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In which three Box scribes discuss the bullpen, the AL Central, and the State of the Franchise. Listen here. (Note: iTunes subscribability in process!)

Anders, Thomas and I got together for the second installment of Batter's Box's new podcast and talked about the three topics mentioned above. This one's a little leaner at about 49 minutes as us amateur podcasters have started learning to avoid the dangers of rambling.

Follow the link above to listen. You can also download it by clicking on the arrow on the far right of the embedded Quicktime player and selecting "Save as Quicktime movie", or by right-clicking on the embedded player and selecting "Save Video As..." Post in the comments if there are any technical difficulties and I'll try to figure it out.

Part 1 is bullpen talk. Skip to 17:30 for AL Central, and to 33:00 for the State of the Franchise.

On a technical note, the podcast has been submitted to iTunes and is under review, so you should be able to subscribe to have episodes delivered automatically shortly. Meanwhile, the promised original Boxcast theme music will have to be put on hold as figuring out the iTunes stuff took priority this time. So, once again, apologies to certain famous recording artists for the blatant copyright infringement. However, there's a (very loose) theme to the song choices (and there was last time too.) A cuttlefish to the first Bauxite to identify it!

As always, feedback is welcome and appreciated. Last time Ron suggested a reader mail segment and we are definitely planning on doing that in the future - once we get a few episodes in and a little more comfortable with the whole "talking about baseball in front of a microphone" thing. Thanks for the suggestion, Ron!

Thanks for listening, and enjoy!
Boxcast Episode 2: The Reboxening | 27 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
abstractmonkey - Monday, February 06 2012 @ 03:06 PM EST (#251613) #
Can you make a generic rss feed as well?
(like Getting Blanked does here http://feeds.feedburner.com/gettingblanked )

I prefer to listen in another podcast app right on my phone and not iTunes.

The first episode was great!
greenfrog - Monday, February 06 2012 @ 03:10 PM EST (#251615) #
M's have signed Shawn Camp. Here's an interesting paragraph from Dave Cameron's writeup:

"Sinker/slider/change right-hander who is pretty good against RHBs and should probably never face an LHB in a meaningful situation. His career K/BB vs RHBs is 3.15, but is just 1.48 against LHBs. His numbers last year kind of suck because the Blue Jays kept asking him to get LHBs out 47% of the batters he faced last year were left-handed."

http://www.ussmariner.com/2012/02/06/ms-sign-shawn-camp-too/

It would be nice if Farrell started using his relievers more effectively in terms of lefty-righty matchups, although there were times last year when his options were somewhat limited.
rpriske - Monday, February 06 2012 @ 03:31 PM EST (#251617) #
The Jays get a (very small) bit of salary relief as Mark Teahen has been signed by Washington.
Anders - Monday, February 06 2012 @ 03:31 PM EST (#251618) #
Can you make a generic rss feed as well?
(like Getting Blanked does here http://feeds.feedburner.com/gettingblanked )

I prefer to listen in another podcast app right on my phone and not iTunes.


The first episode was great!

I'm sure we can figure this out!
Dave Rutt - Monday, February 06 2012 @ 03:34 PM EST (#251619) #
Hey abstractmonkey, let me know if this works.
abstractmonkey - Monday, February 06 2012 @ 03:41 PM EST (#251620) #
Yes, it does work. I've subscribed to it in my podcast player Instacast, downloaded the latest episode and all works great. Thanks!
Chuck - Monday, February 06 2012 @ 04:05 PM EST (#251622) #
Shawn Camp has landed in Seattle.
92-93 - Monday, February 06 2012 @ 04:39 PM EST (#251623) #
I listen to all my podcasts on my BlackBerry - is there a way to get the first 2 on to my phone? Without ITunes I'm clueless.
Alex Obal - Monday, February 06 2012 @ 07:34 PM EST (#251624) #
The artists are Grover Washington, Jr., Sinead O'Connor, the Spin Doctors and Blur.

Where's my prize!

Dave Rutt - Monday, February 06 2012 @ 11:26 PM EST (#251628) #
Hey guys, it actually looks like you can already subscribe on iTunes. In iTunes, go to "Advanced -> Subscribe to Podcast" and enter this feed:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheBoxcastPodcast

It just isn't in the iTunes store yet. We'll get it figured out.

92-93, as a fellow BlackBerry owner I should probably know the answer to that, but I actually never listen to podcasts on my phone. Will keep you updated if I figure anything out.
abstractmonkey - Tuesday, February 07 2012 @ 08:36 AM EST (#251631) #
I have no idea for the blackberry. If you search whatever the application store is called for podcasts, you might find something.

I'm using an iPhone. There are a half dozen good podcast apps (that don't use iTunes). My favourite is called Instacast. It's great. It can grab all your iTunes podcast feeds, or you can add any rss feed also. Then you never need to use iTunes or sync.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 07 2012 @ 09:42 AM EST (#251633) #
Nicely done, gentleman.

That Tigers' infield is going to be atrocious.  Porcello and Fister both had ground-ball percentages in excess of 50% last year, and are prime candidates for steep declines in performance.  It looks to me like the Indians are the second best team in the division.  If they get a bit lucky (or their fine young players develop a little better than is usual) in the first half, the Indians do have the kind of issues which can be fixed with the application of a little bit of cash and a prospect. 

Lylemcr - Tuesday, February 07 2012 @ 09:43 AM EST (#251634) #
I am subscribed! 
92-93 - Tuesday, February 07 2012 @ 09:45 AM EST (#251635) #
I guess I was unclear but you cleared it up Dave. Now that you've given me the ITunes link I'm good to go.

If anybody wanted to listen to podcasts on their Blackberry you would need to download Blackberry Desktop Software in addition to ITunes.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, February 07 2012 @ 12:14 PM EST (#251638) #
On my iPhone, go to Google App, type in Batter's Box (why not a Batter's Box App @ $1.99-$3.99), enter site, touch here spot you have linked, and just listen, and it pauses if I need to go elsewhere or do stuff (hours if neccessary and I miss nothing).   Good Job Guys. thanks.
robertdudek - Wednesday, February 08 2012 @ 03:58 PM EST (#251651) #
Maybe I'm missing something, but with Victor Martinez gone for the year (or the large majority of it), why does Cabrera need to ever play 3B? Why don't they just mix and match them at DH/1B?
Thomas - Wednesday, February 08 2012 @ 04:14 PM EST (#251652) #
Robert, Cabrera doesn't need to play third. However, I don't think either him or Fielder wants to DH. Plus, having Cabrera at 3B allows them to DH Andy Dierks instead of playing Brandon Inge at 3B. I think the consensus is that the defensive downgrade to Cabrera would more than overcome any offensive advantage gained by getting Inge's bat out of the lineup. This also ignores the fact Ryan Raburn and Don Kelly can also play 3B and although I don't know the standard of their fielding, I'm sure it beats Cabrera's.

Nevertheless, Detroit has at least publicly committed to Cabrera at 3B. How long it will last is a separate question.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 08 2012 @ 04:23 PM EST (#251653) #
It reminds me of the Dodgers' decision to move Pedro Guerrero to third in 1983.  They did win the division that year despite Guerrero's atrocious fielding, but the rest of their infield was much better defensively than the Tigers of 2012 will be if they leave Cabrera at third.  I do think that there is a tipping point in the interaction between defence and pitching, and the Tigers would be pushing it if they tried this for any length of time.
robertdudek - Wednesday, February 08 2012 @ 04:43 PM EST (#251655) #
I take it that you, Mike, like me, think it is a daft idea. Reminds me of Bill James discussing why it would be counterproductive to play Frank Thomas at shortstop despite his massive edge offensively over a typical shortstop.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 08 2012 @ 07:23 PM EST (#251658) #
Most definitely, Robert, although there would be some amusement in watching ground balls to the left side with Peralta and Cabrera there.  I imagine that the humour would wear on Tigers' fans quickly. 
Chuck - Wednesday, February 08 2012 @ 08:52 PM EST (#251660) #
In my earlier Strat-O-Matic days, Mike Schmidt would sometimes be a 4e48 at shortstop (then, the worst rating possible). Of course, he would be a 1eX at third base being a legit gold glover and all. Some people would seize upon this opportunity to play Schmidt at shortstop, believing they were getting something for free. Even when presented with the mathematical evidence that Schmidt would be giving back on defense all of his gains on offense, many refused to listen. (Strat being a game and all meant that mathematical modeling was easy to apply, unlike the "real world" where the defensive metrics often disagree and too often serve to antagonize more than illuminate).

I agree with Robert and was equally dumbfounded that the Cabrera/Fielder duo weren't pencilled in as the 1B/DH combo for the foreseeable future. How could anyone conceive of any alternate plan? Inge is a sunk cost. There is no law that says that he has to be the only other option for third base.
bpoz - Thursday, February 09 2012 @ 10:10 AM EST (#251667) #
Good Stuff. Thanks.

You also answered a puzzle for me, if I understand you correctly. You said that FAs may be promised somethings to get them to sign. This finally is a possible answer for me for why Rauch was given so many closer opportunities.
He gets us a draft pick, so I suppose nothing else matters. But that rule has changed.
John Northey - Thursday, February 09 2012 @ 10:36 AM EST (#251668) #
The eternal challenge for managers and GM's - you can figure out that guys like Fielder & Cabrera should be in the field as little as possible but convincing either of them that is near impossible. So do you have an unhappy guy making tens of millions or do you suffer the defensive issues and keep him happy? What is the value of a happy player vs an unhappy one?

Cito was very good at finding ways to keep guys happy (outside of David Wells). Remember in 1992 he didn't just leave Winfield as DH, he put Joe Carter in at DH at times so Winfield could play in the field. In 1993 Olerud was put in at DH so Molitor could play in the field, and he even put Molitor at 3B once in the World Series (of all times). I don't recall ever hearing Molitor/Winfield/Carter or Olerud complain about the DH situation. And all of us who remember that time recall 1988 and George Bell vs Jimy Williams over DH roles (and to a lesser degree Lloyd Moseby vs Williams about shifting from CF to LF). Keeping a happy clubhouse (or at least the stars happy) can lead to good things, having a horrid situation on the other hand leads to a good team going 12-24.
bpoz - Thursday, February 09 2012 @ 10:53 AM EST (#251670) #
Excellent point John N. There was some kind of problem in 2009 at the end of the year.
Maybe don't have anyone on the team that would cause that kind of trouble. Wells was let go in ST 1993. Derek Bell also left possibly due to behavior.
Chuck - Thursday, February 09 2012 @ 11:16 AM EST (#251673) #

you can figure out that guys like Fielder & Cabrera should be in the field as little as possible but convincing either of them that is near impossible.

That's true. Strat cards tend to not talk back.

I imagine that Fielder was told he would play the field and that Cabrera was told he would continue to play the field so.... by signing Fielder you're stuck with an awkward situation. In a vaccum, the Fielder contract is already highly questionable. Add to it the ripple effect of "forcing" Cabrera to play third base and it comes which a huge hidden cost, making it more expensive yet.

The situation in Detroit is going to be a fascinating train wreck. It seems that everyone knows that the plug will eventually be pulled on the Great Cabrera Project. How it's handled will be interesting to watch. You've got a volatile, alcoholic, entrenched superstar to appease, and a newly signed prodigal son to appease. There's six hundred pounds of misery hanging in the balance.

Mike Green - Thursday, February 09 2012 @ 11:59 AM EST (#251682) #
Justice may or may not be blind, but she sure better be strong. 

I guess that the fact that all of the Tiger starters are right-handed is a plus (for as long as you have Cabrera at third).  I wonder if opponents might decide that bunting was a particularly promising weapon with a right-handed starter and Cabrera/Peralta/Fielder.  If you had a couple of left-handed starters, I suppose that you could try DHing Cabrera when the left-handers went and playing Inge at third, as a half-hearted compromise.

robertdudek - Saturday, February 11 2012 @ 10:50 AM EST (#251759) #
A little off topic, but I see that the betting odds for winning the World Series and league pennants are out among the various betting sites.

Now I ask myself - who has the best starting rotation in the American  League? I think it is between the Angels and the Rays and I lean towards the Rays. When Jeff Niemann is your #6 starter that is saying something. The Rays also have most of their position players coming back, including the exciting Desmond Jennings for a full year. I think they are equal favourites with the Yankees and Red Sox to win the division. So what are the listed odds for winning the Series?  The worst I found in my perusal was 16 to 1, but the best was on a UK-based betting exchange (Betfair) where some chump has offered 28 to 1!

Another potential mismatch involves the KC Royals. I believe that if any team can pull a Rays-like rise to contention it is the Royals. Keep in mind that there is theoretically only one strong team (the Tigers) in the division and they are trying to shoot themselves in the foot by attempting to play Miguel Cabrera at third base. The Royals have added Jonathan Sanchez, and have Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino in the rotation, so a dramatic improvement is possible. They have a number of quality young arms in the pen. They also have the best crop of young hitters in the league. I think their true odds of winning the division are about 3.5 to 1, but  when the division lines come out I expect to see them listed at about 8 to 1.

Boxcast Episode 2: The Reboxening | 27 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.