- Thanks, but no thanks?
When----not if----when Ken Macha is fired as Brewers manager (my money would be on sometime in May), is bench coach Willie Randolph even going to want that job to clean up that mess?
With yesterday's strange trade of shortstop J.J. Hardy to the Twins for free-swinging and wild-eyed outfielder Carlos Gomez, the Brewers are taking shape as a very odd team for 2010.
Fair enough, Hardy had a rotten year in 2009 (.229 average, 11 homers; 29 extra base hits; .302 on base percentage). He wound up back in the minor leagues; he's arbitration eligible after making $4.65 million this year; plus the Brewers have Alcides Escobar ready to replace Hardy at shortstop. On paper, it makes sense, especially for a replacement center fielder in Gomez to take over for the departing Mike Cameron. But does it make sense to deal Hardy at such a low crest of his value? This is a player who'd been an All Star and hit 50 homers in 2007-2008; he's also a good defensive shortstop. They would've been able to get a player at least as good as Gomez early next year and possibly more if Hardy got off to a hot start.
With Gomez, he's an ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) type of player. He's very raw; very talented; and the prototypical player for whom there's no in-between. He's either going to develop, learn a little bit of plate discipline; fill out physically; and become a 15-homer, 45 stolen bases, Gold Glove center fielder; or he's going to flame out and bounce from one team to another as each tries to unlock his talent.
Having watched him closely, I'd say that it's the latter.
Since Gomez was the centerpiece in the Twins trade of Johan Santana to the Mets, we can officially say that the deal was a total washout for the Twins. They got absolutely nothing for Santana.
What of the future for the Brewers?
The have a lot of talent----Escobar, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Yovani Gallardo----but they're bizarrely constructed, top-heavy with stars and short on pitching. Financial constraints are causing them to deal players like Hardy who are beginning to make big money and under normal circumstances would be given a chance to work out their issues before being moved. Macha was almost fired after going 80-82 this past season even though that was where the Brewers belonged based on talent level; that won't save Macha in 2010 if they're worse on paper than in 2009----and they will be.
New pitching coach Rick Peterson has a short shelf life for his pitchers to listen to his droning and nagging style, but his first 2-3 years will yield vast improvements in what they currently have. There's still a limit to what he can do.
Macha's going to be in trouble almost immediately after the season starts. He's on the last year of his 2-year contract and he'll be the fall guy.
It'll happen quick.
This is going to be Randolph's mess to clean up sooner rather than later, and it'll be a big one.
- From the department of "no kidding!":
Phillies pick up Cliff Lee's $9 million option:
Um, considering that they gave up four prospects to get Lee; he was all-but-unhittable in the playoffs; and is getting such a piddly amount compared to pitchers like Oliver Perez, why is this even newsworthy?
Manny Ramirez exercises his $20 million player option with the Dodgers:
The Dodgers have a legitimate case to try and get out of this contract. After the way Manny was suspended for 50 games for failing a PED test and wasn't up to the standard of Manny being Manny that everyone automatically expected when he was playing, what's to stop the club from saying, "hold on a minute" and trying to get the contract option voided?
Of course, Manny still hits enough and will be motivated to try and get himself a long-term contract to justify a 1-year, $20 million investment; and he's still a gate attraction. He can still hit, get on base and hit for power.
In and of itself, the contract should be another concern for the Dodgers because if Manny starts complaining about his pending free agency and pulling the same crap he did with the Red Sox like clockwork, all of Joe Torre's skills at personality massage won't prevent an implosion in June. And don't think for a second any contrition at his 2009 suspension will prevent Manny from doing what it is that Manny does when he's unhappy----causing trouble.
With the front office turmoil between the McCourts as they divorce (that's going to get waaaaayyy worse before it gets better), the Dodgers didn't need to start a war with Scott Boras and Manny, but if the contract were for a longer duration, more money or both, they'd have to at least consider trying to get out of it. And they might win.
Diamondbacks pick up Brandon Webb's $8.5 million option:
Webb has been durable and superlative for his whole career. He's still young (30) and had an injured year that cost the Diamondbacks any chance at contention. Had they declined the option, they still would've had to pay a $2 million buyout, so you're talking about another $6.5 million for a Cy Young Award winner who's also finished as a runner up for the award twice. A little luck here and there, and he'd have three Cy Young Awards. It's only one more year and if he's hurt or ineffective, it was worth the risk.
- Viewer Mail 11.7.2009:
Jeff at Red State Blue State writes RE Brad Lidge:
I think the scariest part of this entire article is the fact that Brad Lidge has "$24.5 million coming to him guaranteed for 2010-2011."
Yikes. Someone's gettin' the wrong end of that deal, and it ain't Brad Lidge.
The newest crap coming out of Philadelphia is that Lidge will have his elbow examined and might have "loose bodies" hovering around in there. If someone there has the audacity to try and explain away Lidge's horrific year on an elbow problem, they'll make Jimmy Rollins look like Tony Dungy in terms of class.All along, I thought there was something physically wrong with Lidge; my assumption centered on his knee. Now we're getting this stuff? If the Phillies knew there was something going on with Lidge's arm at any point and kept running him out there, letting him blow games and take a beating from all sides, the "loose bodies" in Lidge's elbow aren't the only "loose bodies" in Philly; someone there has "loose bodies" in their head for continuing to use him. Not only is Lidge a mental train wreck, he might've been one physically as well.