Not everyone is pleased with my view that CC Sabathia is not deserving of the Cy Young this year. Take this delicious rant from reader DiamondDuq:
So you think some stats geek who locks himself in his mother’s basement should pick the award winners? When someone can apply an statistical adjustment that accurately depicts the difference between pitching with a 5-run lead vs. in a tie game then maybe I’ll be willing to listen to you freaks. The fact of the matter is, which you wouldn’t know since you’ve probably never set foot on a baseball diamond past little league, high school at the latest, if at all, that the entire approach to pitching is different depending on the situation in the game . . .
. . . Predictably my argument will be disreguarded and ridiculed by the booger-eating basement dwellers but suffice it to say there’s more to the game than you allow yourselves to see because you haven’t fabricated a statistic for it yet and because of that you’re not fully capable of enjoying a beautiful game!
As Craig Allen Calcaterra, who has played and watched thousands upon thousands of baseball games – you see, I do have a rough idea of how the game works – I sympathize with DiamondDuq. Craig Allen Calcaterra is a booger-eating basement dweller, his blog should be run off the Internet and a committee should be formed to boycott him. You may, if you can form such a committee, put me down for a contribution of one thousand dollars.
On the other hand, I am the writer of HardballTalk. As such, it is my duty – and I’ll let you in on a little secret, it is also my pleasure – to see to it that the decent, hard-working booger-eating basement dwellers of this world are not treated like idiots by a bunch of narrative-chasing baseball writers who disdain actual baseball excellence because it does not make for a good story. Because, God help them, they have no one to look after their interests!
I’ll let you in on another little secret, Mr. DiamondDuq. I think I’m the man to do it.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.
The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.
In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.
According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.
McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.
The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.