Today's links are just a flavor of what you'd have gotten if I hadn't taken some time off last week and left my power cord in a hotel room ...
* It's a funny thing. I would have guessed that Keith Olbermann and I would agree about just about everything. Except when it comes to this year's Hall of Fame ballot, we agree about almost nothing.
* Bright young people are always asking me how to get a job in baseball, and my response is always the same: "How should I know? I'm not even in baseball and I'm lucky to have a job." But a number of notables will address exactly this question next week at the Winter Meetings, in Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball Career Conference, with speakers including Baseball America's John Manuel, Baseball Prospectus' Will Carroll, and our own Jerry Crasnick. As we used to say in the 20th century, "Be there or be a rhombus."
* This offseason blueprint for the A's looks pretty good to me, and comes with this nugget: the A's have signed Dallas McPherson, a Ken Phelps All-Star if I've ever seen one. A few more moves like this, and maybe I will pick the A's (again!).
* The usual good stuff from Posnanski, including this nugget: Ted Simmons caught more games than Johnny Bench. Just saying.
* Bob Ryan recites the litany of failed Red Sox shortstops, and for all the talk about Boston sportswriters, he seems reasonable enough to me. But I suppose we should wait until March to assume that the list will only get bigger in 2010.
* Did Derek Lowe really pitch as poorly this year as he thinks? Well, yeah. In his four previous National League seasons -- all with the Dodgers, 2005 to 2008 -- Lowe struck out 2.6 batters for every walk. This year his K/BB ratio plummeted to 1.76, which can work but obviously isn't usually worth $15 million (Lowe's salary, not only this year but in each of the next three years). The good news is that he probably won't again give up a .330 batting average on balls in play. The bad news is that even if he doesn't, he still has to rediscover his strikeout-to-walk ratio to give the Braves anything near their money's worth.
* Thanks. I missed you, too.