November 30, 2005

Konerko Stays in Chicago

I complained earlier this week that the Twins' complete lack of urgency this offseason was concerning. It is interesting to compare that approach to what the White Sox have done, which is basically make what will undoubtedly be two of the bigger moves of the entire offseason and get them both completed by the end of November.

First they added Jim Thome to the lineup as either a replacement for free agent Paul Konerko or a scary compliment to him, and then yesterday they re-signed Konerko. Unless Kenny Williams has something really big up his sleeve, the White Sox appear to be done tinkering. They've re-signed their best hitter and added someone who has the potential to be an even more dominant offensive force.

For Twins fans, I think that should be a very scary thought considering how good Chicago's pitching and defense was last season. Manager Ozzie Guillen might have them bunting and running again this year, but the fact is that they'll have a 3-4-5 of Konerko, Thome, and Jermaine Dye, which should cruise past 100 homers without much problem. The Twins hit 134 homers as a team this year, and 40 of them came from free agents Jacque Jones and Matthew LeCroy.

I've been critical of Williams' moves in the past, but I think he has done an excellent job this time around. He is showing what a good team can do when it has most of the pieces already in place and the luxury of some money to work with. In the Twins' case, they have most of the pieces already in place and are, as always, bargain shopping. It's a huge difference.

The big criticism of re-signing Konerko will surely be that the White Sox gave him too much money ($60 million) over too many years (five). I can't really argue with that and I doubt that Konerko will be worth that much over the life of the deal, but that won't matter one bit in 2006. Neither will giving up two good pitching prospects for Thome, because neither guy was particularly close to making an impact in the majors.

The only loss Chicago has sustained thus far that weakens the team for next season is Aaron Rowand, who is a very underrated player and one of the elite defenders in all of baseball. His defense in center field is outstanding and his offense, while inconsistent, can be described as "solid." That's a tough combination to replace -- the Twins basically have it in Torii Hunter -- but the White Sox are in a good position to do so with one of their better prospects, Brian Anderson, ready to step right in.

The White Sox's defense will be worse without Rowand, but assuming Anderson can be an average defender the group will still be well above average. After all, they still have the infield entirely intact, with Scott Podsednik and Dye flanking Anderson in the outfield corners. And the offense, which was Chicago's weak spot in 2005, has the potential to be significantly better.

In looking over Chicago's numbers this year, it is interesting to note that aside from Konerko hitting .283/.375/.534 with 40 homers, no hitter had a great season. In fact, it could easily be argued that most everyone else who got substantial playing time hit below par compared to the rest of their career.

Anderson hit .290/.360/.469 at Triple-A, so he should be able to duplicate the .270/.329/.407 Chicago received from Rowand, and adding Thome at designated hitter figures to be a big improvement. Carl Everett started 107 of Chicago's 162 games at DH, and the position ranked eighth in the AL in OPS at .776. Thome's career OPS is .970, and 2005 was the first season since he was a 21-year-old rookie in 1992 that he didn't top .850 and the first season since 1994 that he didn't top .900.

The ante has been upped in the AL Central, which is worrisome because the Twins appeared to be having enough trouble just keeping pace when Thome was in Philadelphia and Konerko was a free agent. This may be odd to say now, a month after the White Sox won the World Series, but it just hit home that for the first time since 2001 I don't expect the Twins to enter the season as division favorites.

Today at The Hardball Times:
- Ten Things I Didn't Know, Um, A While Ago (by Dave Studeman)
- Business of Baseball Report (by Brian Borawski)

Pick of the Day (145-124, +$2,045):
Nevada +5 (-110) over Kansas


More Rumors

This is nothing new, but the Boston Herald is the latest to report that the Twins are in the running for Alfonso Soriano:

Texas placed second baseman Alfonso Soriano on the trade market, and the Red Sox are one of many teams, including the Mets and Twins, who are interested.

I think Soriano is far too expensive, both in terms of salary and players the Twins would likely have to part with in a trade for him. Part of the problem is that, like Hank Blalock, Soriano has been horrendous away from the extremely hitter-friendly ballpark in Texas during his two seasons spent with the Rangers:

       AB      AVG      OBP      SLG      OPS
641 .234 .281 .409 .690

Those putrid road numbers are nearly identical to the .238/.296/.396 Blalock has hit away from Texas during his career. So, like I did with Blalock last week, I will point out that Soriano hits like Juan Castro (.257/.279/.386 this year) once you take him out of Arlington.

Another part of the problem is that, regardless of where he plays, Soriano has a career on-base percentage of .320 and got on base just 30.9% of the time this season. And that's ignoring the fact that 10% of his career walks have been intentional. If you take those out of equation, here's what Soriano's yearly on-base percentages and strikeout-to-walk ratios look like:

YEAR      PA      OBP     BB     SO
2001 614 .304 29 125
2002 741 .331 22 157
2003 734 .329 31 130
2004 658 .318 29 121
2005 682 .305 30 125

That's really ugly. Few players have had more plate appearances than Soriano over his five-year career, yet he has struggled to draw a measly 30 non-intentional walks per season. For some context, Torii Hunter drew 31 non-intentional free passes this year ... and he was injured for 64 games.

Soriano doesn't control the strike zone, he doesn't get on base, he hasn't hit away from Texas, and he's a mediocre defensive player. He also made $7.5 million in 2005, will likely make more in 2006 and beyond, and may cost the Twins several quality players in a trade. Oh, and he turns 30 in January. I say let the Mets overpay for him.

* * * * *

It took two weeks, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune finally ran another article about the Twins. Here are a few notes of interest, from the Official Twins Beat Writer of AG.com, La Velle E. Neal:
The Twins are convinced that Michael Cuddyer, who committed 15 errors in 95 games at third base last season, needs to move elsewhere, preferably right field. It's why the Twins have expressed interest in free agents Bill Mueller and Nomar Garciaparra and have looked into other such third basemen as Texas' Hank Blalock and Mike Lowell, who was traded from Florida to Boston last week.

Cuddyer appears destined for right field but could also be tried at second. That depends on who the Twins come up with during their winter shopping trip. They are interested in free agent Tony Graffanino for second base. If the Twins fail to land Graffanino but come up with an outfielder (Reggie Sanders?), Cuddyer might need to dust off his second baseman's glove.

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said "the middle infield is my main agenda" heading into the winter meetings. He was then asked why the club's view of Cuddyer has changed.

"It might be a misnomer, it might be a visual look or body language," Ryan said. "It might be the quality of at-bats or the bounce in his step. I'm not so sure I've got a qualitative reason why.

"It's the perception, but I've heard enough people say it, so I started to watch him. And there might be something to it. It might just be a perception ... but he is not going to be back at third."

Michael Cuddyer has been a massive disappointment and I can certainly see why Terry Ryan would have lost faith in him over the years. With that said, when a player has the ability to play third base, second base or a corner outfield spot, moving him to the outfield should be the last resort. Plus, it's not as if Cuddyer's bat has been a huge asset. He hit .263/.330/.422 last season, which is fine for a second baseman, but well below par for a right fielder.

If the Twins don't think Cuddyer can hack it at third base, that's one thing. However, it seems like it is now a toss-up between playing him at second base or in right field, which makes very little sense to me. If you think he can hit well enough to be a quality right fielder and you think he can field well enough to be an option at second base, then he should be playing second base.

Here's a little more from LEN3:

Stories in New York, Boston and elsewhere suggest other teams have interest in Twins outfielder Torii Hunter. While the Twins have kicked around the idea, they prefer to keep Hunter and add players to help them win the AL Central.

"We're not looking to move him," Ryan said. "If somebody calls, I pick up the phone. If somebody calls about him, I'll listen."

It would have been easy for Ryan to deny that the Twins have any interest in trading Hunter, so the fact that he made such a clear non-denial denial says to me that they are actively talking to teams about him. And as I've written here before, that's just fine with me. Between the money it would free up and the players Hunter could command in a deal, the Twins would probably be better off without him.

Today at The Hardball Times:
- Counting on Comebacks (by Aaron Gleeman)
- Passing the Hat: Funding the Nationals' Ballpark (by Maury Brown)

Pick of the Day (144-124, +$1,945):
Miami -5.5 (-110) over Atlanta


November 29, 2005

Sheldon, ZiPS, Shecky, and Wily Mo

  • The anonymous tipster who stopped by the comments section a couple times last week was right on the money: MLB.com's Mark Sheldon is officially leaving the Twins beat to cover the Reds. As I said Wednesday, I am sad to see Sheldon go. I enjoyed his work, and while I didn't always agree with what he wrote and occasionally criticized him here, he was always friendly to me and other Twins bloggers. Here's hoping Sheldon's replacement, Kelly Thesier, can take up right where he left off.
  • Dan Szymborski released his 2006 ZiPS projections for the Twins over at Baseball Think Factory yesterday, and the outlook is not pretty. The pitching staff looks great, of course, with Johan Santana leading the way at 18-6 with a 2.91 ERA in 232 innings. The lineup, however, looks an awful lot like the group that depressed me all season:
                         AVG      OBP      SLG
    Joe Mauer .303 .377 .427
    Justin Morneau .266 .336 .491
    Lew Ford .285 .363 .411
    Torii Hunter .264 .328 .447
    Michael Cuddyer .263 .340 .427
    Shannon Stewart .283 .342 .399
    Jason Bartlett .281 .354 .387

    Those are just some of the main guys, but there are also projections for everyone from Luis Rodriguez (.281/.343/.374) to Matt Moses (.235/.291/.353). Among the 32 players with projections listed, only four have on-base percentages above .350. One of them is Joe Mauer, and the others are a second-year shortstop (Jason Bartlett), a rookie who may not be healthy for the beginning of the season (Jason Kubel), and a guy the team views as a fourth outfielder (Lew Ford). That's not good.

    Among the players the Twins currently have under their control, here is the best lineup that can be pieced together:

                                   AVG      OBP      SLG
    1) Shannon Stewart, LF .283 .342 .399
    2) Lew Ford, RF .285 .363 .411
    3) Joe Mauer, C .303 .377 .427
    4) Justin Morneau, 1B .266 .339 .491
    5) Torii Hunter, CF .264 .328 .447
    6) Jason Kubel, DH .296 .355 .432
    7) Michael Cuddyer, 3B .263 .340 .427
    8) Jason Bartlett, SS .281 .354 .387
    9) Luis Rodriguez, 2B .281 .343 .374

    Yuck. For some context, the Twins hit .259/.323/.391 as a team this season. And just so this isn't too depressing, here's the best possible pitching staff:
                                   IP      ERA
    SP Johan Santana 232 2.91
    SP Scott Baker 185 3.99
    SP Carlos Silva 195 4.02
    SP Francisco Liriano 159 4.08
    SP Brad Radke 211 4.09

    CL Joe Nathan 71 2.41
    RH Juan Rincon 81 3.00
    RH Jesse Crain 80 3.82
    RH Travis Bowyer 79 4.33
    RH Matt Guerrier 119 4.46
    LH J.C. Romero 64 4.50

    You'll notice that Kyle Lohse (190 innings, 4.64 ERA) doesn't quite make the cut. Again, for some context the Twins had a team ERA of 3.71 this season.
  • Remember how I criticized Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Jim "Shecky" Souhan for being too shticky last week (and in general)? Well, he followed up his one-liner about the Pamela Anderson-Tommy Lee video in last week's column with an attempted joke about Paris Hilton yesterday. His Monday morning Vikings columns are like Jay Leno monologues from three years ago. My prediction for next week: A hilarious mention of O.J. Simpson's ride in the white Bronco.
  • A lot of commenters and e-mailers have mentioned the Reds as a potential trading partner for the Twins. Cincinnati is heavy on hitting, especially in the outfield, and light on pitching. And now it sounds like having four quality outfielders for just three starting spots is finally becoming a problem:
    Cincinnati Reds outfielder Wily Mo Pena said Saturday that he's ready to play full time with the team, or they should trade him to another club.

    [...]

    "The best thing they can do is to play me or trade me because I no longer want to be on the bench," he told The Associated Press on Saturday after a winter league game in the Dominican Republic.

    Wily Mo Pena wouldn't be the first Reds outfielder I would go after -- I'd want Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns before him -- but he's an intriguing player.

    YEAR      PA      AVG      OBP      SLG
    2003 181 .218 .283 .358
    2004 364 .259 .316 .527
    2005 335 .254 .304 .492

    On one hand, Pena has a career on-base percentage of just .303, including .304 this season. He also sports a miserable 288-to-54 career strikeout-to-walk ratio, including 116-to-20 this season. Pena is basically like a less patient, slightly more powerful, corner outfield version of Torii Hunter, which I'm not sure the Twins need at this point.

    On the other hand, he has 45 homers over his last 699 plate appearances and has a career slugging percentage of .477. He also doesn't turn 24 years old until January, is going to be making very little money for several more seasons, and unlike most of the Twins' better young hitters, swings the bat right-handed.

    Pena's "Most Similar Batters" list over at Baseball-Reference.com includes Jesse Barfield, Rocky Colavito, Pete Incaviglia, Bobby Bonds, Dave Kingman, Willie Montanez, Billy Conigliaro, Willie Horton, Harmon Killebrew, and Roger Maris. Anyone with such a wide assortment of interesting names as comparables at the age of 23 has the potential to be a very good player. From the age of 24 through the end of their careers, those 10 guys hit .261/.341/.468 with an average of 250 homers.

  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - Third Base: The Crossroads, Part Four (by Steve Treder)
    - What Makes a Game Exciting? (Part 2) (by Dennis Boznango)

    Pick of the Day (144-123, +$2,055):
    Dallas +1.5 (-110) over Milwaukee


    November 28, 2005

    Thome to Chicago

    There was some pretty big AL Central news since last we spoke, as the White Sox traded Aaron Rowand and a couple pitching prospects to the Phillies for Jim Thome. The move has been met with wildly varying opinions from Twins fans, some of whom aren't particularly worried about Chicago adding a guy who slugged .352 last year and some of whom dread having Thome in the division again.

    While Thome is certainly not a sure thing at this point, count me among those in the dread category. If Paul Konerko leaves Chicago via free agency, Thome can step right into the vacant cleanup spot in the White Sox's lineup. And if Konerko sticks around (it's rumored that he likes the idea of playing with Thome), Chicago suddenly has one of the best righty/lefty power combos in all of baseball.

    It is interesting that Chicago GM Kenny Williams would trade Rowand, a key member of a team that just won the World Series, for a 35-year-old coming off a season in which he played just 59 games. The White Sox do have a center fielder playing left field in Scott Podsednik and a center-field prospect waiting in the wings in Brian Anderson, but Rowand's outstanding defense is going to be extremely difficult to replace.

    Of course, if Thome stays healthy and returns to his dominant ways (he hit .274/.396/.581 with 42 homers in 2004, his fourth straight 40-homer season), the White Sox can afford to lose a little defense. If the Phillies paying a big chunk of Thome's salary allows Chicago to also bring back Konerko, the White Sox have managed the difficult feat of improving the team a month after winning the World Series.

    That should be a scary thought for Twins fans, especially with the Indians already set up for a nice run while also rumored to be making some noise in the free-agent market and the Twins, so far at least, completely silent. The young offseason has already featured a ton of fireworks, with Thome, Carlos Delgado, Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and B.J. Ryan all changing teams, but as always the Twins appear to be waiting around for the scraps to fall from the table.

    In fact, the Minneapolis Star Tribune's website has a page devoted solely to Twins-related news, and the headline story is still a November 16 article that proclaims, "Twins show interest in Piazza." I don't want to say something cliched like "the Twins are standing by while Rome burns," because I don't think they need to make wholesale changes to compete in 2006. However, it would be nice if Terry Ryan did something to give a little insight into how he plans to improve the worst offense in the league.

    In the meantime, a couple Twins notes ...

  • The Boston Globe has joined seemingly every newspaper in New York by offering up a Torii Hunter trade rumor:
    The Sox will intensify their negotiations with Johnny Damon this week, making re-signing him a top priority. Dragging talks out close to Christmas -- as agent Scott Boras did with Jason Varitek last year -- likely won't happen in this case. The Sox may go as high as a four-year, $40 million offer, but don't be surprised if the Sox eventually kick some tires on Minnesota center fielder Torii Hunter. After all, they do have some chips in [Kevin] Youkilis, in whom the Twins had some interest last season, and [Bronson] Arroyo, a bargain end-of-the-rotation starter.

    I'm not sure why the Twins would be going after Bronson Arroyo given their pitching depth, but if the Red Sox ever offer up Arroyo and Kevin Youkilis for Hunter, I would jump at it. Not only could Youkilis slide right in at third base and Arroyo make cutting Kyle Lohse loose even easier, the deal would free up about $8 million a year that the Twins could use to sign or trade for an impact bat.

  • After 10 years in the Twins' organization, Michael Ryan has signed with the Braves as a free agent. Ryan always struck me as a good guy and will always be remembered for his amazing, Roy Hobbs-like performance in 2003, when he hit .393/.441/.754 in 27 games. However, losing him is not significant, as even with that ridiculous stretch he is a career .265/.313/.408 hitter in 127 big-league games and hit just .233/.300/.405 at Triple-A Rochester over the past three seasons.
  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - What Makes a Game Exciting? (Part 1) (by Dennis Boznango)
    - Is Ryan Worth It? (by David Gassko)

    Pick of the Day (144-122, +$2,165):
    Pittsburgh +8 (-110) over Indianapolis


    November 23, 2005

    Link-O-Rama

    No, it's not Friday. Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow and the traffic on this site typically falls off a cliff on holidays (apparently most of you read this at work or something), I've decided to take the rest of the week off. In the meantime, peruse the many links I've provided for your enjoyment below, eat a lot of turkey, and I'll see you back here Monday.

  • I have complained numerous times about Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan's propensity to crowbar corny one-liners into his writing like a bad, old-school comedian (which is why I've tagged him with the nickname "Shecky Souhan." His column yesterday about the Vikings' comeback win over the Packers is a perfect example of the sort of stuff that bothers me:
    Your Vikings, like downtown Manhattan, Dali paintings and Aunt Ethel's hot dish, are a glorious mess.

    [...]

    Their offensive line is like that old Abbott & Costello baseball routine -- Who's at guard, What's at center and I Don't Know is at tackle -- yet that line made a joke out of the Packers defense in the second half.

    [...]

    The Vikings receivers, without Randy Moss to antagonize the Packers, are about as exciting as C-SPAN, but they made enough plays to outscore Brett Favre, with Koren Robinson setting up the game-winning field goal when the Packers left him as uncovered as Pamela Anderson in a home video.

    [...]

    The Vikings are 3-0 in November. They're a glorious mess much like their coach, Tice, who strode onto the Lambeau Field sidelines looking like an extra from the movie "Grease."

    Either that, or with his black jacket accessorizing his usual all-black attire, Tice was paying homage to the real man in black -- Johnny Cash. And now Tice seems to be trying to dance right out of his own personal ring of fire.

    Those are just a few highlights, but keep in mind that the entire column was only 671 words. As the complete hack of a comedian, Kenny Bania, once said, "That's gold, Jerry! Gold!"

  • I'm not sure how much truth there is to this, but an anonymous commenter left a note yesterday saying that MLB.com's Mark Sheldon will soon be leaving the Twins beat to cover the Reds. If true, that's a real shame. Sheldon not only does very good work while pumping out a ton of good content, he has been very friendly to the Twins' blogosphere. In a market that has far too many guys like Souhan, it hurts to lose someone good.
  • Earlier this month I linked to a story in the Salt Lake Tribune where Jerry Sloan was very critical of former Gophers star Kris Humphries and his disinterest in passing. Because of that it's only fair to point out that Humphries had a very good game against the Suns last week, putting up 16 points and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes. Of course, he failed to record an assist and then played just six minutes the next night, so it's safe to say he's not quite out of Sloan's doghouse.

    UPDATE: With Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer, and Matt Harpring all injured, Humphries started at power forward for the Jazz last night. He had six points and three rebounds in 26 minutes ... and somehow managed two whole assists!

  • Speaking of the Gophers, they got some very bad news this week when Vincent Grier went down with a broken finger on his shooting hand. It's a shame that the injury came in a non-conference game against a cupcake opponent like North Dakota State, especially since Dan Monson inexplicably played Grier all 40 minutes.

    I'm not sure what the point of the team's star playing all 40 minutes in the first game of the year is, but I'm trying to avoid blaming Monson. After all, Grier could have broken his finger playing 25 minutes. The Gophers always play a very weak non-conference schedule, which means they should still be able to rack up quite a few wins while Grier is out for 4-6 weeks, but their chances of getting any "quality wins" before the Big Ten schedule starts are very slim.

  • I don't envision writing a whole lot about the Gophers basketball team this year, but a former classmate of mine from the University of Minnesota school of journalism has started up a sabermetric-style basketball blog called Gopher Hoops. It just launched last week, but there is already some good stuff to read about how Grier's injury impacts the team. Go check it out.
  • Back in August, I linked to a FoxSports.com article that ranked the top 100 college football players in the country and then made an off-the-cuff remark about Adrian Peterson being "the best running back in the country." I quickly received an e-mail from Rich Lederer of The Baseball Analysts, who basically took me to task for not giving Reggie Bush (who was ranked one spot ahead of Peterson) that title.

    I tried to explain to Rich how I could simultaneously think that Bush was an extremely good player and also somewhat overrated. I talked about how he didn't even lead USC in rushing last year (LenDale White did), and how I thought he was more of an all-around threat that strictly a running back. And now? Well, it's time to eat a little crow.

    Peterson has had a disappointing, injury plagued season, rushing for just 787 yards (4.5 yards/carry) after gaining 1,925 yards (5.7 yards/carry) as a freshman. Meanwhile, Bush has arguably been the best player in the country, running back or otherwise. I watched in awe as he carved up Fresno State Saturday, piling up 294 rushing yards on 23 carries. Check out his season totals:

    ATT       YDS     AVG     TD     REC     YDS      AVG     TD
    163 1,398 8.6 13 31 383 12.4 2

    After totaling a modest 908 yards (6.4 yards/carry) on the ground last season, Bush already has 1,398 rushing yards this year and has picked up an incredible 8.6 yards per carry. Toss in 383 yards catching the football and some good work as a return man and he would have my Heisman vote if the season ended today.

    Of course, I still have some questions about his ability to be an every-down back in the NFL, particularly near the goal line, and I wonder how he'll fair when he doesn't have as many opportunities to run in open space. Still, there's no doubt that Bush is the best running back in the country, and I think his production has certainly caught up to his hype.

  • Speaking of USC, BetMaker.com already has a line up for a potential USC-Texas national championship game, with USC favored by 6.5 points. That's interesting, but what I'm really curious about is what the eventual over/under for the game will be. Texas and USC rank 1-2 in the country in points per game at 50.1 and 48.5, respectively, and both teams appear to be somewhat vulnerable defensively (particularly USC).

    After watching USC and Fresno State go back and forth in a 50-42 game Saturday and seeing Texas absolutely steam roll Oklahoma State in the second half after being down big early a few weeks ago, I wouldn't be shocked to see an 80-point over/under, which is just crazy. Assuming both teams take care of business down the stretch, it could be one of the better title games in quite a while.

  • This site is what the internet is all about. Well, that and porn. OK, mostly porn.
  • The New York Times ran a very nice profile of my favorite writer, Bill Simmons, this week. In it we learn a bit about Simmons' writing routine and his pre-ESPN days, which is always interesting.

    I have often wondered why ESPN doesn't put Simmons on TV more, since the majority of their programming these days revolves around writers yelling into a camera. Despite that, I can only remember seeing Simmons on ESPN once, and I think it was for about 10 seconds in one of those SportsCentury episodes on either the Red Sox or Celtics.

    Well, I think I know the reason now, or at least one of the reasons. Simmons made a brief cameo on Monday Night Football this week, appearing in a funny skit for "60 Seconds With Jimmy Kimmel" at halftime. While watching it I noticed that Simmons has a fairly high voice, which may either keep ESPN from putting him on TV or keep Simmons from wanting to be on TV. Or not, who knows?

    One thing that is for certain is that whether he sounds like Mike Tyson or Barry White I'd much rather listen to Simmons than guys like Stephen A. Smith and Jay Mariotti. Seriously, if you gave me the choice between Simmons speaking through one of those electrolarynx things for people who have lost their voice box or Woody Paige's dulcet tones, I'd take electro-Simmons in a heartbeat.

  • And finally, copies of The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2006 are already being delivered -- we beat the scheduled release date by a week and a few of you have e-mailed me saying you've received yours -- so if you haven't purchased the book yet, I encourage everyone to do so.
  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - Business of Baseball Report (by Brian Borawski)
    - A Short Digression into Log5 (by Dan Fox)
    - Stop the Madness! Or not. (by David Gassko)

    Pick of the Day (141-121, +$1,975):
    Boston -3 (-110) over Atlanta

    Thursday's Pick:
    Denver -2.5 (-110) over Dallas

    Friday's Pick:
    Wisconsin -7 (-110) over Hawaii

    Saturday's Pick:
    Fresno State -15 (-110) over Nevada

    Sunday's Pick:
    Cincinnati -9 (-110) over Baltimore


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