The playoffs are a time for triumph and joy, and in a month our lasting image for the season will be some team celebrating a World Series win with champagne and goggles. But it would be wrong to ignore the flip side of that coin. Wayyyy more teams will lose, and their fans will suffer heartbreak and pain. Plus hatred. Deep, ugly, satisfying hatred. The harsh fact is that if you're a fan of the nine remaining teams, there's an 88.888888 percent chance that you'll end up watching someone else's champagne bash with envy and bitterness. You don't want to admit it yet, but you probably are the 89 percent. To help you prepare, here's a quick primer on the most hateable player from each of the remaining teams.
News and notes as we roll into Day 2 of the Winter Meetings
• The Rangers signed former Royals closer Joakim Soria to a two-year, $8 million deal. This marks the second straight offseason in which Texas inked a closer rehabbing from Tommy John surgery to a multi-year deal, following the November 2011 signing of Joe Nathan. I hated that deal at the time, writing that Nathan had lost fastball velocity and seen his strikeout rate drop considerably after TJ, and that the Rangers were getting at best a diminished pitcher and, at worst, a pitcher who's about to get injured. I was, obviously, spectacularly wrong. But beyond dwelling on my incredibly poor judgment, the Nathan deal is a great example of information asymmetry. Simply put, teams often know things that we the public do not, even when deploying intelligent statistical analysis. This is doubly true for injured players, or players coming off injury. Doesn't mean we should blindly trust every general manager to make the right decision every time. Only that there might be more to a deal than the obvious circumstances might suggest, such as when a team signs a late-30s relief pitcher with major surgery in his recent past to a multi-year contract.
The Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins pulled off a 12-player trade, one that's being hailed as a gigantic upgrade for the Jays and the latest fire sale for a Marlins team with a long history of them. All of which overlooks one critical takeaway from this blockbuster for the ages: Jeffrey Loria is a genius.
In dealing Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck, and $4 million to the Jays for Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, Anthony DeSclafani, Yunel Escobar, Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Jeff Mathis, the Marlins shed nearly $160 million in payroll. They're now committed to only eight players for next season — Ricky Nolasco, Greg Dobbs, Mathis, and Escobar, major league contracts for recently arrived prospects Jacob Turner, Zack Cox, and Hechavarria, and $4 million for Heath Bell to play in Arizona. For 2014, they owe money to only two players, Mathis and Bell.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday.
Note: Due to an ongoing labor dispute at Grantland, today's joke will be written by a group of replacement writers called up from the Grantland's Division III staff in Des Moines, Iowa.
Cristiano Ronaldo's 90th-minute goal completed a stunning comeback as Real Madrid topped Manchester City 3-2 in Champions League group play. Hey, are we sure this guy isn't named Ronaldo McDonaldo? Because after that match, those Real Madrid players must have had one heck of a happy meal!