Here are several links from the past week that will make the Monday before Christmas a bit more bearable:
- While Joaquin Benoit reached a two-year agreement with the Padres, Grant Balfour ’s two-year agreement with the Orioles got nixed after he took a comprehensive physical. In response, Balfour vented to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, while Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that outside doctors think the reliever is in good health.
- Tom Tango explains why Hall of Fame voters should vote for the maximum ten candidates:
Because there are at least 20 viable candidates, if every voter votes for 10 players, a “perfect” split of the vote would have each player get 50% of the votes (and no one gets in). The reality is that Greg Maddux will not be sharing any votes. And there’s enough distinction among players that the massive vote-splitting will still only get 4 players voted in, if every ballot was filled.
- David Schoenfield of ESPN’s SweetSpot observes that last season, “players batted with the platoon advantage 56 percent of the time — the highest figure since 1995,” and thinks it’s the start of a trend.
- Seth Smith may be the most valuable pinch-hitter in the history of the game, but Doug from High Heat Stats bemoans the overall ineffectiveness of the role in today’s game:
So, how did pinch-hitting decline to the point where the likes of Lenny Harris would be the majors’ all-time leader in pinch-hit appearances? The answer probably isn’t a surprise. The ever-increasing use of relief pitchers has led to bloated pitching staffs and shorter benches. Benches so short, in fact, that there’s not room anymore for a pinch-hitting specialist (much less a left-hand hitting and right-hand hitting pinch-hit specialist, as was common 30 or 40 years ago). Certainly not after the roles of reserve catcher, reserve infielder and reserve outfielder have been filled (what a marvelous luxury today to have a player fill one of those roles and also be an effective pinch-hitter).
- Beyond the Boxscore’s Andrew Ball tackles the question ”What does it mean to be [league] average [in 2013]?”
- Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated analyzes the agreement between the Rangers and Shin-Soo Choo worth $130 million over seven years. Meanwhile, Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs suggests that the other teams that coveted Choo’s services consider trading for a cheaper alternative: Andre Ethier.
That’s it. To all who celebrate: Have a walk-off Christmas!