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More Songs About Groundballs and Food Applesauce: Correlation, Cooperstown, and Aaron Cook All Get Their Moment in the Sun

Over at the Beyond the Boxscore, our own Bill Petti takes a look at what starting pitching metrics correlate best year to year. No big surprises here, though it is interesting to see how much less correlation walks have year to year compared to strikeouts.

Groundball percentage correlates pretty well from year to year, and if you want a groundball pitcher, there are a couple still available in free agency. On a potential 86-90 win Mets team, Paul Maholm would be a nice fit at the back of the rotation. Sadly, the 2012 Mets are not that Mets team.

One groundball pitcher who is off the market is Aaron Cook, who signed with the Red Sox last night. He's likely just rotation depth with some upside, but rotation depth was certainly something the Sox were lacking last season.

The Brewers should find out before Spring Training whether or not Ryan Braun will be suspended for his positive PED test. This whole thing has been so bungled from the start, but it has led to one of my favorite anonymous sources ever, "People familiar with the history of the Major League Baseball drug testing program and arbitration process." Way to narrow it down for us.

Now you might think that having the star player on the team his daughter owns he used to own (grantland'd) test positive for PEDs would be a bit of a stain on Mr. Selig. And that might be so, but don't expect him to retire anytime soon. After all, it's not like he retired after any of the other stupid things his regime screwed up. Also, if he retires, what will the Wilpons do without a friend in the commissioner's office? They might have to do something drastic, like sell the team.

As long as we are talking steroids (or herpes medication, or whatever), Bob Harkins of Hardball Talk wonders if the steroid cloud over Mark McGwire will ever fade enough for the slugger to get into the Hall of Fame. I think McGwire suffers from the perception that he is somehow a borderline player without steroids, which might actually be true, depending on what your favorite Wins Above Replacement metric is and how much you want to weight elite seasons. But all those people saying he was a one dimensional slugger have had no problem putting in every other one dimensional slugger into the Hall of Fame, so I don't know.

We will officially find out that McGwire is not in at 3 PM today as the 2012 Hall of Fame class is officially announced. Barry Larkin seems to be a safe bet to gain induction. Everyone else, not so much. So get ready for ground zero of Hall of Fame wankery next year with a stellar 2013 class loaded with plenty of opportunities for sportswriter proselytizing.

Staying in Cooperstown for a minute, Chris Jaffe looks at Hall of Famers who played the minimum ten MLB seasons.

Finally, Wendy Thurm at Baseball Nation examines how the second wild card might be affecting offseason spending by the big market AL clubs. I don't disagree that it's an influence or that the playoffs aren't a crapshoot, but the Yankees still might want an actual Game 2 starter that isn't Ivan Nova, second wild card or not.