As free agent pitcher Edwin Jackson closes in on a decision on which team gets to pay him about $13 million per season for the next four years, I'll remind you once again that Javier Vazquez, who decided not to play in 2012, is pitching in Puerto Rico and could announce his return before the season starts. The 36 year-old, who was still a very effective pitcher for the Marlins in 2011, has a 3.71 ERA, 3 walks, and 23 strikeouts (11 on Wednesday) over his first 17 innings for Ponce. Vazquez made about $100 million in his major league career, so I'm not saying the ridiculous amount of money being spent on free agent pitchers this offseason is going to sway him back to the majors. Actually, I am saying that. Since when is $100 million enough money for anyone?
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Out Of Work Former Big Leaguers Auditioning in the Caribbean Winter Leagues
There are several former big leaguers playing ball in the Caribbean Winter Leagues -- some who have had just a short stint or two in the big leagues, some former All-Stars -- as they try and prove that they still have something left in the tank in order to earn at least a minor league deal with some team. Here are a few that could garner interest over the next several weeks as teams finalize their rosters before Spring Training.
More than 700 days on the shelf later, what have we learned about talking to strangers with wobbly labrums?
Professional athletes expect to suffer injuries at some point in their career regardless of whether they play baseball, football, or lawn darts. In previous installments of the DL Kings, we discussed how hitting prospects Chris Snelling and Alex Escobar did not live up to expectations, in large part because of injuries. We also looked at how Justin Duchscherer, who had some success in the majors,dealt with multiple surgeries on each hip (among other injuries). Kelvim Escobar, the next pitcher on our list, also had major-league success like Duchscherer, but he took a different road to the DL Kings’ throne.
The right-handed Escobar signed as a free agent with Toronto in 1992; he joined a system that also included Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay. Toronto had a reputation for being aggressive with the handling of their younger pitchers, which was noted in the 1997 edition of Baseball Prospectus:
Schilling's latest hurt, is Manny being a new Manny, plus some sense and sensibility in Steel City.
There's an NFL commercial that talks about the season lasting 13 months a year. In baseball, that's also true. Spring training, the six-month season, October action, and winter ball combine to make it seem as if it never ends. That's great for die-hard fans like you and me, but not always so great for the players. (It's really bad for younger players, but that's a discussion for another day.) The offseason can be just as dangerous for some players as the regular season. The rehab work, the "pre-hab" routines, and the functional conditioning are fraught with problems as much as they are opportunities for rebuilding. A player can show up lighter, but lose his power. A player can bulk up, only to lose flexibility. A pitcher can be hard at work on his mechanics, only to find that the changes actually tax his muscles, tendons and ligaments in new ways, leading to an injury.
Balancing the merits of old-school starting pitcher metrics and something of our own devising.
From the You Learn Something New Every Day files... I'm not sure how many times over the years that I've referred to the quality start stat as a Bill James invention. Apparently, I'm mistaken. Coming across an old Rob Neyer column behind ESPN's subscription wall the other day, I was clued into the fact that the stat was defined by John Lowe of the Philadelphia Inquirer (now of the Detroit Free Press). James helped spread it to the masses via his Baseball Abstract series, which is where I first encountered it, but in this instance, he's overshadowed somebody else's worthy contribution. My apologies to Mr. Lowe for any failure to properly credit him in the past and to my readers for spreading such misinformation. Score that E-6.
It's a Beast-less ALCS, as the White Sox and Angels square off in what figures to be a dramatic series.
The aborted decision to move the opening game of the American League Championship Series back a day in light of Saturday's rainout ensured that regardless of who advanced on Monday night, the real winners were the White Sox. While the Angels were logging some 4,700 air miles to make their third game in three days in three different time zones, the Sox were enjoying three days off at home, basking in the afterglow of having eliminated the defending World Champion Red Sox in three straight games for the team's first postseason series win since before Shoeless Joe said it was so.
Two years ago, when we first introduced Pitcher Abuse Points, pitch counts
were still shrouded in a veil of mystery. They were available, mind you,
but they were squirreled away at the bottom of box scores, and rarely
ventured from their hiding place to appear in game summaries or in
televised accounts of the game. Columnists never brought them to our
attention. Livan Hernandez could throw 140 pitches in utter obscurity.
Today, ESPN tracks Rick Ankiel's pitch counts the way CNBC tracks