Picks of the Pen

Hey I bet you stay on top of all this exciting MLB offseason stuff.  I bet that means you want to watch videos about all that stuff.  So for your pleasure, MLB has supplied us with a whole bunch of videos of Bud Selig talking about shit.

For other, better shit, check out the links below.

Blaine, Senior Editor

Tom Smith over at Rum Bunter had the opportunity to talk with Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington last Friday.  Huntington and Tom discussed the Pirates, the team’s current budget, the Rule 5 Draft and more.  It’s not every day that one of our writers gets an opportunity to chat with a front office exec, so be sure to check out Rum Bunter’s podcast.

Also last week, Josh Weinstock of The Hardball Times examined recent free agent signee Josh Willingham. Willingham is a favorite of Josh’s, and the Twins showed they were fairly impressed by the outfielder as well.

While he’s been very consistent over the past several years, Josh noticed that Willingham struggled with his contact rate in 2011. Josh takes a deeper look at these struggles and analyses how they should impact Willingham’s production in 2012 and beyond.

Joe, Staff Writer

The excellent Christina Kahrl has a must-read at ESPN’s SweetSpot blog about the storm ahead for new GM Jeff Luhnow. She goes into depth about what he brings to the table, his background, and the personnel in the front office that he will be working with.

Our very own Justin Hunter has a very well-written post and his take on the madness surrounding Ryan Braun and his–key phrase “coming up”–pending usage of PEDs. It is honestly one of the best takes on the issue that I have read, so click on the link above and get reading Jack (Merridew?)!

Mickey, Staff Writer

Instead of writing anything about free agent gossip or possible trade scenarios during his stay at the winter meetings, Jason Parks from Baseball Prospectus decided to write about the build up to his first encounter with Tom Verducci.  At times, this out of control short story will make you laugh your face off, and at other points you might think, “There is seriously something wrong with Jason Parks.”  I think it’s amazing though.

Our network friends over at Seedlings to Stars do great work covering prospects.  Wally Fish wrote a nice piece on Thursday covering the pre-MLB path of C.J. Wilson.  With quotes from various well known prospect outlets, you get see how Wilson was building his case to be a part of the Rangers’ rotation.

Chris, Staff Writer

I really enjoyed Mickey Brignall‘s piece about Carlos Beltran. Mickey explains that Beltran has plenty in the tank for another contract.

Bernie Miklasz from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asks whether or not Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina will stay in St. Louis when he becomes a free agent after the 2012 season. He suggests he may jump to Southern California with his buddy Albert Pujols.

Justin K., Staff Writer

Baseball Nation ran a post from Wendy Thurm entitled “Baseball and Sex,” which put the brakes on my internetting for a short time, as a headline like that is intended to.  Personally, I was not aware that MLB’s latest collective bargaining agreement contained a section on banning the discrimination of openly gay players.  Kind of sad that we have to announce things like that shouldn’t be done, but it was a big step for an issue people usually try to ignore.  And if that’s not enough, the U.S. embassy in the Phillipines donated some baseball equipment to local children!  What a week for good will, baseball, and progress!

At least, it was if you don’t count anything that happened to/around Barry Bonds.

On a less serious note, here is Sodo Mojo‘s Harrison Crow reacting to… something.