The season is getting closer with each passing day (no kidding, right), and each day brings a little more news to be passed along.
- Drew Butera? Really? They're going to go to arbitration with Drew Butera?? Arbitration-eligible players to shape Halos' 2015 payroll - MLB.com, "Not included in that list is Mike Trout, who would've been in line for a record salary as a first-year, arbitration-eligible player if he hadn't signed a six-year, $144.5 million extension last March. On that list, instead, are David Freese, Matt Joyce, Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago, Fernando Salas, Cesar Ramos, Drew Butera and Collin Cowgill. Freese and Joyce are headed into their final year before free agency; Richards and Cowgill qualified for arbitration as Super Two players; all project to cost the Angels a combined $22 million or so."
- This is an interesting article, but what really got my attention was the timing. This is a subject we've been talking about a lot with the Angels -- how Jerry Dipoto is putting together a deeper team -- and how that is such a cultural change for the organization, A Quick Attempted Measure of Team Depth - FanGraphs Baseball, "There are a few important things to acknowledge first. As noted, the cutoff is arbitrary — there are players who, for example, are projected for 0.9 WAR, and here they get no credit. This is inevitable, and it shouldn’t cause a bias, but it’s something. Also, this is a measure of the amount of depth, and not necessarily the *quality* of depth. The two are mostly related, but here a 2-win player is treated the same as a 1-win player. And then, obviously, this is just based on Steamer, and if you don’t believe Steamer for whatever reason, then you can argue with the numbers. This might be worth doing again when we have full ZiPS inputs, but the limitations of the projection systems means nothing is definitive. This is an attempt to describe a landscape. It’s as imperfect as you perceive it to be."
- The next thing for the Halo organization could be developing the minds along with the bodies of their players. Something like what the Dodgers are doing: More cerebral LA development camp features top prospects - dodgers.com, "This is Kapler's debut camp and it is intentionally being run differently than previous ones. He said instead of splitting time on the field and in the classroom, this year's camp will be overwhelmingly cerebral. "We don't want them ramping up in the middle of winter to impress physically," he said. "We want them to be open-minded, nimble of thought and share experiences with a ton of interpersonal back-and-forth and talk shop." I still feel the development and improvement of the minor leagues' players nutrition should be first on the list of "new ideas".
- Mike Trout isn't number one, but take a guess which other Angel made the Top 10? Hint: Not Albert. Which Players Participated In The Highest Percentage of Their Teams' Runs?, "A player gets credit for a Run Participated In if he either scores a run, drives in a run or Assists a run, but he can't get double credit for any one run. The formula is RPI = R + RBI + RAS - HR."
- I once read a story that the Player's Organization leader, Marvin Miller, was afraid the owners would do exactly what Charlie Finley was proposing...every player would be a free agent after the season ended. His fear would be the supply would be far greater than the demand, leading to lower salaries: Free agency has contributed to health of baseball - MLB.com, "In the early `70s the late Charlie Finley offered advice that Major League owners at the time ignored. When the subject of arbitration was broached, Finley, who owned the A's and made his living in the insurance business, and August Busch Jr., who owned the Cardinals and made his living in the beer business, balked. They suggested that instead of allowing a third party to make salary decisions, baseball would be better served to allow players to become free agents whenever their contracts were up."
- Bill James! (If the video doesn't show up, here is a direct link)
- My favorite under-rated shows up on the list (kinda): The all-time all-underrated team - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN, "Runner-up: Bobby Grich. Put up excellent offensive numbers in the 1970s and early '80s -- walks, medium-range power -- when most middle infielders were inept at the plate. While not completely overlooked while active -- he made six All-Star teams and had two top-10 MVP finishes -- the fact that he didn't hit for a higher average in an era when that's what people paid attention to certainly made him underrated at the time."
- An interesting 10-part searies from Hardball Times: How To Improve the User Experience – The Hardball Times, "The fan experience is what happens from the moment a fan decides she wants to go to a game to the moment she gets back home from the ballpark. Her experience may differ by city, or depending on whether she goes alone, or with her family, or with friends she’ll meet at the game, but in the end, MLB’s bottom line depends on making sure she has a great time. Teams control their ballparks, but Major League Baseball can be a clearinghouse of best practices, and it can help coordinate capital expenditures and other investment where needed. Improving the fan experience should be a joint priority for MLB and for the teams, so Commissioner Manfred can take the lead in helping all teams to improve. Part 2: Turning Back the Clock – The Hardball Times