Will’s quick Pizza Feed and Tout Wars wrap-up. Are goofy arm-slot experiments the key to A.J. Burnett’s future success? Chris Singleton’s hurting; will anyone notice? The Cubs’ Opening Day starter may be determined by an ear infection, and an update on injured middle fingers around the league.
Growing up in New England, it was an article of faith that the 1967 Red Sox won the American League pennant with the help of divine intervention–that it was an “Impossible Dream.” With the passage of time, this depiction has become less satisfying, if for no other reasons than that it gives short shrift to the people who actually built the team. Ken Coleman and Dan Valenti, in 1987’s otherwise enjoyable “The Impossible Dream Remembered,” wrote: “The real miracle of 1967 is that it happened, not as the conscious effort applied to a preconceived plan, but in spite of just about everything.” Notwithstanding this supposed lack of either effort or a plan, Dick O’Connell, the team’s architect, won the Sporting News Executive of the Year award.
Suffice it to say that no one saw it coming. Perusing several 1967 preseason publications, most of them envisioned the Red Sox finishing either ninth (as they had in 1966) or 10th in the 10-team American League. Sports Illustrated came the closest to expressing optimism, saying: “If [manager Dick Williams] can find some pitching, too, the 1967 Sox may revive baseball in Boston.”
Mariner president Chuck Armstrong was quoted on MLB.com this off-season, mentioning “I haven’t attended an arbitration hearing in my 11 years with this ownership, but this one is too important. (Garcia’s request) is way out of line…If I’m going all the way to Florida,” he said, “I’m going there to win.” He lost.
Now, I’m all for an owner aggressively pursuing team goals and trying to keep the budget down, but if you think you’ve got a star young pitcher, and you’re concerned about his emotional maturity, perhaps the best way to handle a situation like this would be to give it to some competent representatives and let it go. Make some noise about how it’s all business, nothing personal, and how you look forward to having Freddy back no matter what the outcome of arbitration. The Mariners had very little to gain and much to lose by making this such a high-profile, confrontational issue in front of the public.
Dusty Baker: “We can rebuild him. We can him bigger, stronger, faster, hackier.”
Lee Stevens: “I feel like I’ve got enough production left in me to swindle a team into paying me $4 million a year. Then you too can resent me, as much as Expos fans did.”
Benito Santiago: “It’s ridiculous that I’m not signed until I’m 67 years old.”
With a few days to reflect on spring training and his time in Arizona, Joe Sheehan concludes that ouija offers more predictive value than spring training stats. Plus, letting Miguel Tejada go is the right move, even if it hurts the ears to listen to Steve Schott complain.
Under current MLB rules, teams are not allowed to trade draft choices. It’s not a new idea, but it is under consideration, and we spoke with an AL Central executive about the potential impact of a change in the rules that would allow clubs to trade draft choices.
Well, if you’ve ever wanted to hear me talk for three hours straight, you’ve missed your chance. Given the way my voice currently feels (and sounded yesterday on the radio), I doubt I’ll ever do that again. Even so, the Indy Pizza Feed on Wednesday night was an unqualified success. We had a great crowd, gave out some prizes, had some great food, and talked baseball, baseball, baseball. I can’t wait for the next one…and don’t have to! I’ll be at the Chicago Pizza Feed on Saturday. Yes, there will definitely be another Indy Feed–and as great as the Oaken Barrel was, we may just have it in a much larger venue next time…hint, hint. If you’re in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, or St. Louis, let me know. Feeds are being considered for your area. The downside of the Feed on Wednesday was that I got in far too late to get a UTK in by deadline. Don’t worry–we’ll catch up today. Let’s go….
I mentioned yesterday that John Halama is the front-runner to be the
Athletics’ #5 starter. If he does win the job, the A’s would have four
left-handers in the rotation, with Halama backing up Mark Mulder,
Barry Zito and Ted Lilly. Before the A’s/Rockies game on
Tuesday, I asked an A’s executive if that imbalance concerned the team, and he
said that it didn’t, that quality pitching is quality pitching.
While it goes against our religion here at Baseball Prospectus to
question anything the A’s do, I have to admit I was curious. Is there any
disadvantage to getting a disproportionate number of starts from one side or
A little over a year ago, Jonah Keri wrote an article for BP on the concept of “success cycles.” In that article he described the apparent cyclical process of team-building–that organizations rebuild, contend, get old, and rebuild once more–while making the point that successful organizations recognize where they are on the success cycle, and make decisions accordingly. I was excited by this concept, at first, as it was both logical and intuitive, and began to do some charting of it. In the end, however, I have come to the conclusion that success cycles do not exist.
Dennis Tankersley falls further behind in the Padres’ arms race. Jack Cust’s journey from the next Jim Thome to Chris Richard bait. Steve Reed: Best Rockies pitcher ever? And Joe Sheehan would never taunt readers with stories of 80-degree sunshine, would he?
Ryan Klesko broke into the majors as a 21-year-old rookie with the 1992 Atlanta Braves. He’s since evolved from a platoon player to one of the National League’s most feared hitters, now plying his trade in San Diego. Klesko recently chatted with BP at spring training in Arizona, discussing the loss of Phil Nevin, the challenge of adjusting to a new position, and his path to becoming a full-time player and All-Star.