anthony rizzo on base smile helmetThe long weekend-ish-kinda-thing draws near a close. We’re about to enter the busiest stretch of the offseason over the next few weeks, and, given how little has happened in free agency thus far around baseball, it could be even more nuts than usual. We’ll try to keep our fingers limber around here.

  • Buster Olney’s been ranking the top players at various positions throughout baseball (Jake Arrieta was the second best starting pitcher, which generated quite a bit of discussion), and, at first base, he’s got Anthony Rizzo fourth. Considering that the three guys ranked ahead of him are named Goldschmidt, Cabrera, and Votto, that’s some mighty high praise for Rizzo. And it’s deserved! How about this: since 2012 (a season Rizzo started at AAA), Rizzo’s 14.9 WAR is the 6th highest total at first base in all of baseball. In addition to the three studs, Chris Davis and Edwin Encarnacion show up just ahead of Rizzo, though the latter has played only 139 games total at first base the last two seasons combined. If you look only at the last three years – since Rizzo played his first full season – the Cubs first baseman pops up to 5th on the list.
  • And, of course, if you look only at the last two seasons – when Rizzo really broke out – it’s him and Paul Goldschmidt at the top, with the latter at 11.8 WAR and Rizzo at 11.2 WAR. Goldschmidt, 28, and Rizzo, 26, could be the class of baseball at first base for years to come. (Rizzo is also an excellent dude off the field.)

  • The Marlins parted ways with 19-year TV analyst Tommy Hutton, reportedly because he was too negative. One example offered by Hutton when he recalled the times management had expressed concern with his comments: when catcher John Buck flied out to the deepest part of Marlins ParkĀ – a uniquely deep section, if you’ll recall – Hutton let out a “in any other park!” cry. Word funneled down to him thereafter that owner Jeffrey Loria didn’t want him to mention the dimensions of the park. First of all, that’s a crazy reaction to a commentator mentioning something factual, relevant to the game, and not explicitly negative about the park (you could love the park and still comment that a ball would have left anywhere else – we do it all the time with Wrigley Field when the wind is blowing in). Second of all, why would you have a crazily-dimensioned outfield if you didn’t want it to be noticed sometimes?!
  • If you missed it overnight, the Tigers are reportedly in “serious” talks with Jordan Zimmermann, and the implications abound.
  • This Cubs tree face thing on Amazon is the stuff of nightmares. Imagine him peering in at you at night. I think I’d rather troll a Cardinals or White Sox fan friend by putting it on one of his trees and watching him pee his pants when he glances up and out the window.

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