Being Canadian has its advantages. For instance, even though I’m dirt poor, if I break my leg, I can go to the hospital and get all the necessary treatment I need for the full recovery of my leg—free of charge. I can also travel to Cuba. There are advantages.
One thing my American friends have on us Canadians, however, is American Thanksgiving. Although Canadian Thanksgiving is more logically spaced from Christmas than its American counterpart, there’s no denying that a four-day weekend is better than a three-day weekend. And having the holiday completely consumed by copious amounts of day-time NFL football. Brilliant. While us poor suckers in Le Grand Nord Blanc slave away at our office jobs, Americans stay home and watch football.
One of the consequences of this Great American Holiday is that all manner of the baseball offseason shuts down for four entire days, leaving us Canadian baseball enthusiasts with precious little content.
So it’s with that in mind that I’ve decided to start a quasi-weekly feature here at RBO called ‘Sunday Reading’ wherein I run down some interesting baseball stuff conceived and lovingly written by people with far more talent and imagination than myself.
ESPN’s Buster Olney penned a great piece this morning regarding the Hall of Fame and the steroid era players that will surely be left off the ballot of the majority of writers this winter. I won’t elaborate much other than to say that I think he’s dead on. The Hall of Fame will cease to mean a damn thing to me this winter when Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa will fail to get in.
Over at DJF, Adam Lind gets his honesty on and backhandedly criticizes Ricky Romero’s leadership skills. None of what he says comes as much of a shock, but the fact that he said it is pretty surprising.
Over at The Hardball Times, Dan Lependorf does some great work using the win-probability-added metric found on FanGraphs to evaluate managers’ bullpen management skills. His findings are pretty interesting. According to his work, the Orioles Buck Showalter and the A’s Bob Melvin were the two best managers in baseball in 2012 at pulling the right strings with their relievers—each adding around five wins to their team’s total. Lependorf notes that a ‘zero’ would be the equivalent of drawing names out of a hat at random and the average manager probably adds a hair under two wins with his bullpen management.
Other notables include the Blue Jays’ John Farrell with a 3.85-mark (good enough for sixth-best in baseball), Bruce Bochy ranked seventh at 3.06 and purported ‘best manager in baseball’ Joe Maddon came in at 1.49. The worst bullpen managers were Don Mattingly at -0.46, Bobby Valentine at -0.73 and somewhat surprisingly Davey Johnson at -1.01.
There’s also a ‘part one’ to Lependorf’s work that’s very much worth the read.
Bill Parker, writing for Baseball Nation, notes that the Royals are acquiring veteran pitchers in such a way that suggests they view themselves as contenders in 2013. He asks if that may be possible what details what would need to happen for that to be the case.
Grant Brisbee, also writing for Baseball Nation, tries to figure out what lessons can be learned from the Chone Figgins debacle. Spoiler alert: the answer is nothing.
John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus looks at shopping lists for teams in the AL and also conducts a short interview with Twins GM Terry Ryan.
Finally, on ESPN’s Sweetspot blog, Dave Schoenfield gets inspired by the recent Blue Jays-Marlins blockbuster and comes up with five more blockbuster trades that could drastically change some teams around baseball.