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Wednesday afternoon linkage

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Lots of good stuff today:

  • First, I used my Hardball Times Wednesday column to write about the awesomeness that is Ben Sheets.

  • RotoAuthority ranks the NL starting rotations and the Brewers come out with the second best in the league. Adjusted for park, the Brewers might have the best--we're .13 runs behind the Padres, and Petco probably accounts for that much.

  • At Brewers Bar, Robert Baumann compares Bill Hall and Chase Utley. It's yet another argument that we have a young superstar on our hands, even though he hasn't been treated like one.

  • Scott Podsednik may miss the beginning of the season. Perhaps not coincidentally, the White Sox also signed Darin Erstad to compete for the center field job. Between center fielders Erstad, Brian Anderson, and Ryan Sweeney, and the emerging 3B/LF prospect Josh Fields, Pods could find himself on the pine.

  • Fire Joe Morgan thinks Jim Hendry was angry when he said OBP would take higher priority with the Cubs. This is classic FJM; be sure to read it.

  • I'm guessing most of you don't follow the Hall of Merit, a project over at BTF to try to do what the BBWAA has done, only better. They're up to 1993, and they are considering the candidacy of Cecil Cooper. One great thing about this group is that, while somebody like Cooper may not be deserving of enshriment, they give him a really in-depth look. You can read (and join in) the conversation here.

  • Here's an interesting article about the NL West, profiling all the young players who could make an impact. Since several teams in the division have high payrolls, and a few of them have great farm systems, the NL West could be the powerhouse division of the league for years to come.

  • Luther Hackman was invited to spring training. In the search for the next Turnbow (you know, the next Turnbow-when-Turnbow-was-good), I seem to latch on to somebody every year. This year, I think it's going to be Hackman.