The baseball analytics revolution has helped us answer many questions that might have seemed unknowable before. We can now measure not only a pitcher's velocity but also the exact horizontal and vertical break on his pitches, the precise coordinates of his arm slot, and dozens of other variables. We can calculate the worth of catchers who excel at framing pitches. We can even take the sum of a player's contributions and find a reasonable estimate of his overall value.
Lovely pursuits, all. But mere trivialities next to the most pressing baseball question the world has ever had to face: If Mr. Burns had to re-staff the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team with a lineup full of present-day players, who should he choose?
Of course, the general consensus of this deal, and the Brandon Phillips one that followed, was that the Reds would one day regret it. Votto might have MVP credentials, but he plays a position that’s easy to fill, and there will come a day in 2023 when he’s a 40-year-old first baseman making $25 million. Meanwhile, the Phillips deal wasn’t as grand in years or overall cash, but the Reds second baseman will now be getting paid like a 30-30 player in 2017. The 10th anniversary of the only time he actually went 30-30.
Here’s your Friday baseball news long toss covering stories on and off the field.
According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, baseball officials are twisting themselves into knots over the long, languid, Darwinian regular season possibly ending with a three-team demolition derby in the American League wild card race. If the Rays, Red Sox and Angels wind up honors-even at the end of the season, we could see an unprecedented three-team playoff. The Angels lost on Thursday, so this scenario seems unlikely. But the possible match-ups and rules governing said match-ups are so fantastically complex and convoluted, you almost want to see it happen, just for the schadenfreude.