Brandon Webb a free agent?

From Bob McManaman (Arizona Republic):

Right-hander Brandon Webb said if Diamondbacks executives are preparing to approach him about restructuring his $8.5 million contract option for 2010, they ought to save their breath.

He’s not interested.

Webb, who hasn’t pitched since Opening Day because of an injury to his pitching shoulder, said Tuesday that he is not willing to pitch for less or re-do his deal based on incentive clauses.

The Diamondbacks haven’t indicated their plans to Webb, the National League Cy Young winner in 2006 and the runner-up the past two seasons. But there has been speculation that they might ask him to restructure his pay because of his shoulder. He underwent arthroscopic surgery last month.

“No. I’m not interested in doing that,” Webb said. “If it comes down to that and they ask me to do something like that, I would have to – just for myself – see what else is out there and see if there’s something better.”

If the Diamondbacks don’t exercise the $8.5 million option on Webb, 30, they must pay him a $2 million buyout.

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Idle musings on Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes

Has anyone else noticed that Clay Buchholz has quietly emerged as a quality, reliable starter for the Red Sox? In his last ten starts he’s only given up three earned runs more than once, with the shortest outing being a 4 2/3 effort in which he gave up 7 runs to the White Sox (the Sox obviously still won that game).

The development of Jon Lester and Buchholz makes me hopeful that the Yankees can have the same thing with Joba Chamberlain and Phil Franchise in the years to come. Remember, it’s not like Lester and Buchholz came up and were flat-out dominant from the get-go. While Buchholz did throw that fluke no-hitter in 2007, he was also demoted last year and spent a fair amount of time in the minors this year. In 2006, Lester made 15 starts to a 4.76 ERA before having to shut it down due to cancer. I knew Lester was highly touted, but I never thought he was going to come back and become one of the best pitchers in the AL.… Click here to read the rest

Showing Patience With Joba

I noticed this little list in the comments section over at RAB, and thought it provided a solid illustration of why Yankees fans need to have patience with Joba Chamberlain:

Minor League Innings:
Neimann – 372.0
Wade Davis – 767.1
Shields – 554.1
Garza – 307.0
Price – 144.0
Kazmir – 251.2
Joba – 88.1
Hughes – 330.0
Lincecum – 62.2 (FREAK!)
King Felix – 306.1
Doc – 638.0
Verlander – 118.2
CC – 246.2
Beckett – 216.1
Buchholz – 443.1
Lester – 483.2Greinke – 285.2
Wainwright – 793.0
Jurrjens – 502.2
Carpenter – 601.0
Haren – 474.2

Most of these pitchers saw substantial time in the minor leagues, where they honed their craft against increasingly superior hitters and learned the art of pitching. I like the idea of a stellar talent such as Chamberlain learning on the MLB level. However, doing so requires the fans to show patience and understanding, traits that are generally not the hallmarks of your garden variety baseball nut.… Click here to read the rest

If you really want to know, go local

While degree of difficulty might put you in a forgiving mood, it doesn’t change the fact that these national baseball writers have become inherently unreliable. It’s hard enough finding scribes whose logic and style are top-notch, but when they don’t have the facts in place to begin with, readers are really left in a position where they can’t trust assessments of other teams from afar.

So very true for most teams. Sure, the large East Coast teams get significant coverage everywhere, but teams in the fly-over states surely are suffering from the MSM’s lack of granularity and accuracy on those teams. It’s not a slight on those teams, but probably a function of the roles these national guys have: cover it all, cover it quickly, cover the teams that most people watch.

I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me . . . All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” -Jackie Robinson… Click here to read the rest

Some thoughts on interleague play and the playoffs

I know this topic was flogged to death yesterday, but I thought I’d add a few comments.

I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine yesterday, about how the regular season itself essentially used to function as the playoffs, with the two best teams in each league battling it out for the right to go to the World Series. And before 1969, there wasn’t even a championship series. It’s almost hard to imagine baseball as we know it now sending the teams with the two best records from the AL and NL straight to the WS.

While I like the cut-and-dryness of those halcyon days of the postseason, I also realized that, while I began to love baseball around 1988, my rabid fandom for the Yankees didn’t really fully develop around until 1993-1994, when I really started paying attention on a daily basis. Which means that the last pre-Wild Card era postseason I remember watching was the 1993 World Series with Philly playing Toronto.… Click here to read the rest