A lot of interesting stuff has been buzzing around the Interwebs lately. Here's an attempt to distill it into one handy post:

  • You might have heard that Albert Pujols and the Cardinals will not be reaching an agreement before the end of the 2011 season, if at all. Re-signing him, even for the money he's seeking, still makes too much sense for the Cardinals, but if they don't, Gordon Edes and Peter Abraham both note the Sox will have a lot of money coming off the books and an open DH slot for him and Adrian Gonzalez to share.
  • That's obviously a little far-fetched, but it's not out-and-out crazy. Ken Rosenthal has that market cornered with his pair of preposterous trade proposals: Pujols straight up for Mark Teixeira (laughable) or Ryan Howard (worst trade idea in the history of bad trade ideas).
  • Joba Chamberlain showed up to camp "heavier," in the words of Brian Cashman. Heavier because he's Fatty McFatterson or because he put on some muscle, which is heavier than fat? "Heavier." Ah. Of course. Has Cashman always been this weird?
  • If you haven't been following along, the introduction several years ago of MLB's Pitch f/x has done more than just give statheads more numbers to parse (effectiveness of individual pitches, more refined splits for pitchers and batters, etc.). It's also given some data to what we've known all along: that umpires are not consistent in how they call the strike zone — they don't call the zone by the rulebook, they vary based on pitcher, based on hitter, based on catcher and even based on inning and count (x2). A simply terrific summary of the research and a huge step forward in determining the importance of catchers' framing ability can be found at Baseball Prospectus. Well worth the read.
  • Finally, some projected standings have begun surfacing. PECOTA has the Sox with baseball's best record, at 93-69, one game ahead of the Yankees and both teams ahead of Philadelphia. Every AL East team is projected to finish within five games of a .500 record. CAIRO has the Sox at 96 wins, also baseball's best record (by two games over the Phillies) and winning the East somewhat easily, by four games over New York. Only the Rangers reached the playoffs more times than the Red Sox in SG's simulations. CAIRO has all five AL East teams within four games of .500.
  • Rob Neyer, after wrongly picking Robinson Cano over Dustin Pedroia as the best second baseman of the coming decade, does his best to make up with Red Sox fans by picking Carl Crawford as the 2010s best left fielder. Brett Gardner gets a mention, but Neyer figures he's ticketed for center once Curtis Granderson's contract is up in 2012.
  • And, in case you wondering, the unofficial awards for the 2010-11 offseason are in, and the Red Sox cleaned up: Best Trade Acquisition, top grade in the division, First- and third-biggest moves, Most Improved Team, Checkbook Champs, second-best free agent signing, best trade (all from the previous link, Jayson Stark's annual poll of MLB GMs.) Glad we got those titles out of the way. We can all stop paying attention now, right?
15 comments… add one
  • “after wrongly picking” haha, you are relentless… :)
    I mentioned the Pujols to Yankees/Sox the other day. No way we should count either team out. His bat will play. You pay for the bat and find a place for the glove. And no it doesn’t matter that his contract will take him too far on “wrong side” of 30, he’s the best hitter of our generation and he’s about to hit (possibly) the open market…Should be interesting for sure.
    I think the numbers on the Yankees are just too high. I hope they are right, but that amount of wins with this amount of pitching just doesn’t seem to add up.

    John - YF February 18, 2011, 8:45 am
  • Pujols: no for me.
    You’re right, John, but I’d much rather invest that money in someone who will not be 40+ in the end of the deal. St.L has had him for the past ten years at 100M for the entire time, and he’s left his best years right there. The ones ahead of him (long term anyhow – say years four through the end) are in no way going to be as good as the ones he just played.
    Contracts like that, for me anyhow, should go to guys who will be in their 30’s at the end of it.
    Maybe I’m overly concerned with the age thing?

    Brad February 18, 2011, 9:17 am
  • No, I don’t think your overly concerned. There should be a level of concern for sure. He’s 31, so you figure unless a team loaded up a 5-7 year deal with a ton more cash than the length he wants, you’d have to figure his next stop will be his last stop. If the Yankees were willing to give Cliff Lee a contract (far more risky being that he’s a SP) that would have taken him to a similar age I don’t think there should or would be any hesitation to do so with the best hitter of our generation. It’s not ideal sure, but you have to figure at least the next 5 years should be very productive seasons if not more.
    If I am the Sox I’d go hard. He would absolutely tear up Fenway park. Can you imagine the amount of doubles he’d hit off the monster? I am very much in favor of balance and staying away from long term, crippling deals, but I think you make a concession when it’s for Albert Pujols for sure.

    John - YF February 18, 2011, 9:28 am
  • Paul, I mean NO disrespect but…
    I am not trying to get off topic, but please check out the Daily News today…there’s a picture of Bartolo Colon…Joba has to be saying “WTF Cash!”…there’s NO way this guy is ready to pitch at the major league level.
    Back to business, sorry Paul.

    John - YF February 18, 2011, 9:34 am
  • “Rob Neyer, after wrongly picking Robinson Cano over Dustin Pedroia as the best second baseman of the coming decade…”
    What’s it going to take for you to admit Cano is better than Ratatouille? I just looked on BP and Cano is superior in pretty much every category?

    krueg February 18, 2011, 10:13 am
  • Depends on whether those were counting stats or rate stats. As Neyer said, when Pedroia is on the field, he’s better. We have a whole thread devoted to that discussion though. No point in rehashing it here. I was just poking John a little bit, hehe.
    I also would pay Pujols $30M annually for 10 years from 2012 on. The level at which Pujols is now means he has a good deal to fall before he stops being one of the 10 best hitters in baseball. Think about this: His worst year is basically the same as Mark Teixeira’s best year. And if you look at generational hitters like him throughout history, the aging curve just doesn’t apply; absent illness, injury or drunkenness they remain incredibly productive well into their late 30s. The injury risk is the biggest reason why I would shy away from a contract like that, but Pujols has shown no sign of fragility.

    Paul SF February 18, 2011, 10:46 am
  • Or…we can put it this way…
    Pujols worst season WAR was 5.7 (2002)
    Tex’s best season WAR was 7.3 (2008)
    A-Gonz best season WAR was 6.5 (2009)
    But I get your point ;)
    I also wonder how reluctant he’d be to play the OF once again? Isn’t Drew’s contract up after this season? Swisher? RF would be ideal for him and he’s played the OF before. I just think it’s silly to write off either of these teams if he does in fact hit the open market.

    John - YF February 18, 2011, 11:04 am
  • That went right over my head…cool.

    krueg February 18, 2011, 11:26 am
  • here we go again with the cano/ped debate…paul’s right…it depends on what stats you look at…ops and ops+ used to be pretty important to these discussions…it’ll sort out…for now, i wouldn’t mind having either one of them…as for pujols, paul’s right again…any straight up trade for this guy would be foolish…can’t think of a player on either team that would be worth what this guy brings…and i agree with john that you find a place for a once in a generation player…can he catch?

    dc February 18, 2011, 11:59 am
  • John - YF February 18, 2011, 3:25 pm
  • Maybe Joba didn’t gain weight?
    Other than that, did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

    Brad February 18, 2011, 3:35 pm
  • I don’t Brad, he looks pretty solid there. Again, not that I care…

    John - YF February 18, 2011, 3:46 pm
  • he does look heavier than the other 2 guys, and it’s hard to tell with the shirt he’s wearing how he compares to himself of last season…but on the subject of weight, i submit david wells, cc sabathia, and others…as a guy who’s constanting fighting a losing battle with beergutitis, i want to believe fat is good…

    dc February 19, 2011, 8:58 am
  • Joba looks about normal there… at first glance he definitely doesn’t seem “heavier”, the way Cashman (or whoever) said he is.

    Atheose - SF February 19, 2011, 3:41 pm
  • I would love if the Baseball Encyclopedia listed a nickname as “Fatty McFatterson”, instead of “Lefty”, or “Peaches”, or some other tired old moniker.
    Let’s start a petition!

    SF February 20, 2011, 2:26 pm

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