Unlikely Spring Training Questions From A Waiting Room

These have been bouncing around my head all off-season; some are tempests in teapots, some a little more substantial – I just havent heard many of them asked…DID the Yankees actually upgrade? Acknowledging that a healthy Nick Johnson, freed of all defensive worries, could win a batting championship (or at least the On Base crown), is a trade-off of Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and Melky Cabrera for Curtis Granderson, Johnson, Randy Winn and Brett Gardner really a win? Has Cabreras clutch late-inning hitting been forgotten, or merely written off as a statistical fluke?…ON the other end of the Granderson trade, do the Tigers know Phil Coke wasnt that great against lefties during the first half of last year, and basically stopped getting them out at all after September 1 and in the post-season?…HAS Roy Halladay ever been tested in a pennant race? Does it matter? I seem to recall several clubs drooling over the various Javier Vazquezes who pitched in obscurity in Montreal and Arizona and even Chicago…DID the Angels look at Joel Pinieros last months worth of work in 2009? Did they break out his fly-ball to ground-ball ratio? Did they note that a sinkerball pitcher who cant get the ball down will probably end up in mopup relief?…WHY hasnt anybody else written that if Milton Bradley doesnt sink the Mariners, theyll be the first?…lastly IF you are the Nats and you have as exciting a prospect as Ian Desmond and you havent unloaded Cristian Guzman, why do you go ahead and sign Adam Kennedy?

6 Comments

Hi Keith. I hope the Mariners aren’t sunk by Milton Bradley… sometimes people never fit in anywhere, and then suddenly… they do. Life can be odd that way – let’s hope it can be that kind of odd for Bradley and the Mariners. Speaking of the Seattle team, I was at one of the Disney parks today, and ran across a man wearing a Mariners jersey. It was so nice to see, especially considering I haven’t been to one of their games in quite a while. He was of the opinion that they’re going to have a great year… I hope he’s right. We chatted briefly, and I asked him if he would enjoy their games a little extra for me. He laughed, and told me he would do his best. While we’re on the subject, I hope the Yankees have a great season this year as well, for your sake. Thanks for everything you do… and hugs to you and your father. I imagine you could use a hug tonight… take care, and be well.

Speaking of baseball in February, I have something of a dilemma?

I?ve been running a fantasy baseball league of some kind since I was 12 years old. In its heyday, (circa 2000) the (Yahoo!) league fielded 20 teams, with huge rosters (A full infield plus additional MI, CI, and IF spots, five outfielders, two util slots and a six-man bench) making it a league so deep that players like Ben Petrick and Jeff D?Amico could be huge assets.

But some of my core participants have ?matured? over the years. They have wives, and mortgages, and student loan payoffs, and some have stopped obsessing about baseball enough to make it fun for everyone else.

So, I was wondering if I could put out an open invitation to you and your brilliant readers, to see if anyone wanted to add a super-deep competitive league to their usual rotation of fantasy leagues.

We?ve got a very interesting group, including a number of writers who excel at artful message board tauntings. But frankly, we need new blood. I really do not want to run one of those ersatz mini-fantasy leagues where everyone fields an all-star team. That is no fun.

If anyone is interested in joining, feel free to e-mail me at russ@mepreport.com.

Thanks,

The Lonely Commish

It all comes down to the fact that teams need to provide the appearance of improvement (ie. roster turnover) rather than actually improve. Any move that doesn’t work out gets explained away as an attempt to get better, and can’t be criticized as harshly as it should be. For the Phillies, the Halladay deal gave them an excuse if they fail to win the World Series again this year. They can say they tried, rather than trot the same team on the field one more time. For the Yankees, they were playing into the New York mentality. Winners or not, fans wouldn’t accept putting the same team back on the field with everyone being a year older. There would have been unrest in putting faith in Matsui and Damon to recreate the seasons they just had as they get closer to the end of their careers. Whether the move works or not, they can say they didn’t take it for granted that they were good enough to win another title. As we have learned from recent politics, covering your *** is more important as actually getting something down.

The Nats are so bad that they are desperate to sign any potentially quality player. When a team has multiple 100-loss seasons in a row, perhaps it will sign virtually anyone who wants to sign.

If Kennedy can keep up what he did in Oakland last year (in a pitchers’ park), he is certainly an upgrade over Guzman in every way.

As for Mr. Bradley, I would be thrilled to see him succeed. I have hope that he and Mr. Wakamatsu are compatible. The M’s manager seems like the kind of no-nonsense baseball guy Milton could respect. Not only that, Seattle is a much more charitable baseball town than Chicago. Milton is not going to be looked on (unrealistically) as a savior the way he was on the North Side. Chone Figgins and Cliff Lee are going to absorb the majority of that kind of pressure.

Keith, thanks for your work here and on Countdown!

The Yankees moves still FEEL like fantasy baseball trading.
Letting go the guys who in no small part got them to a World Series win, despite a nervous over manager, FEELS crummy.
That’s all.

Teams live and die on chemistry.
If the Yankees haven’t learned that, after all their years of losing behind ‘all star’ level teams on paper, then they haven’t learned anything.
And they haven’t.

You don’t replace Ringo right after Sgt. Pepper because he “might not have it in him again”.
It’s a TEAM. It worked. Leave it.

I realize I’m posting a little late for this, but I’m just catching up on my reading during a slow Thursday morning. So…
The Nats, yeah. Good comment about the Kennedy signing, and being a Nats fan I was a bit perplexed about it as well, considering that Orlando Hudson was waiting for a decision on this one as well before finally going with the Twins. But Desmond is still a young player and last season was his first picking up a couple games. The commentary has consistantly been that he has trouble fielding, which may or may not come in time. But considering he’s shown he can be fairly handy with a bat, his fielding might actually catch up. Still, he’s young and Guzman has had some injury issues so getting a solid pro at middle infielder isn’t a bad bet for a team that clearly needs to build.

Roy Halladay and the Phils? Wow. That’s all I want to say about that. I think Philly is just showing that they could finally get the pitcher they were trying to woo through the middle of last season when they had to settle for a “second-best” Cliff Lee. Ha! I’m with you about the questions concerning Halladay’s post season experience, especially when Lee dominated for them in a line-up that wasn’t showing Fall Classic quality (Hamels and Lidge, anybody?) –where’s the loyalty these days?

And Milton Bradley and the Mariners. You know, there’s always somebody who’s going to take a risk on the bad boy with the good record (read: all the news about Terrell Owens). I don’t know if this is going to sink their chances in the AL West, but I think they have more flexibility when it comes to contending for the title with their ace pitchers and quality moves at other positions. Should be a closer game between them and the Angels, for sure.

BTW, love your blog. Keep up the work!

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