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Friday, June 05, 2009
Posnanksi has a big piece (not that he ever writes small ones) about trading draft picks. In it he cites yesterday's Jayson Stark article approvingly, with a nod back at my comments about Stark. Two things:
(1) Just to be clear, I don't necessarily disagree with Stark's overall "the draft it broken" argument. I think it is in many important ways. What I disagreed with was using the reported Boras demand of $50 million as a starting point -- and the point of his most heated rhetoric -- in the service of those arguments. Boras can ask what he wants. He'll get what the Nats are willing to pay. By constantly parroting that $50 million number we're simply allowing the Nats to declare victory for paying any amount less than that, when a good argument could be made that they'd be silly to pay anything north of, say, $25 million.
(2) I don't think I can find a single thing with which I disagree in Posnanski's column. If there's a good argument against trading draft picks, I've yet to hear it, and I think Joe's points about the prevalence of draft busts may be the single most salient argument for trading picks, at least from the owners' point of view.
Why? Because if the Yankees of the world trade stuff to pick the Stephen Strasburgs of the world enough times, they're going to experience diminishing returns. We know this, because that's how the baseball draft rolls. Eventually, then, the Yankees are going to stop trading so much for these picks, and the signing bonuses the owners are so worried about are going to come down (and they may come down even if there aren't a ton of busts, simply because there won't be as big a need for top amateurs to demand so much to scare away undesirable franchises). This logic, broadly speaking is what has caused bad free agent contracts to veterans to ease down in recent years, and it will likely have a similar depressive effect on draft bonuses too.
So go read Posnanski. And if you have a good argument against trading picks, please let me know.
UPDATE: Here's a very good argument in favor of trading draft picks from Keith Law (sorry; Insider only).
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:50pm
Most of the commentariat is still wondering what's wrong with Papi. Sox fan Russ Smith is on to the next question:
The real question is how Boston’s normally sober and calculating general manager Theo Epstein is going to negotiate Ortiz’s exit from Fenway Park. He’s in a real bind: when Epstein dispatched onetime Sox legend Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs at the 2004 trading deadline, there was some grumbling, but the oft-injured shortstop had become, by that season, a malcontent who was hurting the team not only on the field but in the clubhouse as well. As a Sox fan, I applauded Epstein for having the guts to make that move; and when the team finally won a World Series a few months later, most of Boston agreed. But Big Papi? Man, Epstein will have elephant-sized balls to release the big lug, despite the inevitability. It’s my bet that Epstein will take action, but probably later rather than sooner, as sentiment will prevail over business.
I still say we'll see a long stint on the DL, followed by an almost immediate trade for a big bat (you'll be best advised, however, not to ask whether the trade was brokered before the "injury" was discovered). If the trade works, great, the Sox head towards the playoffs, Oritiz comes back when rosters expand and is allowed to hit some without the question of whether or not he should be given his job back hanging over his head. Of course not: the big bat Theo picked up in July has earned the right, and Papi will get a chance to start fresh in 2010.
If the trade doesn't work and the Sox miss the playoffs? Well, that raises enough other questions that the issue of David Ortiz' struggles will fade in significance. The key is that David Ortiz cannot be the everyday DH at the same time the Sox are slipping out of the race,* because then everyone gets the blame.
*For these purposes, please ignore the fact that the Sox could have a nice comfy lead right now if it weren't for the fact that David Ortiz is cooked.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:30pm
According to Tom, this is how it went down:
Glavine said that he had expected all along to playing in Atlanta this weekend following a rehab schedule in the minors.
I'm kind of dubious about this. While I still think that the Braves should have given him a shot based on his rehab starts -- and given him the benefit of the doubt unless he was truly, truly unable to get anyone out -- Glavine can't honestly think that he was guaranteed a start could he? There had to have been some qualification in the discussions along the lines of "yes, June 7th, as long as you're progressing and effective" or something. We can fight about what the definition of "effective" is, but the Braves aren't idiots, and no amount of loyalty justifies the sort of promise Glavine seems to think was made.
This is becoming increasingly bizarre. The one question I want asked and answered here is whether Tom Glavine knew or should have known that the Braves planned to release him when he made those "I'm ready to pitch" comments on Tuesday night. If he did, he was probably being a bigger jerk about this than the Braves. If he didn't, and if he was truly as blindsided as he claims he was in this article, then the Braves acted poorly. I really would like someone to put that question to Glavine directly. Pretty please.
If they don't? Well, I guess we wait for Glavine's book.
(Thanks to Gleeman for the link. I will now perform the invisible, double secret NBC salute)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:16pm
Don't yell at me. I'm just repeatin' the headline.
Man, if even He's only two thirds of the way there, maybe Randy Johnson will be the last guy to win 300 games.
(thanks to reader Ralph D. for the link)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:08pm
That's the rumor, anyway:
The Braves already have made moves to augment their rotation, calling up super prospect Tommy Hanson to make his major league debut on Sunday, after summoning Kris Medlen last month. But Atlanta might not be done adding pitching.
Atlanta already has Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens, Kenshin Kawakami, Kris Medlen and Tommy Hanson. Normally I'd counsel against bringing in a seventh starter, but since this is supposed to be for Francoeur, you could put Penny in right field and it would still be a net upgrade.
Hell, Francoeur for Bill James' belly button lint would be an upgrade.
(Thanks to reader Jake for the heads up)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:54pm
Monday, June 08, 2009
Diamondbacks 9, Padres 6: Whenever you see a game this long -- 18 innings in case you missed it -- there are always some fun stat lines that shake out. An 0-6 (Giles); a 1-8 with five strikeouts (Headley). Then there's the "so long, suckers" line, which belongs to David Eckstein. Herr Scrappy sits on his kiester for nearly nine full innings, then comes in and, on the very first pitch he sees, hits the pinch hit home run that sends this thing on to its second nine, during all of which he sat on his kiester. At some point over the last, oh, three hours of this game you have to think that there were even some Padres who wished he hadn't done that. Especially if he was back in the clubhouse playing Wii or taking a nap or having a schvitz or something. In other news, sources say that the Dbacks and Padres were going to petition to have this game partitioned so that they could simply apply the second half of it to a future rainout, thus saving everyone time and money. The plan was scrapped, however, when someone remembered that it doesn't rain in Phoenix or San Diego.
Cubs 6, Reds 3: In yet another long game, Dusty Baker shows that he's a more experienced manager than either A.J. Hinch or Bud Black. Knowing that anything beyond 14 innings could kill his pitching staff for the next week, Dusty decides to cut his losses and calls Mike Lincoln into the game to give up the three deciding runs. I mean, I assume that's what Dusty was doing anyway, because it's not like Mike Lincoln has any other uses.
Braves 8, Brewers 7: My comrade tHeMARksMiTh watched Tommy Hanson's inauspicious debut and is somewhat less worried about the young man than those of us who only saw the line score are. Take it away, Mark:
I was very impressed. Adrenaline was obviously present at the start. He hit 97 several times at the beginning but sat around 93-94 for most of the game . . . he was hitting his spots pretty well, especially with his breaking pitches . . .
I'm not particularly worried. For one thing, since everyone's talking about Tom Glavine lately, let us all remember Tom Glavine's first big league line (3.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 1K). For another, you can handle a woofer of an outing like this when Chipper Jones has your back (4-4, 2 HR, 3B, 5 RBI).
Tigers 9, Angels 6: Clete Thomas hits the first grand slam by a man named "Clete" since August 29, 1967. Oh, come on. It's not like the little stat factoids they run on SportsCenter are any less random.
Yankees 4, Rays 3: Hideki Matsui beat out a potential double-play grounder, transforming it into a fielder's choice for the game-winning run. Based on how he has hobbled around every time I've seen him play this year I can only assume that the grounder was to deep left field or something.
Blue Jays 4, Royals 0: Roy Halladay shuts out the Royals on 97 pitches. Rany wants Jeff Francoeur to come to Kansas City. Based on the offensive game plan these guys employ , Frenchy would fit in just find with the Royals.
Rangers 6, Red Sox 3: The Rangers win their first series at Fenway since 1997. David Ortiz looked like this then. I might have given the 1997 David Ortiz the steal sign. I would not have given the 2009 version the steal sign, and I'm not sure why Terry Francona did yesterday either, but he did and he was predictably nailed. Maybe it's just been so long since Ortiz was on base that no one knew what the signs were supposed to be.
Mets 7, Nationals 0: Guys with worse ERAs than Livan Hernandez: Jake Peavy, Aaron Harang, Ryan Dempster, and Cole Hamels.
Indians 8, White Sox 4: Ozzie Guillen after the game "Maybe if I go crazy with the media and [rip] my team . . . I might wake them up. But it's wasting my time." Wait, if it might wake them up, how would that be a waste of his time? They're in slumberland right now. This ain't the Hum-Baby Giants. It's the Ozzie Guillen-led White Sox. If Ozzie's going to refuse to bring the crazy during a losing streak, what's the point of having him around?
Astros 6, Pirates 4: Russ Ortiz throws four and a third innings of scoreless relief after Felipe Paulino hurt his groin slipping on the mound in the second. The game story then runs with this whole "this strong outing should get Russ Ortiz out of long-relief land and back into the rotation" angle. And I guess if Paulino is really hurt it might. But really, didn't Ortiz just do what a good long man is supposed to do? Come in, pitch long, and pitch well? Indeed, he's pitching better out of the bullpen then he had for the past several years as a starter. The guy's probably finally found his freakin' niche in life, and here the AP writer and Ortiz want him to be something he's not. This is how liberal arts majors wind up in law school. Why can't we just let people be who they are?
A's 3, Orioles 0: I've got underwear older than most of the A's starters, but these guys have won six in a row, and that's more exciting than anything my underwear has been involved with recently.
Rockies 7, Cardinals 2: Albert Pujols is such a badass that he hit a two-run sac fly in the first inning, no doubt because the outfielders were gripped by fear. I fully expect Pujols to go 5 for 3 tomorrow night. Apart from Pujols, though, it was the Ubaldo Jimenez show (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 9K).
Mariners 4, Twins 2: Ichiro's hitting streak was snapped on Friday night, but he bounced back to go 5 for 8 on Saturday and Sunday, and is now hitting .356 on the season. I've been predicting that he would crater for a couple of years now, but I think I should get out of that end of the predictions business altogether because he's clearly the kind of guy who's gonna hit .300 until he's about 42 or so. There's one of those guys every generation or so, and he's ours.
Giants 3, Marlins 2: Tim Lincecum held a shutout into the eighth, though he walked as many as he struck out (4), so it's not like he had his best stuff working.
Phillies 7, Dodgers 2: My first thought was that no one would be paying attention to the Dodgers given that the Finals are going on, but then I remembered that Los Angeles is a town that accommodates disparate interests. There are skinny pretty people crawling all over the city, yet seemingly every corner has a donut shop or a joint that sells comically large fattening hamburgers. I suppose they can make room for the Lakers and the Dodgers at the same time.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:05am
This is either (a) some some sort of strange world record attempt or (b) your average Yankees-Red Sox playoff game on FOX.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 8:45am
Alex Remington over at the Braves' blog, Chop-n-Change, is looking for some help:
Since Will Schaffer's retirement this winter, our writing staff (Kristi, me, and our occasional guest posters) has been a bit short-handed, and we'd love to bring another new regular writer aboard. We're looking for someone with passion, writing talent, and the commitment to write multiple posts a week about the team. The gig doesn't pay, but it's a great way to get your voice in front of thousands of other Braves fans.
He's accepting sample submissions between now and June 26th on the subject(s) of Nate McLouth and Tommy Hanson. I have nothing to do with the audition process but here's some advice: any post that touches on Gene Garber, Skip Caray, the fat Brian Hunter, Jose Alvarez and Chief Nok-a-Homa will probably have a leg up on the competition.
Click through for details.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:01am
Either there wasn't much news this morning or else I couldn't find it. Or I had a case of the Mondays. Whatever the case, it was sluggish going over at the peacock today:
There's a salami on rye in the office fridge with my name on it, and if history holds, it will help me snap back into positive brain function this afternoon (salami is basically a wonder drug). If so, there will be better blogging ahead.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:56am
A judge has told The Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy that enough is enough:
"It appears that the plaintiff has been given every opportunity on this project," said Judge Prentis Edwards. "The plaintiff has simply failed to come up with the requisite funding" . . . Edwards said that given the harm to the city and repeated extensions of time for the conservancy to finance its proposal to redevelop what remains of the stadium, emergency relief was not in order.
No matter how sympathetic you are towards the Conservancy's efforts here, at some point you have to face reality, and reality dictates that when a movement with preservation aspirations like the Conservancy has such a difficult time raising the cash it needs in a timely fashion, the viablity and advisability of the preservation project itself is dubious at best. Yes, charitable giving has all but dried up in Detroit and that there are many legitimate reasons why even the best of plans could suffer trouble like this, but if there isn’t the general will or ability to get a Tiger Stadium transformation off the ground, how can anyone expect that there will be the will or ability to maintain a community center or a Michigan Sports Hall of Fame or what have you? Even if the Conservancy were successful in step one, odds are that steps two, three and four would falter in similar fashion and that the remaining portion of Tiger Stadium would be in peril in its new form just as it is in its old form.
Don't get me wrong: I root for Detroit and want to one day see the return of the Detroit in which my parents grew up and which they so fondly recall and recount. I’m a realist, however, and I’ve seen many big preservation and urban renewal ideas like this fizzle in the past. I’m still embarrassed by Autoworld. I worry that whatever Tiger Stadium is attached to will suffer the same fate, and it will once again revert to abandoned property. I’d hate to see that more than I'd hate to see the wrecking balls take down what's left of the best ballpark there ever was.
UPDATE: "Shortly before noon, two cranes, a bulldozer and a water cannon had moved onto the site, and workers with hard hats began to work on the demolition."
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:15pm