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The recent February ennui thread featured a long discussion about the benefits and risks of various drafting strategies, with a few tangents into using minor-league performance to project major-league success. This wasn't the first thread we've had on this subject, and they all tend to get rather repetitive:

Person A: X is true.
Person B: There is no evidence for X. Y is true.
Person C: Y is obviously not true.

[I've partaken in these discussions many times myself, so cut me some slack on the parody.]

Here are some paraphrased assertions from the February ennui thread; we've all heard them stated and denied many times over:
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With Spring Training rapidly approaching, and Opening Day not far behind, it's time for many of us to prepare for our fantasy drafts. With most of us in a league or 2 (or more) I'm sure there's a lot of expert analysis in these parts. If you have any fantasy advice, tips, or questions (and aren't afraid to disclose them) feel free to post them in the thread.
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In a blockbuster deal that appears to have been struck relatively quickly, Alex Rodriguez has been dealt to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano and at least one additional player.

North of the Mason-Dixon Line, most coverage of the swap is centered around the impact on the Evil Empire, whose payroll is now close to $200 million. Largely looked over is what this does for the Rangers. John Hart just got his club off the hook for around $120 million in payments over the next 17 years and in doing so, still managed to acquire a legimate All-Star to complement Hank Blalock and Mark Teixeira. The offense will take a bit of a hit but Texas can use this newly found budget room quickly improve its woeful pitching staff and hopefully return to the playoffs quicker than it would have with ARod.
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Eagle-eyed readers will notice a couple of new additions to the Box Navigation area on the left. Thanks to the efforts of Gerry McDonald, we've added an organizational Depth Chart, with links to various player pages. It's not 100% accurate, of course, but it's a start. After spring training, it will be modified to reflect who is actually on the rosters, and we'll keep it updated when there are promotions and demotions throughout the season. Obviously, there are no listings yet for Auburn and Pulaski, which will feature mostly players selected in the June draft.

We're also pleased to present a new Frequently Asked Questions page, courtesy of Craig B., the inimitable Answer Man for Da Box. The Analysis link is now called Analysis/Stats, and includes a handy link to Jonny German's recent "Where's Where" of Internet baseball stats. Finally, we invite anyone who wants to get to know the Batter's Box contributors a little better to check out our all-new Roster page, where we share our favourite players, most unshakeable baseball beliefs and other information. We're going to try to get future interview subjects to answer similar questions, and welcome everyone to do the same in this thread.
I somehow got the dates mixed up, and thought that the voting was to start on the 15th of February. It turns out it was supposed to end on the 15th of February. Mea culpa. So I've changed the dates of voting from February 16th to the 18th, to give us a few more days to discuss possible rule changes. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Voting Period Has Started - Current Owners Get Your Ballots in ASAP!

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In a news item that may have been overlooked in Canada, the United States has charged four people, including Barry Bonds's personal trainer, with running an illegal drug distribution operation. (Thanks to Mike Green for pointing out the Foxsports.com story on another thread.) It was big enough in the U.S. to be the lede on one of National Public's Radio's hourly news updates, and in this article, Shaun Assael of ESPN's The Magazine offers his opinion. I have serious doubts that Barry Bonds has ever done anything that would possibly harm his body. He's much too intelligent, and he's already good enough; he does not need more of an edge than he already has. Others, though, may feel that need, and they might consider the juice or legal supplements as the answer.
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If I ever run for office, I will make sure that Lincoln and Washington's birthdays are separate holidays again here in the states. President's Day my a--. But this holiday is more than just celebrating famous U.S. presidents like Abe Lincoln and FDR; it's also about celebrating some of the medicore ones, like Fillmore and Taylor, Ford and Hayes -- or Harrison, who died in 40 days.

There are some people, regrettably, who do not get Monday off. For them I am truly sorry, for either their company is too stingy, or they have not found the greatest person in the world -- my wife -- to support them while they search for their place in the universe. (Keep away; she's mine.) For some people, though, I am not sorry. I like to call those people "major-league baseball players." Yes, finally, for some teams, it's the start of spring training. Like every Bauxite, I view this news with great joy; I am tired of speculation and rumor: let's get it on already.
The Blue Jays held their annual bash for season-ticket holders tonight at Alice Fazooli's. A lively crowd of more than 400 enjoyed the complimentary food and beverages, then a Q & A session, with Paul Godfrey and J.P. Ricciardi among the head table guests.

Speaking by telephone from Florida, Carlos Tosca said, "Our number one goal, our priority this year, is to get into the playoffs." The skipper believes it will take between 94 and 96 wins, and seems confident that he has the talent. "The biggest key for us to be able to do that is to stay healthy," he explained. "The one thing that we are unable to do that those other ball clubs can, is reload in the middle of the season. If we stay away from key injuries, I don't see any reason why we won't be in the pennant hunt. I will not be satisfied this year if we don't get into the playoffs."
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According to the ever-interesting Peter Gammons, the Los Angeles Dodgers have hired Paul DePodesta to be their new General Manager. While Pete's rumour mill is usually about as reliable as the Weekly World News, he rarely gets a news story wrong, so the hiring seems like a go. This opens up any number of interesting points.
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Hello, Knology Park. The Blue Jays have sold the naming rights to their spring-training stadium, also home to the Florida State League's Dunedin Blue Jays. Knology, apparently, is the name of a Georgia communications company. Anybody know who Grant was, and whether he's likely spinning in his grave?
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This year's convention of the Society for American Baseball Research is taking place from July 15 to 18 in Cincinnati. This is SABR 34, the 34th annual meeting.

Any Bauxites headed to the Queen City for the fun? I am seriously torn about going and if there are others headed there it might just spur me to take the plunge. I've never been to a SABR convention before and would love to go...

Incidentally, the 2005 convention is in Toronto, and I'll DEFINITELY be at that one.
In an earlier thread Gitz mentioned the current U.S. Democratic Primaries. As a former resident of the United States and someone who has to write on the U.S. economy, I've been following the process closely. So I was quite interested when I learned about AOL's President Match.
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The cure for it's-oh-so-close-to-spring-training blues? Meaningless polls, such as U.S. Democratic presidential primaries, but also those related to baseball. Alexis Rios gets a fair amount of cyber-ink on Da Box, and, while Phil Rogers is not exactly a favorite at Da Box, a reader pointed out that Rogers has Rios has the #2 impact rookie in 2004, right behind Kazuo Matsui of the Mets and just in front of Atlanta's Adam LaRoche. Putting aside, for now, our questions about whether Rogers is right or not, here's the question of the day for Bauxites: how many at-bats will Rios get this year? I'm not asking how you think he'll do when he reaches the majors, just how much you instinctively feel he'll play. I'll start the bidding: the hunch here is that Rios gets 50 September at-bats.

We'll know more in two months, of course, but we'll check back at the end of the year to see how our first impressions went, and whoever's closest wins the all-time favorite, non-material gift of parents from every nation: love.
Today's pinch hit is courtesy of reader Mike Green, who has some thoughts and analysis on reliever usage. Thanks Mike!
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Today's edition of Aaron's Baseball Blog features an article written by a very special guest : Me!

It's more basketball stuff. I promise to get back to baseball by the time pitchers and catchers report. Promise. By the way, I can't stress this enough : if you don't read Aaron's blog every weekday, you are missing out. You *do* want to be one of the cool kids, don't you? The best part is, usually there's nothing whatsoever by me.