Couple of things that probably deserve mention, and don't fit in to the 'Projections' post below. Firstly, the unredacted version of the Grimsley affidavit was published. Does anyone really care, now that the Mitchell Report has been completed? Anyone? Anybody? Bueller? Thought not. I suppose the biggest shock is that Roger Clemens was not mentioned in the affidavit. However, it seems that just about every other member of the 2000 Yankees was named: as well as Grimsley, we've got Jose Canseco, Glenallen Hill, Chuck Knoblaugh and Allen Watson listed there.
When you add in the names mentioned in the Mitchell Report, such as Andy Pettitte, Denny Neagle and David Justice, the Yankee Dynasty suddenly looks more like the Yankees Very Nasty. Curt Schilling has already called for Clemens to be stripped of his awards, saying "the 4 Cy Youngs should go to the rightful winners and the numbers should go away if he cannot refute the accusations." That would particularly please Randy Johnson, who was beaten twice by Clemens, including the infamous - to Arizona fans, at least - 2004 screw-job. It would certainly send a strong message about consequences, and could be done relatively easily, without any of the mess that would result if, say, we tried to repossess the four World Series they won from 1997-2000.
The Schilling piece is a good, if somewhat lengthy read, in that it's one of the rare occasions where an active player has been willing to go on the record regarding these matters. I do have to respect Schilling, to a certain extent, for this - though one does wonder where all this forthrightness was, when he was testifying before Congress? I seem to recall he was a great deal less vocal at that point, denying having ever seen a syringe in his baseball career, and doing little except blast Jose Canseco for his book. Still, even if Schilling undeniably does like the sound of his own voice, he is, at least addressing the issue from the inside. And that is a lot more than many have been prepared to do.
Interesting, if math-heavy, article on the Hardball Times, which looks at the question of Does reliever over-use lead to poor subsequent performance?. That's something likely of very great interest to us, as our likely closer (Peña) appeared in 75 games last season, and Lyon only a couple less, with both posting career highs for innings pitched. It does appear to be the case that high-use (70+ IP) pitchers do get worse the next season - their ERAs increasing by about 0.3 runs - and low-use ones improve. However, this appears to be the result of simple regression towards a mean, which is statistically predictable, rather than because of their overuse.
So, while we can probably expect our three remaining Relievers of the Apocalypse to return to earth somewhat next year, it won't be because of the number of innings they pitched this year. Also worth noting, is that Chad Qualls has posted back-to-back seasons of 79.2, 88.2 and 82.2 innings since 2005. Over those three years, only one pure reliever has pitched more innings (Scot Shields, 256.1), seen more hitters (Shields, 1046) or appeared in more games (Bobby Howry, 241) than Qualls (251 IP and 1030 batters faced in 237 games). He also ranks #11 for pitches thrown, at 3,554 - Shields is top with 4,152. It appears that Josh Byrnes' fondness for 'workhorses' or innings-eating pitchers, is not limited to starters...
If you want more to read, head over to Baseball Digest Daily, whose Bloggers Round Table on the Diamondbacks featured myself and Jeff from Diary of a Die-Hard. Interesting to compare and contrast the answers given: I went for Luis Gonzalez as the player who has most impacted the franchise, while he chose Randy Johnson. I also note the different lengths of our answers: I was clearly with Shakespeare on the whole brevity-source-wit thing, while I think Jeff was getting paid by the word. ;-) Good stuff though, with some further questions in the comments. I recommend you check out the other articles on the site, which looks set to become another stop on my daily meandering through the tubes of the Internet.
Chad Tracy's knee is still giving him grief, with the blood-clot in his leg still apparently present. "I was hoping they'd say it was gone, but it doesn't hurt anymore, so that's a good thing," he says. He still wants to be ready for Opening Day - but two sentences later, he says the start of Spring Training would be "pushing it." Here's more info on clots in the legs: it says, "Surgery that involves a leg joint or hip, dramatically increases the risk." The treatment is anti-coagulants, including Warfarin: yes, basically, rat poison, though the article does say these will not dissolve existing clots. It really looks increasingly more likely that Special K and Conor J will be manning the corner infield positions in Cincinnati, a hundred days from tomorrow.
Finally, a few minor bits and pieces. I just got a sneak-peek at version 2.0 of the SportsBlog Nation sites, and all I can say is "Ooh! Shiny! Pretty!". Goes live in February, I believe (co-admins charmer and skins might get a shot at the beta testing in late January). And no more need to hack about in HTML. ;-) Updated the roster on the left, to reflect the recent moves, and provide a current 'best guess' regarding what we'll have for Opening Day 2008. For the moment, I'm being optimistic and including Chad Tracy - albeit mostly because we don't have any other credible alternatives. And we're off to see the Coyotes play the Canucks tomorrow night: our charitable arm, kidtix.org, received a large block of tickets and we've been busy distributing them to schools, etc. over the past week or two. Should be fun, even if we know almost nothing about ice-hockey. Still, when has that ever stopped us from enjoying ourselves? :-) MVP ballots to follow Sunday, in the last update before Christmas.