Some notes for Thursday:
-P- Baseball Prospectus' latest research examines catcher framing going back to 1988. They find that Russell Martin has had the third-best career as a framer since then, beating everyone except Brad Ausmus (who apparently was transcendent) and Jose Molina. Another former Pirate, Tony Pena, also rates highly. So does Mike Piazza, surprisingly. The study also examines how the framing skill ages, and finds that with certain exceptions (Molina being one), catchers' framing ability quickly declines starting at age 32. Martin will turn 32 later this month, so maybe the Pirates' decision not to re-sign him, while painful, was even wiser than we imagined.
-P- I enjoyed Steve Adams' look at the process of negotiating minor-league deals, which are more complex than you might imagine.
-P- The Brewers announced that they signed Chris Perez to a minor-league deal. Perez could join Neal Cotts as a veteran addition to the Milwaukee bullpen. Perez allowed 11 homers with the Indians in 2013 and his peripherals took a step backwards with the Dodgers last season, so he could be fun for the Pirates to tee off against. (Incidentally, if you agree that the #FaceofMLB campaign surpasses even Spring Training countdowns as the most obnoxiously useless thing in the baseball Twitter-scape, just look at the Brewers' account right now. Or don't.)