You should order the Hardball Times Annual

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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.

Report: Athletics to acquire Stephen Piscotty from the Cardinals

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Athletics and Cardinals have agreed on a trade involving outfielder Stephen Piscotty. The Cardinals will receive two as yet unknown minor leaguers in return.

Piscotty, 26, hit .235/.342/.367 with nine home runs and 39 RBI in 401 plate appearances for the Cardinals this past season. He dealt with injuries and with his mother’s ALS diagnosis, so it was a rough year, but very excusably so. The Cardinals had signed him to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension in March. He’s under contract through 2022 at a total of $29.5 million and has a club option for 2023 worth $15 million with a $1 million buyout.

The Cardinals had an outfield spot open up after agreeing to acquire Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins on Wednesday so the Piscotty trade doesn’t come as a surprise.