1) Tribe news and links
Cleveland.com's three Indians beat writers (Paul Hoynes, Dennis Manoloff, and Zack Meisel) sat down together for an hourlong discussion of the Indians offseason and the team's outlook for 2014. The video is cut into digestible segments (~6 minutes each) and there's a text summary to go with things. Lots to look over and listen to, including predictions from Manoloff and Hoynes on how many games the Indians will win in 2014 (those come in the final segment).
MLB.com's Jordan Bastian examines the Tribe's starting rotation, which he calls the team's "key to success." He calls Carlos Carrasco the favorite for the 5th spot, which I, on the one hand, sort of already knew, but on the other hand, am terrified by. Bring back Ubaldo!
The Indians had an arbitration hearing yesterday with Vinnie Pestano. There hasn't been any official word yet, but while it's possible that a comprise was made at the last minute, most likely the team went through the full process for the first time in 23 years. When an announcement is made, we'll be on it.
2) Younger players getting paid
FanGraphs' Dave Cameron looks at the trend of MLB teams extended their best young players, something that's happening with greater frequency than ever, leading to younger players making a higher percentage of total MLB payroll than they have in more than 20 years, before the contract explosion of the 90s.
3) A-Rod legal saga comes to an end (maybe)
Alex Rodriguez has dropped his lawsuit against MLB and the MLBPA. While it's possible this could be part of a larger process in which he refiles a modified suit, but as Hardball Talk's Craig Calcaterra explains, it's more likely that A-Rod has decided to push things no further. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post adds this:
A-Rod's attorney Joe Tacopina says A-Rod will not attend spring training.— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) February 7, 2014
4) Baseball's best giveaways
Howard Megdal at Sports on Earth take a look at the best giveaway items in baseball. A couple days ago I looked at the Tribe's promo schedule, and one of the items they're giving away cracks the top five of Megdal's list, but his top giveaways comes from the Dodgers, and he makes a point I hadn't considered before: Teams with better attendance giveaway better items because they can get bigger companies to spend more money to sponsor those items.
5) And I thought 234 Kirby Pucketts was a lot
Do you remember Tim Wallach? I do, and fondly. He was the Expos third baseman for the first 13 seasons of my life, and a 5-time All-Star. There is a man in New Mexico whose goal it is to collect every Tim Wallach baseball card. I don't mean one of each different Tim Wallach card, I mean every single Tim Wallach card ever printed. A storage closest in his home is half-filled with the ones he's gathered so far.
6) This week's off-topic topic
I said last weekend, after learning that Philip Seymour Hoffman had been found dead, that he'd been one of the best actors of the last 20 years and seemed likely to go on to remain one of the best for the next 20 too. He's been in so many good movies, and he's often been the best part of those movies, including many instances when he wasn't a lead.
My favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman movies:
5) The Master
4) Charlie Wilson's War
3) Boogie Nights
2) The Big Lebowski
1) Almost Famous
That last one also features my favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman scene, the "uncool" phone conversation between Hoffman's Lester Bangs and Patrick Fugit's William Miller, which director Cameron Crowe says Hoffman reshaped almost entirely: