Saturday, July 17, 2010

Adrian Gonzalez's Address Hunt

When and if he hits free agency after the 2011 season, Adrian Gonzalez is said to be seeking an 8-year contract. Presumably, the money will be somewhere in the vicinity of what Joe Mauer got from the Twins (8-years, $184 million) and Mark Teixeira from the Yankees (8-years, $180 million). One disadvantage that Gonzalez will have is that some of the bigger financial guns will have first base filled and aren't going to be involved in the bidding.

The Yankees have Teixeira; the Mets have Ike Davis; and the Phillies have Ryan Howard. That would leave the Angels; the Red Sox; the Cubs; the Mariners; the Orioles; maybe the Giants; and, depending on the circumstances with the McCourt divorce (and whether they sell the team), the Dodgers.

At his age (he'll be 30 in 2012), Gonzalez is a relatively solid investment for an 8-year contract; the best bet would be for him to go to the American League where he could potentially DH for the latter years when he'll be in his mid-to-late-30s.

Teams pursuing him will be pleased to know that while Gonzalez wants to get paid, but he is not represented by Scott Boras; there are other options set to be available such as Prince Fielder and Lance Berkman; and they won't be competing with the lurking Yankees and their financial might. Gonzalez has been historically durable (he plays just about every single day); he's a Gold Glove fielder; he's a good guy; and taken out of the cavernous Petco Park, he'd be a Triple Crown threat.

Another option teams will have with Gonzalez is that the Padres are going to be willing to trade him after the season. Obviously the Padres didn't think they'd be in their current position of first place in the NL West, and it makes no sense to trade Gonzalez now. The National League is such a mess that if the Padres slump and fall from first place, they'll still be in Wild Card contention for the whole season; and with their pitching----especially that bullpen----they're a definite threat in the playoffs. They're not trading Gonzalez now; but after the season, I do believe he's going to get traded.

Both the Angels and Red Sox covet Gonzalez; and if he's traded----even as a rental for one year----more teams will be involved in the bidding. The Padres can get a bounty of prospects rather than the two first round picks for losing him as a free agent; Gonzalez can go to a locale in which he'd be able to put up massive offensive numbers raising his price further for free agency, or he could stay with the team that acquired him via trade by signing long term.

My best guess right now is that the Gonzalez pursuit as a free agent will come down to the Red Sox and Angels and that he'll end up with the Red Sox. He might wind up there after the season in a trade and getting him will make the Red Sox failed pursuit of Teixeira seem like a distant and retrospectively lucky memory because Gonzalez is two years younger and is----overall----a better player.

  • I can't watch the Pirates anymore:

What make the above statement more glaring and sad is that I don't watch the Pirates.

Looking at the boxscores, their results, their record and their roster is more than enough to lead me to say, as a matter of mercy, that MLB must step in and do something to save this dying franchise.

When I say "save" I don't mean installing one of their own as they did with team president Frank Coonelly, whose main function was to implement MLB-instituted payroll constraints and has made the team worse than it was before.*

*Are you with me in thinking that making the Pirates worse was impossible? You learn something new every day; and what I learned was to never underestimate the power of ineptitude to make anything worse.

I've gone on before about the rampant hideousness of the current Pirates hierarchy from Coonelly to GM Neal Huntington to manager John Russell; there's no need to do it again. But in glancing at the standings this morning, I saw that the Pirates have lost 7 straight games. It's as if I remember that the Pirates exist, check their status and they're in the middle of a long losing streak; probably because they're always in the middle of a long losing streak.

They're horribly run and the fans don't care----nor should they. The Pirates don't deserve fan support. They have some young and ultra-talented players who are being poisoned by the atmosphere of hopelessness surrounding the organization. What chance do Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez have aside from waiting for their service time to accrue so that they can be traded to a team that cares? To a team with an idea of what they're doing?

MLB inexplicably stepped in with one of the best run teams in baseball----the Marlins----last winter and forced them to spend more money. (Incidentally, the Marlins would've been better off, as I predicted, continuing to do things as the Marlins do them by trading Dan Uggla and keeping the fresh blood and "anyone can be traded at anytime" aura about the club that's made them what they are.)

Why is MLB sitting by and watching as a bad organization gets progressively worse?

I'd suggest that the Pirates are becoming irrelevant, but they haven't been relevant for nearly 20 years.

Someone has to be placed in charge of the organization.

Sandy Alderson's gotten credit for things with which he had little influence. The Athletics of the 1980s were a Tony La Russa/Dave Duncan creation built because they had a great manager and pitching coach and a high payroll. Alderson received accolades for the Moneyball Athletics when he didn't build the team, nor did he implement the theories in the book that did work. And he demolished a Padres team that had been pretty good when he arrived. With Alderson, I get the impression that he's someone who takes after-the-fact credit----"Oh, Microsoft? Yeah, I suggested that idea to Bill Gates."----and while I disagree with his strategies and attitudes, Alderson is someone who would be ten steps up from what's currently in place with the Pirates. He's been an MLB hatchet man before and, at the very least, he's got an idea of how to run a team.

I'm imploring MLB to step in and do something with the Pirates. They're an embarrassment and something has to be done. Now.

  • Viewer Mail 7.17.2010:

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE big time pitching performances:

Your assessment of the Mets' defeat last night at the hands of Lincecum is the perfect example of the cliched expression, "Sometimes you just have to tip your cap." Nothing you can do when you're up against a guy at the top of his game.

Our assessments and commentary have been antiquated by the Mets' output (or lack thereof) against Barry Zito. You don't hit, you don't win. Opposing teams had better hope the Giants' lack of offense keeps them out of the playoffs because if they get in, they have the starting pitching and the gutty closer in Brian Wilson to turn out a team's lights.

Jeff (Acting Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE Bill James:

In Alan Schwarz's "The Numbers Game", he writes Bill James as being apologetic for the crazy stat zombie culture he was responsible in creating.

I mean, the dude can be obnoxious, yes. But I feel like he's not really a stat zombie per se. I feel like he gets it -- that it's more than just numbers, but that numbers can be useful tools when combined with a deep knowledge of the game on the field.

I recall reading something to that effect in The Mind of Bill James by Scott Gray. I'm paraphrasing from memory, but James said he increasingly ran into followers of his work who he didn't even like; that his intentions have been bastardized and he's being blamed for it.

Joe (Stat Zombie staggering on thin ice with the Prince) also adds regarding Bill James:

James has admitted that scouts do like 90 percent of the work in bringing players in. But he's been pretty adamant that statistics at the Major League level sum up a player very well.

Maybe I should give James a break. It's not hard to be misinterpreted when others are taking your statements and twisting them to suit their purposes. Nor is it hard to be misinterpreted with the written word.

The times I've seen him interviewed, he's come off a bit better than he does in print; the book I mentioned earlier portrays James 1000% better (it's an admittedly "subjective" number) than Moneyball or any of his acolytes represent him.

Some of his recent writing, like the essay on steroids, has been absolute garbage; I unloaded on that almost exactly a year ago----link. But you guys are right. I'll lay off James. For now. Until he says something other ridiculous thing.

Joe is the "Morrie" from Goodfellas of my Family. Readers should take that however they take it.2010BaseballGuideCover.gif

Incidentally Joe, you should thank Jeff. You really should.

My book is still available on Amazon, I-Universe and Barnes and It's available for download as an E-book here. You can also now get it for less that five bucks on BN via download here.


She-Fan said...

I think you predicted in your book that the White Sox would win the division and maybe more (can't remember). Are you planning to watch "The Club," the reality show about the team on MLB Network?

Joe said...

Where are the Red Sox going to put Gonzalez? They are most likely not going to DH him because his glove has value. And they have to be certain that Youk can make the shift to third. As someone once said, "Players generally don't move UP the defensive spectrum." He will cost a boatload of prospects, cost a ton to resign, and there isn't necessarily a place for him after the year. Now, Youkilis may be fine at third, but the Red Sox know better than anyone if he can play the position well enough, regularly, at this stage in his career.

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