The Blue Jays acquire the owner of baseball's most impressive active streak.
It makes some sense that after a season in which they were burned by an injury stack to their starters, the Blue Jays would trade for a pitcher whose most serious injury through 12-plus seasons is a minor flesh wound inflicted by a mayonnaise jar. Meet Mark Buehrle's injury history (click to expand):
Smart GMs don't pay for the brand name, but for the product. These players might have baggage but they get the job done as well as their expensive counterparts.
The free agency period, which got underway over the weekend, is a time when smart teams tread carefully, aware that the market contains as many potential pitfalls as it does opportunities. Land a high-profile free agent and you’re likely to improve your team, but you’ll also run the risk of succumbing to the Winner’s Curse, the tendency of a team to have to overpay for a player in order to outbid all his other suitors.
However, some less prominent players with lower contract demands stand a chance to approximate a more expensive player’s production, so a team can always try to cut costs and minimize risk by looking for comparable players with a little less buzz. Just as a smart shopper saves on over-the-counter medications by buying generic instead of paying a premium for a patent and nice packaging, a smart GM ignores name recognition in favor of production and price.
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The return of Prince Fielder is crucial, since the Brewers don't have a rich farm system
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in October (or before), the league division series, league championship series or World Series. It combines a broad overview from Baseball Prospectus, a front-office take from former MLB GM Jim Bowden, a best- and worst-case scenario ZiPS projection for 2012 from Dan Szymborski, and Kevin Goldstein's farm-system overview.
The Cardinals head back to the World Series for the first time since 2006 on the strength of their bullpen, offense, and Milwaukee miscues.
On Saturday night, the Rangers advanced to the World Series thanks to some early offensive fireworks and a deep bullpen that helped to overcome a shaky start. On Sunday, the Cardinals used that same blueprint—one to which they had returned time and again throughout the series—to do the same thing. The Cardinals piled up four first-inning runs against Brewers starter Shaun Marcum, survived a wobbly, two-inning, four-run effort by starter Edwin Jackson, and rolled to a 12-6 win as their lineup kept piling runs while manager Tony La Russa continued to pull all the right levers.
The Brewers fail to complete the sweep on their first night in Arizona.
Saturday and Sunday saw the Milwaukee Brewers looking like World Series contenders. Ryan Braun was 6-for-8 in two games, while Prince Fielder was 3-for-8. Yovani Gallardo pitched a gem on Saturday, and a strong offense bailed out a pedestrian outing from co-ace Zack Greinke on Sunday. With that kind of talent playing at that high a level, Milwaukee's visit to Phoenix and Chase Field felt like nothing but a formality on their way to the National League Championship Series. Shaun Marcum, whose ERA was over two runs better on the road than at home (4.81 vs. 2.21), was getting the start Tuesday night, further raising expectations of Milwaukee fans.
Thanks to brilliant pitching and timely hitting, Arizona was able to stave off elimination by Milwaukee.
In my preview of the National League Division Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers, I called Game Three an easy win for the Brewers. Looking at last night’s final 8-1 score, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Of course, Arizona’s probable starter at the time, Joe Saunders, suffered a minor hand injury and was ultimately pushed back in favor of Josh Collmenter.
Does the composition of the Brewers' roster justify their decision to go all in?
“[I]n the domain of zero to one, not-something to something, Pointsman can only possess the zero and the one. He cannot, like Mexico, survive anyplace in between. Like his master I. P. Pavlov before him, he imagines the cortex of the brain as a mosaic of tiny on/off elements. . . . [E]ach point is allowed only the two states: waking or sleep. . . . But to Mexico belongs the domain between zero and one—the middle Pointsman has excluded from his persuasion—the probabilities.
How often do teams' Opening Day starters live up to their top billing?
“He deserves it. He earned it. He should have made the All-Star team last year. Right now, I think Mike Pelfrey should be the No. 1 guy on this staff.”—Terry Collins
The quote above is a variation on a theme repeated exactly thirty times per preseason. At some point before 25-man rosters are finalized and the games start to mean something, each manager makes a show of anointing his team’s Opening Day starter. The names change—in most cases, they’re more impressive than Pelfrey’s—but the platitudes stay the same.