It's taken a long time for St. Pete major Bill Foster and Rays owner Stuart Sternberg to settle on another meeting, but it looks like they have finally settled on a date. The news came out a day or so ago that they had agreed to a meeting, and now the Tampa Bay Times and Tampa Tribune are reporting that they will sit down on January 17th to discuss the Rays stadium situation.
I wouldn't hold your breath, though. There's no reason to believe Foster will dramatically change his stance from the past, and we know it's not in the Rays' best interest to get a new stadium in St. Pete. The two sides are having a dialogue, which is better than the alternative, but I don't see any reason to get our hopes up.
On an interesting note, the Times article notes that the St. Pete city council can overrule Foster and change the terms of the city's agreement with the Rays...but only if they get six of their eight members to vote for those changes. If Foster continues to be intractable and mysterious, it's possible the city council could get fed up with him and take matters into their own hands. Doubtful, but possible.
In other Rays-related news, the Rays signed Cuban shortstop Joel Barroso to a minor league deal yesterday. Rays Digest found some YouTube videos of him, but that is quite literally the extent of my knowledge about Barroso. There's very little information out there on the interwebs about him, so it's difficult to say if he's a legit prospect or merely org filler. Considering that most exciting Cuban prospects receive a large deal of public fanfare, I'm going to assume it's the later...but at the same time, who knows?
- Matt Swartz wrote an enlightening post for FanGraphs yesterday in which he tested to see what's more effective at predicting future ERA: projection systems or ERA estimators (like FIP and SIERA). His results were somewhat surprising; SIERA lapped the field, and that's without taking into consideration that SIERA isn't park-adjusted and doesn't regress pitcher performance. I also highly recommend checking out the comments on the piece for a good discussion, as well as this thread at The Book Blog.
In short, I think we'll be using SIERA even more often around these parts.
- If you like fancy charts and heat maps, Josh Weinstock put together a piece looking at how bad pitches thrown down the middle are. His conclusion: not nearly as bad as you'd expect.
- There's a great interview with prospect Chris Archer up over at MiLB.com. I'm intrigued by his close relationship with Matt Moore; if Archer ever harnesses his stuff and becomes a consistent major league starter, I wonder if that'd help make him open to an extension.