6. Had no idea until I was looking at Kinsler's career comps list that John Valentin led the American League in baseball-reference's version of Wins Above Replacement in 1995, ranking fifth in hitting value and first in defensive value. Mo Vaughn won the AL MVP award that season. Turns out he probably wasn't even the MVP of his own team. Valentin, second to Aaron Hill on Kinsler's comp list, did have a tremendous season in '95, hitting 27 homers, 37 doubles, stealing 20 bases, and posting a .931 OPS while providing apparently excellent defense at shortstop.
7. The Rangers actually did lose a player this week when David Murphy signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Indians. Murphy is a solid defender who was outstanding at the plate in '12 (.304/.380/.479, 15 homers) and not so good last year (.220/.282/.374, 13 homers). Not coincidentally, his batting average on balls in play two years ago was excellent (.333); in '13, it suggests a long run of hard luck (.227). If his BABIP finds a happy medium this season, he'll be a nice pickup for Cleveland. And of course, the center fielder on the most stacked Double A team I've ever seen already has at least a brief history with Terry Francona, having played 23 games for the Red Sox from 2006-07
8. My takeaway from the mesmerizing Alex Rodriguez/Mike Francesa interview. A-Rod's acting skills have improved. His grasp of the truth remains spotty at best. And the motives of his p.r. team are almost comically transparent. At this point, outrage is a waste of time. Just enjoy the ridiculous show until it inevitably goes away.
9. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:
Went with the Hostess card yesterday. It's only right to follow up with the Kellogg's today. My poor mom was badgered into buying a lot of stuff that wasn't on the grocery list -- Ring-Dings and Frosted Flakes especially -- back in the day just so her boy could collect the box-bottom Butch Hobsons and vaguely 3-D Super Joe Charboneaus of the world.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.