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A guy asked all 30 teams why he should root for them. Seven responded.

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A friend alerted me to a Reddit post from a Croatian guy who doesn’t know much about baseball but who was trying to figure out a rooting interest. His solution: he wrote to all 30 teams, asking them why he should root for them.

Only seven responded: the Orioles, Indians, Mariners, Marlins, Phillies, Nationals and Dodgers.

The responses were . . . mostly poor. The Marlins’ response was the most detailed and was clearly tailored as a response to the man’s question. The Phillies’ was kind of zen and, I have to say, my favorite of them all:

Mr. ___:

While we appreciate the support of all of our fans, the reason for choosing one team versus another is a strictly personal reason. We do not try to ‘sell’ fans, rather we allow them the opportunity to choose to follow the Phillies for their own myriad of reasons.

Good luck with your choice.

The Dodgers sent the guy swag. Have to say, buying fandom is a bit too on-brand for the Dodgers, but all teams should go with their strengths.

Mostly, though, it seemed like off-the-shelf promotional speak. I feel like teams could do better and have more fun with this kind of thing. Good effort to those who bothered, but the 23 teams that didn’t ought to be ashamed of themselves. I mean, sending a response that says “Root for [Team] because we rule” would probably be the best answer. How hard could that be?

(Thanks to Vince G for the heads up)

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.