The White Sox would have done an Ozzie Guillen-to-the-Marlins deal

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Last month the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Marlins and the White Sox discussed allowing Ozzie Guillen to skip down to Florida to become the Marlins’ manager in exchange for a player.  The report was shot down by Kenny Williams.  Seems, however, that there was more to it than Kenny let on:

Chicago White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said he would have allowed manager Ozzie Guillen to go to the Marlins if Florida would have sent back a particular player, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

”The Marlins asked for permission to talk to Ozzie, and we told them we’d let Ozzie go if they gave us a particular player,” Reinsdorf told the Sun-Times. ”But we knew they couldn’t give us the player.”

At the time “the player” was said to be Mike Stanton.  It’s being reported by at least one scribe, however, that the player was Logan Morrison.

Either one of those guys is a lot to give up for merely a manager, so maybe the Sox didn’t really think they’d trade Guillen to the Marlins. Maybe they assumed that their bluff would be called, so Williams felt just fine saying that it was never a possibility.

But man, after seeing how little the Feesh got for the franchise’s all time home run leader yesterday, maybe it was a close call.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.