January 2009 Archives

Weekend Anniversary Question

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Hey kids, it's true, tomorrow this baseball blog is turning one. Our very first post was this oft-referenced Hall of Sandwiches post back in the halcyon days of January 2008 when the only folks reading the blog were me and Kris.

True story: when brainstorming names for this blog, I wanted to call it "The Clockless Game" while Kris wanted to think up a name with the word "Ghostrunner" in it. Well, Lloyd's place used that mantle much better, and we both agreed that "clockless" sounds too much like "cockless", so we were stuck for a name. We wrote stuff for a couple weeks without an actual website until Sally suggested we try something with the word "walkoff" in it; the domain name you've come to know and love was registered within minutes.

So on Monday we'll entertain y'all with some special anniversary posts, but until then, we have just one question this weekend:

  • HOW will you celebrate the one-year anniversary of Walkoff Walk tomorrow?

Back on Monday, same WoW place, same WoW time.

bonilla2009.jpg

The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections.

This afternoon, in no particular order, we look at players born before 1970. It's the final edition of BONILLA for the year:

Age 40

Ken Griffey, OF: One of all the all time greats, with one of the all time nice Moms. Lives in Orlando so he can ride Splash Mountain "whenever he damn well pleases."

Troy Percival, RP: Has started a single game in 14 year career. Someone must have had terrible diarrhea that day... but Troy will never say who.

Mariano Rivera, RP: The most feared relief pitcher of all time famously throws only one pitch. So why's he so scary? Prior to each game he dunks his uniform in a washtub of pitbull pheremones. From fresh squeezed pitbulls. I'm just glad he's old.

So Taguchi, OF: Born during Woodstock to two idealistic 17 year olds from Western CT. Herb Centers and Marion Thomas thought it was just the acid that made their child look Japanese. But it wasn't. So they named him So Taguchi and just played along. They married 8 weeks later.

Age 41

Rudy Seanez, RP: Foreman of the United Journeyman's Society. Has pitched for so many teams that he gets to list his Agent as a pimp. For tax purposes.

Gary Sheffield, DH: Hornery. That second "r" is soooooo important.

Matt Stairs, OF: Last postseason's "Workingman Human Interest Piece Of Choice." Debuted in 1992, the same year as John Sencio.

Age 42

Luis Gonzalez, OF: Like most of these old dudes, currently a free agent. Father of triplets. Clearly the steroid allegations were misguided and he should have been tested for fertility drugs. Hates Norwegians.

Tom Gordon, RP: Likes to drive entire family to Six Flags, drive into the parking lot then turn around and drive out saying "Ha! I was never going to take you there." Then continues laughing.

Trevor Hoffman, RP: Thinks hooded sweatshirts are just that. For hoods.

John Smoltz, SP: Was made for loving you. Wants to give it all to you. In the darkness.

Omar Vizquel, SS:

Wants to see it in your eyes. Feel the magic. Girl you were made for him.

Age 43

Moises Alou, OF: You know someone's gonna sign this guy and we're all gonna get to use those handpissing jokes for another year. You just know it. Thank god, that's a huge part of our material. BECAUSE WE'RE HACKS.

Tom Glavine, SP: Played with a quiet intensity by Ron Howard since 1988.

Curt Schilling, SP: Pretty much the human embodiment of talk radio. I love him because I have to. May pitch this year if REAL AMERICANS have anything to say about it.

Mike Timlin, RP: See above. Except for the talk radio thing. Timlin's kind of a mute.

Tim Wakefield, SP: Played with a quiet intensity by Clint Howard since 1991.

Even Older Than Those Guys

Orlando Hernandez, SP: Most say his career is over but he already has a rubber arm. So what if he needs a year to rehab? He'll be back. Called me at 2AM to say "If you see one film this year, make it HOTEL FOR DOGS."

Barry Bonds, OF: Should play. I wrote it like 8 times on two different websites last year. Can't jump ship now.

Randy Johnson, SP: Signed by the Giants. Should have no trouble finding a good hairstylist this time around.

Jamie Moyer, SP: On a mountain of skulls, in a castle of pain, he sat on a throne of blood. Not exactly a man of the people, the evil tyrant gave himself such nicknames as the Scourge of Carpathia and the Sorrow of Moldavia, and was also known to his people as Jamie the Cruel, Jamie the Torturer, Jamie the Despised, and Jamie the Unholy (and, according to Peter Venkman, he was also Jamie the Butch). In 1610 his people rebelled against him, and decided that his death should equal his cruelty. Jamie was poisoned, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disemboweled, and finally drawn and quartered. Before he finally died, his severed head uttered his last words: "Death is a but a door, time is but a window. I'll be back!"

And in 1989, he did come back. His spirit possessed a portrait he had painted of himself which was on display at the Manhattan Museum of Art. His plan was to draw strength from an underground river of slime generated by the negative emotions of the people living in New York, then possess the body of a child on New Year's Eve so that he could live again. Using his dark magic, he brainwashed the museum's curator, Janosz Poha, instructing him to find an infant. Janosz picked Oscar, the baby of his employee Dana Barrett, and eventually kidnapped him. Jamie would eventually be thwarted by the Ghostbusters, who researched his background and deduced his connection to the river of slime.

On New Year's Eve, Jamie had gathered enough strength to actually exit the painting and attempt to take over Oscar's body, but the evil spirit was weakened by the singing of crowds outside the museum who were celebrating the birth of the new year. Jamie retreated back into the painting, transforming into a hideous monster, and briefly took over the body of Ray Stantz. The other Ghostbusters then covered Ray with positively-charged slime, blasting Jamie back into the painting again. Jamie's ghost was then dispelled forever when the painting itself was doused in the slime.

bonilla2009.jpg

The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections.

Today, in no particular order, we look at players born after 1985:

Players born in 1986

Felix Hernandez, SP: Has already passed the point where people ask "Felix Hernandez has been pitching for this long and he's still that young?" and arrived at the point where people say, "Wow, Felix Hernandez has been pitching for this long and he still hasn't won 15 games?"

Phil Hughes, SP: When asked by Ian Kennedy if he wanted to go see Okkervil River, exclaimed "Sure!" and hurried home to put on his fishing pants and pick up his reel.

Billy Butler, 1B/DH: Wanted to grow up and became a famous blues guitarist but gave up quickly when told he had "child's hands that could never wrap around the neck of the guitar". Bo Diddley is a cruel teacher.

Homer Bailey, SP: In 2008, Homer Bailey released a charity wine called "Homer Bailey's Chardonnay" with 100% of his proceeds supporting Outdoors Without Limits, an organization committed to help reduce the barriers that prevent disabled people from enjoying the great outdoors. Ferreals. But it was way too oakey so I spit it back in his face.

Yovani Gallardo, SP: Not unlike a Depression-era child whose parents pass on and is forced to raise his younger siblings, Gallardo will be asked to carry a Brewers team that has seen the departure of CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. In this scenario, Jeff Suppan is the wacky older uncle.

Jair Jurrjens, SP: Threw a tantrum on Christmas 1999 when he didn't get any LEGOs from Santa Claus. His parents felt that thirteen was too old to be playing with "silly plastic bricks". Today, Jurrjens can buy his own damn LEGO.

Johnny Cueto, SP: Throws the speedball by 'em, makes 'em look like a fool. But also gives up too many tater tots and has wildly massive pitch counts that makes it hard to get out of the fifth inning alive. Has spent the off-season raising ferrets for disabled dogs to have as pets.

Nick Adenhart, SP: Contrary to popular notion, this right-handed pitching prospect does not spend eight-to-ten hours a day playing Gears of War on Xbox 360, despite the constant presence of someone with the online ID of "nickadenhartstudpitcherforthelosangelesangelsofanaheim". That is an impostor. (hint: totally Chone Figgins)

Reid Brignac, SS: Went hitless in ten July at-bats for the Rays last year, replacing the injured Jason Bartlett for a short stretch. Some blame Reid's poor play for the Tampa media naming Bartlett the team MVP. And by 'some' I mean 'Rob Iracane'.

Chris Volstad, SP: Still argues that The Lion in Winter deserved the Oscar over Oliver! despite the fact that the award was given over 40 years ago and well before Volstad was born. He's also never seen either film, but really liked the lion in Narnia.

Pablo Sandoval, 1B/3B: Should get the chance to win a job out of spring training with the Giants. First base, third base, catcher, radio color commentary guy, Pablo will take what he can get. Hit ten doubles in just 145 at-bats last year.

Jon Niese, SP: Spent the winter helping his brother Eric build poorly-designed wooden shanties along the Jersey Shore for needy guidos. Look for them on the new TLC show "Dago Knows Best".

Matt Tuiasosopo, 3B: Born in Bellevue, WA and plays for the Mariners organization now. He practically bleeds wild salmon and pinot noir. Is the son of former NFL'er Manu Tuiasosopo which proves that as the generations of families progress, folks get smarter and choose better sports.

Matt Wieters, C: Finallly, some good news for Orioles fans who are used to bad news! Wieters is the #1 prospect in the world, a can't miss, power-hitting catcher with a heart made of gold and feet made of magic. He'll probably make his debut in late April and be traded by Peter Angelos in August for $5 million in cash and a pizza to be named later.

Colby Rasmus, CF: Has an actual fan page dedicated to his supreme awesomeness. Don't get too excited, Colby. There are web-pages devoted to all kinds of crazy crap on the Internet.

Franklin Morales, SP: Loves that Gary Jules version of "Mad World" that they played over that video game commercial a couple years back until he found out the original was done by Tears for Fears. Really hates British New Wave bands. Really.

Andrew McCutchen, CF: There is not enough room in PNC Park's center field for both Andrew McCutchen and Nate McLouth. Move over, McLouth. McCutchen is Sizz'lean.

Players born in 1987

Justin Upton, RF: Favorite berry is the boysenberry although he's never actually tasted one. Just really likes saying "boysenberry" over and over again, much to the chagrin of the Diamondbacks clubhouse. Kids these days, with their wacky words!

Cameron Maybin, CF: Had a streak of 10 plate appearances in which the end result had him reaching base safely. That's a Marlins record, folks! Is super-scintillating-stoked about the new Marlins ballpark that he considers to be modern architecture at its best.

Jay Bruce, RF: Believes in heaven, hell, and purgatory but will sit you down and argue with you for hours on end if you claim there's such a thing as "Belgium".

Conor Gillaspie, 3B: Was drafted just last year and already saw some hot major league action in September, but it was with the Giants. That's like showing up your first day of college and being asked to teach Philosophy 101 because hey, it's only philosophy and it's just made up anyway.

Players born in 1988

Clayton Kershaw, RP: Had a breakthrough hit in 1984 with the song "Wouldn't It Be Good". Is totally hated by Franklin Morales.

Travis Snider, LF: The slugger of the future in Toronto or just the second coming of Matt Stairs? You decide. Well not really, that's not how baseball works. Travis once ate an entire suckling pig, head-to-toe, bones and all.

Elvis Andrus, SS: Third most popular Elvis in the state of Texas after Fat Elvis and this lunatic.

Fernando Martinez, SP: Will probably serve himself well to get a year in Triple A Buffalo, but with the Mets troubled rotation after the #1 Johan Santana, you never know when the kid might get an August call-up to keep New York in the race for third place. (edit: I HAVE NO IDEA WHO THIS PERSON IS)

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Nothing happened last night worth reporting. Today's Dutch Oven is empty and it will therefore and henceforth be the final Dutch Oven of the off-season. There are still many (Manny!) free agents left unsigned but I'll be damned if I'm going to wait patiently for each and every one of them to get a deal and fill out these pieces with other, sillier news. My predictions: Bobby Abreu will end up a Giant, Adam Dunn a Met, and Manny Ramirez a Dodger once again. There can be no other way.

So on Monday, we abandon the Dutch Oven until next winter and will only report on free agent signings with remaindered links accompanied by ridiculous animated GIFs. I hope you enjoyed this format and I hope you all went out and bought a dutch oven to make chili in.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, you're supposed to turn it on to make it work.

That's it for today. Come back and join us tomorrow as we finish off the BONILLA projections with two bookend entries, and approach a very special date in Walkoff Walk history.

(Tigers fantasy camp photo courtesy of Tom Hagerty and LakelandLocal.com)

Smell Ya Later, Shea Stadium

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I come to bury Shea Stadium, not to praise it. My eulogy will be vicious and I will not hold back. But that's not quite what Mets fans are planning this weekend. A large group of Shea supporters will gather this Saturday at noon to "to share stories and take photographs of what is left of the ballpark" in what is being described as a celebration and not a funeral. Well of course it's not a funeral, the stadium's not dead yet, it's just hanging on by a concrete-and-steel thread.

I've been to Shea about a dozen times, but as a devoted Yankee fan, I'd rather stick pins in my eyes than head to Shea for the sad ceremony this weekend. Shea was just another one of Robert Moses' 1960's era car-centric ideas to build a baseball park in the middle of Flushing Meadows, far displaced from the Brooklyn and Manhattan fanbases who were being courted after the hasty departure of their beloved Dodgers and Giants. In fact, the mere existence of a baseball park in Queens was the reason the Dodgers left; Walter O'Malley knew he'd make more money going to Los Angeles than helping Moses promote the Worlds Fair site in Flushing.

The place was unimaginatively designed in the multipurpose circle style popular in the era. It was never truly a baseball park; Shea has hosted football games, soccer games, and R.E.M. concerts. Once during a Jets game, a halftime show featuring model airplanes had a grand finale involving a flying lawnmower that lost control, flew into the stands, and killed a spectator. The only thing worse than being killed by a flying lawnmower is being killed by a flying lawnmower in an hideous stadium in Queens.

The building was ugly and had an upper deck that was so steep, you needed a Sherpa to bring your beer and hotdogs up when you ascended to your nosebleed seats. The luxury boxes were narrow and had an overhang that jutted out so far you felt you were in a bunker in 'Nam. It was situated squat in the middle of the LaGuardia airport approach zone so airplane noise progressively got worse as air traffic increased over the years. The city wanted to plop a glass dome on top of the park but couldn't because the structure was built in a swamp and couldn't support the weight.

Worst of all, the place hosted Mets games and Mets fans for forty-four years. There is no wrecking ball or dynamite that can rid the site of that stench, no matter how beautiful and elegant the new CitiField will prove to be. Still, Shea Stadium will always hold one very special place in my heart. It's the place I met my girlfriend, during a group outing in the summer of 2007, despite neither of us being a Mets fan. We shared chicken fingers that night and have been together for nearly two years, thanks to that awful municipal stadium in the swamps of Flushing.

But really, burn the place down, we're done with it.

(Actual destructive Shea Stadium imagery legitimately obtained from Flickr user babyknight)

bonilla2009.jpg

The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections.

Today, in no particular order, Lloyd and Kris collaborate to look at players in the prime of life, born in 1983:

Edwin Jackson, SP: Born in Germany. Calls German Chocolate Cake "that dope ass cake I used to eat with the coconut back home all the time." Pitching career about to implode in Detroit.

Miguel Cabrera, 3B: Huge numbers, huge appetite, little tolerance for caffeine. Bounces off the walls like a goddamned firecracker after a half a can of Pepsi. Once hit a ball through a guy.

Edgar Gonzalez, RP:: Still enjoys getting a good piece of mail now and then. The letter is a lost art, ya know?

Chad Gaudin, RP: Can pitch in any situation... start, relief, closing. Not well. But he can do it.

Jose Reyes, SS: 6 tool player. Extra tool is allen wrench.

Jose Lopez, 2B: Had the best season of his career last year. Is having the next season of his career this year. Take that to the bank. And put it in a high yield CD.

Brandon League, RP: Family has the wicked easy time coming up with reunion themes. I bet you can think of 5 plays on the word "League" right now.

Gavin Floyd, SP: Drinks cologne.

Casey Kotchman, 1B: Only pickup line: "Casey Kotchman is a crotchman!" Didn't adjust so well to Atlanta. Hates peaches.

Joe Mauer, C: Unassuming star of stage, screen and backstop. Passed Prince as most popular guy in Minnesota 3 years ago and has never looked back.

Zack Greinke, SP: As crazy as he is talented, which is to say he's batshit insane. Which is also to say he's good at pitching. BONILLA projects him for 200 Ks and 6 good cries.

Matt Capps, RP: One of the NL's most effective relievers. One of it's worst xylophone players. He licks the keys and uses the mallet to test his knee reflexes.

J.P. Howell, RP: Failed in 3 seasons of limited action as a starter. Has excelled in the smaller role of set up man. This is the only thing he has in common with Charlie Sheen, negligible as a film star but surprisingly great on CBS sitcom, "Two & A Half Men."

Dana Eveland, SP: Middle name: Nosferatu. Describes genitals as "long, strong and full of boysenberry syrup."

Justin Verlander, SP: Former RoY had a tough 2008. Not as tough as Roy Scheider, but still no fun. We tell a lot of Roy jokes on this website. I need to diversify my portfolio.

Brandon McCarthy, SP Like your old roommate who spent 7 consecutive semesters saying that was the one where he'd graduate, this is finally supposed to be the year McCarthy stays healthy and produces. Likes to talk smack on message boards. Very unlikable. Or am I just saying that so he'll comment on this story?

Huston Street, RP: Possibly as crazy as Zack Grienke is talented.

Zach Duke, SP Gadzooks.

Kyle Davies, SP: Without a doubt, the lamest member of the Kinks, but the best athlete.

Cla Meredith, RP: Prett goo relieve who cam back t eart somewha afte tw stella season.

Ronny Cedeno, UTIL: Career OPS+ of 62. Stays in majors with uncanny hugging prowess.

Francisco Liriano, SP: 2009 AL Cy Young Award Winner. If that happens everyone has to buy Bobby Bonilla a Snickers. And us a car.

Edwin Encarnacion, 3B: "Edwin Encarnacion Instant Breakfast" is milk poured into his own hand and lapped out like a kitten.

Willy Aybar, UTIL:I believe the term for Willie Aybar's head is "nubby." The spanish Guy Fieri.

Edinson Volquez, SP: A 2008 Cy Young Candidate, was so good last season that Jon Daniels couldn't even call the Josh Hamilton trade a great success. Man the Rangers are lousy.

Ervin "Magic Carlos" Santana, SP:: Had career year in 2008, making up for the loss of Kelvim Escobar. Got violent diarrhea at my Bar Mitzvah even though he wasn't there and I'm not Jewish.

Hanley Ramirez, SS: Best all around player in baseball as long as you don't think fielding is part of baseball. For those of you who don't "habla espanol" El Nino is Spanish for... THE NINO.

Andy Marte, 3B: In light of being a weak-hitting infielder and a grown man named Andy, vows to keep the childish moniker until his age equals his career OPS+. Is far closer to Andres than any professional ballplayer should be.

Craig Hansen, RP: Mid season trade to the Pirates followed its natural progression: offseason pirating in the Gulf of Aden. Scored wicked cheap plasmas for his place on the Allegheny and his place in Outer Mogadishu.

Geovany Soto, C: Working closely with President Obama and Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño to prevent an imbalance of catcher-based trade from the island to the mainland, in the interest of increased sovereignty and good will. Thinks Carlos Delgado is a total Commie.

Adam Lind, LF: The proud owner of the worst tattoo in baseball is proof you don't believe what happens in September or April. Carries the burden of Lloyd the Barber's hopes and dreams with him to the plate every AB.

Fausto Carmona, SP: Induces groundballs in the summer and child births in the winter. He's a trained and accredited midwife!

Cole Hamels, SP: Married a former Playmate yet still feels like, somehow, he's settling. Received a huge raise but remains underpaid.

Alberto Callaspo, 2B: Sweet like molasses.

Chris Young, CF: Unfortunately looks like the kind of player that will carry the "potential" tag forever. On the plus side, has a Magic Bullet in every room of his house.

Carlos Villanueva, SP: Envious of all the Manny Parra love around here, launches a Spanish language site on baseball and la condición humana. Initial surge of traffic quickly subsides when he replaces Lobster Baby with pictures of displaced Kurdish orphans.

Travis Ishikawa, 1B: Disappointing numbers at the big league level can be easily explained away: it wasn't actually Ishiwawa last year, but a heavily disguised Nathan Fillion researching a role.

Glen Perkins, SP: Considering skipping 2009 altogether, rather than face the inevitable crash back to Earth at speed.

Matt Garza, SP: The Gila Monster is the Rays pitcher most likely to match his 2008 output, mostly out of spite.

Stephen Drew, SS: Florida State Seminole hoodwinked somebody into shooting him a MVP vote. Anchors the worst defensive infield in baseball with pride.

Russell Martin, C: Unlike most Canadians that move to LA to pursue their dreams, Martin only has to worry about getting the late-afternoon sun in his eyes.

Dustin Pedroia, 2B: If he wins the MVP again, I'll buy you an autographed Steve Nash jersey.

Howie Kendrick, 2B: Called in three separate frog rain hoaxes during the 2008 season. Deathly afraid of the word tarpaulin.

Nick Markakis, RF: Awesome, Greek, and rich; just like his hero John Stamos.

Travis Buck, RF: Even the most modest projections point towards a down year for run production and follicle cultivation.

Hunter Pence, RF: Big & tools-ey, just how Ed Wade feels an ocean of guilt about likin 'em.

Andy LaRoche, 3b: Isn't nearly as good as his older brother nor is he as good as the Pirates thought when the traded for him. Heads up the clubhouse World of Warcraft guild, which keeps him in Nate McLouth's good books.

Mark Reynolds, 3B: The only Major League Baseball player to register 200 strikeouts in a single season. String of STIs proves overcompensation has a price.

Ryan Braun, LF: Is so fucking mad that Liakos got Ervin Santana to come to his Bar Mitzvah. Equally disappointed to learn CTC isn't really Jewish so he didn't have to memorize the Aliyah.

Andy Sonnanstine, SP: Somehow missed enough bats for a WHIP under 1.30 and a FIP under 4.00. Teammates are tired him repeatedly calling their wives "Topanga."

Kurt Suzuki, C: Won some Gilded Leather in 2008 and hit a bunch of clutch home runs. Working with Alan Moore on his first graphic novel Fighting Crime with Bazooki and the F-Hammer.

Ryan Rowland-Smith, SP: Left handed Australian begoggled baseball playing blogger. Offers hope that your little brother could be the backup full back for the Adelaide Crows.

Jacoby Ellsbury, OF: Skilled enough to ensure 2009 is the year that his achievements catch up to his fame.

Garrett Olson, SP: On the move again, this time to the Northwest. Has tremendous potential, based on the way he flew through the minors. Mostly because of his father's early flying carpet patent, but also his irrational fear of bus travel.

Brandon Moss, OF: The Pirates have so many multi-purpose outfielders, one of them is bound to make a splash this year. Brandon Moss hopes it's him, as he has incredible debts from an organ-harvesting business deal gone wrong.

Radhames Liz, SP: Baseball Reference page sponsored by fearshop.com, home to your favorite horror movie t shirts. Their latest and most terrifying shirt features Liz's WHIP in huge type.

Steven Pearce, RF: Sent me an e-card yesterday, stating he understood how hard it must be to come up with something interesting to say about Steven Pearce. He's a real prick, it turns out.

Joey Votto, 1B: Plans on leading the parade down Bloor Street after leading Canada to shock WBC title. Or just heading down Bloor in search of some solid Korean BBQ.

Jeff Clement, C: Many hopes and even a few dreams are pinned on Clement becoming the non-Japanese catcher of the future in Seattle. Spends his time away from the park looking at pictures of commenter Chief Wahoo's dog.

Lance Broadway, RP: Big part of the White Sox new policy to only employ 26 year old pitchers.

Luke Hochevar, SP: Promising member of the Royals promising rotation. Promised his mom he wouldn't mosh anymore after injuring himself at a Promise Ring/The Promise show in Denver.

Charlie Morton, SP: Swears up and down that Gary Cherone-era Van Halen is "the best shit they ever did." Loves recent Weezer as well.

Brett Gardner, CF: Scrappy little fourth outfielder for the Yankees, meaning his BR page gets more daily views than Jake Peavy and Ben Sheets combined.

Wes Bankston, 1B: Complied a wonderful 7.5 : 1 K to BB rate in limited time in 2008. Despite good power numbers in the minors, Billy Beane is expected to execute him at sundown on Opening Day.

Taylor Teagarden, C: The newest member of the Rangers Catching & Consonant Appreciation Society is everyone's sexy pick for ROY and ZOMG! awards in 2009. Punched out James Lipton on principal alone.

Clayton Richard, SP: Winning a starting job out of Spring Training will go a long way to moving up form the kid's table at the annual Former Michigan Backup Quarterbacks luncheon.

Chris Getz, 2B: With only 7 Major League plate appearances to his name, it may be time for Chris to follow his Uncle Leo into the lucrative world of ethnic comic relief.

Fernando Perez, OF: Figures to be the odd man out in Tampa's outfield and clubhouse chapel. Keeps getting mysterious love notes and gifts from a certain "Rob I" from New Jersey.

George Kottaras, C: Coaches spent his first few years in the minors trying to undo the numerous bad habits gained during a lifetime of baseball in Canada. The most egregious was telling people he was the Sox new "backcatcher."

Humberto Sanchez, RP: Will regret both his poor conditioning and lack of accuracy when Gary Sheffield comes to extract revenge on Sanchez for his role in Sheff's trade to Detroit.

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Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

  • Mariners Acquire Recent Orioles Pitcher From Cubs, Mayflower Moving Company Stock Ticks Up: Hope you didn't unpack your bags, young left-handed pitcher Garrett Olson! Mere days after being traded from Baltimore to Chicago for outfielder Felix Pie, Olson is set to head west to Seattle as part of the Ronny Cedeno/Aaron Heilman deal. The M's are stockpiling young southpaws as if they had some sort of magic inside of them that can combat the current economic crisis.

  • Jon Garland Signs With Diamondbacks, Packs Light Lunch For Short Flight: Former Angels righty Jon Garland has inked a one-year deal with Arizona where he will be paid about $8 million for posting a slightly worse-than-average ERA with mediocre strikeout numbers and a decent walk rate. Expect his homers allowed to go up in the dry 'n' high desert atmosphere and expect his burrito intake to remain steady at 2.5 per day.

  • Will Clark Returns to San Francisco, Giants Players Recoil in Fear: Former Giants first baseman Will Clark is headed back to the team as a special assistant to the front office. It's just an honorary title as his only duties will be to show up at fan events and wave, and sometimes visit some of the Giants farm teams to whip them kids into shape. Just keep The Thrill away from the champers, dudes.

  • Barry Bonds Had Naughty Pee-Pee: Looks like Barry Bonds urine had a trace of steroids in it that wasn't related to the cream or the clear. Whoops.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I'm a runaway.

  • LOOKING for some good George Mitchell jokes? Well I can't help you, but here are some terrible ones.

  • WILL Jerry Manuel's naked pleading for Manny do any good?

  • HAVE you always wished that your video games had more David Lee Roth in them? I never have because I can't stand the bastard, but this VH version of Asteroids is still pretty nice.

  • WHAT does the acquisition of Aaron Heilman mean to the Cubs? I don't mean on a baseball level, I mean on a profoundly spiritual one.

  • WHAT'S next for snow artist Cards fans? Maybe an ice sculpture of Aaron Heilman giving up a go ahead tater tot.

  • DO you think this All Free Agent Team could make a run at the playoffs? I say we give em a chance. Their home park can be Scott Boras' front yard.

  • IF Joe Torre claims his new book isn't "a tell all" then we should believe him, right? Even if he squawks like a canary about Johnny Damon's teammates hating him.

Tomorrow you get your largest, and second to last BONILLA of 2009 so stretch. You're gonna need to be limber to read the whole thing. See you then. Same WoW channel.

(Cincinnati Red Stockings photo circa 1868 courtesy of Yesterprints)

Video Interview: Diamondbacks GM, Josh Byrnes

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I got on my Skype this morning for an exclusive sitdown with Diamondbacks GM, Josh Byrnes. We discussed the club's relatively quiet offseason, and whether or not he has any regrets after his first trip around the Hot Stove. It's revealing, candid stuff, and you'll only find it on Walkoff Walk.

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The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections.

Today, in no particular order, we look at players born in 1976:

Michael Barrett, C: Has his arsenal of haymakers and left hooks stowed away under his passport as he crosses the northern border to join up with the Blue Jays organization for aught-nine. This will be his twelfth season without a playoff appearance. One day he will be on the Hall of Fame ballot.

Lance Berkman, 1B: Has received dozens upon dozens of MVP votes in the last seven seasons but is resigned to be just the second (third?!?) best first baseman in his own division. Fat Elvis hates the nickname Fat Elvis.

Pat Burrell, DH: As a Ray, disappointingly will lose his bevy of annual games versus the Mets, hurting his chances to improve on his 41 career tots versus the Flushing franchise. Will still find a way to torture Billy Wagner, probably with lawn darts.

Eric Byrnes, LF: Completes the typical Rob Dibble exacta of being a shitty banged-up ballplayer and a shitty broadcaster. Will spend 2009 rehabbing injuries he hasn't had yet and quilting a patch for the AIDS quilt.

Scott Downs, RP: Has a very famous syndrome named after him. Yes, it's true: Scott Syndrome, or the inability of people named Scott to not be total toolbags, is named after Scott Downs.

Brandon Duckworth, RP Q: What's a Brandon Duckworth? A: To Dayton Moore, about $600,000. HACK JOKE ALERT

Kyle Farnsworth, RP: Q: What's a Kyle Farnsworth? A: To Dayton Moore, about $9,250,000. Seriously, Royals, what's up with you employing relievers whose last names end with -worth?

Josh Fogg, SP: Usually sings along to the National Anthem but feels, deep in his heart, that the National Anthem should be "Johnny Angel" by Shelley Fabares.

Ryan Freel, CF: Thinks and says crazy things and refuses to put his money where his mouth is. Actually invented the voice in his head prior to an on-field collision with Norris Hopper in 2007.

Eric Gagne, RP: Needed a mental break in 2008 after giving up too many tater tots before ceding his job to the sausage man. Is still a free agent, Omar Minaya!

Troy Glaus, 3B: Snickers every time he hears the phrases "pitchers mound" or "batters box" because really, to Troy Glaus, everything is about female anatomy. Just had shoulder surgery, so don't pencil him in your Opening Day lineup, LaRussa.

Ross Gload, 1B: Is the single most successful Gload to emerge from the Gload family of Brooklyn, New York, even taking into consideration Ross' older sister Suzette, who you may know by her stage name, Donna Summer.

Jason Grilli, RP: Perhaps the single most effective reliever in the Tigers organization last year, which fully explains why they traded him to the Rockies. Broke Charles Nagy's Big East record for most strikeouts in a game with 18 while at Seton Hall back in '97. Is my guinea dago paisan.

Vlad Guerrero, RF: Like the process or not, he's received MVP votes every year of his career since his rookie campaign in 1997. Is so toolsy he might as well be named Scott.

Jose Guillen, CF: Is a dick.

Jerry Hairston, LF: Brother of Scott Hairston, Son of Jerry Hairston, Grandson of Sammy Hairston, and Nephew of Johnny Hairston. Was one of the most productive players on the Reds last year despite playing just 80 games.

Wes Helms, 3B: From his Wikipedia entry, "Often considered to be in the fraternity of "Country Strong" big league players with the likes of Matt Stairs and Adam Dunn." Translation: when on the road in Detroit, won't leave the hotel after sunset.

Ramon Hernandez, C: Perfectly expendable by the Orioles because of the ascent of Matt Wieters, much to the delight of new manager Dusty Baker, who admires Ramon for his grit and ability to wear a catchers mask while dangling a toothpick from his maw.

Aubrey Huff, DH/3B: Once referred to Baltimore as "a horseshit city" which might offend Baltimoreans but is actually the Gaelic translation of the name. Bael ti Mhoir, meaning "city where horses shit".

Adam Kennedy, 2B: Better than you think, unless you think he's an slightly above-average middle infielder with a good eye and some speed. In that case, you're giving the kid way too much credit. Take off those rose-colored glasses!

Paul Konerko, 1B: Peaked at 30, just like all the statnerds told us he would. Is still good for thirty ding-dongs a year and workmanlike glovework at first base and the weekly bouquet of gladiolas in the ChiSox clubhouse.

Carlos Lee, LF: Nicknamed El Caballo, or the wild horse, and has a fan club in Houston called "Los Caballitos", or the little horse turdlets. Enjoys skiing in his native Panama despite the total lack of snow.

Ted Lilly, SP: Is the kind of guy who promises to help you hang your new flat screen TV and then stops by one day with a drywall saw and a twelve pack and then gets wasted after doing some cutting and you end up playing three hours of Madden on the Xbox and then he leaves and you're stuck with a hole in your wall for three weeks because you're too much of a pansy to hang a 50 pound TV by yourself.

Scott Linebrink, RP: Beat Scott Syndrome at the age of 13 when he discovered Depeche Mode at his local record shop. Gave up after "Songs of Faith and Devotion" in '93.

Jason Michaels, OF: Has now had three teams waiting for him to emerge as a valuable everyday player with the fourth team (Astros) getting ready to figure it out in 2009. Arrested in 2005 for assaulting a Philly cop, a violation that is deemed worthy of a wrist slap since he only got probation.

Carl Pavano, SP: Still using a 1997 Gateway desktop with just 256KB of RAM which still plays a fine game of Minesweeper, thank you very much. Allegedly is getting paid to "start" baseball "games" by the "Cleveland" Indians.

A.J. Pierzynski, C: Despite not growing up in Chicago, his favorite sportswriter growing up was Jerome Holtzman. Lost any remaining shred of self-respect when he got involved in professional wrestling in 2006.

Sidney Ponson, SP: Has had more career DUIs than Cy Young Award votes and has somehow convinced Brian Cashman to sign him on two separate occasions. Will be spending the 2009 season doing odd jobs around Nolan Ryan's ranch house.

J.C. Romero, RP: Given his latest troubles with the illegal supplements he accidentally ingested, J.C. refuses to shop at GNC anymore, preferring to purchase his vitamins and energy boosters at the local twigs-n-berries health food store. When told he was actually taking daily doses of lizard semen, he shrugged his shoulders and ate more lizard semen.

Alfonso Soriano, LF: Geez, Alfonso Soriano is turning 33? Now I really feel old.

Javier Vazquez, SP: Along with Derek Lowe, will be asked to anchor an otherwise inexperienced Braves rotation. Is considering asking Derek to join up with his cousin Tito and form a three-piece salsa band but doubts any of them can play anything but the maracas.

Ramon Vazquez, Util: The absolute definition of a journeyman. No, really, he plays keyboards for the band Journey. Any way Ramon wants it, that's the way he needs it.

Randy Wolf, SP: Still waiting for the inevitable contract offer from Ned Colletti after compiling a super-sexy 12-12 record in 2008 with a 4.30 ERA. Hey, he's a lefty. Those things are rare. The only player in baseball history to have Tommy John surgery on his John Thomas.

Brad Lidge, RP: Is made of magic and hasn't blown a save since the day Fukuda was elected Prime Minister of Japan.

Pedro Feliciano, RP: Has had two three-year stints with the Mets that surrounded his 2006 season spent with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. Didn't vote for Fukuda.

Aaron Miles, Util: Is a Cub now because St Louis fans kept confusing him with Adam Kennedy. Almost played for the Greek team in the 2004 Olympics but gave it all up to play pro ball with the Rockies. TYPICAL GREEK BEHAVIOR.

Reed Johnson, OF: Is the all time leader in homers hit by players named "Reed". Is also the only player ever named "Reed". Doesn't hit well enough to be a below-average corner outfielder, but that's your problem, Cubs fans.

Matt Treanor, C: Moving from Florida to Michigan to play for the Tigers has caused strain in his marriage since his volleyball-playing wife hates Michigan. Well, Matt, what did you expect? Everyone hates Michigan.

Kenji Johjima, C: Is the bane of Mariners fans for playing like garbage and getting paid a lot to do it. Is just a big ol' worrywart.

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Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

  • New Marlins Stadium Will Have Decorative and Functional Clamshell Roof: The Miami Herald published renderings of the new Florida Marlins ballpark that is set to go to a vote in Miami next month. The half-a-billion stadium will have a retractable roof and be located at the site of the former Orange Bowl. The roof will be opened up whenever the weather was not too hot and not too humid and not raining, or at most twice a season.

  • Rockies Have Enough Bats: So sayeth the headline of Rob Neyer's latest blogpost. No telling whether or not the club has enough gloves, caps, and jockstraps for the coming season during these tough economic times. Won't you donate jockstraps to the neediest of players?!?

  • Rockies Have Enough Ubaldo Jimenez: The aforementioned Colorado Rockies have agreed to a four-year contract with stud pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez that includes options for 2013 and 2014. Jimenez went 12-12 with a 3.99 ERA and 178 K's for the Denver squadron last season, and was just the second Rockie to ever post 10 wins with a sub-4.00 ERA. The first? Aaron Cook, who also did it last year. Looks like those humidors are working, Bud!

  • Tired of Offending Fans With Poor Play, Nats Set To Offend Fans With Poor Broadcasters: Former Nasty Boy and current radio doofus Rob Dibble is the new color commentator for the Nationals games on the media behemoth MASN television network. He'll replace the permed Don Sutton in the booth and generally annoy Washingtonians with his poor vocabulary and narrow-minded views on the sport.

  • Enter Eric Hinske, Exit Doug Mientkiewicz: Dejan Kovacevic is reporting that the Bucs are on the verge of signing free agent utility dork Eric Hinske to a one-year deal, most likely ending the tenure of Doug M. in Pittsburgh. Hinske hits better than Mientkiewicz but is not nearly as good a fielder, which means that the Pirates are not yet ready to embrace the DER revolution.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I'm goin down to Rosemarie's. She never does me wrong.

  • CAN Jason Varitek possibly be happy with the way this contract stuff is going down. There's a deadline set for Saturday, but man this has been one ugly draw out.

  • IS there a swear jar in the Dodgers' front office? Well they better put one in, Lee Elia just got hired!

  • WHEN someone offers you a joke do you just say 'No thanks?'

  • WANNA go to the new Negro League Museum with me?

  • WHY are Royals fans so so excited about the Zack Greinke signing? Well because everything's relative, and they just made their best deal in a long time. Investing in their best young talent for 4 years at market rate is a big step for that club.

Thanks for shopping with us. We're open tomorrow too. Same WoW channel.

(Photo stolen from the Austin Area School District.)

Literary Fans Bid Rabbit Adieu

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John Updike died today. Please go read his moving tribute to Ted Williams and his biggest Boston fans from an October 1960 issue of The New Yorker, kindly hosted online at Baseball Almanac.

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When the Phillies declined to make an arbitration offer to power-hitting righty Pat Burrell and then signed lefty-hitting Raul Ibanez to what has proven to be the most lucrative free agent deal signed by an outfielder this offseason, pundits wondered when new general manager Ruben Amaro would snag a right-handed bat. Since Pat Gillick retired at the peak of his general managing game, Amaro has been on the hot seat; besides Burrell, he's also lost Charlie Manuel's pal, bench coach Jimy Williams, over a monetary dispute.

Well wonder no more, punditry, because Amaro has assembled a veritable who's who of potential veteran righties to come in and keep Jayson Werth company. Let's take a look-see at his choices, and gently borrow their 2009 CHONE projections from Fangraphs:

Moises Alou (42): 369 AB, .337 OBP, .442 SLG

Nomar Garciaparra (35): 395 AB, .329 OBP, .420 SLG

Mark Grudzielanek (38): 455 AB, .310 OBP, .363 SLG

Rich Aurilia (37): 378 AB, .313 OBP, .389 SLG

Kevin Millar (37): 450 AB, .344 OBP, .382 SLG

That list doesn't exactly inspire thoughts of home run balls raining down on the crab fry stand in Citizens Bank Park. In fact, it outright stinks. Mark Grudzielanek? Really? But given the already-high Philadelphia payroll (possibly $130 million after Ryan Howard's arbitration) and the fact that the entirety of Philadelphia's starting lineup is set in stone, Amaro's hands are tied. Alou probably has the highest rate numbers but Amaro's number one choice is Garciaparra, who can spell Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz in the infield as they recover from wintertime ouchies. But Nomar is not very committal this offseason, as he is considering retirement:

"We can't be held hostage by Nomar, though he'd be a guy we'd like to bring in," Amaro said.

You know things have gotten desperate in Philadelphia when the general manager is refusing to let a washed-up Nomar Garciaparra hold a gun to his temple. But don't fret, Ruben, there's another, far cheaper option inside the organization. It's your fourth-best prospect, infielder Jason Donald! He's probably (read: definitely) a year away from being ready but hey, there's an economic crisis and everyone needs to do their part. We can't all get that year in finishing school, aka Triple-A Allentown. Giving this guy the 24th seat on your bench between Eric Bruntlett and Matt Stairs won't kill him, and what doesn't kill him will only make him wish he was back in Double-A Reading. Or something.

(That photo provided at no charge by Flickr user ebot)

Walkoff Walk Presents the BONILLA Projection System: Age 31

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The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections.

Today, in no particular order, we look at players born in 1978:

Angel Berroa, SS: Played 81 games for the Dodgers last year. Inspired our only LOLcat ripoff. Is currently Yankees' Plan B if aging Derek Jeter gets injured this season. Oops!

Milton Bradley, OF: Entering 10th season, finally earning some of the respect his numbers have deserved in recent years. Credits newfound inner peace to ignoring everyone else on earth except for Dr. Wayne Dyer. No wait, that's me.

Endy Chavez, OF: In the hall of the Mountain King there can only be one Endy. And when Endy Chavez retires from baseball, he will enter the hall of the Mountain King and challenge the Endy that is already living there. Even with the thin air at that altitude he will still never hit home runs.

Joe Crede, 3B: Has a child named King Fazio Lazarus Odie Edith Crede*. Not currently employed but will be a good fit on a team that needs a player who is alive.

Marcus Giles, 2B: In the minors for the Phillies. Just bought a new drafting table so he can draw his own comic books to save money during the recession.

Cristian Guzman, 2B: Even after 3 years with Washington, Guzman still thinks he plays for the Twins and "has never been happier to be part of this Minnesota organization." Racked up almost 200 hits last year for first time in career.

Willie Harris, UTIL: Can play almost any position on a diamond. Notable for having a monkier so anachronistic he may as well be named Cap Anson or Mordecai Brown.

Jason Jennings, SP: Pitched in 6 games last season for Rangers. Gave up 26 runs. Then his legs fell off or something. I don't care how good the minor league system is, no MLB team should ever have a legacy of pitching as terrible as Texas.

Nick Johnson, 1B: Has spent far too much of his career laid up with real injuries, like broken legs. Mentioned in trade rumors with the A's recently. Warmer weather is good for brittle bones. Afraid of Koala Bears and words that start with P.

Kyle Lohse, SP: For just $18.95 Kyle Lohse will clean and detail your entire vehicle. But if you want him to be a mediocre pitcher for your baseball team it's gonna be a couple million.

Jason Marquis, P: Turned 17 and swore to never speak a word again but then someone came along and ruined everything. It was a strange time in his life. Listens to a lot of Jens Lekman. Pitches in Colorado now. Developing a taste for microbrews, brah.

Gil Meche, SP: Makes a whole crapload of money to pitch ok. Man... that seems to be a recurring theme on this list. Dreams in French.

Xavier Nady, OF: If you believe the rumors, Nady may not make it through the season a Yankee. After coming over at last season's deadline, he'll be a short tenured Yankee. Which is different from a short Yankee, like Chuck Knoblauch, Phil Rizzuto or Thomas Paine. Loves telling people "I spent 2 years in Pittsburgh one year."

Carlos Pena, DH: The former Northeastern Huskie looked to be finished as a full-time Major Leaguer after the 2004 season, but had a miraculous comeback with the Rays in 07, turning himself one of the home run hittingest players in the AL. This is not the only thing he has in common with Meat Loaf circa Bat Out Of Hell 2: Back Into Hell.

Brad Penny, SP: Listed as 6'4, 200 Lbs, it's fair to say that Brad has put on some weight in the past couple of seasons. Trying to have a bounce back year with the Red Sox. Hoping Dibs don't become a banned substance.

Joel Pineiro, SP: Holy crap it's true. Almost every pitcher I ever make fun of is going to be 31 this year. Is Westbrook on this list? Joel Pineiro thinks that dress makes you look fat. Drives a Canyonero.

Aramis Ramirez, 3B: Signed with the Pirates when he was 16, blossomed in Chicago. By that I mean he became a woman. Has hit 25+ HR every season since 2003. BONILLA projects him to be a little scared of Milton Bradley for the entire 2009 season.

Tim Redding, SP: Thinks ghosts are made out of hummus.

Juan Rivera, UTIL: Played 6 positions in 2009, making him as versatile as his name. Seriously, name one profession you couldn't see a guy named Juan Rivera being successful in? Pediatrician, dump truck driver, Archeriest (aka: arrow shooter). A Juan Rivera can do anything.

Jimmy Rollins, SS: Had a mercurial 2009 season. Spent much of first half being booed, I guess as a reward for his 2007 MVP award. Spent some time hurt, then returned as smiling face of a World Series Champion team. This year plans not having "Such a weird goddamned year." Favorite film: Back To The Future 3.

Ben Sheets, SP: Still a free agent. Teams may be suspicious of a throwing arm that has burst into flames 6 times in the past 4 years. Favorite word: "fjord."

Vernon Wells, CF: If Vernon Wells' past two seasons were a school lunch they'd be "crayons". When cornered, will levitate.

Dewayne Wise, OF: Remember that time when you were little and you were driving down the highway with your parents and that guy was in the car next to you and he looked like he was yelling even though he was in the car alone and then he started crying and then he started laughing with tears streaming down his face and you were trying to figure out what the hell was going on in that car, searching the backseat to see if someone was in the backseat or something and you were gonna tell your dad and then the guy just floored it, and pulled away? Remember that? That was Dewayne Wise.

Barry Zito, SP: Had a career low ERA+ of 85 last season. Has come to the point where I feel bad making fun of him. That puts him in very rare company on this website. Just to get some attention, BONILLA is predicting him to have a return to form and contend for the Cy Young in 2009.

Miguel Olivo, C:: Went to court to force Lee Iacocca to add the extra "i" in Olivio. Is as baffled as the rest of us as to why Lee Iacocca invented a butter substitute.

Victor Martinez, DH: Moving to first base for 2009. Is constantly misusing the word "ostensibly."

Cliff Lee, SP: Middle name: Phifer. So he's not just a member of the Tribe but also Tribe Called Quest. Has biggest act to follow of any player in 2009.

John Lackey, SP: Wimp.

Aaron Harang, SP: Underrated K pitcher, who should have taken out an insurance policy on his arm the day the Reds hired Dusty Baker. Drives a 1996 Aquamarine Ford Escort Wagon.

Chone Figgins, 3B: Seems to have settled on a position at roughly the same time all his tendons are beginning to snap and pop. Favorite part of being a baseball player: Clean hotel sheets every night!

Ryan Ludwick, OF: Hit 37 HR last year in just his second full season. Projected to hit 109 this year. Uncle, Boobie Ludwick, owned first microwave in Fresno, CA.

Kevin Gregg, RP: Thinks that song "Get Down On It" is about proper fielding technique.

Eric Bruntlett, UTIL: Gruff exterior, nougat center. Socially conservative, fiscally liberal.

Aaron Heilman, RP: Rock solid anchor of historically great Mets bullpen. Hides behind Gatorade cooler at the top of every 6th inning.

Chase Utley, 2B: Plunkable and breakable. Best all around middle infielder in baseball. Holds 16 patents. Gonna take April off. Afraid of no ghost. 10 feet tall. Below average dancer.

Jason Bay, LF: BRING BACK THE SONG.

Greg Dobbs, UTIL: Derives magical baseball powers from Little Debbie's Star Crunch.

Ryan Church, OF: Had so many concussions last season he can smell colors. When healthy he has much pop in bat. Had so many concussions last season he can smell colors.

Jorge Campillo, SP: Still isn't sure if he's supposed to eat the chicken inside of the waffle like a taco, or if the waffle is simply a side dish.

*Please refrain from making unconstructive edits to Wikipedia, as you did to Joe Crede. Your edits appear to constitute vandalism and have been reverted. If you would like to experiment, please use the sandbox. Thank you. JustSomeRandomGuy32 (talk) 20:01, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

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Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

  • Braves Dip Pen In Japanese Inkwell Just One More Time: Frank Wren's frequent flier miles across the Pacific are paying off! The Braves signed Japanese pitching prospect Yoshinori Yamarin to a minor league deal. He went undrafted in last year's NPB draft but don't hold that against him. The hat size, however, is a different story.

  • Yankees Bring Back Andy Dynasty for Another Go-Around: Veteran lefty Andy Pettitte has agreed to return to the NY Yankees for a one-year contract worth up to $12 million after certain incentive bonuses are met. And they will be met. Because if Andy Pettitte is good at one thing it's meeting incentive bonuses. And praising Jesus.

  • Brewers Bring Back Craig Counsell, Refuting Earlier Reports: I thought the former NLCS MVP had signed with the Padres but I couldn't have been any wronger. I also thought the Padres had inked a deal with Omar Vizquel but again, I was wrong. In any case, Counsell returns to a utility role with the reigning wild card Brewers. He'll play a little second, play a little short, dick around at third base, and generally annoy Ryan Braun with constant requests to play Parcheesi.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, tick tick tick tick. Ok, give me your answer.


That's all for today. Tomorrow there's more. Same WoW channel. You too, Lobster Baby.
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Hey, Champ. Miss out on the BBWAA's annual Big Apple shindig last night? Cool it, see. Your man on the scene was a fly on the wall* for the whole thing. Here's just a taste of what you missed:

  • The night doubled as David Wright's coming out party as Yuk Master.

    Approaching the podium to accept an award honoring his commitment to charity work, first took a moment to shoot a glance in either direction. On his right sat Cole Hamels, and on his left sat Brad Lidge, two of the greatest reasons why the Phillies are the reigning World Series champions.

    "I'd like to personally welcome Cole and Brad to New York," Wright said, drawing a roar from both the crowd and the Phillies. "It's always nice to see you guys."

    Pow right to the kisser, you sons of bitches! Look out Jackie Mason, there's a new funny guy in Gotham and he's hot on your trail.


  • All major awards were handed out (MVPs, ROYs, Cy Youngs and MOYs) and the only one of the 8 winners not to show up was King Hepcat himself, Joe Maddon. On a night where the Campari was flowing like water, The Main Ray was a glaring omission indeed. He did some sort of video transmission from a papazan chair in his bungalow. That's what I call the OFFseason! My brand is Lucky Strike!

  • But he wasn't the only star missing from this veritable Milky Way of machismo and frivolity. Johnny Damon wasn't there to win his "Good Guy Award" and Lefty Lothario Johan Santana missed out on his "Toast Of The Town Award." That's what they get giving it to a foreigner anyway. Probably visa issues. To the moon, Alice!

  • Mike Mussina received the Casey Stengel "You Could Look It Up" Award, and the crowd chanted "One more year!" Yes, I did say that this was a crowd full of sportswriters, but don't fret. We all need to let loose once in awhile. If we didn't we'd all go a little fruity and start punching kids in the face like Bing Crosby. Yeah right, like my voice is anywhere near as good as Bing's! Goodnight, Gracie!

  • "Wright's new buddies Lidge and Hamels presented awards to each other -- Lidge gave Hamels the Babe Ruth Award for World Series MVP, and Hamels gave Lidge the Sid Mercer-Dick Young "Player of the Year" Award. And both Bernie Williams and Ed Kranepool won the "Willie, Mickey and the Duke" Award for playing the most games at the refurbished Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium, respectively."

    Speaking of foreigners, what the hell does any of that mean? If Sid Mercer really thinks Brad Lidge was the Player of the Year, he's been spending too much time on The Cavalcade of Stars! I feel like I'm back in Iwo Jima. Habla English please! And is this "Willie, Mickey and the Duke" award given out every year? To the same two guys? Color me confused.


I'm gonna need to dictate the rest of this column sitting down! Lydia, bring me a tonic water!

*read about it.

bonilla2009.jpg

The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections.

Today, in no particular order, we look at players born in 1977:

Bronson Arroyo, SP: Brandon has thrown over 10,500 pitches over the past three season and will probably add another 1,500 next year before his arm falls off due to overwork-by-proxy.

Grant Balfour, RP: Living up to his last name, Grant has thrown ball four 5 times for every nine innings in his career. Should regress to the mean along with the rest of the Rays pen in 09.

Joe Beimel, RP: As of this writing, he's still a free agent. If he gets no offers by February 1st, he will be interning at Troy from WV's cracker factory.

Carlos Beltran, CF: Probably the most underrated player in the New York metropolitan area, which really means that he's overrated in the grand scheme of things. Threw out his first baserunner as a toddler.

A.J. Burnett, SP: Famously tugged his left earlobe to the TV cameras after his first career no-hitter in 2001 which some mistook for a secret signal to his mom watching at home. Actually was his way of telling the concierge at the San Diego Ritz Carlton to stock his room with extra Milky Ways.

Buddy Carlyle, RP: Has proven without a shadow of a doubt that there are always odd jobs in the greater Atlanta area for folks named Buddy. Will spend most of spring training learning to play the vibraphone.

Shawn Chacon, SP: Not exactly employable since he choked out Astros GM Ed Wade last season but could make some dough selling "I Choked Ed Wade" t-shirts in South Philly.

Eric Chavez, 3B: Middle name is Cesar. Spent most of 2008 as a creampuff. Peaked at age 23. I cannot objectively talk about Eric Chavez, because I am Eric Chavez and Eric Chavez is me.

Ryan Dempster, SP: Will never really be a true Cub because he is Canadian. Has had a career that is more up-and-down than a bipolar teenager.

Justin Duchscherer, SP: One of three members of the 2008 Oakland A's born in South Dakota. Spent most of the year chatting with Keith Foulke and Mark Ellis about the best place to find the best chili dogs in Sioux Falls.

Chad Durbin, RP: Spends his offseason in Baton Rouge, LA where he stocks his three bathrooms with Charmin toilet paper, and not that Cottonelle garbage his in-laws prefer. Is really a good right handed reliever, no questions asked.

Adam Eaton, SP: The poster boy for bloated contracts of the mid-aughts, Eaton signed a three-year, $24 million contract in November 2006 despite amassing a 5.12 ERA in just 13 starts the prior year. Rewarded the Phillies by giving up 30 tater tots in 2007 and 'accidentally' running over the Phanatic's foot with his '89 Chevy Caprice.

Adam Everett, SS: Dresses like a boob. Cannot safely operate a pepper grinder. Was forced to be contemplative.

Rafael Furcal, SS: Decided he likes Los Angeles better than returning to his roots in Atlanta, and can you blame him? Ever try getting a good dulce du leche in Marietta?

Roy Halladay, SP: Everybody's favorite pitcher because he's gritty, talented, and poses no real threat to your favorite team in the playoffs as a Blue Jay. Easily one of the top 25 pitchers of the past 25 years (i.e. the length of my baseball fandom) and will always be a member of my fantasy teams (if available).

Andruw Jones, CF: Will be paid about $4 million per year to not play for the Dodgers until at least 2014. Hey Ned Colletti, pay me $250,000 a year or I swear to God I will put on a cap and a glove and I will play the shit out of shortstop for your team next season. Likes plantains.

Mark Mulder, SP: 'Starting pitcher' is a bit of a misnomer as he's only started four games in the past two years for the Cardinals. Peaked at age 23 and is now a free agent. I smell a reclamation project, Billy Beane!

Will Ohman, RP: Was born in Frankfurt, Germany, presumably on an American military base of some sort. Still looking for work despite being a perfectly serviceable left-handed relief pitcher. Prefers a medium well hamburger with pickles, tomato and mustard.

Roy Oswalt, SP: Stuck inside of Houston with the Ed Wade Blues again. May have been one of the best, if not the best, NL pitcher from 2001 to 2006 and is now just living out the decline of his career on a terrible Astros team.

Lyle Overbay, 1B: Lyle, the effeminate heterosexual, got kicked out of Milwaukee when Prince Fielder broke into the big time and now makes hay in the Great White North of Toronto. He'll have another workmanlike year with 15 homers and 60 gutsy walks and a charming smile.

Juan Pierre, OF: Juan had an off year in 2008. Not that his production was down, he literally got a lot of time off from a decent Dodgers team who discovered they have Actual Productive Outfielders who don't cost $8 million a year. He's like Corey Patterson with money.

Nick Punto, SS: Slugged just .382 in 2008 which was actually a 100 point improvement over his miserable .271 rate in 2007. Let's just put it this way: Prince Fielder's left nut has greater isolated power than twenty Nick Puntos. But hey, only 8 errors in 60 games at shortstop!

Dennys Reyes, RP: The ultimate Mexican LOOGY, which in Spanish would be pronounced "YOU-ghee". Was once an alternate for a taping of "Jeopardy" but didn't make the show.

Brian Roberts, 2B: Has been the subject of so many trade rumours involving the Cubs that if the trade is ever consummated, my reaction will be a solid 'meh'. Lived with noted steroid users Larry Bigbie and David Segui in late 2001. Might collect 500 career doubles if he continues to play in Camden Yards.

Aaron Rowand, CF: Has broken more bones in eight seasons of major league baseball than Carter has liver pills, but that only makes him gutsy and gritty and willing to run face-first into the outfield wall to snag a fly ball. Raises labradoodles in the offseason.

Kip Wells, SP: Peaked as a Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher prior to profitable payments picked up post-Pirate profession. Pfft.

Jake Westbrook, SP: Kris Liakos' favorite pitcher, Jake will probably miss the entire 2009 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Despite having a new ligament transferred to his elbow, he'll continue to be a drag on society.

Dan Wheeler, RP: Returned to his original Rays team just in time to help them win the American League. Well, he had a 6.00 ERA in the postseason so perhaps I am using the term 'help' loosely. Still, saved 13 games after Troy Percival went down. Secretly enjoys NPR.

Kerry Wood, RP: Gives way too much credit to Thomas Jefferson for the whole Western Expansion thing when he knows deep down in his soul that James K. Polk made great strides getting land back from Mexico and securing the Oregon Territory. Will be bringing down the Indians organization from the inside.

Nate Robertson, SP: Demoted to the bullpen in August 2008 as part of manager Jim Leyland's mass reorganization plan that mimicked tossing deck chairs from the sinking Titanic. In that analogy, Gary Sheffield is the iceberg.

Orlando Hudson, 2B: Still a free agent, people! He's an above average hitter and (depending how you look at it) a decent fielder despite ending 2008 with an ouchie on his wrist. Has 2,500,000 frequent flier miles with Delta he doesn't know what to do with.

Travis Hafner, DH: Being the all-time leader for tater tots among MLBers born in North Dakota isn't going to put oatmeal on the family dining table when you're not getting it done at home plate. He's signed through 2011 so y'all Indians fans can sit back and enjoy.

Eric Hinske, Util: Has been run out of Toronto, Boston, and Tampa Bay in three consecutive seasons. Will probably sign with Baltimore this year and complete the AL East Yankee antagonist Yahtzee.

Fernando Rodney, RP: Picked up baseball in his native Dominican Republic after failing miserably as an underwear model. Allowed 30 walks in 40 innings last year.

Mark Ellis, 2B: Once hit for the cycle and was then rewarded by A's owner Lew Wolff with a custom gold-plated bicycle that he hocked for a $50 IHOP gift card. Now has an $11 million contract which will let him buy all the Rooty Tooty Fresh 'n' Fruity's he can eat.

Marcus Thames, LF: The only player in Major League history to hit a home run off Randy Johnson in his first career at-bat and then be traded for Ruben Sierra. Would probably be a DH if he hit better.

Ty Wigginton, 3B: Could form a decent infield with fellow free agents Orlando Hudson, Orlando Cabrera, and Nomar Garciaparra. They could go barnstorming through Wyoming as the Fightin' Free Agents and woo young ladies with their ardent fervor.

J.J. Putz, RP: Reportedly not very happy being a setup man for the Mets. Too much risk and very little reward. Well, except for the $5 million he'll make earning those sexy holds! Woo, holds!

George Sherrill, RP: Didn't earn his first major league save until age 29 at which point he decided it would be really cool to wear his cap with a flat brim. Sometimes rests his crab chowder on the brim.

Scott Proctor, RP: Will be relieving for the Marlins in 2009. When told of this news, his right arm reportedly did a happy jig and expressed its pleasure at finally being separated from Evil Joe Torre. Should be perfectly serviceable.

Kosuke Fukudome, RF: Fell out of favor with manager Lou Piniella, teammates, Cubs fans, announcers, team officials, peanut vendors, local pizzamakers, and pigeons when his .455 OBP at the end of April dropped to .359 at season's end. Will probably win back everyone but the pigeons with a solid 2009. PIGEONS NEVER FORGET.

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Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

  • Dave Dombrowski Hopes and Prays That Kenny Rogers Is Really Retiring: Forty-four-year-old southpaw Kenny Rogers has been incommunicado this offseason, not returning any reporter's calls or emails. No matter to Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski because Rogers had a terrible year, going 3-7 record with a 7.93 ERA after the All-Star break and manager Jim Leyland is probably happy to see him gone. So am I.

  • Sean Casey Hangs Up His Mitt, Focuses On Crappy Vlog: Need a slick-fielding first baseman with a .300 career batting average and one of the best personalities in the game? Tough nuts, because Sean Casey is retiring to focus on his vlog. Wait a minute, I just read the article and it looks like he'll be joining the new MLB Network, where he'll parry and thrust with fellow good guy Harold Reynolds. Just don't accept any invitations to Boston Market, Sean.

  • Rinku and Dinesh Smell What The Rock Is Cookin': I'm not much of a fake wrestling fan (or real wrestling for that matter) but I've heard of The Rock because he's in movies. So have our pals Rinku and Dinesh, who got an early (late?) Christmas present from Mark sir: two autographed photos of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson! Says Dinesh, "If I meeting (sic) Rock i asking (sic) how he getting the muscules (sic) in (sic) biggest." Spinach, Dinesh. Spinach.

  • Nationals Let Fans Put Ticket Package on Layaway: Just like that new convertible sofa that you pay $6 a month for, Nats season tickets will now be available on layaway! Having trouble paying for season tickets for the worst team in the Western Hemisphere? No matter! Stan Kasten's new Grand Slam E-Z Payment Plan will let you pay off your tickets in six easy monthly payments of just $19.99! Act now and Stan the Man will throw in a Sham-Wow and TWO SNUGGIES!

  • Joe Torre Is a Backstabbing Guinea: I'm not nearly impartial enough to report on this matter in a calm and intelligent manner, so I'll just relate how I feel about Joe Torre's new book to you in six simple words: Joe Torre is dead to me. I am going to buy this book and then set it on fire along with my copy of Tim McCarver's "Baseball for Brain Surgeons".

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, head down keep moving.

  • WHO you got in Cubs vs. Under Armour? The Cubs claim they had a deal set in stone to whore out their outfield walls to UA but they backed out.

  • HAVE you guys seen the exclusive new neighborhood that your mother moved into?

  • HOW much would you pay to have your kids learn pitching from Tim Spooneybarger?

  • WHAT do Mets fans think of the Alex Cora signing? That's a rhetorical weekend question. Mets fans aren't allowed to register for commenting priveleges.

  • COULDN'T make the Mariners' GM luncheon? No worries, Geoff Baker has an extremely thorough rundown.

  • WHAT do you think of new Fashion Plate Rinku & Dinesh? First it was Hewlett Packard sponsorships, next it's gonna be Brooks Brothers. They grow up so fast.

  • ARE any of your younger siblings on Keith Law's Top 100 Prospect List? No? Then maybe you should be spending more time doing work instead of reading sports blogs. The economy's tough, y'all.

  • DID you know that tomorrow is our very own Rob Iracane's birthday? I hope you'll all join me in wishing him a good one.

Have a good weekend everybody. BONILLA ends next week (mercifully for us) and will you look at that, it's not that far from the start of camp. WHEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See you Monday. Same WoW channel.

Babe Ruth In "Fancy Curves" - 1932

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Today's Classic TV Friday brings you some sexy Babe on Babes on action. Not really, but it is a movie about an all girls team that needs help preparing for the big game, so natch, they hire Babe Ruth to coach them.

I think it's actually pretty great to see such an egalitarian attitude afforded to women back in that era. Also the pitcher at 2:40 is a stone cold fox. Rawr.

Cubs Get Ricketts: Strike That, Reverse It

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In what feels like the longest and most drawn out ownership story in baseball history, though I have almost no frame of reference, the Tribune Company finally picked a buyer for the Chicago Cubs. Tom Ricketts and family made their fortune by starting TD Ameritrade, the online brokerage firm. The bid clocked in at around $900 Million. Sounds straight enough.

But of course, the Cubs are one of those teams that are "steeped in tradition" so the new guys have to concoct some sort of sappy story to get all the North Side yahoos to get behind them as some sort of Ownership Of The People. With Ricketts it's that he lived in a Wrigleyville apartment right next to the park while attending the University of Chica.... zzzzzz.

The very worst part about Ricketts' trip down memory lane? It made me actually agree with Jay Mariotti for the first time in my life. Do you know how hard that is to say? I'm so ashamed.

I don't care that the new owner of the Cubs, Tom Ricketts, met his wife somewhere in the Wrigley Field bleachers. Nor do I care that he lived every guy's Wrigleyville dream, slumming in an apartment above a bar by the ballpark. This is just more of the same gooey romanticism that Cubdom eats from the first victory in April to the last inevitable loss of autumn -- and never amounts to anything but the same "OHHHHH, NOOOOO!!!" from Ron Santo in the radio booth, echoing 101 years of agony.

Can these people win the friggin' World Series already? With no experience in pro sports ownership, what do they know about running a baseball franchise? In particular, what do they know about running a franchise supported by a fanatical cult of loons, who ignore tidal waves of hopeless futility and, somehow, come back for more punishment after every October choke job?

Ok , so maybe I don't agree with him totally. I just like that he called Cubs fans a fanatical cult of loons. Most sports owners don't know what they're doing when they make their initial foray into the business. The successful ones usually hire the right people, and give them the reins. That's a pretty simple business strategy.

In the bidding for the Cubs there was one major exception to this rule in Mark Cuban. Mariotti brings him up, but I never bought into him as a legitimate contender. His bid was hopeless beyond financial reasons, but according to the Wall Street journal, it's for purely financial reasons that Ricketts was chosen. He was the one most likely to close the deal the soonest. The Tribune needed that money and they needed it fast. I guess it's preferable to selling your headquarters or taking out a giant loan form some Mexican guy that you can never pay back. My friend Shawn did that once and now he only has two fingers.

What the hell was I talking about again? Oh yeah. The Cubs got sold. Good luck with all that.

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The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections. Today we'll be looking at players facing their own terrible mortality as they roll over another decade: those born in 1979.

Rick Ankiel, CF: Slowly making the transition from America's Boyfriend to America's Arbitration Eligible Power Bat Available at the Trading Deadline.

Adrian Beltre, 3B: Spends hours with his sports psychologist each week, trying to live down the indignity of putting together a career season in a contract year.

Mark Buehrle, SP: Keeps his carbon imprint low by working so quickly on the mound. In true baseball player style, celebrates by purchasing this.

Michael Cuddyer, RF: Unabashed Patio Man vows to bounce back after slow 2008. His wife won't let him forgot that he burned two roasts and overcooked a rotisserie chicken.

Jack Cust, OF/DH: Three Outcome Redux. Reaching for the lofty heights of 40 home runs and 200 strike outs. Work out regimen includes lifting large kegs of beer in the morning, drinking them at night.

Adam Dunn, LF: Vehemently denied not enjoying baseball. Current unemployment indicates he's a man with a passion for maximized earnings who merely dabbles in baseball.

Jon Garland, SP: A casualty of the modern era. In previous decades, his ability to pick up cheap wins would have made him a mint. Instead, he turns down cut rate offers of more money than you'll ever see in your lifetime.

Jorge Julio, PR: Pitched for 6 teams over the last three years. Uses GPS to find the ballpark each day but intuition to find the plate. Advice: buy stock in GPS company and sell Jorge Julio baseball cards.

Brandon Lyon, RP: Erstwhile closer returned to Earth after unsustainable 2007. Unsuccessfully spent May 2008 trying to convince Chad Qualls that the Merovingian makes The Matrix Reloaded the most underrated movie of the decade.

Corey Patterson, CF: The road from "can't-miss prospect" to "underwhelming big leaguer" to "punchline eternal" is long, and hard is the way out of baseball.

Juan Rincon, RP: Entire career to date spent in Minnesota with the Twins. Unconsciously hums Prince songs while braiding his long, blond wig on Sundays. Doesn't get Fargo.

Luis Rivas, 2B: Is no longer on speaking terms with fellow Venezuelan and former teammate Juan Rincon. Staunch supporter of Hugo Chavez, refuses to understand Rincon's love of wigs and hatred of Gary Anderson.

Johan Santana, SP: Already dreading the thought of lugging the Mets carcass around all season long. Has 15 autographed pictures of Roy Halladay in his locker.

Juan Uribe, 2B: Signature bat flip and occasionally spectacular defense ensures that sometimes a completely forgettable ball player can sometimes piss you off in new, exciting ways.

Aaron Cook, SP: The least acey ace in baseball. First Rockies pitcher to spend entire career with the team and live to age 30. The team agreed to name the right field wall at Coors Field The Cliffs of Insanity in his honor.

Bill Hall, 3B: Hopes a solid bout of whining will arrest his career free-fall. Thinks Bernie Brewer is a punk that should show him some respect.

Coco Crisp, CF: Brings his brawling ways to the AL Central, plans on cold cocking Joe Mauer for nothing. Will undoubtedly by the most popular Kansas City Royal by the end of their season. Let's go with Memorial Day just to be safe.

Duaner Sanchez, RP: Karma doesn't live here anymore. I hope he uncorks a wild pitch that strikes Tony LaRussa in the skull.

Jeremy Affeldt, RP: Usually serves as the transportation coordinator at the annual LOOGY conference on Monterey Bay. Spends the first 6 innings of each game on the phone trying to locate right hand drive cars in the Greater Carmel area.

Erik Bedard, SP: Single handedly proved not all Canadians are hard working, polite, or rugged.

Carlos Silva, SP: Wanted by Interpol for grand, grand, grand larceny.

Jayson Werth, RF: Faces additional pressure and playing time after signing contract extension. Plans to lean heavily on his superfluous Y for support.

Khalil Greene, SS: Despite last year's struggles, is secretly awesome. Also, secretly Asian!

David DeJesus, CF: Physical embodiment of the well-worn sportswriter cliche solid. Writes John Turturro an angry letter on the first of every month.

Brandon Webb, SP: With a really crappy defense behind him, Webb seeks inner piece through yoga. Two tough losses later, he goes back to Bud Light and questioning Stephen Drew's sexuality.

Clint Barmes, SS/2B: Indiana State Sycamore lost his job to Troy Tulowitzki and his virginity to Toto's Africa. Regrets nothing.

Jose Valverde, RP: Both awesome and crazy, Valverde makes you crazy for his awesome. LOVES JESUS THIIIIIS MUCH <----------------------------------->

Garrett Atkins, 1B/3B: Puts up reasonable, inoffensive numbers while splitting time at the corners. Self loathing and guilt finds him cruising for offensive and disturbing things on seedy street corners.

Gerald Laird, C: Newest Detroit Tiger is excited to catch live arms like Verlander and Bonderman. Less than enthused about repeatedly running to the backstop to collect Dontrelle's assorted offerings.

Ryan Howard, 1B: If you made 1000 people guess his age, exactly zero would guess 30. The same 1000 people think Kelly Kapoor was better off with Darryl.

Chris Young, SP: Extremely tall and pragmatic. Opted to become an severe fly ball pitcher, reasoning that grounders were just too hard to reach. Cartoonish height caused this strategy to backfire.

Jason Bartlett, SS: Received votes for both MVP and Sultan of Brunei. Is equally qualified for these positions.

Josh Willingham, LF: Another member of the Florida Marlins Free Swingin Tater Tot Cheap Labor Dance Pack. Would have signed an extension this off season but for his bumbling agent. His specialty is magicians.

David Bush, SP: Uses high socks and rocky motion to distract from his vector-straight fastball. Isn't fooling anyone.

Gabe Gross, OF: Strict religious upbringing denied him the knowledge of decadent things like chocolate and high rise buildings. Is bound and determined to prove, once and for all, he isn't a big league talent.

Brad Hawpe, RF: Inclusion on American WBC team will expose him to scores of new fans. Not one will pronounce his name properly.

Jeremy Guthrie, SP: Would have a much better record if he pitched for a better team and if he was a better pitcher.

Kevin Youkilis, 1B: Excels at getting on base and provoking rancor. Hopes to cut down strike outs by being more selective at the plate and less pervy around the BC commuter girls.

Adam LaRoche, 1B: Continued childhood tradition of abusing younger brother and teammate Andy. Often mimics Andy's voice, professing his love for Jack Wilson rather than calling for shallow pop ups.

Ryan Theriot, SS: Scrappy. Gritty. White. Vastly overrated. The Riot has all the tools required to become a beloved baseball player the world over.

Ryan Spilborghs, OF: The kind of platoon outfielder only a mother could love and only a management team under his employ would sponsor his BR page.

Clay Hensley, RP: Biggest regret: not following Jars of Clay around the Midwest in a Honda Accord the summer after high school. Being a professional baseball player with 7 figure career earnings offers little solace.

Wandy Rodriguez, SP: Ostracized in the clubhouse for his controversial views on human evolution with regard to dolphins. People got sick of his Chicken of the Sea/Solient Green diatribe after a while.

Carlos Ruiz, C: 4 Home runs, .660 OPS. Aiming high in 2009!

Akinori Iwamura, 2B: Quite enjoys life in Tampa Bay thanks to ample fresh seafood and Catholic school just down the street from his condo.

Rocky Cherry, RP: Is not actually a professional baseball player. Best known for his raucous one man pansexual revue, seen 8 times weekly at The Open Door in Chelsea.

Brad Ziegler, RP: Would be best known for impressive rookie scoreless innings record were anyone impressed by a 29 year old rookie. Little known fact: isn't related to former NHL commissioner John Ziegler.

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Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

  • Freddy Got Fingered for Flushing's Fifth Rotation Slot: Congratulations to Omar Minaya for winning the Freddy Garcia Sweepstakes! He'll get a 32-year-old right-handed starting pitcher well into his career decline who has thrown just 73 innings in the past two seasons for the low, low price of $9 million (with incentives, of course). I guess the bright side of this signing is that it makes the Tim Redding deal look good in comparison.

  • Ned Colletti Is Hungry for the Wolf, Thirsty for the Rosso di Montalcino: Folks, there's a run on fourth starters so hurry up and get yours while the gettin's still good. Cough cough Oliver Perez cough. Rumour has it that the Dodgers are on the verge of replacing Derek Lowe with vet Randy Wolf. He'll be the most powerful Wolf in Hollywood, displacing Scott Wolf who hasn't been paid to act in over three years.

  • Prince Fielder and the Brewers Make Nicey Nice: Milwaukee won't be going to arbitration with their portly first baseman after all. Just a few hours after I talked about the $2 million difference between the two parties, the Brewers signed Prince Fielder to a two year, $18 million deal that will bring the fat man just one year shy of Magical Free Agency. This is a good deal all around, except for the arbitration judge who now has an entire block of time completely wiped off his calendar next week which he'll be forced to spend with his wife.

  • Brandon Lyon and Tigers On Verge of Putting Their Heads Together: The Detroit Tigers are doing their best to shore up a shoddy bullpen, allegedly making a deal with former D-Backs closer Brandon Lyon. Like the Arizona offense, he started 2008 off strong and then fizzled, eventually losing his job to Chad Qualls. The Tigers will make this official as soon as they vet his background and make sure he doesn't own the game "Guitar Hero".

  • Oldest Living Baseball Player Dies: Well Bill Werber's not the oldest living baseball player anymore if he's dead, now is he?

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, fax back.

  • IS your favorite college baseball team ranked in the Baseball America Pre-Season Top 25?

  • DO you think Brett Favre and Curt Schilling are kindred spirits or do they think of one another as copycat hacks? Although I do give credit to Schill for saying he doesn't think he should be in the HoF. Kind of refreshing.

  • WHAT will Jason Varitek use to kill Scott Boras: A gun, a knife, or a snow globe.

  • WHAT is the point of this new front office management video game I keep seeing advertised? It's been a little while since I've played, but dont all the new generation baseball games let you run the front office anyway? Someone oughta mail one of these to Jim Bowden*.

  • ARE you familiar with the Akron Family? Well, they're yet another one of my favorite bands skipping Boston on their upcoming tour. Fine, guys. I get it.

And another successful B-K-F-S-T becomes one for the record books. Join us back here tomorrow as we put the week to bed. Same WoW channel.
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With arbitration hearings on the horizon, it seems that the two greediest players are also two of the most rotund. Fangraphs is reporting that Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard are, respectively, asking for $2 million and $4 million above what their clubs are offering. Howard set a record last year by increasing his salary eleven times over via arbitration and is seeking $18 million for 2009, while Fielder is looking for a mere $8 million. So, are they worth it?

Ask Mark Attanasio and the answer would be a big fat no. The Brewers owner famously called for a salary cap and would do anything to curb player salaries to help his small market team compete. Fangraphs says that Fielder would be worth about $16 million on the open market, but the point today is that (a) there's an economic crisis! and (b) he's not on the open market.

Sure, we got rid of the reserve clause in 1975, but baseball owners still exercise control over players for the first few years of their major league careers. So the $6 million might be a mere pittance compared to Mark Teixeira's $20 million salary but Prince is entering just his 4th full season in 2009. That cash is enough to cover his Tofutti Cutie bill at least until he's free-agent eligible in a couple years.

So what does the typical fan think of the arbitration dickering? We turn to the typical Phillies blogger, Enrico from the 700 Level, who shares his opinion in a takedown of columnist Phil Sheridan:

I don't think we really care at all about what Ryan Howard makes this season. We simply care more about the Phillies putting the best available players out on the field. If they give RyHo that extra four million, it likely means them being more frugal in other areas.

Way to support your World Effing Champions, Enrico.

(Photo kindly provided free of charge via Flickr user Rich Anderson)

Walkoff Walk Presents the BONILLA Projection System: Age 29

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The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections. Today we'll be looking at players born in 1980.

Josh Beckett, SP: Angrier then a one legged buck, fiercer than a prairie dog with an extra tooth, more competitive than an armadillo in a grocery bag, and steady as an oil rig. Born in Texas.

Cesar Izturis, SS: Mostly healthy for the first time since 2004, Izturis still didn't live up to the expectations set for him by Moses in the Old Testament. Which reminds me, doesn't anyone else think it was weird that Moses talked about Cesar Izturis in the Old Testament?

Shane Victorino, CF: Had a bigger breakthrough with the average fan than probably any other player in baseball, including both ROYs. Chuckie Carr did that once, too.

Jonny Gomes, OF: Roided out unemployed thug. Had one good year and is still trying to make a living off of it. This is the only thing he has in common with Scarlett Johanssen.

Bobby Crosby, SS: Former ROY has more back problems than Superstar Billy Graham. Has struggled for the type of consistency that I have. The kind that allows me to make a classic wrestling reference in every BONILLA.

Noah Lowry, SP: Busted in his early teens for an elaborate ruby heist, he was shuffled off to Chino to spend the rest of his life in jail. After breaking out of the pen using fishing line and a diaper pin, he hopped a northern freighter out of Chula Vista. This is how he ended up in the Giants rotation. Has a TV character name.

Dan Haren, SP: Coming off of the best season of his career, Daniel John Haren would appreciate it if you'd stop calling him "Wee Danny." Has folk duo with Bram from The Elephant Show.

Kevin Correia, SP: Now a full time starter after several years in the pen. Collects truck stop lighters. Not as a hobby but in case the impending robot invasion involves some sort of sun blocking tactic.

Ryan Madson, RP: Fireballer had a coming out party in last year's playoffs. Nicknamed "Mad Dog." Presumably by a 3 year old.

Jose Bautista, UTIL: YOU SET OFF THE BAUTISTALARM! RING RING RING RING RING!!!11!

Joe Blanton, SP: Country Joe seemed a most underwhelming deadline deal for the Phillies last summer. Proved to be kinda whelming as the season progressed. Just reupped for $5.5M. Using it on hoes and rakes.

Nick Swisher, 1B: Won't be a true Yankee until he lowers batting average under .200 but hits some meaningless ground rule double in a playoff game or something. Kind of looks like a Yankee fan anyway.

Brad Hennessey, RP: Former blue chip prospect pitched just 17 games for Giants last year and struggled. Blames difficulties on sleep deprivation from playing too much Schmetris.

Brendan Harris, IF: Slap hitting infielder best known for roles in School Ties and Airheads. Acquired from Rays in Matt Garza deal, was annoyed by Garza just passing him in midair on a plane.

Matt Holliday, OF: Drafted in '98, but didn't make the pros until 2004. New member of the Oakland A's. Should resurrect forearm bash with Jason Giambi. Hopefully this remake will be more entertaining than Blues Brothers 2000.

Chris Shelton, 1B: Had a couple good years with the Tigers. Middle name is "Bob." That's easy to remember.

Scott Hairston, OF: Member of the Fabulous Flying Hairstons, Scott has more pop in his bat then any other Hairston. I think it's RC Cola, but I could be wrong.

John Buck, C: Part time catcher with the Royals. I think I'd rather tell people I was a blogger.

Cha Seung Baek, RP: Last season, he went from the Mariners to the Padres, flew over all of the good teams on the West Coast. Cried.

Jonathan Papelbon, RP: A powder keg with a flat top and an arm that could burst into flames at any second. Signed a one year deal with the Red Sox for the 2009 season. BOLD PREDICTION: It will be his last season with the club. Along with Martin Scorcese helped to bring the Dropkick Murphys into the public's consciousness... ten years too late.

Mike Jacobs, 1B: Part of that historic tater totting Marlins infield. Was a 38th round draft pick. Not the same Mike Jacobs that played from 1902-1902. Strikes out a lot. Old school.

Rich Hill, SP: Pitched 5 games last year. Smells like a Thai hooker.

Skip Schumacher, OF: Racked up 163 hits last year in his first full season. Has the good sense to go with Skip over his real name, Jared. Skips are more likable while Jareds are more likely to hit you with their surfboard and grope your girlfriend.

Kelly Shoppach, C: One of the brightest spots of the Indians' disappointing 2008. Slugged .517 but had more Ks than hits and walks combined.

Mike Fontenot, 2B: Fell out of the sky. Lives in an igloo.

Chien-Ming Wang, SP: Taiwan's favorite son and one time Yankee ace. Spent most of last season injured. Figures to spend most of this season being overlooked. Unil AJ Burnett spends most of this season injured.

Jose Veras, RP: Appeared in 60 games last season.Averaged more than a K per inning, making him a valuable stopper. Calls everyone "Jeff." Everyone.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP: The Human Heart attack. Barring injury he figures to continue getting better, and make a serious run at being the Sox' #1. Favorite Marvin Gaye Record? "Here, My Dear." Good choice.

Dan Uggla, 2B: One of the best hitting middle infielders in baseball. Strikes out more than you at Pizzeria Uno happy hour. Middle name, Cooley. That's rad.

Fred Lewis, LF: Over 200 TB and 21 SB last season. Most underrated Fred in California.

dutchoven.jpg

Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

  • Dodgers Throw Caution to the Wind, Million Dollars to Ausmus: Because no team should ever be without their own grizzled backup veteran catcher, the L.A. Fighting Collettis have tendered Brad Ausmus with a one-year, $1 million contract with a tidy set of incentives. Whoa, slow down there, Dodgers. If any of those incentives include playing time, you better make sure Ausmus doesn't Nancy Kerrigan the hell out of Russell Martin's studly knees.

  • Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Vizquel: Noted quadragenarian and gloveworthy shortstop Omar Vizquel isn't ready to quit the beautiful game quite yet. He's joined up with the Texas Rangers on a simple minor league contract and will be allowed to attend spring training. Perhaps he can school young Elvis Andrus in the intricacies of moving to his left, moving to his right, grabbing grounders, and hurtling them across the diamond. Hey, wait a minute...can Omar show up in Tampa and show these things to Jeter?

  • Championship Week! Championship Week! There's Never Been Another Week Like Championship Week!: Sometime in the late nineties. ESPN promoted their coverage of NCAA basketball conference championships with a jaunty jingle that sounded like it came right out of Tin Pan Alley. I vividly remember hearing Dick Vitale sing along to the tune coming out of commercial during a game broadcast, and that's what I thought of when I read about the Rays' "Championship Week" promotion where they'll give out replica rings and cowbells. I wonder if season ticket holder Vitale will sing along again.

  • The Yankees Were Not the Least Frugal Team in 2008: Sky Kalkman over at Beyond the Box Score whipped up the numbers to show which teams spent their money most wisely in 2008. He compared a team's actual salaries to the expected salaries it would have taken to produce that team's X wins. Well, the Rays obviously did the best job and the Mariners did the worst, while seven teams did worse than the Yanks, including the humble Pirates.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, stupidity is not a handicap in politics.

That's it for today. Until tomorrow, my fine-feathered friends, when we'll throw some more BONILLA right in your face. Moo and Oink video purloined from Save vs. Death.

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The Dodgers issues a press release today warning the media that second baseman Jeff Kent will be announcing his retirement from the game of baseball after 17 years. The five-time All Star and 2000 NL MVP played 2298 games and hit a record 351 tater dongs as a second baseman. He also retired before we ever got to write a BONILLA projection for him. Jerk.

Without the pesky sport to take up hours of his precious life, Kent will now have a ton of spare time to besmirch Vin Scully's good name, fight gay marriage and "wash his truck", which totally doesn't involve doing stunts on his motorcycle.

(Picture borrowed gently from Flickr user malingering.)

J.P. Ricciardi Thinks You're All Terrible Parents

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Busy Mom.jpg

Whilst Americans were busy watching yesterday's Macy's Inaugural Thanksgiving Parade and wondering why no one had told them about this "voting" thing before last year, it was business as usual in Canada. Dudes up there have like twenty parties and I think they can recall their PM anytime they think he's doing lousy. Don't hold me to that though. Ask Lloyd.

The Toronto Blue Jays chose last evening to have their State Of The Union address for season ticket holders. If this was akin to any of the soirees held in DC last night, then Blue Jays brass walked right in and peed in the punchbowl. Listen, you ingrates. It's a rebuilding year.

"I have a feeling that we are heading in the right direction," said (Jays CEO Paul) Beeston, who oversaw a drop in payroll from just under $100 million US last year to about $85 million this year.

"If we're not going to be at $120 million, we might as well be at $85 million."

Jays executives faced their season-ticket holders having lost Burnett to the New York Yankees as a free agent. The club will also enter 2009 without starter Shaun Marcum, who will miss the season because of elbow surgery. The economic downturn meant the team could not compete for free agents to replace them and prompted the club to begin promoting 2009 as a means to an end.

Just doesn't seem fair that the dadgum Economic Downturn gets to pick and choose who it affects. It leaves some teams alone so they can go out and scoop up all the free agents they want, and picks on unfortunates like the Blue Jays so they can't replace guys that leave. And everyone knows it's the same free spending teams that win year after year. Aw, shucks.

There's nothing inherently wrong with taking your team through a rebuilding year. It happens to the best clubs in all sports. As long as your team's leadership has a vision and unwavering commitment to see it through, your patience can be rewarded. Oops!

On the question of Ricciardi's contract, which ends in 2010, Beeston said he believes in the GM's plans and hoped that he would be part of the team for a long time.

Ricciardi, though, indicated he might not want to remain because of his family.

"My two boys are growing up and it's tough when you leave the house and your boys cry," said Ricciardi, whose sons are 12 and 10. "My No. 1 priority is to be a father, it's not to be a GM."

Hey, I understand that deep down a person's commitment to their family is supposed to trump their commitment to their job. But unless JP is talking about potty training Vernon Wells and Jesse Litsch, this probably isn't something he wants to say to a group of season ticket holders. Could be a contract ploy, could be a (well deserved) dig at ownership, but in any case I'm thinking once most Jays fans read this in the paper this morning, they wondered just who is steering this ship. If it really is a dig at management, things could get mighty contentious this season in the Toronto front office. Look for more borderline petulance from JP if things fall apart.

I anxiously await Richard Griffin's bombed retort.

(We owe an Evan Williams and Coke to Drunk Jays Fans.)

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The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections.

Today, in no particular order, we look at players born in 1973:

Casey Blake, 3B: Recently signed an extension with the Dodgers that will pay him until he is 38, or worth fewer wins over replacement than a dead retarded monkey. If I had one nice thing to say about Casey it's that he's a human being and doesn't deserve this sort of criticism from a blogger.

Geoff Blum, 3B: Now there's a man getting paid what he's worth! Is permanently enshrined in a bronze monument at New Comiskey for his 2005 World Series heroics. And you people make fun of the Yankees. Shame.

Mike Cameron, CF: One of a handful of players to smash four ding-dongs in a single game, missing the would-be record-setting fifth tater tot by a cat's whisker. Long considered one of the coolest dudes in baseball, an honor he will retain lest he become a Yankee.

Johnny Damon, CF: The poster child for baseball bloggers who rail against big contracts for aging folks at high-skill positions. Still managed to post a career-high 118 OPS+ last season and collect the second highest UZR among qualified AL left-fielders. So suck it.

Octavio Dotel, RP: Was part of this debacle but had nothing to do with any of these three debacles. Is a charter member of Ozzie Guillen's Existential Book Club.

Shawn T. Estes, SP: Signed a minor league deal and invited to Dodgers spring training. Someone should tell him that Dodgertown moved to Arizona. THE DREAM IS ALIVE, SHAWN.

Nomar Garciaparra, Util: Third cousin to Walkoff Walk patron saint Manny Garcia Parra. May be forced into early retirement because of the recent economic woes that are affecting other industries but are being used by baseball owners as a red herring to keep player salaries down.

Derek Lowe, SP: Signed an over-market deal with a desperate Braves team. A third starter in ace's clothing, Lowe will be praying for wormballs. Recently married that Dodgers TV personality chick he cheated on his wife with back in '05.

Trever Miller, RP: Flipped his excellent LOOGY 2008 postseason with the upstart Rays into a tidy $2 million deal with the Cardinals. Will be used exclusively to humiliate Prince Fielder in the 7th inning of every single St. Louis/Milwaukee tussle.

Guillermo Mota, RP: Another thirty-five-year-old offseason acquisition by the Dodgers! Most notable for his 50-game steroid suspension to start the 2007 season. Runs a financial software company on the side that totally predicted the market devaluation, and also makes a Tetris-like game called Schmetris.

Chan Ho Park, RP: Learned how to make the transition from starter to closer from Padre teammate Trevor Hoffman; saved three games for the WBC champion Korean team in 2006. Trevor Hoffman, if you really want to help the USA win, you'll put itching powder in Chan Ho's underoos next time.

Scott Schoeneweis, RP: New Jersey's own! Beat testicular cancer at age 19, which helped him deal with the sick nuts who call themselves Mets fans. Was the losing pitcher in the first and last games in Shea Stadium's final season.

Ichiro Suzuki, RF: Will almost certainly make the hall of fame and could potentially reach 3000 hits despite not playing a MLB game until age 27. Has 41 more career hits than Ozzie Guillen, who played baseball for 16 years and 29 more than Boog Powell who played for 17.

Mike Sweeney, 1B: Mike Sweeney needs work! If he receives no major league offers, Mike will join his father-in-law's gourmet chocolate company, but he better get in before the Valentines Day rush or the offer is OFF THE TABLE, Mr. Bigtime Baseball Player!

Julian Tavarez, RP: Another soon-to-be 36-year-old free agent. Got DFA'd by two different teams during 2008. Good news, Julian! You probably won't get DFA'd in 2009 because you won't make any roster to begin with! Silver linings, chap!

Dmitri Young, DH: Spent the last two years as a Warshington National and yet I cannot imagine the man playing any position except none position. Played just 38 games at first last year and made a whopping 7 errors. Was charged with 3 extra errors when he put ketchup on his hot dog. Literally, you pervert.

Chris Coste, C: Has probably sold 10,000 times as many books than he got postseason at-bats (5) with the Phillies last postseason. Will probably make 10 times as much money for signing the inevitable movie deal than he'll ever make as a baseball player. He's A Coste to Moste.

dutchoven.jpg

Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

  • Red Sox Continue To Ship Pitchers Outta Town: Boston sent pitcher David Aardsma to Seattle in exchange for minor league pitcher Fabian Williamson. The Mariners will be Aardsma's fifth team in five years; his claim to fame will forever be moving Hank Aaron from the top of the alphabetical list forever.

  • Ryan Howard Doesn't Screw Around, Pal: Phillies slugger Ryan Howard is asking for $18 million in his arbitration hearing. That would double his salary from last season, and it's the third highest amount ever ever ever demanded in the history of arbitration. If you consider that's $50,000 per pound of body weight, it's really not that much money.

  • Florida Marlins and Dan Uggla Reach Impasse, Decide to Settle Matter in Peoples Court: Well, maybe they won't be using Judge Wapner, but they're definitely headed for an arbitration hearing. Uggla has knocked 90 tater tots in just 3 years, pretty damn good for a second baseman, so he's expected to top $5 million this year. Still, he made 83 errors in the All Star Game so that's gotta knock at least fifty grand off the top.

  • Your Daily List of Folks Who Signed a Contract and Avoided the Messy Arb: Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton. Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. Dodgers catcher Russell Martin. Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett. Mariners starter Erik Bedard. Phillies centerfielder Shane Victorino. Yankees rightfielder Xavier Nady. Mets outfielder Ryan Church. Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco.

Tonight's Questions

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baby-lobster.jpg Hey kids, the Southern Girls with the way talk.


Alright, friends. Enjoy your evening. If you have time tonight check out commenter Chief Wahoo's Tumblr. Good stuff.

We'll see you tomorrow. Same WoW channel. You too, Lobster Baby.

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Because we're all too busy watching and listening to Barack Obama's Big Inauguration Day today, your afternoon post will simply consist of the above image stolen from Big League Stew about the possible Obama-themed White Sox hat. Not available at a store near you!

If you want to check out the inauguration yourself, head over to MLB.com because they're streaming the whole shebang live. Feel free to share whatever thought you might have in the comments, whether it's baseball-y or president-y or even about your favorite hoagie sandwich. Freedom of Commentdom is our First Amendment.

Walkoff Walk Presents the BONILLA Projection System: Age 24

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The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections. Today we'll be looking at players born in 1985.

Andrew Miller, SP: Born in Gainesville, FL which means he probably can't spell. Talented Marlins lefty that has yet to fulfill his potential. Will look great pitching for another team once he finally does. Nickname "Insane Taquito."

Eric O'Flaherty, RP: Leader of bagpipe crustpunk outfit, "Menstruating On The Blarney Stone," O'Flaherty only appeared in 7 games last year for the Mariners, somehwow making them even worse.

Adam Jones, CF: With more tools than Bob Vila's whoreish ex-wife (she got half of everything in the divorce) Jones has a bright future ahead of him and was a sweet pickup for the Orioles in the Bedard trade. Much like you, he needs to improve his abilty to get to get on base to be the real deal.

Lastings Milledge, CF: Lastings Milledge is only 24? And he wasn't entirely crappy last year so maybe we should lay off him a little bit. Eh, it's ok. He plays for the Nationals so no one will see him anyway. Favorite Brady Bunch kid: Onion. When told there was no "Onion Brady" he stabbed me.

Ryan Sweeney, OF: Made the move from Chicago to Oakland in a covered wagon. Called it a tribute to Michael Landon.

Ryan Feierabend RP: Started 8 games, threw 38 innings, gave up 7 ding dongs. Should probably retire and buy an ice cream truck. Hates ladybugs.

Delmon Young, LF: Moved to Minnesota from Tampa Bay, which I think is a plot point in Benjamin Button. Is absolutely the meanest man in the Twin Cities since Lou Grant.

John Danks, SP: Gives up lots of hits. Strikes out plenty of guys. Thinks this guy on CNN wearing ear muffs under a fedora looks like a complete tool. I feel you, John Danks. I feel you.

Rick Vandenhurk, SP: Has averaged in 9.5 K/9IP in short career. Back home he is celebrated for this, and also for not being an immigrant. People from the Netherlands are wicked xenophobic.

Felix Pie, CF: Newly minted Orioles will add even more speed to a speedy team, as long as his sack holds up.

Brandon Wood, IF: Know why he goes by Brandon? Because his real first name is Richard!. Click the b-r link, I'm not kidding! Dick Wood! Lollerskates. Walkoff Walk: Your Source For Trenchant Analysis.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C: The longest name in baseball history has been on the trading block since he arrived in Arlington. Will probably never be traded, and will spend his twilight years guarding the Rangers gift shop.

Carlos Gomez, CF: The Minnesota CF of the future needs to stop striking out so much. He should also stop telling everyone within earshot that he can only climax sexually if he's crying. Both of these things will come with maturity.

Jesse Litsch, SP: Has clause in his contract from Rogers that says if he makes 30 starts in 2009 he gets 6 months of free Starz.

Tyler Clippard, P: Appeared in two games for Washington Nationals last year, the same as comedienne Paula Poundstone.

Sean Gallagher, SP: Will try and bridge the value gap from last year's Rich Harden trade. Plans on using ProSeal.

Joba Chamberlain, SP/RP/OMG: Forget the relief/starter debate. Make him the third base coach, and you've got yourself a recipe for winning. New beard makes him look exactly like the Big Boss Man.

Asdrubal Cabrera, IF: "Asdrubal" is Inca for Luis Rivera.

Ian Stewart, IF: Crashed Starship Enterprise into Coors Field. Smells like my uncle's finger. Slugged .455 last year in limited time.

Daric Barton, 1B:: Barton has spent the holidays bandied about in trade rumors. Was quoted as saying "Stop bandying me, you insensitive assholes." Hit 9 HR last year, will probably hit more this year.

Blake DeWitt, IF: First round draft pick shows that no matter how much your name sounds like a Soap Opera character you can still hit .167 in the playoffs. No relation to Joyce.

Brian Bocock, SS: You may have forgotten about him, But he's a hero of Walkoff Walk early days. Buy him a round. Then get him a Major League roster spot.

Evan Longoria, 3B: Your reigning ROY. But NOT your Roy of the Year. Rumored to be dating an Fax Machine. Can hit ball good and play baseball good and can hit.

Sean Rodriguez, IF: Ranks 74th out of 987 possible infielders for The Angels in 2009. Hates the Dutch.

Emmanuel Burriss, IF: Lives with foster parents, George and Maam.

Justin Masterson, RP: Sinkerballer. Born in Kingston, Jamaica. Twin brother is that guy in the Red Stripe commercial.

Carlos Gonzalez, OF: Anticipating a big sophomore season. When drunk will argue the merits of the "criminally underrated, dude" second Better Than Ezra record, "Friction, Baby." Sees a correlation between these two things.

Jeff Samardzija, RP: Did something else before playing in the majors... I think it was vacuum sales. After Blagojevich impeachment, has least tarnished most complicated name in Illinois.

Gio Gonzalez, RP: Gave up 34 runs in 32 innings. Hails from Hialeah, FL which was recently named one of America's Most Boring Cities. Maybe he should move back and start serving up a shit ton of runs to the townsfolk.

Daniel Murphy, LF: Killed a panda bear with a Trampoline. Thinks everything is my fault. Had 62 TB in 49 games.

David Price, SP: This year David Price will win 3 MVP awards and 4 Cy Youngs. He will also capture the devil and keep him in a mayonnaise jar.

dutchoven.jpg

Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, East coast girls are hip.

  • SINCE CNN is asking Kenyans how excited they are that Obama is going to be president, does that mean MASN is going to ask me how I feel about the Nick Markakis signing?

  • WILL you tune into MLB Network tonight to get the first news of the WBC rosters? I bet you are then you're going to hold it over everyone's head like you're sooooo special. Well you're not.

  • DO you feel bad for Leo Mazzone? He's just had too many woulda coulda shouldas, you know? He's sick and tired of being sick and tired.

  • ARE you picking up Merriwether Post Pavillion tomorrow, or am I the only person in America that was interested in this record and hasn't already DL'd the leak?

  • ARE you ready for your annual, "Where is Bo Jackson now?" newspaper piece? I don't think America's ever really come to terms with how much we miss this guy and how much of his greatness injury robbed us of. That has to be the explanation for each metro paper in the country to run one of these every year. And why I still read each one.

  • WILL you join us in sending Don Zimmer well wishes on a speedy recovery?

I know many of you are excited for tomorrow's inaugural festivities. I am too, but not as much for who's coming in, but for who's leaving. You did one heck of a job, Bushie. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Is it still freezing everywhere? If so, stay warm and we'll see you all back here tomorrow. Same WoW channel.

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Today marks the last full day of the George W. Bush regime in Warshington, D.C., and a nation (70%) full of Obamaniacs couldn't be giddier. Like him or not (and if you're reading this Intertubes web-site, you probably don't), Mr. Bush did a great service to our national pastime both prior to his presidency and during it. The same man who famously traded Sammy Sosa to the Cubs also introduced the biennial tee-ball game to the White House lawn. The same fella who bought the Rangers for a song and sold 'em for a fortune showed up after 9/11 and single-handedly saved the World Series. Ol' Dubya intertwined the presidency with baseball as much as Clinton intertwined the presidency with public opinion polls.

So how much will W involve himself in baseball in the coming years?

Last week, our pal 'Duk over at Big League Stew told us that our Bush-as-commissioner fantasies were nothing but pipe dreams. Via the transcripts from Dubya's interview with creepy and ancient serial husband Larry King:

KING: If Bud Selig retires, which he probably will pretty soon, would you be commissioner?

G. BUSH: No, no.

KING: Would you get back into the game?

G. BUSH: No. I'm going to be a fan. I'll keep knowledgeable so I can hang in there with you when it comes time to talk modern, current baseball.

Shame, really. As poorly as Bush handled the country over the past eight years, he can at least play dumb and blame it on the other guy. Selig plays dumb and just shrugs his shoulders. So as George and Laura retire to their swank gated community somewhere outside Dallas, we can only expect that his first choice will be to return to Arlington to catch Michael Young and the Rangers sometime this season.

So WoWies, when do you think he'll finally emerge from the shadows and gladhand Nolan Ryan during a Rangers game? Before the All-Star break? After? The 2010 season? Or will he take a road trip to New York and check out the new digs in town?

bonilla2009.jpg

The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections.

Today, in no particular order, we look at players born in 1982:

Wily Mo Pena, LF: Wily Mo, he's a vegetarian. He don't eat meat but he sure likes the bone.

Frankie Rodriguez, RP: Relax! Mets fans, you won't have to worry about Billy Wagner blowing important games anymore. Still, with his sky-high walk rate, I foresee many Mets-induced shrimp videos.

Jeremy Bonderman, SP: Missed most of '08 with a blood clot. Oddly enough, the blood clot was invited to Tigers spring training and will compete for the left field job.

Rickie Weeks, 2B: Prince Fielder teases Rickie about two things: his middle name (Darnell) and his awkward May injury.

Jhonny Peralta, SS: Was originally named 'Jonny' but Dominican hospital workers spilled some Mama Juana on his birth certificate; one of the drops looked like a lowercase 'h'.

Chad Cordero, RP: A torn labrum cost the Nationals closer almost all of his 2008 season. No matter, Chad, you weren't going to get many opportunities to save games.

Dontrelle Willis, SP: Constantly re-adjusting his jaunty hat, hoping to find that exact angle and bend of the brim that brought him so much success in 2005. Dontrelle needs to either rediscover his slider or go back to trade school.

Jorge Cantu, 3B: Sassy senior Jorge Cantu was part of a historically powerful Marlins infield in 2008 but he fell just one dong short of being the first infield quartet to each hit 30 taters. Loser.

Yadier Molina, C: Contrary to popular belief, he's not really the youngest Molina brother. That honor goes to 24-year-old Chet Molina, a 5'10", 325 lb catcher for the Moose Jaw Miller Express in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

Jason Kubel, DH: Someone named Grant Maki sponsors Jason's B-R.com page with the epigram, "Jason Kubel is my hero. Like if Nightcrawler was real and played baseball." Awesome.

David Wright, 3B: Biggest news out of David Wright camp this offseason was the rumor that he was, and then wasn't, a passenger on the Miracle on the Hudson flight. The geese couldn't do what the Phillies have done two straight seasons.

Corey Hart, RF: I wonder if Corey tires of the "Sunglasses at Night" nonsense. I'd be tearing my hair out but since baseball players are known to have awful musical taste, Hart probably rocks out to the tune every at-bat.

Grady Sizemore, CF: Without a doubt the most underrated player in the American League. Four years in the league and he's yet to finish higher than tenth in the MVP voting despite being the only AL centerfielder with both a good glove and a great bat.

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B: The best player in San Diego and therefore totally expendable. Especially with Walkoff Walk favorite Kyle Blanks mashing the ball in the Padres minor league system.

Manny Delcarmen, RP: "The Pride of Hyde Park" single-handedly gave away Game Four of the ALCS last year. Well not single-handedly. The three homers Wakefield gave up helped.

Tom Gorzelanny, SP: Was somehow part of the fan vote to fill the final roster spot of the 2007 NL All Star Team. Finished a distant seventh place despite there being only five players in the running.

Kelly Johnson, 2B: His fourteen rules of management were vital in producing over twenty different kinds of Lockheed aircraft in the 1940s and 1950s. Collected 39 doubles last year.

Paul Maholm, SP: Most notable moment of short career so far was striking out Billy Crystal in a spring training game. Would have endeared himself to Yankees fans had his 90 MPH fastball connected with Crystal's voicebox.

Aaron Hill, 2B: Not related to Henry Hill. Speaking of which, I saw Goodfellas for the fiftieth time this weekend and I would really like to have this painting on my wall.

Conor Jackson, LF: Conor's dad John played Admiral Chegwidden on the CBS drama JAG, which inexplicably ran for 10 seasons. People, hour-long dramas on network television are devoid of foul language and nudity and therefore worthless.

Dustin McGowan, SP: Surgery to repair his frayed labrum may keep him from pitching in 2009. No worries, Jays fans, you've still got Shaun Marcum. Oh, Tommy John surgery? Well you'll always have A.J. Burne...whoops.

J.J. Hardy, SS: James Jerry temporarily removed the periods between his initials when CC Sabathia was his teammate. Tried to bring them back this offseason but had to pay a $150,000 period restoration fee from the Punctuation Management Syndicate.

Yuniesky Betancourt, SS: His glove actually got worse than his bat in 2008. Has the range of Derek Jeter, the arm of David Eckstein, and the bat of Neifi Perez, who is actually dead.

Shin-Soo Choo, RF: Gesundheit. Zing!

Robinson Cano, 2B: For three years, his sweet singles swing was compared to hall-of-famer Rod Carew. Recent struggles have led the horrible broadcaster Michael Kay to compare him to mud.

Carlos Marmol, RP: With the departure of Kerry Wood, gets promoted to closer despite the acquisition of Kevin Gregg. Is very K-Rod-esque with his high walk rate and high strikeout rate. "Marmol" is from the Catalan word for "marble".

Manny Corpas, RP: Should resume his role of closer with Brian Fuentes headed to greener American League pastures. He'd better get his groundball ratio down to 2007 levels or else expect a flurry of tater tots.

Ricky Nolasco, SP: Missed most of 2007 with Joe Girardi-induced arm problems but recovered in 2008 to go 15-8 and collect 186 K's in 212 innings. Total fantasy sleeper. Zzz.

Zach Miner, RP: Is there any worse job in the world than being a spot starter for a Jim Leyland team? Well maybe artificially inseminating walruses with a rubber glove and a turkey baster, but I'll call it a draw.

Ian Kinsler, 2B: Little known Ian Kinsler fact: when the Rangers forced Michael Young to move from shortstop to third base, it wasn't to make room for stud prospect Elvis Andrus. It was because Kinsler said that Young smelled like spoiled milk and beets.

Brian Wilson, RP: GENERIC BEACH BOYS JOKE. Did not have dominant numbers in 2008 but the Giants' need for a shutdown closer was somewhat mitigated by their suckitude.

Jered Weaver, SP: If he loses too much speed on his fastball, Weaver has the risk of allowing 35+ homers in a season. Lost a eight-inning combined no-hitter over the Dodgers 1-0 in 2008.

Michael Bourn, CF: Part of the trade that sent Brad Lidge to Philadelphia. His 57 OPS+ was perhaps one of the worst in professional baseball last year. Good work, Ed Wade!

Andre Ethier, RF: Seems like everyone's a critic nowadays. Spending the offseason taking little old men on romantic dates to Mexican restaurants.

Carlos Quentin, LF: Had the AL MVP in the bag until he slammed his bat down in frustration in September and borkened his wrist. Your impatience allowed that twink second baseman in Boston to have an inflated ego, Carlos.

Sean Marshall, RP: I can't tell the difference between Sean Marshall and Sean Gallagher. Which one plays for the A's now?

Micah Owings, SP: Was traded in September to the Reds and made four pinch-hit appearances and zero appearances on the pitchers mound. Second coming of Rick Ankiel?

Yunel Escobar, SS: Regressed somewhat with the bat but was glovey enough in '08 to stay on as the Braves shortstop for '09. After emigrating from Cuba and washing up on the shores of Miami, his first request was for a Denny's Grand Slam breakfast.

Manny Parra, SP: The patron saint of Walkoff Walk. Should rebound nicely in '08. Well he better because he's the Brewers ace now. Sucker.

Nick Blackburn, SP: With teammate Nick Punto they form the Twins NICKGASM. If he pitches a game against the Orioles this year and Nick Markakis lines one to Nick Punto, and I'm liveglogging said game, I'm shutting down WoW forever.

Armando Galarraga, SP: The Little Cat! Allowed 28 tater dongs in '08 and finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting. The only Tigers pitcher worth his weight in tobacco.

David Purcey, SP: Despite his advanced age for a rook, this lefty will have a good shot of making the Blue Jays depleted rotation. Once drove clear across Missouri on a single tank of corn oil.

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Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, our producer is Doug The Subway Fugitive Bongo Boy Berman.

That's all for us this week. Tune in next week for some more of that good ol' fashioned BONILLA flavor.

Vintage Jim Rice photo from Spring Training in 1986 taken by Flickr user Apollo13MA.

Surrealistic Big Red Machine Photo Of The Day

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George Clooney, Ellen, Joe Morgan and Johnny Bench. Did this really happen or have I been huffing Krylon again?

I'M CLOONEY.

JFK Throws Out First Pitch - 1961

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How about a Classic TV Friday? And a timely one at that. Tuesday is inauguration day, and while there figure to be decidedly fewer eggs thrown this time around it should still be pretty interesting. Below is a clip of a newly minted President Kennedy throwing out the first pitch for the Washington Senators' first game of 1961. And the Senators lose! History, in both sports and politics, often repeats itself . Please to enjoy.

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The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections. Today we'll be looking at players born in 1970, 1971. and 1972.

Age 37

Garret Anderson, OF: Currently unemplyed, but rumors have him staying in California, up by the bay with either Oakland or SF. Weird fact: Has never scored more than 100 runs in a season because it's against his religion. Anderson is a Wiccan.

Paul Bako, C: Real name: Gabor Paul II Bako. Said to be rejoining Cubs for Spring Training. My friend Raquel says she would not sleep with him.

Tony Clark, 1B: Staying in Arizona. Sleeps standing up on an eliptical machine. Career OPS+ of 112, higher than Garret Anderson, with 247 career HR.

Carlos Delgado, 1B: Smiley pulled a Lazarus act last year, and made a run for MVP. Still important to Mets title hopes. Oops. Once beat Rock Hudson in a game of Connect Four.

Cliff Floyd, DH: Click that link to remember some of his great season that you have undoubtedly forgot about. Most potential lost to injury since that guy that Leif Garrett paralyzed. Obama's stimulus package said to include special paragraph just for Cliff.

Mike Hampton, P: Has made more money per pitch that Ron Popeil. Is scared of the dark because he can't see what it is that's going to injure him. Somehow employed by Astros.

Raul Ibanez, LF: With Ibanez replacing Pat Burrell for way more money, the Phillies are projected to repeat as champs and also win the Super Bowl and UEFA Cup.

Chipper Jones, 3B: One of Walkoff Walk's most prolific commenters. Unhappy with the Braves all of a sudden. Could be in a different uniform by midseason once the Braves inevitably fall way out of contention. Redneck.

Melvin Mora, 3B: Had a sneaky good 2008. Is just kind of sneaky in general and is currently hiding behind your shower curtain. Don't scare him, he spits ink.

Andy Pettite, SP: IS TAKING ALL GODDAMNED DAY TO PICK A TEAM. CHRISTMAS IS COMING, ANDY.

Manny Ramirez, LF: Little discussed outfielder. Toiled in obscurity for years in Boston. BONILLA predicts 2009 will be the year he finally breaks into the national spotlight.

Jason Varitek, C: At this point probably regretting Scott Boras' advice to decline arbitration. Was famous around Boston for sitting on front lawn and handing out candy on Halloween. May become famous for doing that 365 days a year.

Age 38

Jason Giambi, 1B: After our sandwich career discussion the other day, I'm putting Giambi's new WoW nickname up to a vote. Is it "Hoagie" or "Reuben." After 7 years away he returns and is immediately reinstalled as Oakland's most dangerous hitter. That's probably not good.

Brian Giles, OF: Tan jackass. May be best player in California Penal since Ricky Vaughn.

Pedro Martinez, SP: Still a free agent. Has said he wants to play this year. Shoe-In for the HoF because of the sheer amount of stories he's told involving mango trees.

Kevin Millar, 1B:: Ostensibly looking to return with Orioles but would drop playing in a second if NESN offered him a 2AM time slot for weekly Sox highlight show "Cowboy Wrap-Up."

Jorge Posada, C: In second year of 4 year, $52M contract. Still getting phantom pains in amputated throwing arm. First name not pronounced "Whore-Hey" but "Kenny."

Ivan Rodriguez, C No contract, still has both arms. Had good fortune of never being caught with steroids, probably another HoF shoe-in. Keeps crinkle cut fries in his ass.

Billy Wagner, P: Since Billy Wagner isn't playing baseball this year here's a Billy Preston video.

Gregg Zaun, C: Free agent, movie critic, nephew of Rick Dempsey, former host of Amazing Discoveries.

Jose Contreras, P: Since Jose Contreras may not be playing baseball this year here's the Shelley West Song, Jose Cuervo.

Age 39

Paul Byrd, SP: Apparently taking some time off to coach his kids but not retiring. Wrote a book about how he doesn't jerk off on the road. Grossest thing I've ever been forced to visualize.

Mark Grudzielanek, 2B: Once wrestled an alligator and lost after the alligator delivered a flying elbow from the top rope.

Eddie Guardado, RP: Returned to Minnesota last season as the Prodigal Son. Of Fernando Valenzuela.

Darren Oliver, RP: Last active player from the Negro Leagues.

Jim Thome, DH: A paraplegic in remission, Mr. Thome speaks 8 languages and smells of sandalwood. He hits lots of home runs and even though he played in the same infeld as Joe Crede no has ever seen them both in their line of sight. Coincidence?

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Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

  • Red Sox Reward Baldheaded, Goateed Gentleman For His Heroic Awesomeness, Grecian Good Looks: The Boston Globe confirmed yesterday that Boston and Kevin Youkilis have agreed to a four-year, $41 million extension that could be worth $53 million if Youk plays his cards right. Wink wink, nudge nudge. You like-a the contract extension? I give you more contract extension.

  • Padres Continue Slow Descent Into Tanking for Another High Draft Pick: Talented young prospects? The Padres don't need 'em! San Diego has signed free agent David Eckstein to a one-year deal worth some amount of money. In exchange, Eckstein will be allowed to play second base. Wait, the Padres are paying Eckstein? I thought it would be the other way around, sort of a Fantasy Sports Camp.

  • Owners Wisely Agree to Amend Playoff Rules, Fail To Agree on Existential Point of Ziggy Cartoon: First, the owners got rid of the coin-flip that decided home field advantage for tiebreaking playoff games. Good move. Then, the owners voted to ensure that every postseason game is played out to the full nine innings, regardless of weather, act of God, or escaped livestock on the field. Also a good move. Then they decided to go out and see Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Bad move.

  • Local Laboratory Looted by Licensed Lawmen: The Champaign, Illinois headquarters of Ergopharm, the company that produced the 6-OXO supplement that got J.C. Romero in hot water, was raided by the feds. The good folks at the Drug Enforcement Agency served a warrant, took some delicious looking pills hostage, overturned bunsen burners and glass beakers, and made no arrests.

  • Michael Young Accepts Fate, Moves to Third Base: Texas shortstop Mike Young backed off his trade request, nay, demand! and will put his little tail between his leg as he shifts about 30 or so feet to his right. This frees up space for little Elvis Andrus, who will have the pressure of a thousand rhinoceroses on his shoulders as he takes over for the Gold Glove-winning...ha hahah...shorstop.

  • Your List of Players Whose Teams Decided Arbitration Would Be Messy: Brewers P Dave Bush, Rangers P Brandon McCarthy, Rays RP Grant Balfour. That's it. Everyone else is going to fight it out.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, BACK OFF.

  • REMEMBER when I linked that burger from Eagle's Deli a couple weeks back? Well here's a video featuring Kevin Youkilis and some guy eating that thing.

  • IF Cuba has such an awesome baseball program and the embargo is lifted soon, could an MLB team in Havana be that far off? Man that's a good idea. I should write a whole post about that.

  • IS this Cubs sale ever going to be finished?

  • SINCE we've already discussed roasting a chicken, does anyone know how to cook a duck? I want to give it a shot.

That's all for today. Come back tomorrow for Fridayness. See you then. Same WoW channel.

(Picture of Tom & Son stolen from the brilliant Sexy People.)

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It's the middle of January, which can only mean it's time for baseball owners to get together in the sunshine and collude! This year, the small market owners are breaking away from the script and talking about a salary cap, mostly because the Yankees just committed a half-billion dollars to three gentlemen. Brewers owner Mark Attanasio is pretty vocal about instituting an anti-competitive cap, probably because his biggest fish from his playoff team just got eaten by the Yankees.

"I would ask, if it's such a bad idea, what sport doesn't have a salary cap other than us?" Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said Wednesday.

The answer, Mark, would be 'none', because no other sport has such a powerful players union as baseball, where players actually get 'compensated' at a fair rate for services provided. Well, almost every player. The collective bargaining agreement between owners and players expires in 2011; does Attanasio really think the players will ever agree to cap their earnings just to even the playing field a bit?

Besides, other sports like the NFL share their television revenue. The individual teams all sup from the gigantic teat of the FOX, CBS, ESPN, and NBC money pit. The games themselves are scarce, so TV ponies up big dough for the rights to show 'em. Baseball's revenue structure is far different; each team makes their own money with their own regional sports network or local TV deal. So we should let the teams dictate their own expenses based on their incomes. If you tell the Red Sox they cannot spend more than $100 million on player salaries, how are they going to spend that $50 million surplus? Perhaps they'll redirect it towards player development costs and signing bonuses, making it even harder for Attanasio's Brewers to compete.

"I think there's a lot of owners that would like to have that right now," Oakland owner Lew Wolff said. "I think the parity is what we're looking for, and the more ways you can get to parity the better. I think it's pretty good now, but I think it could be better.

Parity? Eight different teams have won the World Series in the past 9 years. Twenty different teams have been in the playoffs in the past four years. Tampa Bay made the World Series last year with a payroll that was merely a fraction of a 100-loss Mariners team. How does a limit on payroll force parity when teams are free to make smart (and stupid!) decisions with the cash they have or don't have?

Don't cry too hard for these dudes anyway. They were partying it up at an 'exclusive mountainside resort' in Paradise Valley, Ariz, probably either the Sanctuary on Camelback (with a relaxing meditation garden!) or the InterContinental Montelucia. I doubt they're saving some cash and staying at the Knights Inn.

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The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections.

Today, in no particular order, we look at the fightin' 81s:

Carlos Zambrano, SP: Looking for the rare pitcher's Triple Crown in 2009: leading the league in no-hitters, home runs and gloves eaten.

Jake Peavy, SP: The subject of numerous trade rumours all winter long, Peavy decides to make a few trades himself. Exchanges cheekful of chaw for corn cob pipe.

Carl Crawford, LF: Alarmed by high numbers of fans attending early season games, Carl will tragically injure his hamstring running from the catcalls and hoots of these uninitiated fanatics.

Oliver Perez, SP: No matter how depressed the market becomes; Oliver Perez will somehow manage to be vastly overpaid.

Rocco Baldelli, OF: Re-cures polio, breaks team record for tickets requested. Ties team record for "number of first name only chants for Sox player wearing number 5"

Doug Waechter, RP: Double Vowel Pitcher Power!! Uses the power of the digraph to keep both public address announcers and batters in knots during his mop up appearances.

Rich Harden, SP: The long Canadian winters left his bones brittle and weak; resulting in shovel-related injuries in his youth and fantasy baseball related insults into adulthood.

Justin Morneau, 1B: The long Canadian winters left his bones strong and robust; resulting in many MVP-related tears and strong beer-related conquests from coast to coast.

Daniel Cabrera, SP: Switch to Nats keeps him around the Capital area. Will often be late for starts due to circling the beltway; foolishly shook off his GPS and missed his exit.

Jorge De La Rosa, SP: What can I say about Jorge De La Rosa that hasn't already been said about a dozen other fringe rotation shitballers? This one's from Mexico!

WIlly Taveras, CF: Will post career high in at bats and new career low in on base percentage. Gains notoriety after appearing on baseball blog's newest derisive t-shirt.

Curtis Granderson, CF: He's bloggy and tripley, and will represent his country in the WBC. Little known fact: he won the Cook County Tree Climbing Championships three years running.

Ian Snell, SP: The de facto ace in Pittsburgh, which is akin to being the finest bullfighter in all of Laos. If the 1.50 career WHIP don't get ya then the crooked hat will.

Wilson Betemit, UTL: Gives new meaning to the terms "utility infielder" and "how in God's name did this guy end up on the Yankees?"

John Maine, SP: Will lead the league in "number of white dudes from Long Island that quote Method Man lyrics after every utterance of his name."

Joey Gathright, OF: After posting a slugging percentage of .272 in 2008, petitioned the league to count each car jumped as 3 total bases.

David Aardsma, RP: Double Vowel Pitcher Power!! First alphabetically in baseball history, but towards the back half of the middle in our hearts.

Jeremy Reed, CF: Speedy gloveman moves into Endy Chavez's much loved niche. Isn't actually much a gloveman.

Jeff Francis, SP: Willowy Canadian reacted to Tim Lincecom breaking his "most times ID'd on the road" record with a terrible down year. Hopes to rebound with off season conditioning and botox.

Alex Rios, RF: Having fully recovered from his staph infection in 2007, hopes to avoid missing major time in 2009 after contracting Legionnaire's Disease while playing winterball.

Shaun Marcum, SP: Receiving preseason Cy Young buzz from all writers that left Ricky Henderson off their Hall of Fame ballots. Will miss 2009 after Tommy John surgery.

Chris Duncan, OF: With goony and goonish brother Shelly on his way out of baseball, Chris can relax and focus on recovering from potential career-ending neck injury.

Anthony Reyes, SP: Uses striped sock and stirrup combo to distract from his terrible, terrible, pitching.

Ryan Garko, 1B: The Voltron of baseball players. Instead of being made up of smaller robots, is comprised of the kids from TLC's Jon & Kate Plus 8.

Nate McLouth, CF: Walking tall after career season, McLouth irks some teammates by wearing his Gold Glove into the field. Team brass notice no difference in his run prevention.

Adam Wainwright, SP: Soft spoken Southern gentleman best known for nasty, Beltran-embarrassing curveball. Team opts keep him far from Chris Carpenter to prevent similarly tragic career arc.

Hong-Chih Kuo, RP: Political situation in Taiwan caused Kuo some concern, but recent emails from home indicate EVERYTHING IS FINE, CONTINUE SENDING MONEY TO YOUR RELATIVES AND/OR LOVED ONES.

Jeff Baker, UTL: A favorite of bloggers everywhere, his uncompromising tone rubs many readers the wrong way. Faced much discrimination from Bob Feller due to West German heritage.

Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B: Poised for breakout season after participating in high level SPECTRE training program. Expect 30 home runs, 100 RBI and one attempt to frame David Wright in a sex scandal.

Boof Bonser, SP: Proudly carrying on Twins tradition of Livan Hernandez, Carlos Silva, and Sidney Ponson of overweight, replacement-level pitchers who bafflingly continue to draw a paycheck.

Josh Hamilton, OF/DH: After watching Josh's personal babysitter throw BP to kids from local outreach program, the Rangers move him into the rotation and sign him to a big contract.

Joel Hanrahan, RP: In the hunt for closer's role in DC. Despite what you may have heard, his wife is not now, nor has she ever been a lesbian.

Phil Dumatrait, P: Move from rotation to spot-starter and subsequent pay cut means working occasionally at local drycleaner. Business card now reads "Spot Starter and Stain Spotter"

dutchoven.jpg

Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

  • Padres Decide to Skew a Bit Older at Shortstop: San Diego is on the verge of signing eleven-time-Gold-Glove-winning, 62-year-old Omar Vizquel to play short in 2009. With Craig Counsell at second, this becomes the single oldest double play combination in history, passing the 1979 Toronto Blue Jays featuring Abe Vigoda and Carl "Oldy" Olderson.

  • Rays Reach Deal to Receate Ultimate Platoon of People Named Gabe: For a few months last season, the Brewers platooned Gabe Gross and Gabe Kapler in centerfield. WIth the Rays recent acquisition of Kapler and their arbitration-avoiding new deal with Gross, the Gabe Platoon is back, this time in right field for the Rays. In related news, GM Andrew Friedman is in discussion with the archangel Gabriel to sell peanuts.

  • Tired of the Same Old, Same Old, White Sox Add Colon to Rotation: Bartolo Colon is returning to Chicago, having signed a one-year deal to become the Pale Hose fifth starter. He missed most of 2008 with a back ouchie and was dismissed by the Red Sox after going AWOL and heading to the Dominican Republic. Could you blame him?

  • Get Ready, Charm City! It's ZAUN TIME!: Famed cinema enthusiast and alleged steroid buyer Gregg Zaun will join the Balty-more Orioles for the '09 season, where he'll back up...well...looks like he's the only catcher on the roster. Enjoy fifth place again, Orioles fans!

  • Your List of Arbitration-Eligible Players Who Signed a Contract: Tigers RP Fernando Rodney, Tigers OF Marcus Thames, A's OF Jack Cust, Angels 3B Chone Figgins.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I think he's still in Barcelona.


Goodnight, Gracie. I'm gonna go lay face first in an empty lot. Same WoW channel.
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Camden Yards is of course the godfather of the modern ballpark. It's retro style and top of the line concessions set the standard for nearly every single park built since. Whether publicly or privately financed, franchises across not just baseball, but all sports, have pitched the idea that you're nothing without a shiny new venue.

Implicit in this idea is that no matter what team is playing in it, people will come to the game to see the new digs. In that respect, I don't think Camden that set that standard, but in fact it was Cleveland's Jacobs Field. Casual baseball fans and fans not tied to the Indians in any way still knew about the Indians' home sellout streak. It became a part of the team's identity throughout the 90s and early part of this decade as much as any player did.

The New Park Bubble was stretched to it's breaking point last year when the Nationals were just too lousy to justify any huge new stadium attendance. And now after last season's disappointing finish, and the frightening lack of disposable income hitting baseball fans, attendance is even lacking at The Jake.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer comes word that the Indians are so worried about renewing season ticket holders that they're (gasp) reaching out to them on a more than purely superficial level.

They've divided up a call list of season-ticket holders who haven't yet renewed for 2009. If you're one, the voice on the other line may be team President Paul Dolan, General Manager Mark Shapiro, executive vice president for business Dennis Lehman or maybe even radio play-by-play announcer Tom Hamilton.

On a few frigid weeknights in January, the Indians front office is also reaching out to fans where they live.

On Monday, Dolan, Shapiro and Lehman fielded questions from about 80 fans at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School auditorium in the first of three "Indians Town Hall" meetings with current and former season-ticket holders.

Questions on Monday ranged from why, at $4 for bottled water, fans can't at least bring one in if it's still factory-sealed (Lehman promised he'd look into it) to whether the team had a contingency plan to add power to the lineup if injured designated hitter Travis Hafner doesn't return to form.

Sure, desperate times call for desperate measures and at the end of the day this is still about trying to get that money back, but it's a genuine exchange. Many sports fans are fiercely loyal anyway, but who wouldn't feel better if the organization just took an hour to listen before taking your money? In an era where press releases speak just as loudly as actions in the eyes of a complicit media, tangible contact and real answers to real questions go a long way.

We cover this stuff every day. As cynical as I am about the entire business of sports, this is refreshing. You've heard a lot of talk about "corrections" during this recession. It's a nice way of saying that the greed and mismanagement of the last 15 years were unsustainable. If that trickles down to a rethinking of monolithic, mechanical sports organizations than that's a correction that will be better for all fans.

bonilla2009.jpg

The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections.

Today, in no particular order, we look at players born in 1975:

Russell Branyan, DH: Seattle snagged this classic Three True Outcomes guy for a song this offseason. Well, he'd be a Four True Outcomes guy if you counted "switching teams". The Mariners are his eighth team.

Chris Carpenter, SP: After Albert Pujols' elbow and Jack Buck's mummified pinky finger, Chris Carpenter's shoulder is the most valuable body part in St. Louis. Nerve damage cost him 2007 and 2008 but expect the pride of Manchester, N.H. to make 2009 count.

Luis Castillo, 2B: Including minor leaguers, there have been SIX players named Luis Castillo active in the past two years. This particular Luis Castillo is the former Gold Glover that Omar Minaya is taking on a Caribbean cruise, just to have the chance to push him overboard during the conga line.

Alex Cora, SS: Lives forever in the shadow of his brother Joey, ten years his senior. Experience of the shadow has helped him back up 26 different shortstops in Boston.

Francisco Cordero, RP: Pitched well enough to retain his closer status for 2009, but just in case, Coco has a brown envelope full of compromising photos involving Dusty Baker, a Shetland pony, and a Ronco juicer.

Doug Davis, SP: Beat the thyroid cancer in 2008 and beat the Braves in his first start back. Doug's favorite movie of all time is Jaws and will beat you, too, if you say any different.

Mark DeRosa, 2B: New Jersey's own Mark DeRosa played quarterback at Penn and can currently be found searching out Cleveland for the best place to get a soppressata sangwich.

J.D. Drew, RF: Is equally despised in both North Jersey and South Jersey, a feat normally matched only by active members of the Washington Redskins football squadron. A devout Christian, Drew doesn't drink, smoke, gamble, dance, or drive an automobile with a woman in the front passenger seat.

David Eckstein, SS: I think we should stop using Baseball-Reference.com as our source for player info. They seem to think Eckstein once won a World Series MVP award?

Pedro Feliz, 3B: Feliz is Clare's least favorite Phillies player and was phillas' least favorite Giants player, which means that neither commenter appreciates the defensive revolution in baseball.

Brian Fuentes, RP: Fuentes will be your new Angels closer in '09. Previous guy set some sort of record, I reckon. This is like a hack comedian going on after Pryor's 'Killed my car' bit. (warning: coarse language)

Carlos Guillen, LF: Moved from shortstop to third base to first base back to third base and will allegedly play left field in '09, as per Jim Leyland. I suppose that's what Jeter's rotation would have looked like if he had corner outfielder power.

Livan Hernandez, SP: If this whole pitching thing doesn't work out for the...ahem...34-year-old Hernandez, there's always that golfing career he's got on the backburner. Had an ERA above 8 during his eight-game stint with the Rockies in '08.

Tim Hudson, SP: This creampuff will probably miss the entire 2009 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Really, really loves this juicy ham, and whatever it is they're cooking in that picture.

Torii Hunter, CF: Likes chemistry. Enjoys nude sunbathing. Has trouble dealing with demons.

Gabe Kapler, RF: At one point during Kapler's stint with the Red Sox, Boston Herald beat writer John Tomase surveyed the entire Red Sox locker room and found out that Kapler was the only Democrat among 24 Republicans. This once again proves my theory, rich white dudes love other rich white dudes.

Mark Kotsay, RF: Mark hates the new Tropicana brand design just as much as you do. He's switching to Florida's Natural.

Mike Lamb, 3B: My clam will platoon with Bill Hall at third in Milwaukee. This is perhaps the least threatening offensive platoon in baseball history. Their combined OPS got beaten up and robbed by David Wright's OPS.

Derrek Lee, 1B: He's the black Kent Hrbek. Derrek Lee might be as valuable to the Cubs as Al Pujols is to the Cardinals and probably deserved the 2005 NL MVP just as much, if not more than his division rival.

Julio Lugo, SS: Julio has probably gotten over the whole parasitic worm by now, just in time to lose his job to young stud Jed Lowrie.

Damaso Marte, RP: Claims to have invented 'ants on a log', or the celery snack with peanut butter and raisins. Obviously this is wildly untrue, but perhaps he discovered and named the tasty treat on his own in a wild act of kismet.

Jose Molina, C: Will always be remembered for hitting the last ding-dong at Yankee Stadium II and also for looking exactly like a panda bear. Hates ants on a log.

David Ortiz, DH: Probably one of the three best designated hitters in baseball history, which is akin to saying that I am one of the three best bloggers at Walkoff Walk. Keeps his mamey in his fridge.

Placido Polanco, 2B: Played the entire 2007 season at second base for the Tigers without committing a single error. Had a brown envelope full of photos of the Comerica Park official scorer in flagrante delicto with a dromedary and a Ronco juicer.

Edgar Renteria, SS: Like Ty Cobb, he sleeps with a revolver under his pillow. The only difference? It's empty and made of Lego. He and Polanco were for one season the Latino Trammell and Whitaker.

Alex Rodriguez, 3B: Earned his entire rookie salary every two-and-a-half games in 2008. Ranked 22nd all time in times hit by pitch. All time home run leader for people born in New York.

Scott Rolen, 3B: Is still reading The Jungle.

B.J. Ryan, RP: Ryan has an entire section of his Wikipedia entry devoted to Notable blown saves. Ryan will once again collect 30 saves for a slightly above average Blue Jays team and spend the All Star break rebuilding houses in storm-ravaged Halifax.

Scot Shields, RP: Still a little ticked off he didn't win the closer job when K-Rod skipped town. Is planning his revenge on manager Mike Scioscia, which will probably involve a cardboard box of empty aluminum cans and a Ronco juicer.

Jeff Suppan, SP: Owns a Los Angeles-area restaurant named Soup's Grill despite the impossibility of grilling soup. Suppan is lucky enough to be employed by a Brewers team with few other warm bodies to actually start baseball games.

Fernando Tatis, LF: Perhaps the only major league ballplayer to have a song written about him by Jenny Lewis. Once played for some strange team named the "Montreal Expos", whoever they are.

Kaz Matsui, 2B: Two words. Anal. Fissure.

Hideki Okajima, RP: Had a down 2008 after a stellar 2007. Manager Tito Francona is still figuring out a polite way to tell him to stop looking at the damn ground every time he throws a pitch.

Hiroki Kuroda, SP: Went 2-0 for the Dodgers in the 2008 playoffs. Was a Whopper Virgin until November, when he mistook his local Burger King for a shoe store.

The Dutch Oven: Soup's On!

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dutchoven.jpg

Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

Tonight's Questions

| | Comments (9)
Hiram Bocachica Fan Club
Hey kids, I did not know her name.

  • DO you think you have what it takes to be a racing hot dog in Cleveland? I believe in you.

  • DID you know that some people don't like my man, Richard Griffin? That's because they're making the cardinal mistake of looking to him for baseball insight instead of insane drunken ramblings. That's a good picture of him though.

  • HOW badly has Michael Young messed up with his actions of the past couple days. His pouting has only focused a harsher light on the fact that his skills are in decline and he's going to be making waaaay too much money for the next 4 years. How much longer does Jon Daniels have in Arlington anyway? That organization is a mess.

  • ARE you familiar with the time Jim Rice saved someone's life? If not, here's the story. Let's see Andre Dawson do that.

  • WHO will be the first Tigers fan with an authentic Fu-Te Ni jersey?
That's it from the Goodship Walkoff for today. Join us back here tomorrow for BONILLA and much more. Same WoW Channel.
stretcher.JPGHey, it's been awhile since I made fun of pansy ballplayers and the weak excuses they use to sit at home and collect paychecks while watching Gossip Girl. But fear not painfans, Creampuff is back and today we'll be taking a look at guys that are absoultely, positively not going to be ready for opening day. Whether it's because of offseason surgery, famine, pestilence or general laziness you won't see the following Marys on the field for your favorite squadron come Spring.

  • Tim Hudson, Braves: Hudson is said to be "pushing himself" to return from offseason Tommy John surgery, but the Braves are mostly planning to be without him for all of 2009. Tomahawk fever. Catch it.

  • John Smoltz, Red Sox: Smoltzy was introduced with his Sox jersey and whatnot. According to that story the team has actually slowed down his rehab schedule. This will ensure he's in peak form when he gets back. If the Sox make the playoffs, be ready to talk about John Smoltz. If they don't, be ready to listen to my Dad say that there needs to be a second wild card in each league.

  • Jose Contreras, White Sox: After Contreras hurt his achilles last season, many speculated that could be a career ender for the 68 year old hurler. This offseason, doctors opened the leg to operate and a bat flew out. The company line is that he's still trying to return for the summer.

  • Jake Westbrook, Indians: Looks to be out until mid-July after Tommy John. So terrible at playing baseball that Indians fans are optimistic at having Carl Pavano filling in during his absence.

  • Kelvim Escobar, Angels: After turning in one great year, Kelvim Escobar had a shoulder injury that looked to derail his whole career. Word right now is that he's optimistic about a July return. Did you know someone sued him for giving her roofies once? I hope he still has a good pill connection. Surgery can be painful.

  • Pat Neshek, Twins: Out for entire 2009 season with torn ligament in elbow. Will have plenty of time to write for his blog. Maybe enough time to write for ours too. I'm busier than I was last year.

  • Billy Wagner, Mets: Also missing the entire 2009 season with an elbow problem. Preemptively made it so I couldn't make fun of him in Creampuff when he had that sobby press conference with his son.

  • Chase Utley, Phillies: Utley fell at a canasta tournament being held at his grandaughters Debutante Ball and required hip surgery. They grow up so fast. He'll be out through April. This has fueled rumors the Phils may sign Nomar. Neat.

  • Shaun Marcum, Blue Jays: Out for 2009. Never underestimate The Curse of CTC.

Sinkerballer Signs in South: Supposedly Savior? Scary.

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It's official. Frank Wren continues his now 5 day long streak of actually doing stuff. After signing Kenshin Kawakami, they've now finalized a 4 year, $60M deal with Derek Lowe. I think any NL team would have done well to sign Lowe this offseason, but Dave O'Brien's assertion that Atlanta now has "their ace," should be a little troubling to fans that are looking to actually compete in the NL East this year.

In fact, this would probably just be a link in TQ under normal circumstances but we owe Matt T for being a good commenter.

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The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Inspired partly by the Nate Silver's PECOTA projection system, Sean Smith's CHONE, Tango Tiger's Marcel, and of course Free Darko's Every Player Preview from 2007, we won't necessarily try to predict how your favorite player will perform, nor will we give you any sort of fantasy baseball insight. Think of these short previews as more of a reflection on the past and a hopeful look towards the future; we're all baseball fans at Walkoff Walk and we want to see everyone shine, baby.

Today, in no particular order, we look at players born in 1984:

Dioner Navarro, C: His middle name is Favian so it's almost like he was named after two teen idols. Navarro's like a tiger.

B.J. Upton, CF: Probably the breakout star in the 2008 postseason. Give this dude back the hundred points of SLG he lost between 07 and 08 and you got a superstar.

Scott Kazmir, SP: True story: Sufjan Stevens is doing an album titled Florida and the first track will be called "Kazmir Pitches Today".

Jonathan Broxton, RP: Georgia's own Jonathan Broxton is nicknamed "Johnny Double-D" by Dodger fans for his ability to consume twelve Dodger Dogs in a sitting. He's a big boy!

Josh Johnson, SP: Fully recovered now from his Girardi-induced Tommy John surgery, Johnson put together a tidy 7-1 record in the second half of 2008. Possibly third-best athlete named Josh.

Brian McCann, C: Not related to the Late Night with Conan O'Brien comedy writer Brian McCann, aka Randy the Pyloric Sphincter.

Scott Olsen, SP: Born less than 20 days apart from rotation-mate Josh Johnson, they'll likely co-celebrate their birthdays this month at the Bradenton, FL Hooters restaurant with a double-size bucket of oysters.

Jeff Francouer, RF: Can't hit the broad side of the barn with any of Chipper Jones' hunting rifles. Another sub-.300 OBP in 2009 and he might be headed back to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Ryan Zimmerman, 3B: Part of the solution in Warshington or part of the problem? Hasn't improved much since his rookie season.

Jeremy Hermida, RF: Probably expendable and most likely on the trading block. 'Hermida' is from the Greek root 'hermes' meaning 'overpriced leather goods'.

Prince Fielder, 1B: The plus-sized slugger doesn't overeat to overcome his daddy issues, no matter how much of his signing bonus Cecil gambled away. Became a vegetarian after reading Skinny Bitch.

Matt Cain, SP: With the emergence of Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, Cain will most certainly not be the face of the franchise in 2009.

James Loney, 1B: James Loney is the pseudonym of Swedish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emil Svanängen. He grounds into a lot of double plays.

Joel Zumaya, RP: Beat "Through the Flames and Fire" on expert level in Guitar Hero but still can't master the split-finger fastball.

Anibal Sanchez, SP: Can't ride that no-hitter train forever, Anibal. Is every Marlins starting pitcher turning 25 this year? The entire rotation is on the verge of a quarter life crisis.

Alexi Casilla, 2B: The most newsworthy thing he did in 2008 was get hurt and let us write this amusing blogpost about Adam Everett.

Chad Billingsley, SP: Will probably never consider a hobby of ice-fishing. Should remain as the ace of the Dodgers rotation.

Matt Kemp, CF: Nicknamed "The Bison", Kemp benefited from Joe Torre's (somewhat late) realization that Juan Pierre should not be paid money to be a starting centerfielder. The Dodgers have a nice group of 25 year olds.

Jon Lester, SP: The Red Sox, on the other hand, skew a little older. Still, Lester might be the best young pitcher in the majors. Beat cancer. Beat Jason Bay in Red Sox shuffleboard tournament.

Troy Tulowitzki, SS: I totally predicted Tulowitzki's sophomore slump, despite the fact that I made a pre-season fantasy baseball trade for him, giving up Scott Kazmir. Oh, and he did NOT win the Rookie of the Year award.

Ubaldo Jimenez, SP: Despite allowing over 100 walks in less than 200 innings pitched, this dude might challenge Aaron Cook for the role of ace in the Rockies rotation next year. Rich Lederer loves the kid.

Elijah Dukes, RF: He allegedly threatened to kill his ex-wife via text message. Elijah Dukes is nothing if he's not direct.

Alex Gordon, 3B: Along with Billy Butler, he's very popular in Kansas City because he is young and cherubic. Another jump in OBP in 2009 and he'll be Rob Neyer's wet dream.

Joe Smith, RP: Wait, who the heck is Joe Smith? If you followed the Mets in '08, you know him as the most consistent bullpen arm. Only two blown saves!

Brandon Morrow, RP: Some exuberant Mariners fan sponsored Brandon's Baseball Reference page with the simple phrase "Brandon Morrow is super awesome". Keep the faith, AngelicaM!

Joakim Soria, RP: Good news, Royals fans! You have a fastball-wielding shutdown closer! Bad news, Royals fans! His set-up man in '09 is Kyle Farnsworth!

Tim Lincecum, SP: I'm not going out on a limb when I dub him the Most Talented Baseball Player Born in 1984. He's made of magic! And ligaments!

Kevin Slowey, SP: With a name like that, you'd expect him to be the second coming of Steve Trachsel. Not so! Slowey likes to speed the game up so he can get home in time for the 11PM syndicated episode of "Raymond".

Kyle Kendrick, SP: Fat, drunk and a 1:1 K-to-BB ratio is no way to go through life, son. Gives up more tater tots than the cafeteria lady at Girls High.

Chase Headley, LF: Had a cup of coffee in 2007 but Kris and I witnessed his 2008 debut at Yankee Stadium. He made an error, just like Kris did getting the supersized cheese fries.

Jo-Jo Reyes, SP: Will probably get 20 more chances to start in a slight Atlanta rotation, which means 20 more chances for us to snicker at the fact that a pro player is named Jo-Jo.

Jensen Lewis, RP: Did a fine, fine job closing out games for the Indians towards the end of 2008. Is secretly hoping the Great Kerry Wood Experiment ends exactly how we all expect it to: in flllllllllames.

John Lannan, SP: Is the least popular non-Met pitcher in Philly because his fastball broke Chase Utley's hand in 2007. His own Washington fans at least honor him with apathy.

Clay Buchholz, SP: Chris Bosio once threw a no-hitter too, kid.

Ian Kennedy, SP: With a last name like that, you might as well try politics. This whole baseball thing is a tough sport.

Wladimir Balentien, RF: Bill James actually projects you'll have 20 ding-dongs in 2009, Wladdy. I'll eat my hat if you come close to that.

Denard Span, RF: Had Lasik surgery prior to the 2008 season; it paid off with a .387 OBP. Now if he could only convince Joe Mauer to get a sideburn-ectomy and the Twins will be ready to challenge the AL Central again.

Jed Lowrie, SS: Should win the starting shortstop job in Boston partly because (a) he's got a high base-on-balls rate and (b) Julio Lugo is a rally killer extraordinaire.

Max Scherzer, SP: Was hot-hot-hot when he was called up in late April, but went 0-4 because the Diamondbacks had an offense less powerful than nine dead retarded monkeys from May forward. Nice fastball.

Matt Joyce, RF: Should be the first choice in right field for the Rays in '09. He's got power and grace in the field but not much patience at the plate. He's the white Corey Patterson.

Jose Arredondo, RP: Say his name aloud. Go ahead. Roll the R's and linger on the "don" syllable. Now doesn't that sound like the name of the guy you want closing games for the Angels, Senor Moreno?

Max Ramirez, C: He's probably just the second best among Texas' collection of 239 catchers, behind Taylor Teagarden. Was once traded for Bob Wickman, and once traded for Kenny Lofton, and may soon be traded again for another washed-up former Indians player.

Kila Ka'aihue, 1B: Might be the best young hitter in the Kansas City organization, which means he'll either waste away on the bench or break the all-time homer record for another team. Has a younger brother named Kala...really.

Josh Outman, SP: With a name like Josh Outman, you'd expect him to get some outs, man.

Thanks also to Sean Lahman for his invaluable database.

dutchoven.jpg

Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

  • Michael Young Wants to Pick Up His Ill-Begotten Gold Glove and Play Elsewhere: The Texas Rangers asked veteran shortstop Michael Young to move to third base and make room at short for up-and-coming superstar Elvis Andrus. In response, Michael Young threw a shit-fit and demanded a trade. Young actually started his Rangers career as a second baseman but moved to short after Texas lost Alex Rodriguez in 2004. At this rate, Young will be asked to be moved to peanut vendor in 2012.

  • Rays Replace Rocco with Recent Red Sox Righty Rightfielder: Noteworthy Jew Gabe Kapler is the latest free agent to hop aboard the Rays bandwagon, inking a one-year, one MILLION dollar deal to get into the outfield mix for the defending AL champions. The Rays now carry B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, Matt Joyce, Kapler, and Fernando Perez as outfielders; expect Columbia grad and New Jersey native Perez to start out the year in the minors. Thanks for nuttin, Andy Friedman!

  • Yes, But Can He Do the Hully-Gully?: The completely-made-up-sounding American Sportscasters Association has selected Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully as the Top Sportscaster of All-Time. No, not Sportscaster of the Year, or the Decade, or the Century. Of ALL-TIME. Eat dirt, Cosell. Suck on it, Red Barber. Tough nuts, Jim McKay. In response, Dick Enberg exclaimed, "Oh, my!"

  • Your List of B-List Players Who Avoided Arbitration: These guys all signed contracts with their original teams and thus avoided that nasty process of arbitration. Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy. Astros closer Jose Valverde. Braves utilityman Omar Infante. Indians catcher Kelly Shoppach.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I am insulated.

  • DID you know that nearly 8% of MLB players have been diagnoses with ADHD? It's a convenient way to exempt a player from the greenie ban and the Philly City Paper blog has a great post about it.

  • HAS anything really changed in KC since they put a bunch of statheads on the front office payroll? Geoff Baker debates it in the wake of the Willie Bloomquist signing.

  • WHAT are the chances that this heinous attack was perpetrated by Bob, Bret and Aaron Boone?

  • ARE these guys insulting baseball? I tried to read the article but it's in Australian. If they are, I plan on firing back with: "Are Deer The New Kangaroos? Oh, snap!"

  • HAVE you figured out what you're getting Gramma for her birthday next month? Ahem, ahem.
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Today, Rickey Henderson (94.8%) and Jim Rice (76.4%) were officially elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. They'll get lifetime passes to a big special building in Cooperstown, NY and a handful of half-off coupons at the local Denny's. The ceremony this summer will be a real hot ticket, if only to hear Henderson shed his typical humility and finally engage in some self-congratulations, and to hear Rice curse out all the sportswriters who made him wait this consarned long.

Make no mistake about it, Rickey Henderson belongs here. There is perhaps no better example of a baseball player who bridges the gap between old-school scouting types who enjoyed his grit and determination and new-school sabermetric types who stand in awe of his patience at the plate and his run production ability. Rickey's the kind of baseball player you want to see your kid emulate. Get some dirt on your pants, hustle out a double, and be confident and brash enough to tell everyone that you are the best player that ever played.

As for Jim Rice, he's not half the player Henderson was, and probably not statistically special enough to be in the hall. That whole nonsense about being the most-feared player was just a bunch of poppycock and applesauce, invented by the Boston faithful and pushed by curly-haired idiots. Still, Jim Rice is famous, if only for his long, Susan Lucci-esque failure to win the big prize. (Also, he probably enjoys Lucci's oeuvre, having admitted to watching Young and the Restless) It's almost as if being barely not good enough for election to the Hall of Fame justified his election to the Hall of Fame. That's why I'm glad that Jim Rice is a HOFer, if only to promote my bizarre theories.

Shame on the BBWAA for continually missing the boat on guys who should be slam dunk votes, like Bert Blyleven (62.7%), Mark McGwire (21.9%) and Tim Raines (22.6%). Perhaps in the future, sportswriters will be replaced by self-aware baseball android writers, each equipped with the ability to make quantitative judgments as well as qualitative ones, and brown cyber-fedoras with the PRESS card firmly stuck in the band. Until that day, we've got to at least make the flesh-and-bone baseball writers as knowledgeable as Posnanski.

UPDATE: Two writers submitted blank ballots. Blank. No names written down. Not one.

Walkoff Walk Presents the BONILLA Projection System: Age 35

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bonilla2009.jpg

The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Inspired partly by the Nate Silver's PECOTA projection system, Sean Smith's CHONE, Tango Tiger's Marcel, and of course Free Darko's Every Player Preview from 2007, we won't necessarily try to predict how your favorite player will perform, nor will we give you any sort of fantasy baseball insight. Think of these short previews, spread out over the next three weeks, as more of a reflection on the past and a hopeful look towards the future; we're all baseball fans at Walkoff Walk and we want to see everyone shine, baby.

Today, in no particular order, we look at players born in 1974:

Bobby Abreu, RF: As of press time, still teamless and still kind of annoyed that unemployment insurance maxes out at $405 in New York State.

Chad Bradford, RP: When asked whether his knuckles ever get dirty due to his submarine style of pitching Bradford replied, "No, that's just poop." Has pitched for 6 teams in 11 years.

Emil Brown, OF: Negated a strong 2008 start after realization that he was Emil Brown. Trying to forget again.

Orlando Cabrera, SS: Will probably collect 240+ TB again, along with 29 more enemies.

Miguel Cairo, IF: Slick fielder, slap hitter, can hear a pin drop from 30 miles away. Middle name, Jesus.

Sean Casey, 1B: Often noted as the nicest guy in the game. So nice he refuses to make pitchers feel bad by hitting home runs. Hasn't hit more than 9 in a season since 2004. Unemployed at press time.

Matt Clement, SP: A walking harbinger of calamity, has not thrown a pitch since 2006. Signed by the Toronto Blue Jays for upcoming season. Could be first ever human to turn into a brushfire or mudslide.

R.A. Dickey, SP: Robert Allen Dickey throws a knuckleball. This year he'll try to do it in Minnesota. Joe Mauer currently training with flies and chopsticks.

Jermaine Dye, RF: Has received MVP votes in two of last seasons. Has received hideous ties from mother every Christmas since puberty.

Darin Erstad, OF: Played 140 games for Houston Astros but still somehow most popular Anaheim Angel. Sleeps with a chunk of surfwax by his head.

Geoff Jenkins, RF: Career .490 SLG. B-R lists new teammate Raul Ibanez as a similar hitter. Kind of looks like Brett Favre.

Derek Jeter, SS: Hasn't won a title in 8 years. Posted 3rd lowest OPS of career last season. Rear end smells like Rob Iracane's face anyway.

Jason Kendall, C: Seems way way older than this. Dad Fred had a sandwich career. Has some how miraculously stopped hitting into a million double plays.

Braden Looper, SP: Gave up 216 hits in 199 innings last year. If he retired right now he'd have a sandwich career too! The Cardinals rotation stinks.

Mike Lowell, 3B: Lots of people are wondering if he'll recover from hip surgery well enough to be effective for the Red Sox in 2009. Um... he had cancer once. Wife is named Bertica, which I have never heard anyone else be named in human history.

Gary Matthews Jr., OF, DH: Makes crapload of money to not do very much with the Angels. Last year OPSd at .676 in 426 ABs. Hit 8 HRs. Still clubhouse champ at that touchscreen game where you have to find the differences between two naked pictures, so we'll see how that effects his playing time in '09.

Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B: Defensive specialist, Florida State Seminole,Narcoleptic.

Kevin Millwood, SP: I will suspend BONILLA here and instead use JUMPSUIT (Jiegel's Unbeatable Millwood Prediction Supported Undoubtedly In Truth): He's probably going to stink.

Bengie Molina, C Favorite Clash album? Sandanista! Favorite Molina brother? Himself!

Joe Nathan, RP: We wear our Joe Nathan love on our sleeve around here. Here's my take on the Twins' closer. Here's Rob's.

Magglio Ordonez, RF: Some people like his hair. Some people like his hitting. I like that after all of these years he's still friends with Rich Garces. And that Rich Garces is the president of Venezuela. THE TIGERS ARE GONNA SCORE 3000 RUNS THIS YEAR.

Richie Sexson, 1B: Sexson has hit 30 or more HR in six seasons and 40 or more twice. My college girlfriend used to be attracted to him. He has a car that runs on shed pet hair. He is unemployed. The only thing he and I have in common is that last point.

Miguel Tejada, SS: ERROR MESSAGE.

Jose Vidro, DH: Have you ever seen Jose Vidro and The Loch Ness Monster in the same place? No because The Loch Ness Monster isn't real, AND because Jose Vidro only played in like 80 games last year. Lightest hitting DH in baseball. I'm talking about Vidro, not the monster.

Luis Vizcaino, RP: There is nothing wrong with Luis Vizcaino that can't be solved with what is right about Luis Vizcaino. Except his pitching.

Jarrod Washburn, SP Is Jarrod Washburn the best pitcher to ever come out of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh? Probably. But he's not the best State Treasurer to come out of UWO. That's Jack Voight.

Randy Winn, RF Well rounded ballplayer, raconteur, and all around green thumb, Randy Winn is the Buick Skyhawk of outfielders.

Mark Hendrickson, RP: The Orioles brought Hendrickson on board presumably cause he throws hard and he likes Utz Crab Chips. That or they think he's the guy that invented Hendrickson's Disposable Time Machines. HE ISN'T.

Hideki Matsui, LF: Since he arrived in 2003 Hideki Matsui has always scared me the most coming up in big situations. Everything he hits seems like a line drive and he does a really creepy Dracula impression.

Tad Iguchi, 2B : Iguchi's first couple of years in the league were very productive. He hit a rough patch in SD last year, and was traded to the Phils. He won a World Series there. So did a bunch of other players because baseball is a team sport.

Thanks also to Sean Lahman for his invaluable database.

dutchoven.jpg

Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

  • Kenshin Kawakami Must Not Understand American Geography Enough: Frank Wren's multiple trips to Japan paid off, as NPB pitching sensation Kenshin Kawakami signed a tidy three-year contract with the Braves. But really, for someone highly pursued like Kawakami, why would he pick Atlanta to relocate? Does he not realize the high-quality noodle shops we have up here in NYC?

  • Mets See Braves Move, Up the Ante With...Tim Redding?: I guess Redding can't be that bad of a pitcher since he led the Nationals with ten wins. And hey, it's only a one-year, $2.25 million deal for a guy only expected to compete for the fifth rotation slot. Redding was a Yankee in 2005; he pitched just one inning against the Red Sox, allowed 6 runs, and was immediately shot out of a cannon to free up a roster spot for...Al Leiter.

  • Red Sox Continue Picking Up Players Off Scrap Heap; Will Soon Pick Up Prog Rock Albums By Uriah Heap: Boston signed Takashi Saito, formerly the closer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, to a one-year deal. With Saito and Brad Penny headed west to Boston, the Dodgers are finally turning the tide on the Boston-to-L.A. route made popular by Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Lowe, and Grady Little.

  • In-N-Out Book To Solve All Your Easter Shopping Woes: BusinessWeek staff writer Stacy Perman has penned a book covering the history of the In-N-Out burger, set to be released in April. Amazon will be selling this book animal-style; when you open the cardboard box, your book will be smothered in thousand island dressing and grilled onions.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, that's no way to say goodbye.


That's it for us this week. But rest assured we're working all weekend. Walkoff Walk's in-depth 2009 preview starts Monday, and the first leg of it is pretty special if I do say so myself.

Stand up, New York. Same WoW channel.

Photo Of The Day

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Rocco Baldelli is welcomed to the Red Sox by an airport Hare Krishna.

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Having spent six and a half years getting my undergraduate degree, I know what it's like to be part of an organization for a long time and then have everybody you know leave you behind. It's depressing! Poor Chipper Jones is going through that pain right now, having his last best bud John Smoltz leave the Atlanta Braves after seventeen years of playing together throughout the minors and majors.

Think about it: Chipper made his big-league debut in 1993; from that point forward, the Braves won twelve straight division titles, a few league championships, and even a World Series. Since that point, he's had to say goodbye to the best pitching trio of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz. Even worse, he's lost his hunting pals like Adam La Roche and Ryan Langerhans, so you can't blame him for lashing out in an interview with the AJC's Carroll Rogers:

Q. Fans are questioning why the Braves didn't offer Smoltz more money when this is an offseason when the Braves have said they had money to spend. Do you agree?

A. For Smoltzy! That's what I don't understand. That's what's frustrating. I'm trying to be as diplomatic and as upbeat as I can possibly be and it is being made very hard on me to be that way. John Smoltz has been one of the faces of this franchise for 20 years. There's no reason for him at 41 years old to be playing anywhere but here.

For Smoltzy, indeed. Don't forget, Chipper and Smoltzy had their own issues last year to deal with; imagine if this was one of Chipper's hunting buds taking the next Delta flight out of town!

To make matters worse, Carroll asks Chipper about his own future with the club:

Q. Were you expecting the Braves to make you an offer for an extension this winter?

A. I was told that it was going to happen by the Braves.

Q. Do you think it still might?

A. We've got over a month until spring training. Yeah, it could certainly happen. I've just been chalking it up to the Braves have bigger fish to fry. But it seems like somebody keeps coming along and eating all our fish.

Hot damn, if there's one thing you don't want to do to a dude who carries a rifle in his workout bag, it's steal his fish. Right now, Chipper's teetering between getting angrier and going on a massive deer-murdering spree, or getting sadder and ending up like his fifth cousin thrice removed, Andruw Jones. Now there's a guy who knows how to be a sad tomato.

So, the Red Sox and the Braves will meet in a two! weekend series at the Ted and Fenway this year. If Smoltz comes up the rotation and faces Chipper, can you imagine that batter-vs-pitcher staredown? They'll probably both break down crying, meet between the plate and the mound, and sit down cross-legged to enjoy some bear jerky.

dutchoven.jpg

Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

  • Canada To Reap Benefits of MLB Network Without Pesky MLB Initials: The Globe and Mail is reporting that Rogers Cable is looking to carry the fabulously popular baseball cable network in Canada with one special twist: they'd re-purpose the programming with added Canadian content. So when you watch the replay of the 1975 World Series, you'll see Pierre Trudeau waving his home run ball fair at Fenway Park and when you see the 1951 one-game playoff between the Giants and the Dodgers, Maurice Richard will hit the Shot Heard Round the World.

  • Trevor Hoffman Earns a Job-Specific Bonus: Super-baseball-blogger Dave Cameron compared Trevor Hoffman's new Brewers contract with a statistically similar pitcher's contract and found out that Hoffman earned a significant amount more because he's got that closer tattoo emblazoned on his buttcheek. Good point Dave, but the other pitcher was named Bobby. It's a proven fact that people named Bobby suffer in the open market.

  • Pirates Were Just Kidding Last Year, Totally Want Xavier Nady Back: I hate rumours, but this one is just too baffling to ignore. The Pirates and the Yankees are talking trade about outfielders Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher. This despite the fact that the Yankees acquired Nady from the Pirates just last year for a handful of solid prospects just around the trading deadline. Can you imagine the rebuilding Pirates sending prospects back to the Yanks to get back an outfielder at the peak of his career? Mind-boggling.

  • Padres Avoid Arbitration, Re-sign Scott Hairston: Walkoff Walk is your source for all news regarding the Family Hairston. Two days ago, the Reds signed the elder Hairston brother and yesterday, San Diego signed the younger to a 1 year, $1.25 million contract to roam the outfield at Petco Park. Just covering their ass in case Brian Giles flees the country, I guess.

Tonight's Questions

| | Comments (28)
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Hey kids, don't look so bored when you're talking to me.

  • HOW stoked are you about the new installment of Ken Burns' Baseball? Not as stoked as me. Watch it with your dad or cellmate.

  • NEED some movie advice? Ask Rinku and Dinesh. I agree about The Darjeeling Limited. I thought it was the perfect exercise of Wes Anderson's style and anyone expecting more should go out and make their own film. I also suspect the need to attack it was "intellectual anti-intellectual what was hip is unhip backlash" by the urban media elite. Which is pretty much what they think. Same thing with I'm Not There. I want to get their take on that one too.

  • HOW do I feel about the Baldelli and Smoltz signings going official? Glad you asked. If Rocco is really on the health upswing he has the potential to be the best fourth outfielder in baseball. That's a huge asset to a team that employs awesome, but injury prone Florida State Seminole JD Drew. And regarding Smoltz, his signing just creates another question.

  • WHAT are they gonna do with some of these stockpiled arms? Arlington thinks they're in Boston's crosshairs.

  • EVER heard of "Prince" Joe Henry? Known as the great entertainer of the negro leagues he passed away Friday. Keep em smiling, Prince.

  • DOES anyone know the words to the Oklahoma fight song? I would never root for them under normal circumstances but a title game against those filthy worthless Gators is no normal circumstance. So Boomer Sooner, and stuff.

Today is also Elvis' birthday and it's a minor holiday of sorts for me. Happy Birthday, King.

We'll see you all back here tomorrow. Same WoW Channel.

Now Batting Third For The Dodgers, A House

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Remember a couple months back when the Dodgers still had exclusive rights to resign Manny Ramirez and Jamie McCourt posed the eternal, but nonsensical question: "Would you rather have us build 50 youth baseball fields, or resign Manny?" That was a doozy. I expected her to follow up with, "Sure we COULD sign CC Sabathia, but then I'll have to light this kid with MS on fire."

Well, that morality porn either/or looks even more ridiculous this week. It's been revealed that Frank and Jamie (<3 4eva) just bought TWO homes in Malibu for $46 Million.

In case you're wondering, $46 mil qualifies as one of the higher-end home purchases in all of California.

Look it up, the median home price in Malibu today is $1.15 million. You want ostentatiousness? Jamie's new digs cost 40 times more than that.

Maybe I'm a home buy or two behind, but don't the McCourts already own some giant mansion in Holmby Hills? Like some $20 million dollar palace?

Sure, people can do whatever they want with their money. McCourt made all his bucks in the real estate game anyway. But let's look back at the exact quote that Mommy Warbucks dropped last November.

"If you bring somebody in to play and pay them, pick a number, $30 million, does that seem a little weird to you?" Jamie McCourt asked in an interview at the Evergreen Recreation Center in East Los Angeles. "That's what we're trying to figure out. We're really trying to see it through the eyes of our fans. We're really trying to understand, would they rather have the 50 fields?"

So pose the question again, but this time phrase it, "Pick two: The fields, Manny or two new mansions worth $46 Million for me, Frank and the servants. It has a waterfall!"

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(Ice cold Cokes to 6-4-2 and Baseball Musings.)

Which, I suppose, makes January is the new November. Two months after Nate Silver earned his well-deserved pats-on-the-back for predicting Barack Obama's victory in the Presidential election using statistical analysis of polling numbers, the good folks at the Baseball Think Factory have been doing the same thing for the baseball hall of fame vote, due to be officially announced on Monday. For the last week or so, the baseball news curator and secret genius Repoz has been tabulating the votes by those BBWAA members who have deigned to make their ballots public.

As of this moment, Repoz has tabulated 82 full ballots, and here are your current results (remember, a player needs 75% of the vote to earn his plaque):

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98.8 - Rickey Henderson
81.7 - Jim Rice
76.8 - Bert Blyleven
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68.3 - Andre Dawson
48.8 - Jack Morris
34.1 - Lee Smith
26.8 - Tim Raines
24.4 - Alan Trammell
24.4 - Tommy John
20.7 - Mark McGwire
0.0 - Corey Patterson

Rickey Henderson is the only slam dunk in this group (and even he can't earn a unanimous induction); those numbers for Rice and Blyleven seem too close to call right now. The name and number combo that sticks out like a sore thumb is Tim Raines' measly support. Raines got just 24% of the vote last year and I expected that number to go up this year significantly. Maybe Jonah Keri needs to get his pals to make a stronger push next year.

My favorite ballot so far was posted by Joe Posnanski on his JoeBlog. I don't agree with every pick (no Lee Smith? what gives?) but Joe takes his privilege seriously, thinks about his vote, and defends his choices with responsibility. Perhaps the BBWAA would earn more respect from baseball fans if they encouraged all their members to defend their votes online. If creaky old Murray Chass can figure out the Internet, then anyone can. Maybe then I won't have to keep linking to that awful Hall of Sandwiches allegory from last year.

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Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

  • John Smoltz Finally Works Up the Courage to Fly the Coop: Rumour has it that lifetime Brave pitcher John Smoltz is on the verge of signing a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox. The 41-year-old is coming off a season marred by surgery. Braves beat writer Dave O'Brien is so down about the whole thing, he quoted a Hank Williams song. The whole song, natch.

  • Red Sox On Verge of Ruining Lloyd the Barber's Dreams Too: Reports have the Red Sox about to sign former Rays OF and patron saint of Ghostrunning Rocco Baldelli to become the team's fourth outfielder. The Rhode Island native is to be in Beantown tonight for the Boston Baseball Writers Dinner where he's getting the Tony Conigliario Award for being awesome, so it's just easier to sign with the Sox without having to make another trip.

  • John Patterson Retires From Baseball: The man is six days younger than me and he's hanging up his spikes. That makes me feel pretty damn old. John Patterson had a pretty awesome 2005 season where he went 9-7 for a terrible Washington team and posted a 130 ERA+ with 185 Ks. As per his Wikipedia page, he married the 2005 Miss District of Columbia last year so he's got that going for him.

  • I Don't Like Rumours, But Hey, It's a Slow News Day: Ken Rosenthal is reporting that all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman is on the verge of signing with the Brewers. With Salomon Torres' retirement and the complete disappearance of Eric Gagne, this is a worthy risk to take for Milwaukee. As for Hoffman, the groupie factor goes way down from San Diego levels. Oh well.

Tonight's Questions

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odiebaby.jpgHey kids, you have to grow up.

  • HAS Jason Giambi had the best sandwich career of all time? It's gotta be better than Jared Fogel's because Subway sucks.

  • DO any of our Chicago readers read Steve Rosenbloom? If so, do you do it on purpose? I've bashed the moron before but he outdid himself today in a column about my boy Milton. I didn't write about it, and I'm glad because Ben Schwartz at CSTB did a comprehensive takedown of Rosenbloom and some other hacks.

  • UNSETTLING or whimsical?

  • WHAT in the hell is this TJ Simers column about? I'm not trying to be a wiseass. Someone please explain to me what he is trying to say. I'm totally lost. My hope is that it's intentionally murky so that you can put your own meaning on it like a Kaufman film.

  • WHY did my great-great-great-great-grandmother have to throw out my great-great-great-grandfather's baseball cards went he went to college? I could have been rich!

  • COULD Rinku and Dinesh be the greatest pitchmen in America? I say yes, sir.

That's all for the first Wednesday of the year. We'll see you back here tomorrow. Same WoW channel. You too, Odie Baby.

Teach An Old Fish New Tricks: Carl Pavano vs. Brad Penny

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The plot of the 2009 offseason is starting to resolve. If it was a movie and you wanted to put a short summary in your local alt-weekly it would probably read like this:

"The Yankees make a bunch of huge signings, the rest ink sluggers to lower than expected deals and hope for the best from a series of reclamation projects. Elizabeth Banks stars, because she is in every single movie that comes out."

In the pitching market, two of the most intriguing fixer uppers are Carl Pavano and Brad Penny. The former Marlins teammates aren't exactly in the same boat. Brad Penny was a Cy Young candidate a couple seasons ago, while Carl Pavano's heyday feels longer ago than Carl Perkins'. But still neither guy was a real factor last season. So signing is better?

The Indians front office seems to have fully talked themselves into Pavano. The contract, as has been the case with most this winter is backloaded with incentives. Justifiably so, for a guy that pitched like 2/3 of an inning in 4 years with the Yankees. But Indians GM Mark Shapiro sounds like he thinks the past 4 seasons were a total fluke and there's no reason to think that Pavano won't be a solid starter. And so this becomes my favorite underrated subplot of the whole Indians offseason:

The acquisition of Pavano means the Indians have committed $73.6 million to 14 players. Jake Westbrook, not expected to pitch until after the All-Star break because of right elbow surgery, will earn $10 million of that.

Shapiro said that unless he's able to move payroll by trade or other means, he's probably done making meaningful additions. He also added reliever Joe Smith and infielder Luis Valbuena in one trade.

Jake Westbrook drives my LOLercoaster. He's part of the resason I'm no fan of Shapiro and I think it's fitting that now he is basically staking his job to Kerry Wood and Carl Pavano. Look at those two names again. Look back at every joke you posted on WoW 3 seasons ago*.

It's not even that the Pavano contract is a deal breaker for Shapiro, the money is fine, it's just the way he's talking about it. It's hard to call this a bad deal, but it's also hard to understand why he seems so stoked about it.

On the surface, the Brad Penny signing makes more sense just because of Penny's proximity to being good. But there was also a point in Carl Pavano's career where he was only coming off one injured season, and sore shoulders can be hard to shake. Penny's $5M base salary is higher than Pavano's but can at least be based off some sort of marginally quantifiable statistics. What numbers were there to base Pavano's salary number off of besides 9 starts? As with the Rays and the Yankees, the Red Sox rotation is loaded at the front and a $5M back of the rotation gamble is a pretty small one relative to payroll.

I guess what I'm saying here is that neither one of these contracts can be considered "better" at this point and won't be until we see which guy pitches better. So why did I write this column? Because it's January and yesterday's big news involved JC Romero and a GNC store. And to make fun of Jake Westbrook.

*pretend we were around 3 seasons ago

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When Raul Ibanez signed that three-year deal with the Phillies for $30 million back in mid-December, I assumed it was merely the start of a windstorm of slugger money opening up on the market. I couldn't have been more wrong if I had predicted The Love Guru would win twelve Oscars. Since that point, Pat Burrell, Milton Bradley, and Jason Giambi have all signed short term deals with little money up front and some incentives tacked on. Sure, the economy stinks to high hell, but the baseball economy isn't exactly dying. If anything, baseball might end up being recession-proof just like Hollywood movies. That's if teams are smart about ticket prices and whatnot, but I'm going off on a tangent.

Back to the point. All of these guys have big bats and decent patience but not much in terms of defensive skills. Of course, the new inefficiency in the market to be exploited is defense so it makes sense that these fellas would suffer a bit. Still, $16 million for two years of a fella guaranteed to give you 30 homers and a .900 OPS just seems like a total bargain for the Rays, whether or not Pat Burrell ever dons a glove for a single inning.

Despite the enormous contracts awarded to CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira by the Yankees, folks just aren't getting the money this offseason. I'm not ready to stand on my soapbox and yell out "COLLUSION!!!" but I'm not ruling it out entirely either. Baseball owners are not really individuals. They're more like an amoeba. An extremely wealthy amoeba with poor fashion sense. When a few of them overspend, they all overspend. When a few of them tighten their belts, they all tighten their belts. When the A's started focusing on high OBP players, everyone started looking at high OBP players. Now that the Rays won an AL championship with good defense, everyone wants good defense. Don't even get me started on Barry Bonds.

So folks, if you want to root for your favorite team to snag a few good players for under-market salaries, cheer on. But if you want to support the working class and stand up for the little guy, then you better hope the Mets are dumb enough to give Manny Ramirez $100 million over four years.

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Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, all human wisdom is summed up in two words -- wait and hope.

  • HOW will million dollar baby Carl Pavano fare in his new Cleveland Indians jersey? Financial terms have not been disclosed on the one-year deal, but anything over $2 million is absolute highway robbery.

  • WILL Jason Johnson find success with his ninth major league organization? He'll compete with Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Alfredro Aceves, Kei Igawa, and the ghost of Wade Taylor to become the fifth Yankees starter.

  • WHY can't Andy Pettitte and the Yankees just get along? Seriously, a one-year, $10 million offer is nothing to spit at nowadays.

  • ARE any of our commenters roasting a chicken tonight like Chief Wahoo did last night? Let it dry out in the fridge first, use a lotta butter, and nuke the hell out of it.

That's it for today. Be good tonight! I stole that nifty picture from Gaetan Lee's Flickr stream.

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As per Buster Olney at ESPN.com, Jason Giambi is heading back to Oakland. He'll sign a one-year deal worth just $4 million with a $6.5 million option for 2010. There's a $1.5 million buyout, so let's just assume that Billy Beane is paying just $5.5 million for the right to upgrade his offense with a proven slugger.

Dave Cameron over at Fangraphs has Giambi worth about 2 wins above replacement; at the going rate of $4 million per win, the A's are getting quite a deal here. In fact, with Giambi, Milton Bradley and Pat Burrell signing under-market deals in the past two days and Manny Ramirez and Adam Dunn still unemployed, perhaps it's time to break out the headline "Miserable Masher Market Makes Many Moneyless".

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Just five days deep into 2009, it's already been a trying new year for President George W. Bush. His wildly popular replacement has landed in town, his wife joined a bunch of his former employees by signing a multi-million dollar book deal, and there's another large-scale humanitarian crisis on the other side of the globe that he can't fix. It's the kind of thing that makes a man want let loose, blow off some steam, and host a gala dinner party for seven of the biggest names in baseball!

This past Sunday, President Bush invited Rays manager Joe Maddon and his wife, and six other baseball couples to the White House for shrimp and steak. The dinner was a set-up by noted talking head-slash-gadabout-slash-baseball purist George Will; the guest list included Brad Lidge, Lance Berkman, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Dempster, Buck Showalter, and Aaron Boone. That's quite a guest list of accomplished baseball figures, plus Aaron Boone! But really, that's a lot of white folks. George Will couldn't throw a bone to Ryan Howard or Albert Pujols and integrate the party a bit?

What direction do you suppose the dinner conversation took? I assume former Rangers owner and self-proclaimed baseball lover George Bush and the boys chatted about the national pastime instead of national security. Perhaps Bush asked Maddon for advice about turning around a habitually underperforming organization. Perhaps Brad Lidge counseled the prez about recovering from a near-career-ending failure. Or maybe Aaron Boone and G.W. commiserated about being a part-time cog in a terrible Washington organization.

Says Maddon about the affair:

"He's a baseball fan, and he likes our team. I invited him anytime to come see us, and to come address the group, so that's out there."

Yes, Joe. That certainly is an "out there" invitation. Being successful was fun while it lasted, Rays fans.

Bury Me Behind The Baggie Wall: Carl Pohlad Dies

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Big news out of Minnesota last night. The courts announced the results of their recount and apparently they declared that Carl Pohlad died. Wait I'm mixing up my news from the Gopher State. Carl Pohlad died of natural causes, not popular vote, but you'd never know it by the way some Twins fans talked about him over the years. A friend of mine that who roots for the Twinkies, and shall remain nameless, sent me news of his demise last night via text. With a smiley.

This AP Article spends a good chunk insinuating (in that way only the AP can) that he was despised by fans. Indeed, if the owner of my favorite team volunteered them for contraction in exchange for a buyout, I'd hold a little bit of a grudge too. Also, if some shady dealings and ransoms got him a new stadium financed mostly by the public, there may be a part of me that thinks it's payback that he doesn't get to see it open.

But those parts of me would only be the human animal part and not the logical part. We're not talking Vince Naimoli here. The Twins won 2 World Series while Pohlad owned them. Even after the contraction snafu they won 3 straight AL Central titles. Last year, in a free agent market that was nowhere near as crazy as this winter, they signed 3 players to $155 Million in extensions. If Pohlad wasn't a freespender he clearly knew who to hire to get the most out of every penny. Bill Smith was GM for 13 years, and in Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire, they've had 2 managers in 22 years. He clearly was a guy you could work for.

So listen, Twins fans. say see ya to an owner that made a bunch moves that ticked you off. But also say goodbye to an owner that oversaw the most successful era of any pro team in the history of the Twin Cities.

The Dutch Oven: Set It And Forget It

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dutchoven.jpgWhy the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I don't wanna stay at your party.

  • IS 2009 the year of the woman in baseball? Probably not, but I'm glad they're letting Logan Young tryout for her high school baseball team. If she's good enough she'll make it. She can't be any smaller than Dustin Pedroia.

  • WHO will be first pick in your fantasy gardening league? I already have a name for my team. The Lyle Azaleas.

  • HAVE you seen any of the MLB Network? I've heard good things from Donkey Time, UU and Rob, but haven't yet caught a glimpse. Other people seem excited too.

  • HOW long do you say "Happy New Year" to people? I usually give it about 3 weeks if I'm talking to people for the first time. Lobster Baby takes the sash off around the same time.

  • SHOULD there really still be a debate about Joba's role on the Yankees? No. Kepner has it right.

It's good to be back. We'll see you all back here tomorrow. Same WoW channel.
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The dominoes are falling into place now. Oft-traveled outfielder Milton Bradley is about to sign a three-year, $30 million deal with the defending NL Central champion Chicago Cubs, as per MLB Trade Rumors.

According to ESPN Radio's Bruce Levine, the Cubs signed Milton Bradley to a three-year, $30MM deal. Bradley had a monster .321/.436/.563 line this year for the Rangers, but he spent only 165 innings in the field. This is the first multiyear deal of his career.

He's been an Expo, an Indian, a Dodger, an A, a Ranger, and now he's a Cub, at least until Chicago decides to trade him back to Cleveland to get Kerry Wood to return to Wrigley in 2010. That just makes too much sense to not happen.

Okay, MLB general managers: Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu, and Adam Dunn still need work!

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Miniature baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the defending AL champion Tampa Bay Rays (it still feels weird to type that) are on the verge of consummating a two-year, $16 million deal with former Phillies slugger Pat Burrell:

Burrell, 32, will serve as the team's designated hitter. The Rays, nearing their payroll limit, could use some combination of Ben Zobrist, Gabe Gross and Fernando Perez in right field.

Rosenthal cites "major league sources," also known as "someone inside the Rays organization who is pissed off they didn't sign hard-partying Jason Giambi". Well, Phillies fans, you lost a gritty hero, but at least you've got a fancy defensive outfielder to prowl left field this season and you can reap the benefit of that Tampa draft pick! Oh, right, nevermind.

Rays Spring Training Tickets By Rube Goldberg

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It may seem far from opening day where you are, but I'm in Florida right now and the high today is going to be in the low 80s. I'm not having a hard time envisioning pitchers and catchers reporting any day now. So whether or not you need a break from the cold, or you just wanna see some baseball, Spring Training is always a good time.

Not only that, but the smaller parks, cheaper concessions and the relative ease of getting a ticket is a throwback to baseball's simpler past. Unless you're trying to get a ticket to see the Rays in Port Charlotte this year. The team's press release reads like Japanese stereo instructions or Joe Maddon's recipe for fennel braised duck leg with hoisin sauce.

Single-game tickets will go on-sale next week, in the following procedure:

January 6: Rays Spring Training season ticket holders will be able to purchase up to four tickets for each game online beginning at 9 a.m. Rays regular season ticket holders and the Florida State League Charlotte Stone Crabs season ticket holders will have that same opportunity beginning at noon. Passwords will be sent to the season ticket holders' email addresses on Monday, January 5th.

Well that part isn't too complicated. Giving some perks to the season ticket holders and throwing a bone to the minor league fans in Port Charlotte sounds fine to me. And also, stone crabs are delicious. Joe Maddon has a wine, basil and clarified butter sauce for them that is divine. Let's move on to the next part of the "procedure."

January 7, 9 a.m.: Special Password Card Pre-sale. Special password cards are available at the Charlotte Stone Crabs offices at Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, FL 33948. Fans interested in obtaining the password cards will need to pick up a password card, based on availability, on January 6th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The password card gives users the opportunity to purchase up to four tickets for each Spring Training game, during the January 7th online presale, beginning at 9 a.m. For more information, please visit raysbaseball.com/springtraining.

January 8, 9 a.m.: Rays Insider subscribers will have the opportunity to purchase up to 4 tickets for each Spring Training game at raysbaseball.com. Passwords will be supplied to the registered users by email on Wednesday, January 7th. The deadline to become a Rays Insider subscriber, and receive this opportunity is Monday, January 5th, at raysbaseball.com.

Jesus, are Phish playing for the Rays now? The last time the residents of Port Charlotte did something this complicated they escaped from their nursing home using a bedsheet rope.

I understand that demand will be higher for tickets this year after the Rays successful 2008, but let's get some perspective here. We're talking about a multi-tiered series of presales for SPRING TRAINING for the once perennial attendance laughingstock of pro sports. It's good to have high expectations for fan turnout, but don't get cocky. This shit is strictly Calvinball.

OMGLOL NUDIE HANNAH MONTANA LOLCATZ OBAMA

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Most blogs and newspapers we read do their year-end nonsense during that week between Christmas and New Years, when there are usually few breaking news items and even fewer people reading. Not us. We took a big fat break and didn't think far enough ahead to do a year-end review until now. After all, we're not exactly a forward-thinking blog here: we still haven't done our "Top Players of August" post.

So on that note, here are the top ten most viewed blog entries during the eleven months of 2008 that Walkoff Walk existed, in reverse order:

  • 10. Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel: The Walkoff Walk Interview: Our own Kris Liakos has been on the Rinku and Dinesh beat longer than any other blogger in the baseballblogosphere, and he was rewarded last month with an interview with our Indian heroes. Still, it's too bad Kris didn't ask them about the trucks.

  • 9. 2008 MLB First Year Player Draft: The Liveglog: Back in June, I decided it would be quite the lark to liveglog the amateur draft. Despite the fact that I knew nothing about the players and even less about scouting, I pretended I knew what I was talking about and chugged along. This was not the first time we blogged about the Dodgers' first-round pick, Georgia high-school pitcher Ethan Martin.

  • 8. The Case for Expansion: Perhaps this was the piece I was most proud of during the season. I did actual research and spent a good deal of time putting together a listicle of the top destinations should MLB decide to expand. I even resisted listing North Jersey as the #1 item in the list.

  • 7. Incoming: Conspiracy To Drill High School Ump In Face?: Because, you see, Ethan Martin was the brother of the pitcher in the famous video of the high school pitcher beaning the home plate umpire. Perhaps you remember when the catcher called for the high hard one and then ducked when the fastball came over the plate. It was a huge video in the baseballblogosphere and one of the top YouTube sports clips in the month of June.

  • 6. Umpire Face Beaning Update: The Consequences Of Folly: Even the update post got a lot of pageviews.

  • 5. Yankee Fans Decry Brian Cashman's Inability to Predict Future: Anytime Kris writes about the Yankees, it's a big story. Not because he's a Red Sox fan, but because Yankee fans are a selfish folk and crave coverage of their favorite teams like Rush Limbaugh craves hillbilly heroin. So back in April, Kris shamed Yankee fans for criticizing Brian Cashman and correctly forecasted that 2008 would be a wash for the Bronx Bombers because they passed on Johan Santana. Good for him.

  • 4. Dey Took Our Jerbs: Starters Moving to the Bullpen: One of our first listicles! I think the only reason this post got a lot of hits was because I did it in April, got linked by Deadspin, and included a dated quote from an episode of "South Park" in the blog title. I'm so clever it hurts.

  • 3. Anyone Know If There's An In-N-Out In Peoria, AZ??: Back in March, we noticed that all the beat writers we read in our RSS readers were including shoutouts to their favorite spring training dining destinations. We also noticed that almost every single one of these guys talked about the In-N-Out in Peoria as if it were Mecca. This pretty much cemented our reputation as a food blog disguised as a baseball blog.

  • 2. Joe Morgan Besmirches Ernie Banks, Is Completely Wrong: This wasn't exactly original content on our part; I only reported what I read on other blogs. But hey, that's the nature of the baseballblogosphere and this ended up being one of our most-linked-to pages of the entire season. Joe Morgan said something incorrect about Ernie Banks and then got taken behind the woodshed by bloggers and beat writers everywhere. We were just in the right place at the right time.

  • 1. Mostly Naked Woman At Skydome!: And our number one most-visited blog post of the year included the word "naked" in the title and featured a picture of said woman. Again, not original content, but if this doesn't speak about the nature of the ENTIRE INTERNET, then I don't know what does. In fact, to increase traffic in 2009, we are going to append the following words to every single blogpost: "OMGLOL NUDIE HANNAH MONTANA LOLCATZ OBAMA".

This post is already our most-viewed entry of 2009.

dutchoven.jpg

Why the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us

A few things of note happened since last we convened. Here are the biggest stories of the holiday break:

  • Giants Offer a One Unit Contract to Biggest Unit of Them All: Believe it or not, Barry Zito is now the Giants' fifth starter. After San Fran's GM Brian Sabean inked grizzled veteran Randy Johnson to a one-year deal, the best pitching staff in the NL West now looks like this: Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, Johnson, Zito. Maybe with less pressure on him, Barry Z will be able to rediscover his once crushing curveball.

  • Dusty Baker Can't Let Go: Reds Sign Corey Patterson Lite: The Reds miserable 2008 centerfield experiment with Corey Patterson was a total washout, so GM Walt Jocketty went out and got a different quick fast outfielder with a penchant for low OBPs: Willy Taveras! Only, Taveras doesn't even have half the power Patterson did and plays defense significantly worse. "Don't Hit Willy Taveras Leadoff" just doesn't have the same ring.

  • Red Sox Plan Massive Reclamation Project With Ol' Brad Penny: I've always argued that the US Gubmint should eliminate the penny because they're nearly worthless in today's economy and folks just hoard 'em or discard 'em anyway. Get rid of the penny and get rid of the paper dollar, says I. The Red Sox, however, signed Brad Penny who is coming off an injury-plagued 2008 season with L.A.

  • Despite Letting K-Rod Walk, Angels Continue to Not Get It: The Angels replaced single-season-save-stud Frankie Rodriguez in the closer role by signing Brian Fuentes to a two-year deal. Fuentes is the Rockies all-time leader in career saves and is not related to Daisy.

  • Cleveland Continues to Raid Cubs' Pantry; Adds Versatile DeRosa: Just a coupla weeks after signing free agent Kerry Wood to close out games, the Indians have consummated a trade with the Cubbies for a 33-year-old to slightly overperform replacement level at four different positions. Yes, Indians fans, Mark DeRosa will replace Casey Blake as the guy your pal Greg from Akron calls 'scrappy' and 'a gamer'.

  • Andruw Jones Is Coming Home, Maybe: Now that the Dodgers have restructured their deal with much-maligned outfielder Andruw Jones, deferring the remaining money on his contract and granting him a full release, rumours are floating all over the baseballblogosphere about the kid maybe headed to your favorite team. Don't worry, kids, unless you're a Braves fan, because in Andruw's heart of hearts, there's only one place that makes him happy. Plantains for everybody!