The value of stolen bases

Offensive production in major league baseball has dropped sharply over the past decade. The most frequently suggested causes behind this decline are an aggressive performance-enhancing drug testing, the implementation of state-of-the-art analysis on hitters’ tendencies, rising pitch velocities, increased relief pitcher specialization, and more defensive shifts. Regardless of the cause behind the offensive swoon, teams are seeing fewer hitters reach base. League-average on-base percentage (OBP) in recent years harkens back to the levels that prompted Major League Baseball to lower the pitcher’s mound in 1969. You have to go back…

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Outfielder Rumors: Tomas, Kemp, Bruce, Joyce

It has been a busy week for the hot stove as Russell Martin, Billy Butler, Adam LaRoche, and Jason Heyward have all found new homes. The Seattle Mariners were involved in talks with Martin before he signed a five-year, $82 million with the Toronto Blue Jays. Butler was thought to be a primary target of the M’s but ended up taking a three-year deal with the Oakland Athletics. LaRoche didn’t appear to be on Seattle’s radar at all despite the fact that the club has a need at first base…

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Could M’s use a second Van Slyke?

The Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves in an enviable yet difficult position in which they have too many good outfielders. There’s an awful lot of talent between the trio of Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier but injuries have limited the playing time and effectives of all three over the last couple seasons and it’s been rare to see a time when a spot on the disabled list isn’t occupied by at least one of them. Add in superstar slugger Yasiel Puig and top prospect Joc Pederson who’s ready…

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2014 Milestone Watch: Hitters

There’s long been a train of thought that if a player were to reach a certain statistical plateau they’d have their spot reserved in Cooperstown, the baseball Hall of Fame. We’ve all heard of the 500 home run and 3,000 hit clubs as things of legend and lore, and for the most part, all players who have reached at least one of the two milestones are currently in the Hall of Fame. The exceptions to the ‘rule’ are players who have found themselves amidst the controversy surrounding the period in…

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Who’s In, Who’s Out: NL West

The National League West division got a whole lot stronger when the Los Angeles Dodgers’ new ownership decided to push their cards all in and spend as much as necessary to win. It was a fairly busy offseason for the five clubs, but both the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants elected to use plenty of their resources on retaining some of their key pieces. The Arizona Diamondbacks made a series of interesting trades while the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies made a couple interesting acquisitions of their own. Let’s…

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The risk of Jacoby Ellsbury

There is no denying that Jacoby Ellsbury is one of the premium talents in this winter’s free agent class. This season Ellsbury posted a .396/.355/.422 line while playing elite defense and stealing 52 bases. He is probably in line to receive the largest payday of any free agent not named Robinson Cano. Unlike Cano however, it is unlikely that Ellsbury will return to his current team. Excluding Ellsbury, the Boston Red Sox already have three viable options in the outfield in Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, and Daniel Nava, not to…

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