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mlb logoWith baseball, of the fake variety, underway once again, there’s more MLB-wide stuff to discuss …

  • A fantastic breakdown by Disciples of Uecker of each of the five projected rotations in the NL central by pitch effectiveness. As you might expect, the Cubs have a very average rotation using this method, slightly ahead of the Brewers and slightly behind the Pirates. The Reds and Cardinals, on the other hand, have many studs, with the Reds outclassing the Cardinals by a fair bit.
  • Whoa: there was, in the 1960s, a semi-serious plan for the Padres’ new stadium to be on water, as in floating. Perhaps if the Cubs can’t get the Wrigley Field renovation underway at the present location, a cozy spot on Lake Michigan can be carved out.
  • The Hardball Times digs deep on extreme defensive shifts (i.e., three players to one side of second base, including first or third baseman) to get player-by-player breakdowns of effectiveness against the shift. Unsurprisingly, Anthony Rizzo was among the most shifted-against players in baseball last year (his groundball issues last year were discussed here), and the shift was highly effective against him (.225 BABIP against shift, .273 BABIP against non-shift). It’s a reminder that not only must a player try to use all fields, if reasonably possible to do so while still making authoritative contact, but also that it’s important to have guys on base in front of you if you don’t want to face a shift all the time. (Interestingly, the Cubs were one of only a couple teams against whom the shift was, overall, ineffective. For the most part, shifting is very, very effective, and it was one of the things Dale Sveum absolutely got right. Here’s hoping Rick Renteria sticks with it.)
  • He doesn’t have his mega-extension just yet (don’t do it, Mike!), but the Angels and Mike Trout agreed on a one-year deal for 2014 for $1 million. This is significant because, as a pre-arb player, he can be renewed at any price and the two sides don’t actually have to agree to a contract. That they did is probably a good sign for the extension (and, indeed, may confirm that an extension is coming – by agreeing to this one-year deal first, the Angels won’t have to count the AAV of the extension against payroll for 2014, which would have pushed them over the luxury tax cap). It’s also the biggest contract for a pre-arb, non-extended player in baseball history, topping Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard who were, at one time, just short of that.
  • A little dog running in the sausage races in Milwaukee (dressed as a hot dog)? Yup, I’m on board.
  • Have you seen the Josh Reddick catches yesterday? Setting aside the fact that it’s February. Setting aside the fact that both catches were on homers. And setting aside the fact that both came on would-be Michael Morse bombs. Even if you focus only on the incredible catches, themselves, they are crazy impressive. Especially the first one, which looks borderline video-edited:

  • itzscott

    >> Perhaps if the Cubs can’t get the Wrigley Field renovation underway at the present location, a cozy spot on Lake Michigan can be carved out. <<

    You're probably too young to remember but there was a time when the original Mayor Daley seriously proposed building a 2nd (Midway was a white elephant at the time) Chicago airport on a huge man-built island in Lake Michigan so it would be closer to downtown Chicago and the city could reap millions upon millions on tolls for vehicles going into and coming from it.

    Even back then the environmental impact studies gave it a no go in spite of the fact that Lake Michigan was essentially dead to begin with for anything other than lampreys and alewives.

    • DarthHater

      Silly environmentalists. What have they got against ale wives?

      [img]http://www.insidersmunich.com/Images_folder/waitress%20with%20steins.jpg[/img]

  • Smitty

    Those catches were sure fun to watch.

  • J. L.

    How in the world is Samardzija’s splitter not a “plus pitch”? I seem to recall an article (on Fangraphs or something) which stated that his splitter was one of the nastiest pitches in baseball. And it definitely looks like it (at times…).

  • Funn Dave

    If anybody’s got a n00b-friendly fantasy team that’s looking for another member, I’ve been looking to give it a shot. Should be an easy win for whoever’s playing me that day.

  • Funn Dave

    Holy shit. Wrigley on Water? Make it happen, cap’n. The new Atlantis.

    • cavemancubbie

      Just as long as, the ‘new Wrigley on the water, has a dome to avoid freezing your butt off, during a night game in April, or a WS game in late October.

  • Jon

    That’s good bullet on Rizzo. It’s not as simple as “Rizzo needs a few more ground balls to go through in 2014″

  • Javier Bryant

    Did Cotillo just report that George W. Bush could be the next commissioner? Chris Cotillo ‏@ChrisCotillo 1m
    Prominent agent told me that speculation among league insiders is that Torre, Dave Dombrowski, GW Bush are leading commissioner candidates.

    • Jon

      I assuming that would mean “luxury” tax breaks for the wealthiness of teams.

      • Edwin

        And a banning of all potato chips from stadiums.

        • Edwin

          Or was it pretzels? Maybe it was pretzels.

          • Funn Dave

            Def pretzels.

    • jp3

      Dave Dombrowski has to feel a little outgunned on his résumé than the other 2 potential candidates.

      • Jon

        It’s “Dubbya”. Not really.

      • jp3

        Regardless of whether you’re the worst president I. History or the best you’ve still been THE president. It’s a short list is all I’m saying and that’s hard to compete with

  • Internet Random

    “baseball, of the fake variety”

    Also known as “the designated-hitter rule”.

  • waittilthisyear

    morse was a spring training super hero last year. reddick’s spectacular catches aside, looks like history wants to repeat

  • OCCubFan

    Brett, I must be misunderestanding something. You wrote:

    ” (Interestingly, the Cubs were one of only a couple teams against whom the shift was, overall, ineffective. For the most part, shifting is very, very effective, and it was one of the things Dale Sveum absolutely got right. Here’s hoping Rick Renteria sticks with it.)”

    However, the referenced article says they were listing “Which teams had a shift on when a hitter put a ball in play.” Therefore, it seems that the Cubs defensive shifts were not effective because the BABIP when the Cubs defense shifted was .312 vs. .279 when they did not shift.

    Am I missing something??

  • Diehardthefirst

    Tigers aren’t going to be able to afford Scherzer but they can afford Shark. If they feel Shark is real deal and Cubs want to get a true Ace why not?

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