The one seemed easy enough. Find a few notable players coming off injury or poor performance who had something to prove in 2018 and explain what they had to prove and why. It didn’t take long for me to put together a list of more than 50 players, but it took a lot longer for me to whittle it down. So, if you think someone’s missing from the six names I wound up with . . . you’re right!
Monthly Archives: February 2018
My latest for The Athletic takes a five-word comment from rookie Red Sox manager Alex Cora and spins it into roughly 1,000 words on how the J.D. Martinez signing impacts Hanley Ramirez’s role on the 2018 team, concluding that it is just as easy to see Cora’s comment as brilliant as it is to see it as boneheaded.
My latest for The Athletic looks at free agents who signed after the offseason was technically over, listing both the richest contracts handed out after pitchers and catchers had reported to camp and the top performances by players who signed that late. I pitched the piece in anticipation of this spring yielding both the richest contract handed out after pitchers and catchers reported and the most contracts with a guarantee of at least eight-figures agreed to at such a late date. Both records were set while I was researching and writing it, and there will be more where those came from given the quality of free agents still remaining on the market now a week past pitchers and catchers. My goal here, as it so often is, was to put all of that in context.
I don’t yet know the extent to which I will be taking part in The Athletic‘s baseball coverage this season, but I’m nonetheless very happy to have made my debut on the site. That comes via a ranking of the best batteries in baseball, in honor of pitchers and catchers reporting earlier this week.
This marks the first time that my writing has ever appeared behind a paywall online. That is no accident. I have long been an advocate of free access to content. However, given the realities of the industry these days, my frustration over the auto-play clutter burdening the articles at SI.com, and my strong belief in both The Athletic‘s approach to the written word and its presentation and the people putting that approach into practice, I had no hesitation in signing on to what they are doing.
If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can get a free one-week trial and 25 percent off for the first year. There may even be a free t-shirt involved.
Meanwhile, I’m already at work on my next piece for the site, due up early next week.
This is not my debut with The Hardball Times. I wrote a “Five Questions” Yankees preview for them way back in 2006. However, I always enjoy being able to dig into baseball history, and I’m particularly interested in the aesthetics of the game. Given my current free agency, I was thrilled to get a chance to nerd out with this look at the origins of the nicknames of every major league team. What acrobatic troupe was the source of a turn-of-the-century Dodgers nickname? How many American League nicknames originated in the National League? What the heck is a Phillie? Is Astro even a word? All the answers can be found here.
Here are some clips from my appearance on MLB Now on Monday with Dan O’Dowd, Joel Sherman, and host Scott Braun.
On George Springer’s two-year contract with the Astros, buying out two of his three arbitration years:
On the teams in the middle that should be aggressive right now in pursuit of a possible playoff berth (I focus on the Twins):
On Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto’s request for a trade:
On the top 10 pitchers right now, who’s number one, and where Stephen Strasburg fits on the list:
As for the top seven pitchers I mention in that clip, here’s my list, with the caveat that this was a hastily assembled list assembled while researching other topics in the small window between our production meeting and air time. Given more time, I might return a slightly different result:
1. Max Scherzer
2. Corey Kluber
3. Clayton Kershaw
4. Chris Sale
5. Justin Verlander
6. Madison Bumgarner
7. Zack Greinke
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to try to update this site more often, even it is just to catalog my output. Here, then, is my latest appearance on The Infinite Inning podcast. Steve leads with a personal remembrance of the late Oscar Gamble, then digs in on the Mets’ decision to draft Steve Chilcott ahead of Reggie Jackson in 1966. I then join for a conversation that includes some behind-the-scenes experiences at the MLB Network, including surprise meetings with Bill James and Jim Thome, the quasi-retirement of former number-one pick Mark Appel, the excessive depth of modern prospect lists, the importance of developmental age, Bryce Harper, Shohei Ohtani, Yu Darvish, the Dodgers’ rotation, Julio Urias, and the retirement of Davey Lopes.
Also, I will be back on MLB Now on Monday, live at 2pm ET on the MLB Network. Set your DVR!