- Ah, the mainstream media----where would I be without you?
So many stories, so much cluelessness and an endless wellspring of Dark Side Force Lightning all adds up to a blood soaked catastrophe.
I'll be the last man standing. Trust me there.
Let's take a look.
The hot air balloon known as Mike Francesa'a head:
Digging through some old baseball cards from years ago, I find----amongst the occasional Mickey Mantle; Barry Bonds; Reggie Jackson; Dwight Gooden----certain players who I not only placed into the protective plastic sheets to make sure the cards stayed impeccable and in mint condition, but I "double-bagged" them with an individual plastic protector on the card before placing them into the sheet.
This was because I expected them to be superlative players whose cards would have immense value in years to come.
I was mostly wrong.
How foolish would I look if I insisted that players the likes of Tony Tarasco; Todd Hollandsworth; Ben Grieve; and Raul Mondesi were: A) better players than they were; and B) that I was somehow "right" about them despite their career failures?
I missed entirely on Tarasco and Hollandsworth; Grieve had a couple of productive years; Mondesi was a consistent power threat with a howitzer arm. None of that is relevant. What is relevant is the truth; and that truth is that I misjudged them. Their cards are worth almost nothing because they didn't do anything in their careers to make the cards worth anything more than what you'd pay for a "penny-card" type player like Craig Grebeck; Scott Bankhead; Bill Pulsipher; or Chuck Cary.
This analogy is appropriate for the insane ramblings of Mike Francesa yesterday suggesting that the Mets should contact the Blue Jays, offer to take Vernon Wells's mammoth contract and give the Blue Jays the choice of two of their three young pitchers----Brandon Morrow; Brett Cecil; or Ricky Romero----in exchange for....Angel Pagan.
I only heard the tail end of it suggesting Wells to the Mets as if it had some form of viability in any world other than the vast, soda-addled expanse of Francesa's narcissistic head and bottomless pit ego. Thanks to a friend from Twitter, MetsfanMurph for filling me in on the details.
After regaining my composure, I hearkened back to Francesa's "break up 'da core" mantra in which he went on for eons saying the Mets should trade David Wright or Jose Reyes. Only this is worse.
Let's just look at this for a moment.
Do you know how much money Vernon Wells is guaranteed over the duration of his contract?
Wells is making a somewhat tolerable $12.5 million this year. After that? He's getting: $23 million in 2011; $21 million in 2012; $21 million in 2013; and $21 million in 2014.
This is Vernon Wells and that's guaranteed money.
Then you get to Angel Pagan, who after years of stops and starts, is finally playing up to his potential and costs next-to-nothing financially ($1.4 million this year). Pagan----whose main issues as a player have never had to do with attitude or ability, but with brainlock and injuries----has done an above-and-beyond the call of duty replacing Carlos Beltran shouldn't be traded anyway; but for Wells?
And for what?
To get two pitchers from the trio of Morrow, Cecil or Romero? These are pitchers Francesa has likely seen twice and is judging them based on how well they've pitched against the Yankees. Francesa's not exactly the keenest judge of talent out there (does everyone remember his love affair with Andrew Sisco? With Nate McLouth?) and his obsession with Wells is ridiculous on so many levels that it's beyond absurd.
It was Francesa who was suggesting the Yankees trade for Wells when his pending free agency was an issue for the Blue Jays in 2006.
The rationale? The Yankees needed a bat.
His suggestion regarding Wells's cost? Get the player, worry about signing him later.
That's sound business on a level with BP and their oil leak disaster protocol.
Now he wants the Mets to take his contract? And play him where when Beltran comes back? Even if (another Francesa suggestion) the Blue Jays take a chunky part of the contract, the Mets are going to have numerous decisions to make upon Beltran's return. They're going to have four outfielders who have a reasonable expectation of playing time. Jason Bay's going to play every day; Jeff Francouer----despite the savaging he gets from the stat zombies----deserves to play; Pagan deserves to play; and Beltran deserves to play. So, Francesa wants to take a player who is guaranteed $76 million after this year and add him to the mix in place of Pagan?
That's before getting to Wells's on-field performance.
Considering the money he's owed, you could make the argument that the combination of Wells's results and his salary makes his contract the worst ever in the history of baseball. He's an okay player making mega-star player money. Francesa's main reason for trading him appears two-fold: he's trying to justify his suggestion that the Yankees trade for him in 2006 (yes, he's that much of an egomaniac that he's trying to maintain the faulty foundation of a suggested trade from FOUR YEARS AGO!!!); and he's basing it on Wells playing well for two months after three years of----at best----on-field mediocrity; and that mediocrity is dismissing his salary which is enormous and unpalatable.
With the money they'd be swallowing upon the faulty premise of getting two of those young pitchers, the Mets would be better off going to the Cubs and saying they'd take Carlos Zambrano's contract. The Cubs would give him up. Gladly. They could use the cash to sign Cliff Lee after the year; they could trade Beltran for Barry Zito; they could take someone like Gil Meche, who's hurt, but could be had for nothing; or Aaron Harang; or they could make a mega-trade for Dan Haren----and they'd still have money left over!!!!
This suggestion is not outside the box with a basis in reality. It's dementia.
Mike Francesa has become a man who doesn't think or calculate in any intelligent way before formulating these suggestions; his ego is so comically and irrevocably attached to everything he says and does that he's floating off into space like an out-of-control weather balloon with no hope of rescue.
He's bubble-boy swimming in Diet Coke, faux expertise and rampant delusions of grandeur.
The man's a fool who knows nothing about baseball. Plain and simple.
The MLB Draft:
There are actually polls asking people if they agree with their team's selections in the MLB Draft. One example is the question: How do you like the Mets selection of Matt Harvey with their first pick?
He's a college pitcher with a fastball. He's tall.
Okay. What does that say? He might make it. He might not.
And most importantly, who is any fan anywhere to judge him now and come to a determination as to whether or not he's a solid pick? I've never seen him and even if I had, how could I possibly come to a conclusion one way or the other?
The Mets drafted him. We'll see.
Then there's the ravaging the Mets are receiving for trading Billy Wagner to the Red Sox and the Red Sox getting two picks for Wagner leaving as a free agent. They selected a couple of pitchers with the picks. So? They might make it; they might not.
The Mets got Chris Carter for Wagner. Carter's won a couple of games for the Mets with his bat and his enthusiasm and work ethic has been a breath of fresh air. Which is better? Plus, the Mets were doing Wagner a favor by trading him to a contender; this can only enhance their reputation with possible acquisitions who might want to join them. Trying to do the right thing by their players even if it may hurt the organization down the line isn't so terrible in the grand scheme of things. You can argue that it's the wrong way to go about things in a business sense, but personally? It doesn't hurt to be nice sometimes.
MLB is trying desperately to make the draft into an event. It's impossible. No one knows whether these players are going to make it or not and any "draftnik" who's hoping to carve out a Mel Kiper Jr.-style career, spouting statistics, measurements and projections won't have a verifiable track record of being right and wrong because a 17-22-year-old kid can't be judged by anything other than hindsight.
I suppose I could do it. I could be the Mel Kiper Jr. of the baseball set and just say stuff that would be similar to attaching myself like a barnacle on baseline skills that won't have an affect one way or the other on a player's future; but I prefer to analyze and innovate rather than piggyback and leech. Others may not have my scruples. In fact, I know they don't.
Defending the Phillies:
During an ESPN Radio sports report last evening, the announcer, in a derisive tone, mentioned that the Phillies had demoted Philippe Aumont from Double A Reading because he was struggling as a starter. Aumont was the main cog in the trade of The Stone Cold Killer, Cliff Lee, to the Mariners as the Phillies acquired Roy Halladay.
It's well-known to anyone who's ever read me that I hated the trade; I thought it was a ghastly mistake and the Phillies should've held onto Lee and traded for Halladay. That said the ridicule that was implied in the announcer's tone is so short-sighted, stupid and intentional that it has to be mentioned and shredded.
Never mind the trade itself, Aumont is 21-years-old and struggling in the transition from the bullpen (where the Mariners had been using him) into a starter. What precisely are the Phillies supposed to do? Let him flounder in Double A to save face for the trade? Or are they supposed to try and find a way to straighten him out?
The Phillies have been adept at developing young players in recent years, so to suggest that they don't know what they're doing with Aumont is in-progress ridicule with an agenda. Aumont is a young pitcher transitioning his role----was there not a possibility of land-mines on the road as he learned his craft? It's a silly suggestion that Aumont himself is at fault for any misjudgment the Phillies made in trading Lee.
My issue wasn't the players the Phillies got in the trade because I have no idea what they're going to be, but the trade itself. Any attack on the basis of Aumont's struggle is nonsense.
A campaign against idiocy:
It's a losing endeavor to expect any accuracy and context out of ESPN, but I don't think I'm being unreasonable to campaign against idiocy.
Here's a clip regarding the Pirates from ESPN the Magazine and Tim Kurkjian's "K Korner":
Two months into the season, the Pirates had been outscored by more than 110 runs yet were a healthy winning streak away from .500. According to the Pythagorean Winning Percentage, a Bill James calculation based on run differential, the Bucs should be 20 games under. In Pittsburgh, that should count as progress.
Is Kurkjian suggesting the Pirates are better than their numerically calculated record? Is he attacking Bill James? The Pirates?
It'd be one thing if he truly didn't understand what he was saying. Maybe I'm severely overestimating Kurkjian, but I tend to believe that he realizes that the calculation to which he refers has been skewered by the blowouts the Pirates have endured this season.
The Pirates have been outscored in two games against the Brewers by 34 runs. That would tend to ruin any baseline calculation like the Pygmalion Win Theorem. Even Bill James, in all his pomposity and contrived attempts to be contrary and show how "quirky" he is, would say that the theorem is a guideline that has to be put into the proper frame of reference based on individual games.
The Pirates are not a good team; they're horribly mismanaged and wandering off into the wilderness; but the unfunny throw-away quote from Kurkjian is a convenient rip job against someone or something designed to fit into the end of his column. It's unclear what he's trying to say. Maybe he's trying to be funny, but it ain't working.
- Viewer Mail 6.8.2010:
Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE the Yankees:
I agree. The Yankees are pretty set, although I wouldn't mind another lefty in the pen. And, of course, if Tex would only start hitting...Sigh.
They'll be able to get a lefty as the season moves along----the Marlins just DFA'd Dan Meyer, he's worth a shot. And Mark Teixeira's going to hit. Eventually.
Joe writes RE Ichiro:
If Ichiro were on the Yankees, he wouldn't be a "losing player." That statement is ludicrous.
It's not ludicrous if you know what you're talking about.
Ichiro as a Yankee would preclude his diva-like behavior and selfish stat-compiling because he wouldn't get away with the antics in New York or Boston as he does in Seattle.
Once a season looks lost in the standings, Ichiro not-so-subtly begins playing for Ichiro. He's making a lot of money for a singles hitter ($17 million annually through 2012); he hits for power when it suits him even though he could easily hit 25 homers if he wanted to sacrifice his precious hit records and singles to help the team.
Are you aware that Ichiro and former Mariners manager Mike Hargrove didn't get along and it was believed that Ichiro let it be known that he might depart Seattle as a free agent after 2007 had a change not been made?
Hargrove resigned almost simultaneously to Ichiro working on and agreeing to an extension; and this was while the Mariners were having their best season in years, were 45-33 and contending for a playoff spot. John McLaren took over, the team faded down the stretch and was a disaster in 2008, losing 100 games.
Ichiro is a stat-hound more interested in his batting average than winning; he's a losing player who will never be a key member of a winner as anything other than an ancillary piece acquired as hole-filler.
Matt writes RE the draft and Bud Selig:
Paul, I caught some of the draft and you weren't kidding about Selig's suits. I almost kind of, sort of respect a wealthy, powerful guy who looks like he's wearing his big brothers hand-me-downs. On the other hand... what a loser.
It's one thing to be without pretension and to show disinterest in a flashy wardrobe, but at least look presentable and not like a middle-school Assistant Principal with chalk on his sleeve and hair flopping all over the place as he waits desperately for the school year to end. Selig was standing in front of a large audience on TV and online----wear a decent suit and get a haircut.
I assure you, my resolve has NEVER been stronger!