Dodgers lefty Rich Hill is one of the more unique players we’ll ever see, and it’s his unfathomable transactional path that makes his current performance all the more amazing. SB Nation’s Grant Brisbee pens an interesting piece in honor of a hurler whose success nobody saw coming when he was suiting up for the Long Island Ducks last year. Hill just carved up the Cubs last night in game three of the NLCS, striking out six and allowing two hits and no runs over a half-dozen frames. That outing bolsters an already-intriguing free agent resume for the 36-year-old.
Here’s more from out west:
- The Dodgers represent a unique compilation of talent, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark writes. Los Angeles managed to cover for an unbelievable number of injuries — though, to be fair, at least some were anticipated given the team’s risky investments (Hill included) — and still managed to take the NL West. Despite near-constant change in the major league roster and its in-game deployment, the club has thrived and seemingly hit its stride at the right time.
- Across town, the Angels are holding out at least some hope for infielder Roberto Baldoquin despite two forgettable campaigns, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. Injuries have kept him off the field and limited his developmental opportunities, though Fletcher notes that conditioning may be partially to blame. Certainly, what the team has seen hasn’t been promising. The 22-year-old, who signed on for an $8MM bonus that nearly doubled with penalties and restricted the organization’s international spending, has stalled out at High-A with a composite .219/.269/.267 batting line over the last two years. But the Halos developmental staff says that Baldoquin works hard, with coaches suggesting that he has at least shown enough in the field to warrant the continued investment of resources into his future.
- While the Rangers and the City of Arlington have maintained that the costs of their new stadium project will be split evenly, WFAA-TV has found several factors which significantly complicate that characterization. Following up on a prior report that suggests tax revenues may be diverted to the team, shifting the burden away from the Rangers and onto the city’s taxpayers, the most recent report outlines other significant ways in which anticipated revenue will flow to the club’s coffers. Stadium naming rights and seat licenses — both highly valuable commodities — would flow to the club despite the fact that the city is set to own the ballpark itself. In the aggregate, the news station assesses the split in real costs at about $1.675 billion for the city (including interest on a bond issue to fund it) versus $500MM for the team. These revelations, which are disputed by Arlington mayor Jeff Williams, come as voting polls show a tight split in opinion on the upcoming referendum. (For opposing viewpoints, see here and here for just a few examples.)
- One major question for the Rockies this winter is how to handle the catching position, as Thomas Harding of MLB.com covers in response to a reader question. Colorado does see improvement in the glovework of Tom Murphy, but at present there’s a gulf between his pitch framing ability and that of incumbent part-timer Tony Wolters. Of course, free agent-to-be Nick Hundley does not excel in that area either, which perhaps suggests the team will be willing to move on from him this winter.