No time like the present to start handing out awards, right? And while you're thinking about it, why wait till the end of the season? Just pass out some mid-season awards! Dayn Perry of Fox Sports is a step a head of you. He has his mid-season awards up already and you'll never guess who his AL MVP is!
No, it's Adrian Gonzalez, which is a pretty questionable choice unless, unlike the baseball writers, you're trying to give the award to the guy who actually deserves it.
Jim Riggleman has gotten some good and some bad reactions for quitting the Nationals managing job. Now that I say that, I'm not sure who thinks quitting a job in the middle of the year when you have nothing else lined up is a good idea. In any case, the always wonderful Joe Posnanski, as he often does, asks the right question which was under our collective noses all along: why was Riggleman even managing the Nationals at all? You'll have to get Mike Rizzo on the horn for that one, but there's little question that Riggleman wasn't actively making his team any better. About the best he could hope for was not making it any worse. Is that worthy of a multi-year contract extension? Let me answer that question with another question: Is Jayson Werth worthy of a seven year, $126 million contract?
One of the sabermetric principals that is hardest to follow is not to over-react to a small sample size. I fall into that trap time and again. There are so many potential tripping points, like age, and attaining new levels of ability. And through all that you still have to weigh things appropriately. Whether or not Joe Sheehan does or not I leave to you, dear reader, but claiming Prince Fielder is a more desirable free agent than Albert Pujols, to me, stretches the bonds of believability. Are the past two months enough to wipe out the past fifteen seasons of combined data? Maybe they are, but I'm going with no. The question will be answered soon enough, so for now, I put it to you: would you rather have Albert Pujols at a billion years and a billion dollars a year or Prince Fielder at some slightly lesser yet still staggeringly gargantuan amount?
Value is a complicated concept. What may be valuable to one team may not be to another. Similarly, there are gradations of value depending on the league, a team's place in the standings, and the future concerns of any given franchise. These are all concepts Rob Neyer gets into when discussing C.C. Sabathia's value to the Yankees. Sabathia's contract contains an opt-out clause which he can use after this season. Why there is any question as to whether or not he'll use it, I don't know. I'll tell you now, 1,000,000%, he's going to use it. He may not leave the Yankees, but he's going to use it. He may not even actually opt-out, but he's going to use it. The Yankees need pitching, and the Yankees have more money to spend than any team in baseball, ergo when Sabathia does opt out or discusses his opt out with Yankee brass, he's highly likely to stay with New York. All of which is fine from a Red Sox fan's perspective. Sabathia is getting older and as Neyer shows he's getting less effective as time rolls on. That's not to say he's not very good, just that he's slowly declining. Age always wins in the end and Sabathia will be no different. The trick is to not be on the hook for a multi-year deal when age finally goes ahead for good. In this particular case, the opt out would seem to be almost an iron clad guarantee that the Yankees will get stuck with some number of years paying a once great pitcher premium dollars.
We've come a long way in the sabermetric community but some topics still elude us. One of those is catcher defense. Max Marchi at The Hardball Times is doing his best to start generating some of that needed knowledge. Mr. Marchi is looking specifically at the value of pitch framing to a team. There are two pieces so far on it. The first is here, the second here.
Finally, anyone attending the annual Yankee old timers day game won't have Keith Olbermann to kick around anymore. The Yankees have relieved him of his duties as color commentator and replaced him with Suzyn Waldman. There's getting fired and then there's getting fired and replaced with Suzyn Waldman. Ouch. Here's Olbermann's take on the situation, the New York Post article on the matter (in typical understated style) and finally, Hardball Talk's take on the shenanigans. Olbermann's article is particularly interesting as it contains some relatively serious accusations of a long history of cheating by the Yankees. I'm sure you'll be shocked.