THT Links: First Fridayby Matthew Carruth
February 02, 2007
It's cliché for national baseball writers to say they no longer root for a team, but instead root for baseball or for certain players or for stories. I understand the desire to want to appear impartial, but I just don't trust it. I cannot believe someone can give up their fanship to whatever team they grew up with. It can dim certainly, it is not unusual to become a less passionate fan as you age, but to disappear entirely? Just bizarre to me. I said that to say this: go Colts!
Matheny Retiring - It's not everyday that you hear about a position player retiring due to injury and it's even less often when that injury is a concussion, and less likelier still that the player had his decision made for him, but Mike Matheny has announced his retirement after not getting medically cleared to play this season after the concussion suffered in June of last season. For whatever reason, 2006 was a big year for concussions and their aftermath in baseball and it has to be troubling for someone like Jim Edmonds that Matheny was forced into retirement.
Myers and Phils Avoid Arby - The Phillies and Brett Myers avoided arbitration in grand fashion going to three guaranteed years. Myers will get $25.75 million over the lifespan of the contract.
But Can He Pitch? - The Nationals locked up Austin Kearns with a three-year, $17.5 million contract. And it turns out that no, he cannot pitch.
Pirates Ink Armas - After being rumored to be involved with nearly every free agent signed in the past month, the Pirates finally nabbed one, signing Tony Armas Jr to a one-year, $3 million contract with a mutual option for $5 million in 2008 or a $500,000 buyout.
Roberts and Orioles Agree on Contract - Brian Roberts and the Baltimore Orioles agreed Thursday to a new contract for $4.2 million, avoiding arbitration.
At Least He'll Never Hear "A-Rod Money" Over There - It's not really relevant to baseball, but Rangers owner Tom Hicks has joined Montreal Canadiens (that's a hockey team for those in the know) owner George Gillett in a $450 million bid to purchase the Liverpool Football Club. If approved, Liverpool would become the third Premiership team with an American owner, joining Aston Villa and Manchester United. They're still losing to Barcelona though.
Bonds Chase Should Equal More Attention to Aaron - So says Tim Kurkjian in his latest article for ESPN the Magazine. Meanwhile, Mick Doherty wonders if anyone cares anymore about 500 home runs.
B-R Asks for Input - Sean Forman, head of the glorious Baseball-Reference website has put up a survey for people to vote on which projects they would like to see implemented the most. Head over and vote and help improve one of the best sites on the net.
WPA and Clutchiness - Another great article by lboros over at Viva El Birdos, this time looking at the difference between actual WPA and expected WPA. Who knew So Taguchi was clutch?
Transaction Analysis: NL East (registration required) - Kahrl reviews the moves in the NL East. The biggest question? Which boneheaded Bill Bavasi trade will end up serving the other team best? The Braves (acquiring Rafael Soriano and getting rid of Horacio Ramirez) or the Nationals (acquiring Emiliano Fruto and Chris Snelling and getting rid of Jose Vidro and 75% of his salary). It's a tossup.
Transaction Analysis: AL Central (registration required) - Kahrl reviews the moves in the AL Central. Does the division look as exciting as last season? It's sure hard to tell the four teams apart, (huh? The Royals play there too? Oh, I never noticed), but Minnesota, Chicago and Detroit do not look as strong as last season and Cleveland should be improved so we could be down for a tight four-team race, albeit with the winner being in the high 80s of wins rather than 95+
Mark Prior Inks 1-Year Deal - Mark Prior finalized a 1-year, $3.575 million contract with the Cubs.
NL Infield Rankings - I missed this last time through, but the Sporting News has published their rankings of the top infields in the NL, and in the AL as well.
Bernie Joining Ranks of NRIs? - The Yankees extended Bernie Williams a minor league offer with an invite to Spring Training.
Future Corner Infielder Market: Blech! - Allen Chace at Over the Monster gives a preview of the free agents to be at first and third base after the 2007 season. Suffice to say, when Corey Koskie's name is juxtaposed with best available anything then you are looking at a dismal market.
Sackmann Previews the Orioles - Could this be the year that Baltimore's continuous mediocrity is finally passed by the intriguing Rays for fourth place in the AL East? Does it even matter?
Matthew Carruth is an editor for The Hardball Times. He welcomes any and all sorts of communication at his email.
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