Picks of the Pen (7/19): New and Improved? We Think So

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Welcome to the new and improved format of Picks of the Pen!

There are two noticeable changes to this every-Monday feature.

The first of these is that the links are now identified by the member of the CttP staff that picked them.  We thought this would be a nice touch to give everyone a better feel for what each of us reads and what we find interesting.  In some small way it may even help you get to know each of us better.

The second change is far more significant as it relates to the content of this site.  Picks of the Pen basically cannibalized the formerly every-Friday Baseball Side of FanSided series.  In addition to selecting a link from outside the walls of the FanSided Sports Network, each member of our 9-man staff will also select a story from one of the other MLB sites in our network.  Going forward, instead of getting 9 links on a Monday morning, you get 18!  We hope you will enjoy these changes.

(links after the jump)

Justin:

This week, I’m taking a look at sports journalism and what the hell its even trying to accomplish.  Never is this inquiry so necessary than when we see players like Jon Lester asked questions like who he will and won’t get pizza with.

Steve Engbloom at Blog Red Machine points out that the Sox have bigger problems right now as they falter helplessly in the depths of Cincinnati.  He also as a spiffy new logo that looks like it needs to be shouted in order to pronounce it correctly.

Michael:

FanGraphs’ Matt Klaassen has eight mostly correct thoughts on Nationals 1B Adam Dunn. I sincerely hope he gets traded and stays in AL, because he was born to DH.

Taylor over at SoDo Mojo thinks that the Mariners are in an odd position: they have the pieces for the future to be competitive, but the team was so awful this year that it looks like they need an overhaul.

John:

Leave it to Joe Posnanski to put the George Steinbrenner Hall of Fame talk in perspective. It’s interesting how few owners are in the Hall, I wonder if merely being a successful owner should warrant consideration for the Hall. If he were equally as successful as he was, but had been the owner of the A’s or Royals, would we still be considering him for Cooperstown? I doubt it.

The big news in the past few days was the Braves trade of Yunel Escobar and Jo Jo Reyes to the Jays for Alex Gonzalez and two minor leaguers. I think this was a fantastic trade for Toronto as Escobar has a load of talent. CttP’s own Mat Germain gives his reaction over at Jays Journal.

Jordan:

MLB Trade Rumors has a very good piece on the path to the majors for Red Sox rookie Daniel Nava. Basically chronicling how Nava went from the Independent league to hitting a grand slam in his first major league at bat.

Redbird Rants has an excellent piece on Ozzie Smith, and how he expects to see a return of fundamental baseball. Smith looks forward to the return of the prototypical defensive shortstops.

Nathaniel:

Yahoo’s Jeff Passan examines the unlikely surge that looks to keep Adrian Gonzalez in San Diego.

Motor City Bengals examines the Tigers possibly trading for Mariners SS Jack Wilson, and concludes that the mere addition of a veteran isn’t necessarily a boost to a team in contention.

Wally:

Tim McCarver is not smart.  We already know that this is true, but he apparently enjoys reminding us of the fact on a regular basis. For the latest McCarver Moment, check out Craig Calcaterra article on Hardball Talk.

Alex Barnes has joined FanSided’s MLB team as the new Lead Writer on our Colorado Rockies site, Rox Pile.  In one of his first posts, he offers up his predictions on how the NL West will shake out by the end of the season.  At the same time I do a mental happy dance since the site finally has a lead.  Seriously Rockies fans, what’s with the lackluster blogging representation?

Mat:

Eric Karabell of ESPN echoes my sentiment that the young and extremely talented Jays starters deserve a lot more attention than they’re currently getting. In fact, I’d place the Jays top 4 starters as one of the top 4 in all of MLB.

Dan Soderberg, our new lead on Birds Watcher, puts himself in Buck Showalter’s shoes and gives his list of demands to the Orioles.

Brian:

Tim Kurkjian takes a look at the plethora of players on the DL across the MLB and what impact they will have as they return over the next several weeks. From the Red Sox to the Rockies, many teams have dealt with significant injuries in 2010 so far.

Yanks Go Yard put together a nice compilation of video and quotes from around the league to pay tribute to one of their own, George Steinbrenner. His impact on baseball will not soon be forgotten, whether you loved or hated ‘The Boss’.

Ryne:

Bobby Cox may not have the hardware Joe Torre and Tony La Russa have, but Cox is the Manager of the Era. His longevity in Atlanta is a testament to loyalty and consistency in a time where managers and coaches rarely last five years before being fired. Since he took over in Atlanta, no one has been better in baseball.

Cubbies Crib looks toward the future with reports indicating Lou Piniella will retire at the end of the year. Ryne Sandberg is the early favorite to replace him after four years in the minor leagues, but Bobby Valentine, Joe Girardi, Joe Torre, and Bob Brenly are also in the mix.

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Tags: Adam Dunn Adrian Gonzalez Alex Barnes Alex Gonzalez Atlanta Braves Birds Watcher Blog Red Machine Bobby Cox Boston Red Sox Buck Showalter Cincinnati Reds Colorado Rockies Craig Calcaterra Cubbies Crib Dan Soderberg Daniel Nava Detroit Tigers Eric Karabell ESPN FanGraphs George Steinbrenner Hardball Talk Jack Wilson Jays Journal Jeff Passan Joe Posnanski Jon Lester Lou Pinella Matt Klaassen Motor City Bengals Ozzie Smith Redbird Rants Rox Pile Ryne Sandberg San Diego Padres Seattle Mariners SoDo Mojo Steve Engbloom Tim Kurkjian Tim McCarver Toronto Blue Jays Washington Nationals Yanks Go Yard Yunel Escobar

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