- No one wants to hear from journeyman utility players:
Even before it was revealed by Jerry Hairston Jr that Brian Cashman and the Yankees are waiting for Johnny Damon's price to come down so they can re-sign him at a reasonable price, I was questioning the propriety of Hairston being an employed player for a team and sitting in the studio of ESPN's Baseball Tonight analyzing and questioning the machinations of other organizations. Then when it broke----via Jim Bowden's radio show----that Hairston had opened him mouth again about internal discussions that should've been kept private, it became even more incestuous for a player----and not all that good a player----to be talking so much.
Jerry Hairston Jr, with a career batting average of .259; OBP of .328; and unimpressive numbers across the board, is the epitome of a player you can find cheaply on a Triple A roster; and he's certainly in no position to be so loquacious that he's providing a running commentary of the Yankees front office plans; nor should he be expressing his wonderment at what other teams are doing. To compound matters, he had the audacity to preface his comments (about the Mets for example) with the "covering one's bases" caveat that (I'm paraphrasing from memory) "the Mets might want to sign me next year".
Uh. No thanks.
It's not unheard of for current players to be in booths, studios or on-set to discuss the current state of the game. Some are honest, self-effacing and provide great inside information about how things are run. In the late-70s/early 80s when ABC carried baseball, Reggie Jackson and Jim Palmer both entered the booths to broadcast during post-seasons.
That's the key.
They were Reggie Jackson and Jim Palmer. Reggie, being Reggie, said what he wanted because he was Reggie; Palmer was handsome and well-spoken and was a great, great pitcher. They could get away with saying things that could be construed as somewhat out-of-bounds for the brotherhood of players and the business dealings of teams. Jerry Hairston Jr is not is such a position. Jerry Hairston Jr is lucky to have a big league job.
For Hairston to reveal such a sentiment (that Cashman denied) is out-of-line and self-destructive because if I was a team that considered signing Hairston next year, I'd take a look at the whole package and wonder if his penchant for yapping was worth what he does on the field. Telling tales out of school----tales that may not even be accurate----and discussing competing organizations in a questioning tone as if he's some grizzled front office vet is not the way to win friends throughout baseball.
Hairston should look into the mirror; and more importantly, should look at his career numbers. Then maybe he wouldn't be such a fountain of inside information that would best be kept to himself if he wants to have employment as a player; and trust me when I tell you, I think it's a little more lucrative and enjoyable to be a big league player (even for the Padres) than it is to be sitting at a table next to Karl Ravech.
- Angels sign Joel Pineiro:
Joel Pineiro agreed to a 2-year, $16 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels in what is likely to be the bargain of the off-season. All the talk of Pineiro being a product of the Cardinals' Dave Duncan/Tony La Russa and their reclamation machine is ridiculous. You read it here first: Pineiro will have a better year in Anaheim than former Angels ace John Lackey will have in Boston. The Angels solid defense and well-run organization will allow Pineiro to continue the excellent work he did in St. Louis.
This is a great move for the Angels to do as they always do----shore up the pitching staff and worry about the lineup later, and they did it cheaply.
The Pineiro signing leaves other interested teams like the Mets and Dodgers scrambling. The perceived disarray with the Mets and Dodgers is scary to an in-demand player like Pineiro; and if similar deals are on the table, it's not surprising that Pineiro chose the stability of the Angels. The sniping against teams with front office turbulence and on-field questions is unfair. It only takes a few months of good play (and money) to lead a player to ignore possible disarray to sign with any team. It wasn't long ago that no one wanted to play with the Phillies because of their repeated late season stumbles; and in 1990, did anyone want to play for the Yankees of Dave LaPoint and Andy Hawkins?
The Mets have a few choices: via free agency, they can roll the dice on Ben Sheets; or they can go after an innings-eater like Jon Garland. They could also try and swing a trade for Bronson Arroyo. There's talk that they're very seriously interested in John Smoltz, but Smoltz alone isn't the answer even though he can still pitch. Would the Mets be willing to forgo the fear of Sheets's injury rap sheet and pay him enough money to entice him to come? If Sheets is healthy, a front two of Johan Santana and Sheets is a lethal combination; but that's the question with him: is he going to stay healthy?
The Mets have to do something drastic. They got Jason Bay at their price and it would behoove them to shut their eyes and sign Sheets, hoping that the prospect of another crack at free agency in 2011 at age 33 will spur him to stay on the mound.
At this point, I'd hold my breath and sign Sheets and Smoltz and hope to hit a home run; or at least a ground rule double.
- Uh, I think I said this first:
This is great.
This is funny.
This is gonna make me cranky.
Over a month after the fact, here come the bandwagon jumpers who are looking at the stupid move the Phillies made in trading Cliff Lee essentially for Roy Halladay and wondering whether it would've been a better idea to get Halladay to combine with Lee.
Here's a clip from Buster Olney's posting today regarding Lee:
For about the same as it will cost them to have a rotation led by Halladay, Cole Hamels and Blanton, they could have had an extraordinary front three of Halladay, Lee and Hamels.
This could've easily happened. The Phillies were concerned during the Halladay negotiations that the swap of Kyle Drabek and two others would be a body blow to their farm system. So in order to blunt the impact of trading Drabek, they rapidly arranged a deal of Lee to the Mariners, getting back reliever Phillippe Aumont and others. This came together so quickly that at the time of the blockbuster trade, executives from many other teams say they hadn't even known that Lee was available.
The Phillies' choice, at its heart, came down to this: They preferred to add Aumont, a very talented and unproven reliever, over having an overpowering rotation of Halladay, Lee and Hamels for 2010.
Another way to look at it: In July, near the trade deadline, if the Phillies were in contention, would they give up a young reliever like Aumont for a No. 1-type, Cy Young-caliber starter like Lee, would they do it? Undoubtedly.
Someone unloaded on the Phillies when they did this; when they made the stupidly capricious decision to trade Lee for Halladay.
Let's see who it was.
It was ME!!!!!
Here it is. It's a posting entitled The Phillies Sign Their Own Death Warrant. I think you'll see some familiar sentiments that are going to grow as the season moves along and the reality of what the Phillies did hits home and is an utter failure now and in the future.
My posting was more eloquent, organized and better executed; but what's the difference? ESPN is the "Worldwide Leaders in Sports" and I'm a loose cannon. But my regulars already knew that; and they know whom to trust.
Nice work, ESPN. You keep hiring these guys who either mail it in and/or don't know what they're talking about and the results speak for themselves in both cases. Great job.