Holiday-related traveling begins today, with three stops in three days. Away we go …
- MLB and the umpires have reportedly reached a new five-year agreement, which presumably will not include robots behind the plate anytime soon. Viva pitch-framing!
- Speaking of which, in the wake of the Cubs’ signing of David Ross and trade for Miguel Montero, there’s been an uptick in chatter about the legitimacy and value of pitch-framing. It’s not a new topic around here, but adding Ross to pair with Montero (likely sending Welington Castillo out) riles folks up anew. There’s a recent Beyond the Box Score piece on the Cubs’ apparent newfound affection for framing, and it’s worth a read. To those who question its validity because of how inaccessible the data may be (or how “fake” it may seem), let me point out that the foundation for framing calculations is actually incredibly simple: look at the number of pitches out of the zone that were called a strike with that catcher behind the plate, and then look at the number of pitches in the zone that were called a ball. Over a large enough sample, you see clear patterns with respect to which catchers seem to get a lot of pitches out of the zone called strikes, and only a few pitches in the zone called balls (catchers, after all, don’t have total control).
- Javy Baez went 1-4 with a walk yesterday in PR, and didn’t strike out.
- THT looks at disabled list information from 2014, and it may surprise you to learn that the Cubs were pretty middle of the pack, in terms of DL stints last year (I would have thought they had better than average luck). Then again, in terms of total days lost to the DL, the Cubs were well above average. There’s a bunch of other good stuff in there, too. It’s a really comprehensive piece.
- CSN Chicago and DISH have resolved their carriage dispute.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro was probably trying to say something much more nuanced, but he wound up telling folks that he explicitly said to Ryan Howard that the Phillies were better off without him (Yahoo). I think the idea was that the Phillies would be better off if they could trade Howard for something and save some money, but you just don’t want your quote about a player to include the words, “better for the organization not with him but without him.”
- A couple MLB teams – the Red Sox and Angels – are moving away from pension plans for non-uniformed personnel, and into increased 401K plans. This has angered many folks, which, in turn, caused many other folks to argue the merits of 401K plans over pension plans. I don’t really get into all that, because I just see this as what every enterprise in America has been wanting/trying to do for a decade now. Long-term pension plans can wreak havoc on organizations, and so they’re trying to get away from them. I don’t really have much of an opinion on whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing … it’s just the thing that organizations, public and private, are doing. MLB is now one of them.