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Christmas Eve

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This is no ordinary Friday.  Tomorrow is a very big day, one of the most important days on the calendar.  Spring Training opens tomorrow for the Reds, with pitchers and catchers officially reporting to the Reds Sarasota spring training complex for the very last time. Here's a list of early birds who have already shown up in Sarasota (via Mark Sheldon):

RHP Aaron Harang, RHP Jared Burton, OF Chris Dickerson, IF/OF Jeff Keppinger, LHP Arthur Rhodes, RHP Homer Bailey, RHP Nick Masset, RHP Josh Roenicke, LHP Daniel Ray Herrera, RHP Daryl Thompson, C Ryan Hanigan, IF Adam Rosales, IF Paul Janish and OF Norris Hopper.

Tomorrow austensibly marks the first day of baseball season.  So we're calling this your Christmas Eve Link Dump.

 

So what are the interwebs saying about baseball on this silent night...Sky Kalkman at The Hardball Times talks about yer average major leaguer, and Reds' firebrand Jerry Hairston Jr is one featured in the story.  Hairston was so good in his limited action last year that he was worth the same as an average player over a full season.  Jermaine Dye, who we almost dealt Homer Bailey for, was another.  That means Hairston was worth just as much as Dye, but in only half the time.  Mind-boggling, right?  Read the full article.  It's great.

FanGraphs has incorporated outfield arm ratings in its UZR data and has updated player pages with the information as well.  Arm strength is reallly only a small part of defensive value, but it can certainly make a difference.  Over the last 3 seasons, Alfonso Soriano rates as the best arm in the majors, saving 25.6 runs, which is almost a win per season.  Brian Giles is the worst with a rating of -19.5 over that span.  You can head on over and check out how our outfielders rate.  Bruce rated out as 1.4 runs saved over the average arm last year.

In "Former Reds News (not currently with the Nats edition)", the Rangers are pondering a long-term deal for former RedReporter favorite Josh Hamilton.  I'm kinda surprised they would bring it up after just one full season, but maybe he's gotten a lot better at dealing with his demons.  I hope he gets paid well.

Maybe you hadn't heard yet, but Alex Rodriguez admitted he used steroids when he was playing for the Rangers.  But the bigger story, at least to me, is that Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada pled guilty to lying to congressional investigators about his knowledge of teammates' involvement with PEDs.  He could face prison time, or even worse, deportation.  It's been a sad week.

In "new stuff on the internet" news, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com has started a blog.  It seems to be a lot like Fay's blog and he may be breaking some stories and such.  I added it to my RSS feed.

More importantly though, dougdirt has launched his newest project, minorleaguenotebook.com.  In case you didn't know, doug is the proprietor of redsminorleagues.com, which stands alone as the best resource on the internet for Reds minor league news and information.  So wish him luck in his newest venture, as he most likely will never again sleep or meet a woman.  Check out the notebook, as they are now featuring top 10 prospect lists broken down by each division.