Picks of the Pen (11/15): Exit Stage Left

I could start this off with something about how this is the time of year where we are happy to see/forced to accept changes in our respective organizations, but if you’re reading a baseball website, you probably now that by now.  Otherwise, these editor-picked links below are going to be utterly useless to you.  Maybe you should be doing something more worthwhile with your time.  Think about it.

That said, this is the time of year when changes in our respective organizations abound.  People come and go, whether it is from a job or this plane of existence.  Here at FanSided, the MLB network has undergone massive spot-filling with talented writers.  If you need proof, because your life is overcast with hideous doubt, check out any of the 15 network blogs that have added new staff members since the off season alone.

Or just stay here and read the aforementioned links after the bump.  Your choice.


In honor Ryne Sandberg being a candidate for a minor league coaching job with the Phillies, here’s a play-by-play sequence of him getting kicked out of an Iowa Cubs game.

[Des Moines Register]


There’s a tremendous sadness when a legendary broadcaster passes away. When Ernie Harwell died, though he had retired years before, Tigers fans lost a surrogate father. My wife even sent flowers to comfort me.

It has to be even more difficult when the loss is more sudden, as I’m sure Phillies fans can attest. With the shocking news of the passing of the Voice of the Mariners, Dave Niehaus, Terry Melia of the UpperDeck Blog recounts his interactions with the Ford Frick Award winner.

Griffin Cooper of SodoMojo echoed the sentiments of Mariners fans everywhere with his piece about Niehaus. A true gentleman and storyteller, Niehaus probably never got the attention he deserved, but his loss will be felt for a long, long time. It will never be the same.


Are you the type of fan that wants more legit baseball leagues in other parts of the world? If you are, then grab yourself a Foster’s and tell the morons stressing over TV ratings to pipe down! The new Australian Baseball League is underway with backing from MLB.

The Royals turned up the Hot Stove thermostat by trading fan-favorite David DeJesus this week, but another popular Royal has been keeping things comfortably warm since the end of the regular season (if not before).

“Greinke-ganda” is running wild, and this week Jays Journal’s Jared McDonald offered up some excellent thoughts on whether Toronto should make a real effort to trade for Zack. I remain steadfast in my belief that he’s not going anywhere and also that he doesn’t want to go anywhere but it is interesting to read opinions from other markets (many of them terribly misguided, uninformed or both) on the Royals ace.


In an ironic twist, Ryne Sandberg could be on his way back to the Philadelphia Phillies organization.  The team that drafted and then infamously traded Ryno to the Cubs wants Sandberg to manage its Triple-A in Lehigh Valley this summer after his failed attempt  to land the Cubs heads job.

Frisco Fastball says this Fear the Beard Video Game — like Wilson’s orange cleats — is just too much awesome. And I’d have to agree.


When Al Michaels would announce Mike Bordick’s name in Hardball 5, it sounded like he was saying “Mike Warrior.”  I thought that was the sweetest baseball name ever.  Every time, I would race to the stats menu to see that, oh yeah, its not that.  Thanks a lot, Al Michaels’ pronunciation skills.  Turns out it was just some normal, boring name with the word “dick” in it.

Anyways, Mike has no idea if he will be a part of the Orioles coaching staff next year, a story that resonates with us Philadelphians, who are sort of the cause of some of the coaching staff openings in Baltimore.

Yes, everybody’s making changes, even the easternmost team in the westernmost division.  Logan Burdine on Rox Pile decodes the Rockies’ free agency predicaments, and what they will have to do to stay in contention with the apparently residually contentious Giants.


We live in technologically savvy times.  Computers that used to take up entire rooms in the 1950s are less powerful than the cell phone in my pocket.  Cars can check your blindspot for you (and that kind of terrifies me more in its own way).  It’s no surprise that technical changes could be applied to the game of baseball.  Will Carroll looked at the potential application of the X-Box Kinect system to both improve baseball video game performance AND real-life mechanics on the mound.  It’s fascinating to read the roads we may be headed down and what it might mean.

I wanted to point out a fine analysis done by Gage Matthews on Kings of Kauffman.  Billy Butler was named the Royals player of the year for 2010, and he deserved it.  But does it mean anything in relation to the rest of the league?  Gage broke down the best players on every other major league team and compared them to the Royals first baseman to see just how valuable it is to be the best player on a bad team.

With 2010 already in the rear-view mirror, Ernie Padaon at Chicken Friars looks to next year.  I think we all know that feeling as baseball fans.  Ernie’s take? The Padres could use some bats, but they may not be headed that way.  As a Royals fan, I just have to say, I’m with ya, Ernie.  I understand.


Some baseball experts view Jayson Werth as the the best non-pitching free agent available. Reports emerged saying the Phillies were all set to write off the prospects of Werth’s return. Not so, says Phillies GM Ruben Amaro in a piece by Bob Brookover on The Phillies Zone.

No question the Mets endured a difficult season. The end result was an extremely disappointing 79-83 record, finishing 18 games back of the Phillies, and the firing of manager Jerry Manuel and GM Omar Minaya. Rising Apple‘s Adam Garnett fills us all in on the new front office the Mets have assembled, including the newest member, Paul DePodesta. Could this slew of former MLB front office types help?


The Chicago Cubs appear destined for another 102 years of losing, as this week, the Curse of Harry Caray may have been created.  While moving the Harry Caray statue outside of Wrigley Field, workers accidentally damaged it. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune provides us with the details surrounding another “Cubbie Occurrence.”

There is no doubt that Cliff Lee was a big reason  the Texas Rangers won the American League pennant this year. With Lee being heavily coveted by the New York Yankees, Austin Waldron of Nolan Writin’ asks the question, “Is Cliff Lee Worth The Money?”


It’s hard to know what A’s GM Billy Beane is going to do at any given moment. Fangraphs broke down the potential repercussions of his latest moves.

Here’s an excellent breakdown of Vince Mazzaro, the righthander the Royals acquired from the A’s this week. Gage Matthews concludes that Mazzaro could help KC, but is quick to point out the young righthander’s flaws as well.

Tags: Coach Off Season Picks Of The Pen Ryune Sandberg Technology

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