This past weekend was, predictably, a light time for baseball writing. When I say light, I don't mean in an ethereal sense, I mean in a people were drunk sense. Nonetheless, we plunge on.
To the links!
SI.com's Joe Sheehan has some predictions for the 2012 baseball season. They are just predictions, not written on tablets carried down from the mount, but as predictions go they're pretty reasonable. Right up until he predicts Dontrelle Willis to win the Cy Young award* and Roy Halladay will save a man from an anaconda in South America. One out of two isn't bad.
* Of course he didn't really say that. Relax.
Our own Marc Normandin, writing at Baseball Nation, argues for the return to the super reliever.* Relievers who throw 100+ innings have gone the way of the complete game, the affordable sports car, and politicians who aren't overtly embarrassing. Reviving that role, if one could find the right players to do so, could allow a team more flexibility in their roster construction. Also, who wouldn't want to be a "Super Reliever?"
* Side note: tell me Alfredo Aceves does not possess a glowing red crotch. TELL ME!
The prolific Alex Speier of WEEI.com looks at the potential 2012 Red Sox lineup and concludes it isn't unreasonable to expect an increase in the Red Sox overall offensive production compared to last season. The wild card, as Mr. Speier notes, is always injuries. Indeed that has been the Red Sox' Achilles heal going back to 2006. The years the team stays healthy are ones the team often posts successful seasons as in '07 and '08, but when the team succumbs to injuries you end up with an '06 or '11. Still, like last season, the potential is intriguing, though that's the same potential that can cause you to break out in hives. Go Sox?
Writing at The New York Times, SB Nation's own Rob Neyer notes the trouble the Yankees might be in vis-à-vis Alex Rodriguez's gargantuan 10 year, $275 million contract. (This is a good time to note that awesome resource Cot's Contracts has moved over to Baseball Prospectus.) Rodriguez is owed $148 million through 2017 with a potential for an additional $30 million if he reaches various home run milestones. Supposing he reaches none of them, that comes out to $24.7 million per season through his age 42 season. If he reaches all of them, that's just under $30 million a year on average for the life of the deal. All that for a guy who just had zebra blood injected into his nipples to increase healing. No, wait, turns out that was just for fun.
Over at Joy of Sox, Allan has an excellent piece on David Ortiz and his preternatural abilities with the game on the line. According to Allan, with a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth or in extra innings, Ortiz has hit .404/.541/1.128 since coming to the Red Sox. That's an OPS of 1.669 OPS. And that slugging percentage? That's a base plus 13% of the next one each time up in that situation. Amazing. In a related story, I went back and watched Faith Rewarded this weekend. Cue goose bumps.
David Cameron of Fan Graphs has a good piece looking back at where the value of the 2010-11 free agent class was. Hint: It wasn't in the big money guys.
I don't have ESPN Insider which is only one of many reasons you don't see many ESPN links around these parts, but if you happen to have it, you can see that ESPN's Buster Olney ranks the Red Sox as the team with the best lineup in baseball going into next season. How he can know that with Prince Fielder et. al. still on the market I don't know, but maybe that's why he's paid the big bucks. Either that or he's just making stuff up.
Finally, if you translated ESPN writer Woody Paige's words into Korean and then back into English, this is how it would look.