UPDATE: Olbermann’s Yankees-Marlins A-Rod trade report already shot down

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UPDATE: That was fast:

 

And let’s not forget that A-Rod has a full no-trade clause. If he was going to allow a trade anywhere it may be Miami because he lives there, but really, this makes no sense.

3:15 PM: Take this with a considerably large grain of salt. Because while, yes, Keith Olbermann is a member of the media — formerly a member of the sports media — and while he likely has contacts with the New York Yankees given who he is, where his season tickets are and all of that stuff, this doesn’t seem terribly plausible:

The New York Yankees have held discussions with the Miami Marlins about a trade involving their third baseman in crisis, Alex Rodriguez.

Sources close to both organizations confirm the Yankees would pay all – or virtually all – of the $114,000,000 Rodriguez is owed in a contract that runs through the rest of this season and the next five. One alternative scenario has also been discussed in which the Yankees would pay less of Rodriguez’s salary, but would obtain the  troubled Marlins’ reliever Heath Bell and pay what remains of the three-year, $27,000,000 deal Bell signed last winter.

Not plausible from a baseball perspective — why in the hell would the Yankees want Heath Bell? — but also implausible given the timing of it all. Since when do teams in the freaking playoffs have trade discussions with anyone? Also: Olbermann doesn’t really report baseball news, so I’m not sure why he’d get this sort of thing before anyone else.

It’s not crazy to think that the Yankees will try to shop Rodriguez this winter. But I have a really hard time believing that there is anything to this beyond loose “what if” chatter over the dregs of a bottle of scotch.

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.