insight into the sometimes opposing forces that underlie trends in baseball's complex competitive environment.
Lost in the chaos that surrounded the All-Star Game--and the spate of anti-marketing that followed it--was that the players did not set a strike date. They met, they authorized team votes on whether to walk, but no date was set, and none has yet been set.
Show of hands, please...is it OK if I make every other column a mailbag?
What the heck, it was a slow day at work. I grabbed a pad and pen.
When I called back, my experience was a lot like Rob Neyer's. I felt like
a student being lectured by an insecure professor for disagreeing with the thesis of his latest book. The commissioner explained
that while he's thick-skinned and had grown accustomed to invective, I was simply wrong about numerous key facts. He spent the
next 40 minutes itemizing them, starting at the top of the article and working his way down.