Autographs: Yahoo's David Brown discusses the humiliating experience of getting Derek Jeter's autograph. While Jeter might be happy to sign autographs, at the Yankees Spring Training facility, the process becomes draining and unexciting. Tyler Austin relates a story of his mother telling him he should always be happy to sign an autograph, but what happens when you're expected to sign 40 or more at a time?
The Last Rotation Spot: LoHud believes that the competition for the fifth rotation spot is a two-man battle. Ivan Nova or David Phelps will be in the rotation; the other will be relegated to the bullpen as the long reliever. There is a possibility that someone like Adam Warren or Brett Marshall could enter the fray, but they would really need to impress while opponents struggle or get injured.
Who Has Options: LoHud looks into who has minor league options, who doesn't, and who can opt out of their contracts. Francisco Cervelli, Eduardo Nunez, Ivan Nova, and Cody Eppley all have one option left. Meanwhile, Chris Stewart and Clay Rapada would have to pass through waivers. Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera can opt out of their contracts if they don't make the major league roster, while Dan Johnson can opt out at a later date. Jayson Nix, Josh Spence, and Jim Miller can all go back to Triple-A. As a Rule V pick, Cesar Cabral can stay around a little longer by rehabbing in the minors until he has to be either brought up or returned.
Cecil Fielder and the Steroid Era: Here is a flawed, yet interesting article. It talks about Cecil Fielder's place in history in the wake of the steroid age. It raises some fair questions about how really good, but not great players fit into baseball's history when compared to people like Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriguez. Fielder did some amazing things in his career, things that were a big deal at the time. Now everyone is doing it and even Fielder doen't know how he measures up to history. The article still makes a lot of assumptions about who is clean and who isn't and displays a very clear "cheaters" opinion. Fielder feels like punishments should be stricter than they already are: one year suspension for a positive test, two year suspension for a second positive test, and after a third you're out of baseball. I would go even harsher than that.
Sunk-Cost and Baseball: Rob Neyer discusses the sunk-cost effect as it relates to baseball. He relates James Surowiecki's essay about Mark Sanchez and this effect to baseball. Neyer hypothesizes that maybe Vernon Wells blocking Mike Trout prevented the Angels from making the playoffs and Trout winning the MVP, maybe releasing Barry Zito would make the Giants better in the long run, and maybe the presence of Jeff Francoeur led the Royals to trade Wil Myers. Instead of simply releasing a mistake and moving on, teams decide they need to get as much value out of them as possible, even if it doesn't really benefit the team as much. While the Yankees obviously don't have the alternatives to displace sunk-cost contracts like Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Derek Jeter, but what about Ichiro? What if Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott. or any other prospect comes up through the system in the next two seasons?