Arizona and A.J. Pollock aren't on an extension path, while Cespedes is a possibility in Houston--or, at least, an unlikely possibility.
D’backs table extension talks with A.J. Pollock
Few players did better for themselves heading into their first tour of arbitration than A.J. Pollock, who delivered a 5.4 WARP campaign on the strength of 39 doubles, 20 homers, and 39 stolen bags. The 28-year-old bloomed late but has established himself as a star-level contributor, the sort of player teams are eager to lock up as free agency draws nearer. Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks, while they’ve accomplished a lot this offseason, locking Pollock up long term may have to wait.
The federal government gets into the sabermetrics biz.
Last week in Federal court, former St. Louis Cardinals executive Chris Correa was indicted on, and pleaded guilty to, charges that he improperly accessed the Houston Astros’ database, Ground Control, on multiple occasions. Before we go any further in this article, let’s get something out of the way. What Mr. Correa or anyone else involved in the case did or did not do is a matter for the FBI to investigate and the courts to adjudicate and I will leave that in their hands. Correa is quoted in the article as saying that he “trespassed repeatedly” and that he accepts responsibility for the case. Everyone else, not surprisingly, has largely declined to say much else.
What Kyle Gibson does that is almost, but not quite, unique.
Kyle Gibson had Tommy John surgery on September 7, 2011. The Twins won that day, but they had lost the five games prior to that one, and they would lose the next 11, as they hurtled toward a 63-99 car wreck of a finish. It didn’t much matter, since Gibson wasn’t quite on the doorstep of the majors when he went under the knife, but it would turn out to be bad timing. See, Gibson was back on the mound in miraculously little time, making seven rehab appearances for the Twins’ Gulf Coast League club in July 2012. By the end of that month, though, the Twins were far from contention again, and they traded the expiring contract of Francisco Liriano to the White Sox. Gibson debuted in Minnesota on another losing team a year later, but the ships had passed in the night. Improbably, the Twins developed two pitchers with the same radical, nearly unique approach to their craft within just a couple years of each other, but the pair never shared a starting rotation.
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All the cool teams are collecting relievers again, but are they more like pogs or Magic: The Gathering cards?
Last year, the must-have item of the Winter Meetings shopping season was a catcher with mad framing skills. In a short period of time, Hank Conger, Ryan Hannigan, Miguel Montero, and everyone who owned a chest protector on the Padres roster changed teams. This year, tastes have changed. Now, the new hip thing that all the cool teams have is a crazy good closer. More to the point, a second crazy good closer to pitch in the role once known as “the eight- inning guy.” It’s not enough to have one shoe any more. You need two.
Baseball has been trying to figure this problem out since free agency began. Baseball players are free actors and may sign with whomever they choose—and that usually corresponds to whoever happens to offer the most money. Some teams have more money than others. How to keep the big money *cough*Yankees*cough*Dodgers*cough* teams from simply buying championships and ruining all the fun for everyone else?
Exploring how much a bad outing affects a reliever the next day--and whether managers should be changing their routines based on it.
Watching a playoff game should count as aerobic exercise. You should seriously be able to go to your doctor and said “I know that you told me to go run a couple miles per week, doc, but it’s October and I’m a baseball fan.” And your doctor should simply nod. Everything is so important. Things that wouldn’t even register during the regular season get picked apart and rehashed and they get your heart racing, particularly if you’re a fan of one of the two teams playing. And there’s good reason for that. Because we’ve now entered the League Championship Series section of the competition, one little decision might be the difference between a trip to the World Series and a trip to the trivia challenge bin. (Quick, name the two losing teams in 2013's LCSs without looking…)
In the eighth inning, the Astros seemed to be daring them—and the Royals are not noted for their baserunning timidity.
Something strange happened in yesterday's Astros-Royals game—well, a lot of strange things probably happened, but one of them particularly caught my attention. Astros' closer Luke Gregerson entered the game in the eighth inning after Houston's bullpen blew a four-run lead, bringing with him a glacially slow delivery.
For fans, the value added to the MLB playoff structure by the Division Series is in the buildup of drama. The best stories have fairly gradual rising action, not a sudden surge to an unearned peak of excitement. Sometimes September can provide a pitch-perfect buildup to the grand finale that is the World Series, but when September doesn’t cooperate, early October can pick up the slack. In other words, before the hero of the season’s story finishes off its final opponent in the Series, we get to see them overcome a few of their lesser foes--mini-bosses, so to speak. Certain matchups and moments can be not only terrifically exciting and important in their own right, but a priming of the pump so that the discerning fan feels the cumulative drama of the season.