Very big, very good news to share today: your friend Michael Cerami is now a full-time employee of Get My Bat Media* – the first full-time employee, in fact! I could not be more excited to have him fully into the fold. Michael joined us as a writer here at BN back in February, and, as I hope you’ve seen over the past year, he’s smart, funny, and a sharp writer. What may not have been as visible to you is that he’s also enthusiastic, hard-working, thoughtful, and a really good dude.
How does this affect you? In a handful of excellent ways: although a lot of what Michael will be doing will be behind the scenes, you’ll also see him writing more at BN (and our sister site Baseball is Fun). You should also see him more on Twitter and the BN Facebook page, in the comments (hooray for moderation help!), and generally helping out more in an official capacity. My hope is that you’ll also notice me able to do even more writing thanks to the ability to share the load on some of the other stuff.
Welcome (again), Michael!
Luke and Luis are still awesome and on board in their writing roles, too, so no worries there! It’s going to be a very good year at BN, and we hope you enjoy.
- A fantastic look-back read from David Laurila at FanGraphs on the best quotes from 2015 – and the kinds of quotes he gets are the nitty-gritty, deep-dive baseball stuff that I love. I’m having trouble even combing through to find my favorites, because there are so many. How about this one from AL MVP Josh Donaldson: “What’s difficult about hitting is that you’re pretty much taking an educated guess where the ball is going. The balls are going at high speeds and they’re moving late. But your approach toward a pitch dictates how you’re going to hit a mistake versus how you’re going to hit an executed pitch.” The embedded reminder there – and it can be hard for many to accept – is that crushing a ball is definitely the product of preparation and good execution, but it’s also often the product of a lot of luck. Think about holding the weight of a bat in your hand, and then swinging it on a plane to meet a ball coming at you with less than a second to react and adjust that plane – sometimes, you’re going to be off by fractions of a centimeter, and that can be the difference between a homer and a long fly ball.
- Among Christina Kahrl’s ten pitchers with a chance to break out in 2016: new Cub Adam Warren.
- Nick Lampe looks at how the presence of the luxury tax – not a hard salary cap, but something akin to it – has impacted this offseason, and how some big market teams seems to be operating under the presumption that it will remain in place in the next CBA, which is coming after 2016. I’d agree, and, because I think the cap is going to increase to the $200 million range, I see teams like the Yankees and Angels, in particular, shooting to get under that new cap for at least one year, so that their related payment obligations can re-set (in short, every consecutive year you’re over the luxury tax cap, both your tax obligations and your revenue-sharing obligations grow by rate).
- To that end, by the way, the Cubs’ payroll for luxury tax purposes (every contract is treated based on its AAV, not how much was actually paid in a calendar year) is going to be way up in 2016, perhaps even as high as $165+ million (again: payroll for luxury tax purposes is not the same as actual paid-out dollars, which is what we more commonly discuss as the “Cubs’ payroll”). The luxury tax cap is currently $189 million, so the team is still a ways off from that mark, and, as I said, I expect it will go up after this season.
- If you missed anything this past holiday weekend, or back at the time of the turn of the calendar, catch yourself up.
- Authenticated Cubs dirt pen. That’s a real thing.
- *(That’s the company that owns Bleacher Nation and Baseball is Fun. It’s a company that is just me (with advisory input from The Wife), if you were wondering whether BN was owned by some shadowy corporate overlord – no, it’s just me.)