1) Indians items
The Indians and Justin Masterson will discuss a longterm extension between now and Spring Training, says Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer. Hoynes doesn't have any salary figures to pass along, though in November I looked at Masterson's production and other extensions for starting pitchers and concluded that something in the ballpark of 5 years, $75 million would do it. I still think that's about right.
MLB.com's Jordan Bastian takes a look at the Tribe catching situation for 2014. There are quotes in there from GM Chris Antonetti, saying very nice things about Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana.
2) Blogathon for charity
Baseball writer Michael Clair is a funny guy whose work I've linked to on multiple occasions. He holds an annual event in which he stays up for 24 hours, writing a new post every 30 minutes. There's a second day too, during which a great lineup of other writers provide content.
Michael doesn't do this just for yucks, it serves as a fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders, an organization that provides humanitarian aid around the globe. Michael has collected fun prizes, so in addition to helping a good cause, anyone who donates even $1 is also entered into a raffle for those items.
This year's Blogathon is Saturday, January 18 (one week from today). You can find out about the raffle prizes here,and can learn more about Doctors Without Borders and how to donate here. Last year Michael and friends raised $3,600, this year the goal is $4,000.
3) The 50 best players not in the HOF
Speaking of fun projects from good writers, Graham Womack runs a yearly project to determine the 50 best players not in the Hall of Fame. Anyone is welcome to vote for their 50, and the players listed by the most voters make up the list. Graham then gets a fine collection of writers to help him put together brief entries on each player.
You can find this year's results here. If you scroll down to #33, you'll find the entry for LGFT Graig Nettles, written by yours truly!
4) Best HOF ballot explanation ever?
The Hall of Fame ballot remains a mess, in part because BBWAA writers are all over the place. My new favorite voter is Jerry Dowling, a caricature artist who will travel to your school or workplace for $150 an hour! The drawings are good, but why on earth does he have a Hall of Fame vote?!
Please go and read the blog post he wrote about the ballot he submitted this year. His explanation for why he didn't vote for Craig Biggio is hilarious, and his explanation for why he didn't vote for Frank Thomas furthers the notion that the BBWAA's voting is a farce.
In a related item, Bryan Curtis has a well-researched examination of what baseball writers knew about PEDsthroughout (and even before) what is now commonly referred to as the steroid era.
5) MythBusters: MLB edition
No, the Discovery Channel's popular series has not run a baseball-themed episode (though they should!), but Dan Lewis at Amazing Avenue debunks the idea that Mike Piazza's power was some sort of late development, that must have been fueled by PEDs. Scouting reports say otherwise.
6) This week's off-topic topic
By next weekend I'll be caught up on all the 2013 movies I want to see, and I'll end my look back on the year in pop culture with my favorite films. Having looked at books and TV the last couple weeks, music seems like a logical choice. Unlike almost every other Saturday Sx Pack though, I can't give you a list this time. Why? Because I listened to a ridiculously small amount of new music last year.
So, what great sounds did I miss out on???