We don't know who struck first, us or them. But we do know it was us that scorched the sky. At the time, they were dependent on solar power. It was believed they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun.
-Morpheus, The Matrix
Just over two weeks ago, Jonah Keri joined Fangraphs, declaring his earlier work as "full of crap." Last week, King Kauffman joined Bleacher Report, and acknowledged his new writing residence still has a ways to go in both results and reputation. Just two days ago, Rob Neyer left ESPN and joined SBNation.
Needless to say, it's been a big few weeks for the sabersphere, but it's not over. Wednesday, after presumably delaying the announcement to let the aneyeration die down a little, Baseball Prospectus announced that it wanted in on the action as well.
Among others, BP announced that RJ Anderson, Larry Granillo, Dan Turkenkopf, and Sky Kalkman are all joining the most hallowed of sabermetric halls. You might note that each of the above have been contributors to Beyond the Box Score (Sky actually ran the entire show for a while), and you might note that they'll be joining Marc Normandin, the founder of BtB.
Everyone here at Beyond the Box Score is all so proud of each of our former contributors and colleagues. To see them recognized for their contributions to the field is something truly special to all of us, and somewhat (completely) intimidating to those that would follow. It really feels like BtB is on the front lines of sabermetric inquiry, and I have to admit there's no small thrill in working with what could be the next crop of celebrated sabermetricians.
What comes next? The questions coming out of each of these moves are whether or not we'll see even more in the near future, and whether or not these moves played into each other.
To the first, a friend at ESPN says he hadn't heard whether anyone has yet been tabbed to take over Neyer's vacant blog, though a couple guests have already filled in since Monday. So there's at least one somewhat humongous seat left to fill. No telling how that could lead to further moves, though I do question whether they'll seek someone in-house or if they're headhunting as we speak. Not that Rob could be replaced, of course. It's entirely possible that they could change directions in that space and seek something Simmons or Posnanski-esque, rather than the saber champion that was there before.
To the second, I know for a fact the BP moves have been planned for some time, so it's hard to call that reactionary. Bleacher Report's acquisition appears to be more about reputation (can that hurdle will ever be jumped, based on their current any-and-all blogger model?), while Fangraphs and SBNation's acquisitions appear to be based on larger and baseball-wide content needs (not to say they don't also buff each site's reputation as well). Considering these, it's hard to conclude anything other than these are unrelated moves that just happen to be coming all at the same time.
And while BP adds academics to its roster and fan-centric sites add recognizable anchors, we have Fangraphs gobbling up nearly everyone else. We have yet to see how this will all shake out, but we're certain to see more in the near future.