CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com
New! Search comments:
(NOTE: Relevance, Author, and Article are not applicable for comment searches)
"Performance enhancing drugs are simply not an existential crisis for baseball"
Amen. Frankly I'm tired of so much moralizing on the part of sportswriters. If they wanted to get into the morality business they should have been philosophers or priests or at the very least not focused on sports. Cheating in sports affects relatively few people adversely in any material way. It hurts plenty in a "psychic" or "spiritual" way, but the only people harmed materially are other ballplayers and maybe gamblers. Teams still get the revenue that theoretically resulted from the offending players' performances, so I find it a little hard to accept the owners and their representative Commissioner engaging in such grandstanding after-the-fact.
And what really is harmed, anyways? What is the result here? Steroids did not ever pitch an inning for Roger Clemens. HGH never hit a home run for Barry Bonds. Those players still did what they did. They did it with an advantage, but exactly how much of an advantage is pure speculation, given that we simply can't know how a player's performance was affected by PEDs. Baseball's statistics are too subject to random variation to just say "well Braun had a 30% increase in OPS or WARP or whatever from this year to that year, so clearly that was all the steroids." Adrian Beltre had a great increase in his hitting stats starting in his age-31 season, unprecedented except for his age-25 season, but I don't hear many people throwing around steroids accusations for him. Nor should they. Individual baseball players have weird turns in their careers.
So my point is that all this stuff about how the game is tainted or how the rulebook's purity is gone or how some adult sports fans "lost their innocence" because they were naive enough to believe that in a league in which players still get caught for corking their bats and scuffing the ball, the players would avoid gaining an advantage pioneered by other athletes in other sports -- all of that is nonsense. It was cheating, yes, but it really wasn't any worse than all of the other stuff ballplayers do to cheat and have done since the game was invented. Just mete out the punishments and move on. And save the vitriol for the Matt Garzas of the world.
It's "A Tribe Called Quest."
1) The relationship between Manny and a prospective team is not anything like that between a naive youth and a narcissistic lover. It's a business transaction. Dispassionate and cold, despite what Boston fans and writers would have you believe (think Tommy from Quincy).
2) Moral soapbox-climbing is best left to ESPN and the newspaper beat writers. I like to think BPro is where I go for some rational analysis about baseball, not turning baseball decisions from moral molehills into mountains.
It is kind of amazing how badly the Astros have been screwed over in the past few months.
Moving to the AL means they have to directly compete with the Rangers for fans' attention throughout Texas. Since they'll be switching to a new Regional Sports Network with comcast in 2013 this matters more, because local cable providers will have to choose whether they'll carry the network or not, and if the Astros are not only terrible but in direct competition with the Rangers (and thus have few fans) I imagine fewer companies will subscribe to the channel.
This is beyond simply angering the Astros' remaining die-hard fans by switching leagues.
The delay in ownership also likely crippled the club. If Crane had been confirmed back in the summer, perhaps ownership would have hired a new GM midway through the season, possibly improving the trades they made at the deadline. While the Pence trade looks good in retrospect, the Bourn trade still looks awful, and at least some of that is Wade's fault.
And now the Astros are handicapped going into the winter because they'll be searching for a new GM.
Add in the fact that Crane's massive debt load is worrying in itself, and the whole situation stinks.
More to the point, if you look at the numbers contributing to the "third-rate bullpen" comment, the Astros' problems are based around two players: Geoff Geary and Felipe Paulino. Neither is with the club right now (Paulino is being trained as a starter, for one, and has been sent down to AAA to work on things, and Geary was DFA'd some time ago), and otherwise the bullpen has been excellent. Chris Sampson leads NL Central relievers in RAR, for instance.
Beyond that, the suggestion that Keppinger (who isn't a particularly good fielder at 3rd) or Blum (whose range has declined significantly from when he was a spry 33 - when he last played more than 30 innings at short) would be better defensively than Tejada (who, admittedly, has been pretty bad) is suspect.
The Astros have a lot of problems, but the bullpen and Tejada's declining defense aren't the main ones. If the Astros are to improve, upgrades need to be made to the bench (where perennial outs like Erstad and Jason Michaels currently take up space). Wade has improved that significantly by getting rid of Matt Kata and replacing him with Coste, who is at least close to being a league-average hitter, but a great deal still needs to be done there.
They also could probably do well by replacing Brian Moehler and Russ Ortiz, but Paulino hasn't gotten it together. Maybe they should give Bud Norris or Bazardo a shot.
Anyways, Wade's tinkerings with the bullpen have turned out well this season (as they did last season). It's just that other areas of team construction haven't worked out well.
given that Pence is:
1) Having a better season at the plate than any of those three.
2) A much better defender than any of them.
3) Actually a right fielder
I think it's pretty legitimate to pick Pence over Soriano, Ludwick, and Lee. And, because of his defense and position, there's a good argument to be made that he'd deserve a vote over at least one of the LFs Sheehan has down.
Wandy's pretty clearly the #2 starter. He performed well last year, though he needs to stay healthy.
Well, given that Drayton spent a good amount of money after the 1st round last year (drafting Castro was possibly a signability thing, though it could have been about not drafting a guy who would be both quickly ready for the major leagues and blocked by Berkman), and that he put money into renovating the Astros' DR complex and signing Chia Jen-Lo, I think it's reasonable to say that the Astros are beginning to spend money on their farm system again. Perhaps they're not spending as much as they should, but the 2006/2007 years when most of the Astros' higher draft picks were left unsigned are over.
I suppose we'll see what Drayton does in the draft in June. Until then, it's pointless to speculate on how this affects the Astros' system.