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The Rays Tank: James Loney, Heath Bell, and a cool correlation tool

Mike Ehrmann

Rays Related and Other Signings

Jason Collette reviews the Loney signing.

R.J. Anderson notes that while Heath Bell has poor fastball command, he has excellent fastball control. We've been through this before, and I don't dispute the claim that this is a real type of player, or that Heath Bell is that guy. I just wonder if it isn't over-diagnosed. Sure the two are different, but they're complementary skills.

Jeff Sullivan writes about trading David Price. I know it's already been discussed to death, but in the past, Sullivan's articles have been really good. It doesn't guarantee that this one will be, but I did a quick roundup of other successful baseball writers, and decided there's a better than average chance that you should read this article.

I saw this a while back and for some reason didn't make a big enough deal about it, but Roberto Hernandez signed with Philly. on a one-year $4.5 million deal that could grow to $6 million with incentives. Beyond the Box Score discusses. Of note, Steamer and Oliver have wildly different projections for Hernandez.

Stephen Loftus looks at pitcher production, and whether or not teams should spend big for an ace.

Yesterday, the Indians signed reliever John Axford, seemingly to a one year deal He will have two additional years of arbitration after that.

Stats Stuff

Steve Staude has shared a very nifty tool. It will let you quickly and easily run correlations for any pitching stat on FanGraphs, either against a different stat or against itself in a different year. This is a fantastic resource to help get a sense for how the numbers relate. Thanks, Steve!

Jeff Zimmerman graphs aging curves, and finds that there is no peak in the post-PED era, only a gradual decline.

Bryan Grosnick has a fun little stat for ranking the positional utility of utility players. The Rays have fielded true utility players before, but Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez moved around the diamond less often in 2013 than in years past.

Dave Studeman shows average leverage index by inning. Fun fact: on average, the ninth inning is less critical than the first. More fun fact: nearly 20% of games are decided in the bottom of the ninth.

Other Stuff

In the "trying to fix a problem that's not really a problem" department, Nick Carfado is disappointed that nothing big happened in the winter meetings, and thinks that maybe baseball should prevent teams from making moves before the meetings.

Wendy Thurm, keeping us updated on the San Jose vs. MLB court case (which involves the potential A's move, and has ramifications for any Rays move).