Joe Torre, now MLB's chief baseball officer, sounded a few interesting notes during last week's general manager meetings in Boca Raton, Florida. Among them was the possibility that MLB would do away with the takeout slide at second base in light of the injury to Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada during the playoffs.
There appears to be a growing consensus that plays like that should be eliminated from the game. While no decision has been made, it seems a good bet that changes to the rules to prevent that kind of slide will be forthcoming. Or perhaps they'll simply enforce the rules already on the books?
The pace of play saw some improvement this season, even though it probably didn't feel that way at all to Tigers' fans in 2015. Average game times were down to two hours and 56 minutes, a decline of six minutes from 2014.
Also under review is the New York attorney general's call for one-day fantasy sites like Fanduel and Draft Kings to stop accepting entries from New York residents. The question of whether these sites should be treated like other forms of gambling is one that will no doubt take some time to play out in the courts.
Finally, and perhaps most interesting, were Torre's comments on the use of replay on players sliding into bases. There appears some pressure from major league managers to allow a sliding baserunner some leeway were he to come off the base for a moment. In reference to that particular idea, Torre stated that "before, we accepted the imperfections of the game." That seems a very difficult statement to reconcile with most other rulings made in recent years where replay is concerned. Whether or not an idea like that has any traction or not, we'll have to wait for the Winter Meetings in December, if not longer, to know.
Detroit Tigers checking in on Rays’ relievers - Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press
Al Avila continues to do his due diligence, seemingly interested in just about everyone for the right price. That's a prudent way to go, staying open-minded about a wide array of options. But, how's about we just trade for Jake McGee? C'mon Al!
Padres rumors: Ian Desmond remains an option at shortstop - Scott Gelman, MLB Daily Dish
With the Padres seemingly everyone's favorite trade targets, GM A.J. Preller appears to have other plans beyond trading pitching for a top SS.
Offseason preview: 10 Los Angeles Dodgers storylines to watch - Mark Saxon, ESPN
As Andrew Friedman's makeover in L.A. continues, the Dodgers could be the busiest team in baseball this winter. With very few teams apparently in great shape to spend heavily on free agents, the Dodgers are flush with cash and will no doubt be major players for quite a players.
The strain of WAR you use can dramatically affect your perception of a player - Spencer Bingol, Beyond the Box Score
The two most used WAR calculations come from Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference. While they generally tend to agree, there are times when they evaluate players a lot differently. Here are a few players fWAR and bWAR do not agree on at all.
Red Sox trade four prospects to Padres for Craig Kimbrel - John Sickels, Minor League Ball
Dave Dombrowski went all out to get himself a closer, trading prospects Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Logan Allen, and Carlos Asuaje to the San Diego Padres on Friday night. John Sickels of Minor League Ball takes a look at just how much the Red Sox gave up in the deal.
The 2015 Rookie Class Was the Best in 100 Years | Owen Watson, FanGraphs Baseball
A host of great young players, led by Carlos Correa and Kris Bryant, exploded on the scene in 2015. If it felt like the year of the rookie, there's a good reason for that.
Optimizing the Swing – Alan Nathan, The Hardball Times
Is it true that the curveball is easier to hit for power because its topspin is converted to backspin, thus improving its carry distance? One man wades into this somewhat technical and difficult to reconcile debate.