Here are several go-to links to add a bit more joy to your New Year’s Eve:
- The Red Sox fortified their bullpen in a six-player trade that netted them Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan. SweetSpot’s Christina Kahrl gives the Pittsburgh front office kudos for the haul they received in return.
- Brad Johnson of the Hardball Times suggests that those free agents who have yet to sign with a club consider talking with the Astros or another seemingly hapless team.
- Also at the Hardball Times, Bruce Markusen writes about the tragic tale of Ryan Freel.
- Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs looks at 2012 strike zones based on pitch type and concludes:
The results are probably about what you’d expect. Fastballs are the easiest pitches to receive, getting the more favorable strike zones. There’s little difference between the sinkers, the two-seamers, the four-seamers, and the cutters. As pitches move more, we see less favorable strike zones. Of course it’s challenging to catch a knuckleball — nobody knows what the pitch is going to do. Of course it’s challenging to catch a big curveball, and maybe especially an A.J. Burnett curveball. Catching those pitches might require more movement on the catcher’s part, and of course the break can be deceiving. Pitches with more movement will be more difficult to locate, too, and there’s presumably a strike-zone benefit to pitching around your spots instead of unpredictably all over the zone.
- Meanwhile, Beyond the Boxscore’s James Gentile observes data from 1993 to 2011 to determine which pitchers hurt their teams least with their walks. The top three are Rick Reed, Greg Maddux, and Steve Trachsel.
- Trish Vignola of Full Spectrum Baseball profiles the late Tom Cheek, the 2013 Ford Frick Award honoree. Cheek worked in the Blue Jays’ radio broadcast booth from the franchise’s first game in 1977 through late into the 2004 season.
- Joe Posnanski of Sports on Earth shares his fond childhood memories of a 1976 Boog Powell baseball card.
- The power-hitting outfielder known as “Godzilla” has called it quits. Hideki Matsui played ten big-league seasons in Japan and another ten in the States, posting a .282/.360/.462 slash line with the Yankees, Angels, A’s, and Rays.
- Above you will find selection No. 5 in “Baseball Nation’s favorite GIFs, part XII,” courtesy of Grant Brisbee. Oof!
That’s it. Have a walk-off 2013!