This first batch of links has to do with a small weight that I wouldn't mind removing from my chest; I am not a fan of any sort of expansion of MLB playoffs. A case can be made for realignment, especially considering the dominance of the AL East, but I absolutely do not want the playoffs further diluted by introducing two more wildcard slots. This article from The Hardball Times got my attention, and I think it bears more repetition that a ten-team playoff format is forthcoming. Bud Selig wants it done, there is some cause for concern, there are some reasonable arguments for expansion, and it seems almost inevitable. Basically, I would love to hear some logical reasons to adhere to the three-divisions-one-wildcard format, or some pros/cons regarding a division realignment. Just say no to more teams in the playoffs.
On to the bullets:
- Mike Scioscia, Jim Leyland and Ozzie Guillen are three managers without hall-of-famers in their World Series-winning lineups, and each managers' case for their own spot in the HoF.
- A dramatic vision of future mixed rotation/bullpen use. I doubt it would work, let alone ever be tried, but it's a hell of a rational concept.
- A call to end defensive indifference. Compelling.
- Oh, you dislike the Yankees for some reason? Their poor hot stove decisions and lack of starter depth coupled with Andy Pettitte's retirement leave them with some large questions. Also from THT, two of the top five indefensible deals concern the Yankees.
- Some fun with visualizations: here are the roots of American-born ball players over the past century-plus. Oh, hey, Chicago. Way to remain a good source of major leaguers throughout.
- Arbitration can remain a confusing process. Here are some guidelines for the casual fan.
- Fangraphs gives us Adam Dunn's changed approach. I'm hoping that the White Sox team focus on plate discipline will help, however marginally, Dunn's approach. A return to 2009 and previous rates would be appreciated, though not many will nitpick a 28.5% outside the zone swing percentage if he's hitting 42 homers.
- Via Rob Neyer, there's a new Baseball Injury Tool in town. Here's Carlos Questionable, par exemple. It's really damn easy to use, and covers both MLB and MiLB. Check it out, fool around for a bit.
- Speaking of Rob Neyer, he made some waves by joining SBN this past week. It was covered in some threads, but here's his first article in his new home and yet another piece telling us how healthy the White Sox have been this past decade or so. I'll eat it up, no matter how repetitious it may be. Apparently his departure from ESPN has made some waves in the saber community, as told on Beyond the Boxscore.
- Catching for Dummies: Mike Piazza and Al Leiter scratch the surface of some intricacies of catching.
- Finally, as a big fan of logistics, I have to mention "Truck Day." MLB clubs pack and ship equipment for spring training, with evidence of the Sox move here. Why, yes, of course my dog could take better pictures than that. More importantly there are only eleven more days until pitchers and catchers report. We're on the verge, baby.