Here are several go-to links to make your post-Thanksgiving Monday a bit more bearable:
The awards hardware was handed out less than two weeks ago, but Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated is already listing his favorites for 2013.
Meanwhile, SweetSpot’s David Schoenfield is throwing out his ideas for off-season blockbuster trades.
Over at Fangraphs, David Laurila interviews Blue Jays pitching coach Bruce Walton:
David Laurila: How do pitchers get big-league hitters out?
Bruce Walton: I think it’s a combination of things. The first thing you really have to learn is where down is — where down in the strike zone actually is. Pounding down and pitching at the knees is your best friend. If you stay down with all of your pitches, it’s much easier to get guys out.
DL: Can working up in the zone be effective?
BW: I don’t know if the high strike is where you want to pitch. I think above the strike zone is where you want to pitch when you’re up. Since I’ve been in the big leagues, the high strike is around the belt, and belt-high is a dangerous place.
DL: Is the strike zone too small?
BW: No, it’s not too small. When you’re talking about a small strike zone, it’s more about whether you can manipulate the strike zone by being more efficient, as far as more quality pitches on the edges. The strike zone is the strike zone. It’s neither too small, nor too big.
Beyond the Boxscore’s Alex Kienholz provides details on how NL Rookie of the Year runner-up Wade Miley went from almost total obscurity to success as a big-league pitcher.
The Marlins refuse to grant no-trade clauses to free agents. Mark Berardino of the Sun Sentinel reports that Mark Buehrle says he relied on verbal assurances before signing with Miami last off-season. Not suprisingly, the club denies that such an assurance was given.
Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench still opposes the Cooperstown candidacy of former Big Red Machine teammate Pete Rose, according to Keith Groller of the Morning Call.
Sorry, Ernie Banks: Let’s not play two. The Hardball Times’ Shane Tourtellotte explains why in a column entitled “The Double-Header Hangover Effect.”
The Associated Press reports on how players and their agents are responding to potential changes in the income-tax rate.
The Mariners waved good-bye to Chone Figgins after the infielder’s three very forgettable seasons in the Pacific Northwest. Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing offers his take on the “almost purely symbolic” move.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!