Had a wonderful evening with friends last night, followed by snuggling with family, hot cocoa and The Polar Express. While we all look forward to the rest of the holiday, wherever Christmas finds you this year, I hope it's a merry one.
For your Monday morning reads, Chuck Brook of MLB Reports is writing 5-part reviews of the history of every team in baseball. He recently published his first two sections on the Rays, profiling the best hitters in Rays history, and (earlier) providing a retrospective of the Rays Franchise history. 'Tis the season to reminisce!
Speaking of reminiscing: 28-year old Scott Kazmir could be returning to major league baseball this season, reportedly signing a minor league deal with the Indians over the weekend.
The former 2008 All-Star with the Rays had a strong showing in Puerto Rico this winter, posting a 27/8 K/BB ratio with just one homerun in 22 2/3 innings. Should his velocity return, Kazmir could have a shot at taking the No. 5 starting position in Cleveland.
- John Dewan of ACTA Sports presents 2012's Best and Worst defensive teams, with the Rays placing second in runs saved by the shift! Thank you, Mark Teixeira.
- MLB Trade Rumors: The Red Sox are poised to acquire Joel Hanrahan from the Pirates, which only reminds me of how well Andrew Bailey and Mark Malancon worked last year. Meanwhile, the Indians signed Nick Swisher, the Diamondbacks picked up Cody Ross, and the Nationals are closing in on Adam LaRoche.
- With Cody Ross off the market, Fangraphs notes there are still a few cheaper options for a lefty platoon. Namely, Scott Hairston and Juan Rivera.
- Baseball Prospectus examines the philosophy of park factors.
- The Hardball Times asks, "Is the AL East still the hardest division in baseball?"
- In a sad turn of events, infielder Ryan Freel took his own life over the weekend. Join Ben Lindbergh in remembering his career.