- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot blogger
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Sports Illustrated's Joe Sheehan responds to the likelihood that baseball will be adding a second wild-card team. Joe perfectly sums up the problems I also have with the second wild card. In fact, I would argue the problems are so obvious, and the benefits so minor, that baseball will eventually eliminate the second wild card after a few years (or after Bud Selig retires).
Here's a report from ESPNBoston that says Red Sox players are iffy on the extra wild card. The quotes from the players exactly echo Joe's points.
Brandon Cloud has an in-depth look at pitching in Coors Field and points to an interesting piece of data I wasn't aware of: fastballs are more affected at Coors than breaking balls. Why? One reason is that all pitches travel faster at Coors; this means gravity has less time to affect the movement of the pitch (Ubaldo Jimenez had much more movement on his two-seam and four-seam fastballs on the road). Movement on breaking balls is affected as well, but not as much, in part because off-speed pitches are moving slower than fastballs. What does it mean as to what kind of pitchers the Rockies should want? Check out Brandon's piece.
Wally Matthews of ESPNNewYork writes about Bobby Valentine, who apparently has the Bombers on his brain.
Joey Matschulat has a nice rundown of the Jairo Beras situation with the Rangers. Beras is a Dominican teenager the Rangers just signed for $4.5 million, but there is a dispute over his age and thus his eligibility to be signed before July 2. MLB has launched an investigation.
Charlie Manuel says the Phillies need to bunt more. Crashburn Alley's Bill Baer has a response.
This made me chuckle: Somehow, MLB Network rated Brian McCann the seventh-best catcher in baseball. As Ben Duronio suggests, that's pretty low for a catcher who compares favorably to two guys named Gary Carter and Mike Piazza. There's no way to measure this, of course, but if McCann isn't the most underrated player in baseball, he has to be near the top of the list.
Speaking of catchers, Chip Buck of Fire Brand sends Jason Varitek off into retirement.
Tony Jackson of ESPNLA has a piece on Chad Billingsley, who is making some adjustments to his mechanics after a disappointing 2011.
Harper Gordek has his picks to SOAR and CRASH with the Nationals this year. He likes Wilson Ramos but isn't a believer in Edwin Jackson.
Charles Piece of Grantland has an excellent essay in defense of Ryan Braun. Maybe you disagree with Pierce's stance that Braun was a victim or that baseball ultimately played the role of an authoritarian SOB. But it's hard to deny this paragraph: "Can someone seriously argue that it is ethical to take a drug to make a performance possible, but unethical to take a drug that makes that performance better? Isn't making a performance possible at all the ultimate performance enhancement? If there had been a drug that would have given us five more seasons of Sandy Koufax at the top of his game, how would that have been a bad thing, everything else being equal? Sports are rife with drugs. Without drugs of one sort or another, the NFL season would never begin, and the baseball season would end sometime in June owing to a lack of participating teams."