Contracts are not being offered, a pair of pitching icons change scenery, and Corky almost falls off his unicycle.
Two months ago we looked at the top 25 players available on the free-agent market, and today, nine of those 25 are still looking for work. This year the market has developed much more slowly than usual, and 36 percent of the cream of that original crop (by 2008 WARP3 figures) remain unemployed.
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C.C. Sabathia and the offense are both struggling, but it's the trickle-down effect of closer Joe Borowski's shelving that has manager Eric Wedge concerned.
The Cleveland Indians came within one game of getting to the World Series last season. With the way the Indians have played during the first three weeks of this season, however, it seems hard to believe they were that close to a Fall Classic berth just six months ago.
Up-the-middle positions are always tough to stock when you don't have a star. Who amongst the second tier should you gamble on in 2008?
This week it is time to take a look at the middle infield, which seems to have turned into a less productive set of positions the last few seasons. At both shortstop and second base there are only a handful of players who can really help out your fantasy team, and picking from the rest seems more like an exercise in trying to avoid creating a sinkhole position. Using 2007 performance, we'll try to sort out some of the latter group today.
What does MLVr do to help us understand the fantasy impact of Torii Hunter's jump to the Angels?
The free agent market has been quiet prior to next week's Winter Meetings, but one team has attempted to bolster an offense that faltered at times during 2007. The Angels have made one of the first major signings for a free agent moving to a new club, and also traded away their starting shortstop from the past three seasons in exchange for a starting pitcher. With this activity, the Angels are primed for use as an example for our fantasy purposes. Namely, this week we will take a look at Marginal Lineup Value rate (MLVr) and its utility pertaining to fantasy baseball. Whereas MLV is an estimate of the runs a player will contribute to a lineup that, other than himself, is full of league-average hitters, MLVr is the per-game approximation of this value. For those who want to take a deeper look, you can look at some of Keith Woolner's extensive work on the statistic.
Oops. In itself, the deal with the Angels isn't a bad thing, it's just that it doesn't fit in very well with the initial decision to keep Juan Uribe for $4.5 million, and there's the irony that the exchange might have also encouraged the Halos to upgrade on Gary Matthews Jr. and go get the center fielder Kenny Williams so clearly wanted for his own club.
Acquired for a song, the Indians' middle infielder might be the long-term answer to their problems at either spot up the middle.
After being picked up as Jhonny Peralta insurance in 2006, Asdrubal Cabrera has instead turned into Josh Barfield's replacement at second during this season. The slick-fielding 21-year-old now finds himself on a team fighting for an American League Championship Series berth during his rookie campaign. What does the future hold for this middle infielder, and what does he bring to the table for this potentially World Series bound Tribe?
Something interesting occurred in a recent Marlins/Diamondbacks game. What happened? Derek has a special edition of Game of the Week to tell you.
Since Art wrote in, even Joe Sheehan has given up on Arizona's chances for the Wild Card, but Art's letter piqued my curiosity enough for me to record the final game of the Diamondbacks/Marlins series. As you may have heard, it was not an uneventful evening. And so, without further ado, we have an abbreviated edition of Game of the Week. We'll show you the starting lineups, without comment, and on to the action:
Is there more than defense involved in the Nomar Garciaparra trade? What do the Reds have for the future? And who's got the best-rested staff in baseball? Answers to these questions and more news from Boston, Cincinnati, and San Diego in your Thursday Prospectus Triple Play.
Unfortunately, old-school platitudes about the supreme importance of leather don't carry much weight with the analytical crowd, and we here at BP have reamed Epstein for the deal--going so far as to speculate that he's not really in control of the team and accusing him of caving to mob mentality. Here's another thought: Epstein at the microphone looks an awful lot like the legions of politicians who descended on Boston last week. He's not lying, he's just trying to promote the fan-friendliest of many explanations for the move. Might we have been taken in by Epstein's public message, when he's keeping his real reasons for the trade private?
The Marlins may finally Free Ramon Castro!, to fine results. The Yankees' pitching depth has thinned considerably. The Pirates could benefit from creative handling of their young pitchers. These and other news and notes in today's Prospectus Triple Play.
Great Expectations: What are the most inevitable happenings of the upcoming baseball season?