Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2010 Stories To Watch, Part X

  • The ultimate in low-budget, blood-spattered action flicks continues:

These scripts almost write themselves. No fiction I could come up with will ever match reality.

Well, maybe the fiction I could come up with would be more wild and engaging than reality; nobody else though.

The aftershock and fallout of the Joe Mauer contract:

Already it's started.

After Joe Mauer and the Twins made their long-term marriage official, the speculation of the affect on the industry and other players began.

MLB Trade Rumors considers the comparison between Prince Fielder and Mauer in this posting. Some of the assertions therein look oddly familiar, specifically the mentioning of Mauer's hometown status and that he's not represented by Scott Boras. Wonder where I read that before; or possibly wrote that before.

But that's neither here nor there.

The only player whose upcoming free agency could possibly be compared to Mauer's is Albert Pujols. As much as Minnesota is Mauer's home, St. Louis has become Pujols-country. Pujols is not represented by Boras (Dan Lozano represents Pujols); he doesn't want to leave; and he's not a money-whore.

Much like the floated nonsense that Mauer would leave; that Mauer might be traded; that the negotiations were likely to drag out; that they could fall apart at any moment, Pujols is in the same boat. Pujols could request a blank check from a big market team and get it; these stories regarding Pujols will go in the same direction. They'll be written; they'll be discussed; and they'll be absurd.

Albert Pujols is not leaving St. Louis. Ever. Period.

As for the comparison of the day, Prince Fielder, he's not going to be a Brewer in 2012; in fact, there's every chance that if the Brewers fall from contention at mid-season this year, they'll put him up for auction and he's out of Milwaukee by July.

Represented by Scott Boras, Fielder is an intense competitor who wants his money. Even though the Yankees won't have the need nor the desire to pay him, if the Red Sox miss out on Adrian Gonzalez, they could make a play for Fielder. It would be a move reminiscent to the Phillies backing away from Roy Halladay at mid-season 2009, instead turning to Cliff Lee; and it would yield the same result----a power hitter for the middle of the lineup who's a free agent at the end of 2011.

The Angels, White Sox and Mets would be able to pay Fielder to keep him; and the Braves have the prospects, are going to need a bat and have a history of being aggressive (sometimes too aggressive) in making mid-season trades.

That the trading team will definitely have Fielder for 2010 and 2011 should bring some good prospects to the Brewers in a trade even if the trading club doesn't choose to keep him after 2011.

Fielder would be better-served going to an American League team where he'd be able to DH. While his beefy (to be generous) body is ridiculed for being "fat", he's just naturally big and if he lost weight, some of his massive power would go along with it; he's also quicker defensively and on the bases than he's given credit for.

The Brewers are in flux. They're not going to be bad so that they start a teardown; but they're not contenders either unless the Wild Card number of wins falls to the mid-80s. I expect an early season managerial change from Ken Macha to Willie Randolph and if they're going to move forward looking toward a retooling from the Fielder-led group that went to the playoffs in 2008, what better way to do it than to deal Fielder himself?

All due respect to Prince Fielder, you can find a first baseman who'll hit and drive in runs; you can't find a catcher like Joe Mauer, so equating the two in any way is ludicrous.

The Mauer deal will affect no one because of the unique situation between player and team; but the silliness will pop up again and again out of convenience.

Ignore it is my advice.

Tension with the White Sox:

The latest "controversy"with the White Sox centers around manager Ozzie and Oney Guillen's Twitter accounts; the son resigned from the club as "scouting video technician" because they wanted him to tone down his tweets.

With any other team this would be seen as a problem; with the White Sox, Guillen and GM Kenny Williams, it's nothing.

When has there not been some wild and wacky thing going on around Guillen and his ingrained inability to censor himself or keep his emotions in check? And when has it negatively affected the club? It's meaningless. Guillen's not getting fired; Williams isn't going to let this back-and-forth----as personal as it seems----bother the relationship.

More than any other club, the off-field distractions that Guillen sometimes appears to intentionally engender creates an energy rather than a distraction and if the players are used to it and don't care, why should anyone else? The list of Guillen explosions is legendary. From ripping players, coaches, media members and opponents in public; to the Twitter account; to his son, it's like a built up callous. Eventually, it's unnoticeable and doesn't alter any behaviors or results.

Is it a big issue that the "video scouting technician" resigned?

Who cares?

It's an entry-level baseball job that's usually given to a nondescript former intern or young man trying to break into baseball's front office. Because Oney's last name is Guillen, suddenly it's seen as a position of importance and given relevance. So Oney resigned? Would anyone even pay attention to the arrogance of a 24-year-old quitting a job in baseball through youthful self-importance based on nothing other than his dad's the manager of the team?

This won't hurt the White Sox.

In fact, it might help them. We've seen this type of energy----created by a dispute----spur teams on previously. Aside from that, it means nothing.

The cyclical nature of injuries:

After the way the injury-wheel got stuck at Citi Field last season and savaged the Mets like the Grim Reaper's younger brother----the Belligerent Reaper----showed up and was bent on causing pain rather than death, so it's been with dings, dents and catastrophes popping up everywhere in baseball rather than in one place.

The Twins Joe Nathan is lost for the season with Tommy John surgery.

Cliff Lee of the Mariners needed surgery on a bone spur and now has an abdominal strain.

Albert Pujols is having back spasms.

Brandon Webb of the Diamondbacks is still having shoulder problems.

Aroldis Chapman of the Reds left yesterday's game with a stiff back.

These are just a few of the injury issues around everyone's camp. While they're not inspiring the laughter and ridicule the Mets received last season, they're of a similar nature.

Injuries happen and sometimes there's no blame and no explanation. While the Mets medical mishaps last season were part of the tragi-comedy 2009 became, the way injuries hit like lightning strikes everywhere show that the reach of the Belligerent Reaper (who's yet to graduate to a full-blown sickle and is still carrying around ligament shredders; a hamstring puller; and a back spasmer), is traveling around and wreaking havoc.

I don't see anyone laughing as they did at the Mets though. It wasn't funny then; and it's not funny now when it happens to other teams.

The Yankees "battle" for fifth starter:

They're playing this to the hilt and it's gotten to the point where no one should even pay attention anymore.

It's enough.

The candor of the aforementioned Guillen would be much-appreciated in the face of Yankees manager Joe Girardi's cautious use of language and flailing joints like a puppet whose strings are being manipulated by the front office.

Is there anyone who doesn't realize that Phil Hughes is a starter and that Joba Chamberlain is a reliever? Anyone outside the Yankees organization and among the holding out stat zombies who still insist Chamberlain's innings as a starter would outweigh his value as a reliever?

I'm wondering what would've been said in 1996 had the value of the number of innings a young right named Mariano Rivera would've provided as a starter left in question his use and been equated with "value". That Yankees team would not have won the World Series had manager Joe Torre not stumbled onto the formula of shutting the game down after the sixth inning by going to the devastating combination of Rivera and John Wetteland from the seventh inning on.

Despite the end result of the game being O-V-E-R after the sixth inning, would they have clung to this belief that every pitcher must fall into their faulty template?

The Yankees can have that same formula now.

They can have destruction at the back end of the game with Chamberlain and Rivera if they finally choose to end this self-serving charade of "Joba As Starter".

Speculation continues.

Who's going to "win" the fifth starter's job?

The club is being obnoxious, hard-headed and obstinate with this "competition"; and the way it's looking, there still seems to be a possibility----however small----that they're going to start Chamberlain.

It's enooooouuggggghhhhhh!!!!!

Hughes is a starter.

Chamberlain is a reliever.

Accept it and move on. Please.

  • "The Most Hated Man In Sports":

Mike Silva at NY Baseball Digest tweeted the following regarding yours truly yesterday:

You might be the most hated man in sports!!

I'm not quite sure what I did to earn the designation. Then again, I'm never sure what I've done rightly or wrongly. I just do things.

Considering the number of despised people in sports, it's a pretty impressive rise to the top for me. I must be doing something very, very right; or very, very wrong.

One of those.

One question: Does it make me dangerously disturbed that I take this as a compliment? And I am taking it as a compliment.

  • Viewer Mail 3.23.2010:

Michael Fierman at MichaelFireman.net writes RE yesterday's posting and sabermetrics:

one of your best- here's a not too crazy analogy: you're like leonard bernstein circa 1970- a rationalist/tonalist fighting the world of atonality ( in your case sabremetricians) we all know how that tuned out in the end. almost everyone in the serious music world has returned to tonality.

i'm not a troglodyte who rails against stats and I know that you aren't either, but i DO get annoyed when I read that Mark Teixeira's UZR in worse than "league average" and by the same token last year Daniel Murphy played the 4th best D at 1st base- no knock on Murph-I like the kid, but i've seen him play. anyway-that's just an example. sometime when I look at the literally unbelievable formulas for some of these exotic statistics it really infuriates me in an "emperor's new clothes" sort of way.

Much like the above-mentioned Chamberlain comparison to a 1996 Rivera, it's as if they're so desperate to prove their point that they're willing to ruin careers or use players in roles for which they're not suited.

The pitch/innings-counts; denigration of players who don't fit the ideal facilitated by numbers with objective analysis ignored; and the refusal to acknowledge anything other than what pops out of their mathematical equations is not adding to the game, but twisting it into something unnatural.

Many of those who are so invested in stats that they can no longer see reality are well-meaning; they're not trying to put forth an agenda. I actually respect those that believe so fervently in the value of numbers above all else and do so not because of an attempt to bolster themselves or their friends; I don't agree with them; and I'm here to destroy them, but it's nothing personal. If they listened, maybe a few can be converted to what's true.

Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE Joe Mauer:

Good call on Mauer. Your reasoning made it hard to believe he'd be anything but a Twin in 2011.

And the Olney-Pujols-Howard mess STILL has me seething.

Whether he knew it or not (most likely he did) Olney's actions caused great concern among Cardinals and Phillies fans.

I'm still waiting for his apology.

Apology? Hahahaha!!!!!

Of course he knew what kind of explosion this would create. That was the point.

I think it's probably better that the "story" was so adamantly denied by all parties and Buster Olney was made to look like such a foolish hack. It had no basis in reality; no one other than his mystical "sources" seemed to know anything about it and it took another chunk out of the nearly non-existent credibility at ESPN. In the long run, it'll be a positive that they want this to go away.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE the McCourts of Los Angeles by way of Boston:

As an aside from "Mauer is not a money whore," I agree that the McCourts did a good job with the Dodgers - before their personal issues got in the way. Such a shame if the divorce is what's keeping Torre from signing a contract extension, though he denies it.

I'm guessing Joe Torre is secure in his own resume and personality controlling the clubhouse (along with good cop, Don Mattingly; and bad cop, Larry Bowa) so that he's not a lame duck. He'll have a job as Dodgers manager as long as he wants it and the distraction from the negotiations for an extension was only adding to the mess that is the McCourts' divorce.

Unless the Dodgers win the World Series this year, Torre will at least manage another year and will continue to do so as long as he feels good and is enjoying it.


She-Fan said...

Even Joba told the media he doesn't care anymore if he starts or relieves! Enough is right!

Jeff said...

As a Chicagoan, my ears have long been subjected to the radio rants and self-serving idiocy coming from the mouth of one Oney Guillen as he blatantly tries to ride his father's coattails to success.

He's a goddamn kid who runs his mouth constantly (without having the lifetime of baseball acumen to back it up a la his father) and who has been graced by the wonders of nepotism his entire life.

He should've never been hired in the first place. He's got rocks for brains.

(And I may or may not have been involved in a bar fight where he was present a few years ago)

Peter said...

The best and funniest event to come out of the Mauer signing was Joe Maddon publicly thanking the Twins for signing him, so the BoSox or Yankees didn't get him

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