Warm Thoughts for a Cold Winter: Tim Marchman

Like Joe Posnanski, who I covered in a previous Warm Thoughts… post, Ive written about my love for sportswriter Tim Marchman before on this site. Unlike Posnanski, Marchman doesn’t have much of a national profile. He wrote for the now-defunct New York Sun for a few years, and now pens the occasional column for SI.com. He runs a very close second to Posnanski as my favorite baseball writer.

Marchman isn’t quite as poetic as Posnanski, and he has a calm, cool style that’s somewhat at odds with recent trends in sportswriting. Nowadays, you either have to be a manic Super Fan liek Bill Simmons, or a angry, grousy crab like virtually everyone else. Marchman, by contrast, is measured and erudite. You can tell he chooses every single word carefully, which you can not often say of his contemporaries.

But he can also bust out the occasional bon mot, as he did in a column last December about the Mets’ lack of hot stove activity.

Think of the market as a greasy street at the ash end of Las Vegas at a quarter to five in the morning, and Minaya and his rivals as the sad lot slumping along the sidewalk. Should they really listen to the sharps and touts sidling up to them, making offers? One supposes that they could catch some luck. They could catch something else just as easily.

Marchman’s specialties are the numbers of baseball: sabermetrics and dollars. Take his recent column about Tim Lincecum’s impending arbitration case. It’s a case that has a lot of owners shaking in their boots, because Lincecum asked for a record high salary ($13 million). Marchman touches on players’ historic lack of luck in this process (they lose 60 percent of all cases) and what Lincecum’s prospects are for remaining a great pitcher (prognosis: positive).

Or another recent column about the Reds’ signing Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman. By his math, the economics of the deal don’t quite add up. At the same time, he likes to see that teams like the Reds are taking high risk/high reward chances like this.

I love that the Reds are laying marks on real talent rather than squandering $5 million on Kyle Farnsworth or someone like him. I love that Reds fans are (rightly) so excited about this. I love that Chapman can finally start thinking about the best players in the world rather than worrying about money. Mostly I love that it was the Reds, rather than the Yankees or Angels, who signed him.