I’m happy to report that you can now order The Hardball Times Annual for 2012. Get it here.
For those unfamiliar, the THT Annual has scads of articles with history, commentary, analysis and, of course, retrospectives of the 2011 season by some of the best writers going.
For the past few years I’ve contributed some laughs and yuks to the Annual in the form of my “Year in Frivolity” feature — recapping the funny and absurd stuff that went on during the year — and this year is no different. In addition to my b.s., there’s this sort of thing:
- Rob Neyer has a piece breaking down the work of Theo Epstein;
- Chris Jaffe lists the all-time managers in terms of who had the quickest and who had the slowest hooks;
- THT honcho Dave Studeman breaking down the insane last day of the season;
- Frequent HBT commenter Jack Marshall writing about the “baseball year in ethics;”
- Brian Borawski writing about the “baseball year in business;”
- Max Marchi writing about the pitchers who, because they themselves were amazing, drew the most fans to the ballpark;
- John Dewan and Michael Humphreys have some great stuff on evaluating defense;
- Brian Cartwright has an article about what to do with ground ball pitchers when it comes to BABIP;
And as always, there’s much, much more. A broader overview of its contents can be read here.
The THT Annual is a must-read for baseball nuts. It’s a great gift too. And of course, buying it helps the folks over at The Hardball Times keep the lights on, and that’s fantastic, because those folks do God’s work.
Once again, order it here. You won’t be disappointed.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.