Oh uh, it looks like the Andrew Friedman rumor mill is starting back up again. The Astros fired their current GM yesterday in an effort to shake up their front office, and they are hoping to lure Friedman away from the Rays and back to his hometown. There have already been rumors out that Friedman is unlikely to leave the Rays, so everyone can step back from the ledge and relax. Every time a new GM position opens up, we're going to hear the exact same rumors.
The Rays have such a backwards rumormill. There are more rumors floating out there about their General Manager (okay, technically Executive Vice President) than about any particular player that they're interested in, yet they have already signed a player and made a trade while Friedman isn't going anywhere.
Also, there was a rumor yesterday that Jonathan Broxton is interested in playing for a team near his home state of Georgia. If he does want to play in the Southeast, that would seemingly give the Rays a large advantage in signing him. He could make his decision soon, so fingers crossed.
In other Rays news, there were a number of articles written yesterday about the Jose Molina signing and the John Jaso trade. I thought Jeff Sullivan over at Baseball Nation put together a great piece on the Molina deal -- it's such a classic Friedman move -- and Joe Soriano at Call to the 'Pen had a good take on the Jaso trade.
There are four non-Rays-related stories that you really must read today. Three of them are pieces of baseball research that I found useful and informative, and the other is a great column on some recent Florida news.
First, Jeff Zimmerman over at FanGraphs took a look at how star players (like Pujols or Fielder) age. The full study is interesting, and the general trend seems to be that they drop off more heavily in their 30s than normal players (but they also have further to drop). Also at FanGraphs, Matt Swartz analyzed how much compensation draft picks have impacted free agent salaries. It's somewhat surprising how much of a difference those picks have made.
Baseball Prospect Nation just finished releasing an entire series of articles on how to scout players for different skills. If you're looking for something to read to help refine your eye, look no further.
And finally, over at SB Nation Tampa Bay, Ryan Michaels wrote a column about Urban Meyer's time with the Gators and how Gators fans are taking the news of him accepting a position at Ohio State. Even if you're not necessarily a Gators fan, it's a fascinating piece and it gives you the perspective of someone that was a student during Meyer's tenure.