Sports on Earth's MIke Bates observes the big jump in strikeouts by Indians starting pitchers in 2013, which was single-biggest on-the-field difference between this season and the disastrous 2012 campaign. He then wonders if the team can find the arms to replace the ones they're likely on the verge of losing.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America announced its MVP winners last night. There were no surprises (though at least Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana made the list). Joe Posnanski was among the 30 writers with a ballot for American League award. He voted for Trout, but far more people voted for Cabrera. Posnanski spends some time looking at just how good Trout has been, and lists the other players who've been anything like as good as Trout at such a young age (most of them are in the Hall of Fame now, but he also points out this voting result is far from the worst, as Cabrera did at least have an "MVP season."
I don't think Miguel Cabrera deserved to win the MVP, but he wasn't some bat-crazy choice (and him winning was completely expected by anyone paying attention), just a run-of-the-mill wrong one. What if the BBWAA really did get carried away with some of its favorite narratives when choosing the winners? Grantland's Michael Baumann takes a look at a pair of players they might have honored instead.
MLB's posting-fee agreement with Nippon Professional Baseball (Japan's professional league) could be in jeopardy.MLB has made a proposal with possible changes to the current arrangement, but they've been told by NPB that no formal response can be given at this time. Under the current system, players must spend 9 years playing in NPB before they can become free agents. One of this offseason's most sought-after players is 25-year-old Japanese starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, but in no agreement can be reached, he may not be able come stateside.
MLB owners have given their approval to a new instant replay system, in which each manager would have two 'challenges' each game. The players and umpires will also have to approve any new system before it can become official, decisions which will not be made until January. I'm for expanded replay, but don't like the challenge format. I'd prefer an additional umpire sitting with a monitor who can quickly assess whether a call should be overturned.