Well, it looks like it’s shaping up to be another day at the ballpark in Major League Baseball this off-season. For some reason, football is boring to me this year, so all I have is the hope of winter transactions to keep me going until Christmas.
Here’s what I’ve gathered so far:
1. Surprise, surprise, the Yankees are after another big-time free agent.
What’s that? They’re not just trying to sign CC Sabathia? You mean they might make offers to A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe too? And they’re looking to trade for Jake Peavy?
Ok. This is getting ridiculous. I know how much Jane loves her Yankees and who can blame her? But do you all understand that Hank and Cash are destroying the game? They’re going to keep driving up the price on players until the collective salary of their AAA team is higher than the Royals’.
Would it make Hank feel better if the Yankees were the ONLY team in the league and they win the world series every year by default. Sometimes I think that’s what they’re going for. The will to win is respectable and the Yankees certainly have that, but this is getting out of control. I wonder is Abner Doubleday (right) is rolling over in his grave yet.
2. Bud Selig has determined that he is going to be “cautious” about extending instant replay in the future. As of right now, replay can only be used on homruns to determine whether the ball was over the fence or not, fair or foul and if there was fan interference.
I’m a baseball purist just like you, Bud, and I’m glad replay was accepted, it was just time. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Baseball officials have determined that there were plays in the world series that warrant further use of replay; Rocco Baldelli falsely being awarded first base even though he was not hit by a pitch, and Jimmy Rollins being called safe although he was clearly tagged on the derier.
Since it’s inception in late August, instant replay has been used 16 times. So instant replay, which was supposed to be a huge time waster, added a grand total of about 45 minutes to the 2008 season. Big deal. Get the calls right.
3. It’s almost Thanksgiving and for some reason, football (even the Steelers), is boring me to tears. ‘m holding on to the possibility of some early winter transactions to keep be going and so far… Not much.
Aside from some awards, a few big offers, the Matt Holliday trade and a whole lot of rumors, absolutely nothing has happened, yet. So here’s my plan to get the ball rolling:
Manny, you’re gonna pick a team, I don’t care who. (preferably Philadelphia) But no matter who, I’m not gonna be mad. Just pick one. The rest of baseball is waiting to see what happens with you before they make their moves, so keep it moving.
The Yankees have until Friday to pick ONE free agent, and one free agent only. Whoever that may be gets ALL THE MONEY! But enough of this offering contracts to everyone available just to keep other teams away. Quit hogging all the potato chips!
Clearly I’m bored. Clearly I’m frustrated so please, someone, give me something to write about before I have a hissy fit over here!
In other news: The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the San Diego Padres 11-10 yesterday in a wild finish… Oh wait, correction, that was the Pittsburgh STEELERS who defeated the San Diego CHARGERS 11-10… My bad.
Maybe I’m still riding a high from the Phillies world series victory, or maybe I’m just crazy.
But here it is mid-November, a time when baseball is on sleep-mode, and I am still glued to MLB.com (cheap plug), ESPN.com and any other web-site that could potentially provide info on recent free-agent news.
I’m excited because this is such an exciting time of year for so many teams, a time when everyone can put last years failures behind them and look forward to 2009 with all the hope in the world. It is a time of year where the makeup of a team can change over night and one player added or subtracted can turn a pretender into a contender.
Here are a couple of off-season stories that I find particularly interesting:
Holliday to the A’s, who’d-a-thunk it?
I really wasn’t aware the A’s were a player in the Holliday sweepstakes, but then again, none of the Oakland A’s transaction make sense to me. What blows my mind every season is how the A’s can trade away another solid player (Jermaine Dye, Miguel Tejada, Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, Rich Harden, Dan Haren) and somehow replace him with someone you’ve never heard of who’s just as good. There’s something in the water in the Oakland farm system because it appears anyone you plug into the A’s lineup comes out solid.
The problem is while the team always come out solid, it’ amounted to a big goose-egg in the playoff series win column. This year, however, they’re the ones adding the all-star and former MVP candidate. Maybe this can give them the spark they need to put them over the hill. Who knows?
Is Peavy going to the Braves or not?
Atlanta is another one of those teams in the NL that looks good on paper but just doesn’t seem to be able to pull it together at the same time. They’re another one of those teams with a solid farm system to plug in a new guy when an old guy leaves, most recently, Jeff Franceour. But most of that farm system, if not a whole Single-A franchise, went to Texas for Mark Texieira last season, so that’s another big question mark.
Chipper Jones could have hit a bottle cap with a pencil in April-early June, and they’re hoping he can do that for a whole season again in ’09. Hampton’s contract is up so he’s looking for somewhere else to go collect $100 million for doing absolutely nothing.
Simply put, they need pitching to compete in their division against the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies (I’ll take any excuse to throw that in there) and the New York Mets who are becoming the Junior Yankees by spending ridiculous amounts of money each season resulting in absolutely no change. Peavy might be a good fit, but they have more problems, like finding a new Single-A team.
Who are the Yankees gonna buy for Joe Girardi for Christmas this year?
“The Boss Jr.” seems to be sticking by George’s old philosophies that haven’t worked since the 90’s and this offseason shows no indication of that changing. In my mind, I see Hank going after Merk Texieira and C.C. Sabathia who might be the two best free agents not named Manny Ramirez. Both players fit their needs (a power-hitting first baseman and a solid starter) and Texieira gives them the powerful switch hitter they haven’t seen since Bernie Williams. But he’s not the second coming of Mickey Mantle and won’t hide the fact that the team is not as much of a team as they are a collection of All-Stars wearing the same uniform. There’s a reason they haven’t won it all since 2000. It’s time for a change in philosophy from the top-down.
Manny will be Manny no matter where he is.
LA wants him, there’s no doubt about it, but like I’ve said before, the Dodgers need more than him to get any further than they did last year. Manny’s probably the best hitter in baseball, but if I were the Dodgers, I think I’d rather spend $100 million on 3 or 4 solid players than one superstar. Maybe they can get him to sign for less, maybe not, but Manny wants years.
Yes, I’d love to see him in a Phillies uniform, there’s no doubt about it. Anyone have a problem with that?
Manny’s won rings, so he’s not looking to get any monkeys off his back. He wants a home. He wants to settle in somehwere to end his career on a high-note instead of becoming a slugger-for-hire. Whoever can offer him five years or moe will get him regardless of the dollar figure, I think.
Any disagreements? I would love to start a discussion. Please comment.