Red SockAnother anti-climatic ending to a pretty exciting playoff… well, AL playoff, at least.

The Red Sox/Rockies wasn’t much of a contest on paper, or on the field. The Sox, Indians, and Yankees were the three best teams in baseball, and I’d probably take odds on the injured Angels beating any NL team this year. The AL is just that much better right now.

I think I said, “Sox in 6″ to people that asked, but I really figured 5 at most. And I’m glad it finished today, since I was running out of excuses to leave work early to see the 5PM-start games.

Since no player really stood out above all others (other than Josh Beckett for his impossible post-season), Mike Lowell was a good choice for MVP since he managed to pick up big hits when it mattered. And he has an amazing goatee.

(Now the Sox have to decide whether to sign Lowell to a 3-4 year contract, which would be an easier decision without A-rod opting out and the Sox flush with cash. Yikes.)

So yeah, Schilling probably walks. Crisp gets traded so Ellsbury gets the CF job. Ortiz has successful knee surgery and comes back stronger (and possibly fatter). They toy with trading Manny. Again. (And that would definitely happen if they were somehow able to sign A-rod.)

As a sidenote, as good as A-rod is, is it worth tying him up for all of his decline years, despite the fact that an in-decline A-rod will likely be better than everyone else in the league? I know I wouldn’t be the one trying to figure out the value in a $30 million/year contract.

Based on a strong recommendation from fellow baseball obsessive Bill Roper of Flagship Studios, I read the book Fantasyland by Sam Walker a couple of a weeks ago on a single cross-country plane ride.
Fantasyland

Not that I’ve sampled everything, but this is the Moneyball of fantasy baseball. Which is to say, it’s a fantastic story that’s ostensibly about baseball but reveals many truths about other things.

(Like Moneyball isn’t about building a team on the cheap using slow white guys with high OBPs; it’s about assessing your limitations and exploiting market deficiencies. It’s also about using data in more meaningful and useful ways, even if they challenge the conventional wisdom. This is useful advice for any business or personal endeavor.) (more…)

The Red Sox did the right thing moving Jonathan Papelbon back to the bullpen. While it’s true a starter has more value than a reliever, the Red Sox already have a solid core of starters with Schilling, Beckett, Matsuzaka, and Wakefield. It’s already too right-handed, and there’s no guarantee that Papelbon could dominate hitters as a starter like he did as a reliever. (Seriously, .78 WHIP, 0.92 ERA? Those numbers are as good or better than Mariano Rivera during some of his peak seasons.) (more…)