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Friday, January 09, 2009
Our good friend Pete Toms doesn't just shoot me links and make sharp insights in the comment threads. He writes stuff too, and today he has a piece over at The Biz of Baseball about the relationship between the majors, the minors and the independents. Pete wouldn't stand for me calling him a blogger, but let's just say that he assembles a boatload of links to related articles on the topic of the changing player development landscape and ties them together with a general theme that results in a piece that is greater than the sum of its parts.
I call that blogging, but since it's Pete, let's just say that he's extending the conversation or something.
The Oakland A's are partnering up with the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League:
The Rakuten Eagles announced Friday they have entered into a formal one-year partnership with the Oakland Athletics to strengthen both organizations' baseball operation and management areas.
So, if you're an Eagles fan, you can expect several decent regular seasons followed up by flameouts in the playoffs, an overhyped book to be written about your club, and then nearly a decade of misunderstandings about what the hell all the fuss was about in the first place. At the end of that process, the Eagles' GM will turn his attentions to sumo and the owner will try to move the whole team out of Miyagi Prefecture to some place the shinkansen doesn't even reach.
There have been several articles in the past few months about what the economic situation might do to baseball, and with them many comparisons to the Great Depression. Most of them have been driven by looks back at attendance figures. A couple of days ago, however, the New York Times ran one that gave more of a flavor to Depression-era baseball. Even if it's not very instructive with respect to what 21st century baseball may face in these bleak times, it was interesting all the same:
Some owners, it seemed, lived in another world. Navin, the owner of the Tigers, bought a racehorse in 1931 even though his players were reportedly having their meal money reduced. Others focused on yachting . . .
It's bad enough that the Braves have been given the baseball equivalent of an atomic wedgie by anyone they've tried to sign this winter, but now they've got out of town writers eyeing Braves' players like they're the 1958 Kansas City A's or something:
You've heard this story from the Dodgers and Angels in many previous summers, and you'll probably hear it from them again this summer: We'd like to trade for a big bat.
OK look: Jones has 10-5 rights, veterans like him hate being traded in the middle of a season, he's the only big bat the Braves really have, and if they got rid of him at this point in his career -- unlike Smoltz he's still probably got a couple of productive years ahead of him -- the entire city would turn its back on the organization. His comments yesterday were likely 45% genuine frustration at being the last guy around who remembers what it's like to win in Atlanta and 55% lobbying the Braves for a contract extension. Finally, even if the Braves were going to consider trading Jones to the Dodgers, the package they would demand in return would probably start with Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp, but by no means end there. In other words, they'd demand that the Dodgers give up their very future for a half season of a player who, while fabulous when he plays, is very likely to get hurt at some point. Unless the person making the decisions for the Dodgers thinks like I do when I'm mismanaging a fantasy team, they'd hang up the phone within 11 seconds of Frank Wren voicing his demands.
Other than that, sure, great idea.
I didn't watch a single down of Florida-Oklahoma last night and I don't regret it for a second.
I've got some stuff to do today, so it may be slower around these parts than usual. As such, let's treat class today as a study hall, OK?