1) Tribe links
Bryan Grosnick at Beyond the Boxscore has an in depth look at the idea of Carlos Santana moving to third base, explaining the impact on his value caused by such a positional change, pointing out that the Indians are better suited to get by with bad defense at third than most teams, and concluding that it's worth running Carlos out there when the opposing pitcher is a lefty, to keep Lonnie Chisenhall from facing those guys.
Kyle Boddy of Driveline Baseball, where Indians prospect Trevor Bauer has spent some time working on his mechanics and delivery, was good enough to drop by Let's Go Tribe and post a video of Bauer working on pitches, while describing various processes. Here's the FanShot featuring the video, which (as I said in the comments) I find hypnotic.
For your further reading pleasure...
For your further reading pleasure...
2) Friday's most-notable transactions
The Royals will sign second baseman Omar Infante to a 4-year, $30 million deal (reportedly with additional incentives). That may seem like a lot of years, but I thought he'd be a pretty good signing at 3/$30M, so I view this as them just getting the fourth year for free. I think Kansas City has to be considered at least as good as the Indians for 2014, based on present rosters. Let's hope the Tribe has another move to make (something bigger than David Adams).
The Rays have re-signed first baseman James Loney to a 3-year, $21 million deal. He was worth much more than $7 million in 2013, but he;s never really had consecutive strong seasons, so I'm a little surprised to see Tampa Bay (usually pretty tight with its funds) commit to three years for him.
3) A legend weighs in on home-plate collisions
MLB is in the process of banning home-plate collisions, with the rules committee having approved the plan, and the next step being the creation of a formal rule change, which would then be sent to players for their approval. As I've already said, I'm in favor of the change, but there's been plenty of disagreement. Friday one very notable party weighed in, when Hall of Famer Johnny Bench --the greatest catcher in MLB history-- said he's "so happy that something's being done."
4) Are players peaking sooner than they used to?
Jeff Zimmerman takes a look at the aging curve for hitters, and notices that it doesn't look the way it used to, the way most fans still think if it. He examines a few different metrics, one of them being wRC+, which tends to be my go-to metric for analyzing hitting. It used to be that players struggled a bit, slowly climbing until reaching the start of their peak at ~24, then declining after 28, but in recent years players have had greater success at younger ages, but also begun to decline earlier.
5) Long-form excellence on Tom Terrific
Pat Jordan is a tremendous long-form sportswriter. A False Spring, a memoir of his experiences as a pitcher in the minor leagues (he was one of the big bonus babies of the 1960s) is one of the best baseball books I've ever read, and his work has been included in the Best Sports Writing Anthology in 7 different years. This week Jordan has a gem up at Sports on Earth (Jay, did you get to put eyes on this one before it went to press???) on Tom Seaver, one of the greatest pitchers ever. It's long, but worth the time so pour yourself a hot cup of coffee (or a heaping bowl of Lucky Charms, if your tastes run closer to my own) and give it a read.
6) Off-topic topic of the week
Speaking of terrific guys named Tom... This wekend brings Saving Mr. Banks to theaters (a few anyway, before a wider release next weekend). It's the true (ish) story of how Walt Disney convinced author P.L. Travers to allow Mary Poppins to be turned into a film. There's a good chance I'll see it, because I'm a big Tom Hanks fan. (Hanks is an Indians fan, by the way.) Hanks has sort of had two careers, with 'Philadelphia' as something of a turning point. Here are my favorites from each phase of his career (I'm not including the Toy Story franchise in there, though Hanks' voice work is great, and Woody is my favorite character in the series):
Favorite 'Phase 1' Hanks movies
6) Money Pit
5) A League of Their Own
4) The 'Burbs
3) Turner & Hooch
2) Joe Versus the Volcano
Favorite 'Phase 2' Hanks movies
6) Charlie Wilson's War
5) Saving Private Ryan
4) Apollo 13
3) Cast Away
1) Catch Me If You Can