Author Archive

Atkins to Pittsburgh

Brad Hawpe wasn’t the only former Colorado Rockies’ slugger to find a new team over the holiday weekend. For the second consecutive winter, Garrett Atkins will attempt to re-establish himself with a perennial cellar-dweller. The Baltimore phase of his mission went stunningly poor, so his new (minor league) deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates couldn’t possibly go any worse, could it?
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Pondering a Platoon

The Milwaukee Brewers re-signed Craig Counsell yesterday to a one-year pact worth $1.4 million. Counsell spent last season primarily at shortstop while seeing time at second base and third base as well. Despite Counsell’s age – he turned 40 in August – there’s a case to be made that he should find himself in the lineup more often in 2011.

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Boston Signs Dan Wheeler

Theo Epstein is determined to upgrade his bullpen this offseason after a season that saw the Red Sox’ unit finish with the fourth-worst WAR in the league. The attempted seduction of Mariano Rivera and successful tempting of Bobby Jenks may draw more headlines, but the signing of Dan Wheeler is another solid addition to a bullpen that appears formidable on paper.

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Examining Why Kansas City Dealt Zack Greinke

The declarations on how Kansas City fared on the Zack Greinke return varies by expert. Kevin Goldstein tabbed himself a fan of the deal while Keith Law and our own Marc Hulet shared the sentiment of quantity over quality. Regardless of the opinions on the return, why did Kansas City feel the need to move Greinke now?

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Bob Feller (1918-2010)

Sad news tonight as Bob Feller has passed away at the age of 92. Others will undoubtedly share fond stories and memories of Feller the human being, but here’s the statistical spin on one of the game’s greatest pitchers.

During Feller’s 18 season career – interrupted for the 1942-1944 seasons due to his military commitments – he tossed 3,827 innings while striking out 6.33 batters per nine innings. A modest rate in today’s league, but back then, Feller’s ratio led pitchers with at least 1,000 innings pitched, and finished third among pitchers with at least 500 innings pitched – with Vinegar Bend Mizell and Harvey Haddix topping him by under a batter per inning pitched.

He led the American League in Wins Above Replacement two times (1939 and 1940) and finished 128th overall for his career with more than 63. He finished first or second in American League Pitcher WAR six times – every season from 1938 through 1941, and upon his return 1946 and 1947. The league’s strikeout (counting) from 1938-1941 and 1946-1948; Feller’s career 2,581 strikeouts rank 26th overall even today.

Feller was the youngest player going in the American League during the 1936 and 1937 seasons (he was 17 and 18), and the ninth oldest in 1956 (he was 37). A lifelong member of the Cleveland Indians, Feller finished in the top five of MVP voting four times; he won 266 games; pitched well enough to amass a career ERA of 3.25 and a career FIP of 3.48 and entered the Hall of Fame in 1962. All of this to say that Feller knew how to throw a baseball by batters in a more powerful and cunning manner than most pitchers who have entertained this game.

Losing a loved one during the holiday season is an unenviable reality of life for the folks around Feller tonight. Please keep those people in your thoughts during their time of mourning.

Wally Pipp: More Than an Afterthought

Wally Pipp is best known for the circumstances surrounding his removal from the New York Yankees’ lineup. Being the player who directly precedes a legend is tough. Oh sure, the tavern reminiscing about when “that guy played for us” is glamorous, but mostly unfulfilling. Playing accomplishments grow lonely from neglect and, in the worst of cases, become irrelevant- head nod and fist bumps for you, Robert Eenhoorn.

Pipp’s a little different than Eenhoorn though. As this graph illustrates, the man could ball:

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A’s Sign McCarthy

The Athletics held a starting pitching surplus early in the offseason. The Vin Mazzaro trade and failed acquisition of Hisashi Iwakuma led to the need for another starter, and that starter seems to be Brandon McCarthy, who agreed to a one-year deal worth a little over $1 million. The length of the deal is a bit misleading, as McCarthy will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2011 season.
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Astros Add Rotation Options

If the season started tomorrow, the Houston Astros would lack a determined fifth starter. The man who made the fifth most starts for the Astros last season – Felipe Paulino – is now Colorado property, leaving the team with Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris, and J.A. Happ as locked-in starters. The season does not start tomorrow – it’s snowing, sillies – and as such the Astros have the ability to collect options and see who catches their eye during workouts and exhibition games. Over the latter part of the week they added two interesting options. Does either have hope?

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Angels Sign Downs

The old adage about death, taxes, and something consistent being the only fixtures in life has a baseball offseason equivalent. The Royals signing a former Braves’ hotshot, the Red Sox making a splash, and the Angels signing a late-inning reliever are offseason givens. The Halos penned Brian Fuentes and Fernando Rodney to a pair of two-year deals over the last two offseasons, and added this year’s version with Scott Downs on Friday night. Unlike his southpaw predecessor and bullpen teammate, Downs received a three-year deal, not two, with the total worth at $15 million.

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Dodgers Grab Gwynn Jr.

Over the last three seasons, the Dodgers have used Juan Pierre, Reed Johnson, and Garret Anderson as reserve outfielders to begin the season. Their newest signing figures to fill the fourth outfielder role, but the only zombie star power relating to his name ends where the “Jr.” portion begins.

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