Friday, February 12, 2010


  • Johnny Damon's offers:

Almost as soon as I hit publish on yesterday's posting going on about how Johnny Damon's prospects were dim at best (sort of like the perception of Johnny's mental capacity), it started floating around the internets that the Tigers owner Mike Ilich had approved a 2-year, $14 million deal for Damon.

Rotoworld (grain of salt, anyone?) did what they usually do in taking something they heard whispered and flung it against the wall as fact just in case it happened to be true, then backtracked when it wasn't official as if it never happened in the first place----FantasySP Portal; All of this is rampant speculation right now and Scott Boras's operation may be behind a vast chunk of it.

On some level, it says something about Boras's reputation that it was believed that someone would be so stupid as to give Johnny Damon----with no negotiating power and nothing to bargain with----a 2-year contract. The latest is that there is no deal in place; the White Sox weren't involved with Damon aside from casting a line into the water; and the Tigers offer is for 1-year and $7 million----ESPN Story.

On another level though, there's always the hovering spectre of the "one idiotic owner" upon whom Boras has made the chunk of his living over his career. Was it so stunning when the (for now) inaccurate reports of a 2-year deal were zipping along the Wi-Fi airwaves like something out of Tron? Even a businessman as intelligent as Mike Ilich had to be to amass his wealth with crappy Americanized pizza-pizza, recent history has shown that he's relied too heavily on his baseball people and approved a series of contracts that, to be kind, can be described as prohibitive; to be honest, they can be considered deranged.

Because of the money the fading and aging Tigers still owe Nate Robertson ($10 million); Jeremy Bonderman ($12.5 million); Miguel Cabrera ($126 million); Carlos Guillen ($26 million); Dontrelle Willis ($12 million); and Magglio Ordonez ($18 million), they were forced to deal the young and affordable Curtus Granderson and Edwin Jackson to get younger and begin a retooling. Granderson and Jackson were the only players/contracts for whom they were actually going to get something of value.

Now, the best they can do is wait for those heinous contracts to expire and hope they can compete with what they have as they incorporate the youngsters Scott Sizemore; Max Scherzer; Daniel Schlereth; and Austin Jackson into regular roles. They made the right move by not throwing more bad money at a mid-30s player in Placido Polanco. While the club would've been hard-pressed to contend this year with their current roster, they weren't going to fall to the purgatory of the Royals/Pirates. They'd have been okay this year either way and Johnny Damon isn't going to make the difference between 77 wins and also-ran status or 86 wins and possibly Wild Card contention.

With that in mind, along with the non-existent prospects for Damon aside from the lowball offers from the Braves and Rays, why would Ilich have approved a 2-year deal? At most, I'd have approved a 1-year deal with an option and the total would not have approached the speculated $15 million. No way.

It's insanity if the Tigers go that high on Damon, but of course, it's not totally out of the realm of possibility because there's always----always----someone ready to do something crazy.

I suggested yesterday that Damon needed a miracle to get anything close to the money he turned down from the Yankees; for a while, it appeared as if he'd save some face and get a deal in that vicinity; now, it's a question; and I'm quitting with the speculation because as cynical and pragmatic as I am, evidently even I can't count on the wealth-creating intelligence and economic climate preventing seemingly smart people from jumping headfirst into the empty pool.

  • Royals to try Kyle Farnsworth as a starter:

There's been endless laughter about the Royals giving Kyle Farnsworth a look as a starter, but I suggested it as recently as two years ago for the simple reason that he gives up so many homers as a reliever; is so notoriously shaky; and still has that electric fastball that there's no point in continuing to use him in a role that isn't working. Trying a new tactic is a worthwhile gamble because there's nothing left to lose.

The caveat of "how much worse can he be as a starter" isn't particularly nice; nor is it a ringing endorsement for the player, but why not? He's big; he's mean; and when he came to the big leagues with the Cubs, he was a starter and was quite good occasionally----1999 Gamelogs. He was a serviceable starter in the minors as well.

What I would do with Farnsworth is tell him to pace himself as a starter; dial back on the fastball ever-so-slightly; worry about control and hitting spots. 94 on the radar gun with control is more important as a starter than 100 as a reliever and his penchant for allowing homers wouldn't be as catastrophic. In fact, as long as they're solo shots, who cares?

Could he be a good starter?

Probably not.

But could he be a back-of-the-rotation pitcher who'd give 160 innings or so and be of use?


In looking at the Royals current back-end of the rotation, Farnsworth would be just as good as Brian Bannister. That says more about Bannister than it does about Farnsworth, but they're paying Farnsworth $4.5 million this season and have a club option for $5.25 million in 2011. If he makes the transition, wouldn't that be a great value?

It's the smart move. It might even work.

  • Viewer Mail 2.12.2010:

Joe at Statistician Magician writes RE the NBA:

There is a lot more to the NBA sinking then just the financial aspect...

I cannot stand basketball.

Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE David Wright and Johnny Damon:

Lowering the wall out there is going to cause Wright to have MVP numbers? Personally, I thought Wright looked sorta lost at the plate last year and it was obvious that he was buying into all the hype around that cavernous new home. Sure, I see him bouncing back this season, but at an MVP type level? I don't see it.

Damon (and other aging post-prime superstars under the direction of Boras) would do himself good by firing his agent. I'm just sayin'... anyone who screws me out of that much money ain't gonna be under my employ. Believe that.

That's exactly the point with Wright. It was as if he was the platoon leader watching all of his troops falling one-by-one in an unfamiliar land with no explanation other than act of God punishing them for sins that they didn't even get to enjoy while committing. With Jose Reyes back healthy, Jason Bay and eventually Carlos Beltran behind him, and a new perspective on the park----even if it's only mental----Wright will rebound into the player he was prior to 2009.

I'm still holding out hope that the Mets will wise up and name him captain of the team sometime in spring training. He deserves it and he's the unofficial captain of the team anyway. I'm also hoping that if and when they do it, Wright doesn't trip, fall and break his nose on the way up to the podium to accept the honorific. Baby steps, baby steps.....

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE boxing:

Boxing hasn't been the same for me since the Ali-Frazier fights. Watching Tyson was like watching a street brawl.

There's something entertaining about a street brawl and as sad as it was, Tyson's downfall was an inevitable tale of arrogance and apathy. You dated yourself with the Ali-Frazier reference, Jane. I admire that.

Braves Fan in LA writes RE Tom Glavine:

About Glavine retiring and taking a job with the Braves.... This is like having 3 GM's in one Front Office counting Wren, and Schuerholz. Glavine will be a stud in the front office, but he will be great to fill in for Chip Caray(scoot on over fella). I see our new GM coming after Wren. The other great thing is Tony Demacio (Glavine's scout who signed him, and Chipper) is 2nd in command under Scouting Director, Kurt Kemp, the privilege to learn even more about the Braves in the front office.

I get the impression that this is similar to Greg Maddux joining the Cubs front office and for Glavine to get a feel for the job and see if he'd like to seriously pursue it over broadcasting, which was widely expected to be his future.

Glavine will probably be more of an observer/sounding board than a power-broker to start. As well-spoken and smart as Glavine is, we don't know about his talent recognition skills; that will be proved or disproved with time. Between he and Maddux, I'd think that Glavine would be more willing to put in the hours and deal with the aggravation of being the organizational front man.


She-Fan said...

You bet I dated myself! Those Ali-Frazier fights were amazing. I was working in NYC and went to see one of the fights at the Garden and it was the most electric atmosphere. I just haven't felt the same way about boxing since. But then I haven't gotten over Mickey Mantle either.

theBrooklynTrolleyBlogger said...

And once again Boras pulled another long-eared donkey from his hat and got the Tigers to vomit masticated millions in Damon's direction. Despite the dents he took to his armor over ARod and Manny, he just proved it's still not hard to find a sucker in a bucket filled with mudcats.
Good grief!