The Baseball Writers Association of America just had their annual meeting. At that meeting they consider new applications for membership and reconsider old ones. They just did it with Fangraphs and SB Nation: accreditation granted to the former, denied to the latter.
Great news for FanGraphs. They do amazing work, of course, and I guarantee you that every single thinking BBWAA member relies on their analysis heavily as they do their jobs. Well-deserved.
I’m not at all pleased with SB Nation not making it. If for no other reason than this means that Rob Neyer and Amy K. Nelson, who have been BBWAA members for several years by virtue of their ESPN affiliation, are now officially on a one-year at-large membership. If SB Nation is not reconsidered next year, they presumably lose their ticket.
Rob’s tweet about this a few minutes ago suggested that the reasoning given for it not being accredited was that SB Nation is “too new” and that someone said that they’d only been around since July. This makes very little sense because while, yes, SB Nation has amped-up its national coverage in the past year or so with notable new hires like Nelson and Neyer, it has existed as an entity for several years. And it’s not like Fangraphs has been around since the Carter administration itself.
That aside, if “too new” was the real reason, I think it marks the third different rationale for keeping people out of the BBWAA I’ve heard in the past five years. Earlier it was about how many games people cover. Last year people said it was about whether the writer in question gets, like, health benefits from their employer. It seems like a moving target to me. But whatever. It’s their organization. They can do what they want with it.
I just think they’ve made a pretty big mistake here. SB Nation is doing fantastic work and has a tremendous reach. As are many other online outlets. Any organization needs to evolve to survive. I’ve never been particularly impressed at the speed with which the BBWAA has evolved.
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.