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“In the end, we did it. As fans, we made the right decision and supported a guy that has been with us since the team came back in 1999. No matter how awful the game, or crappy the weather, Dawson went out there and made seemingly impossible kicks (Ahem, Ravens game anyone?) week after week. He is the reason we were even in contention for most games as of late. Through shares and retweets and clicking and fan voting, Dawson finally made it to his first Pro Bowl this year. In my excitement, I sent Phil a tweet to see if he would answer questions for this little blog, since we are best buddies and all. To my surprise, he answered. Eek.” [Happiness is a hot pierogi]
“All this adds up to a league that is in major flux: new ways to analyze players are emerging, and some teams are taking advantage of them, highlighted by talent evaluators like Daryl Morey, Kevin Pritchard, Rich Cho, John Hollinger, Donnie Nelson, and Chris Grant. The advantages of analytics are going to disappear quickly as teams catch up to each others’ abilities to evaluate players. Combine that with a new salary system which attempts to punish teams for exorbitant payroll, and spread the talent throughout the league, it’s clear we’re in for a crazy trade deadline and off-season. Rudy Gay was just the next domino to fall.” [Smith/Cavs the Blog]
On the Cavs not tanking– “This year, however, Chris Grant has managed to get rid of nearly all veterans that could potentially win us basketball games. Now, if the Cavs win it’s because Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, or Dion Waiters won the game. Obviously, I have nothing wrong with our young talent winning games. We want them to succeed, right? That’s the goal?
So given the choice between watching Waiters, Thompson, and Tyler Zeller improve a ton through the second half of the year and tanking for a chance at Cody Zeller, I’ll take the former. If our 20 year olds want to go .500 for the rest of the season and have us drafting 8th in June, go for it.” [Kaczmarek/Fear the Sword]
Will the Indians run more or less under Francona– “Over the 20010-12 seasons, when Acta was at the helm, the Indians ranked 11th in stolen bases (290) and 12th in stolen-base percentage (70.9) in the American League. Cleveland topped 89 swipes in each season. Last year, the Indians stole 110 bases, which marked the most for the ballclub since 2000. Acta had a bonafide basestealer in Jason Kipnis (31 thefts) leading the charge. I’d say Acta’s use of the stolen base was mostly out of necessity, given the state of the Tribe offense between 2010-12. Creativity was required, and last year Acta had a few runners (Kipnis, Shin-Soo Choo and Michael Brantley) capable of stealing some bags. In Washington, Acta’s teams (2007-09) never topped 81 stolen bases in a season. So he actually ran more in the American League than in the NL.
If we look at Francona’s managerial career, what stands out to me is the success rate he had with having players steal. His Phillies teams (1997-2000) ranked 17th in baseball in stolen bases (416) during his time there, but their 71.5 percent success rate ranked fourth in the NL over that span. In Boston (2004-11), the Reds Sox ranked 22nd in baseball in stolen bases (676) under Francona’s watch, but 2nd in the AL and 4th in the Majors in success rate (75.3 percent).” [Bastian/MLB.com]