If nothing else, I try to include you guys as much as I can in this silly little blog. I don’t want to be the lone voice here all the time, so I try to concoct ways to get you guys involved. Sometimes it’s for a good cause like we did with the Charity Challenge. Other times, it’s via a good rambling rant emailed to me. So now it’s time for another one. This came from the quick, almost scarily instantaneous response I got from FOTB –friend of the blog– Ron Rollins about what he wants to see changed in baseball.
Here’s the topic: You are commission of MLB for one day. You can make one major move. What would you pick and why?
- Eliminate the DH/Expand the DH to the NL
- Eliminate the Wild Card format
- Change the arbitration process
- Eliminate draft pick compensation for Type A/B free agents
- Increase the # of teams making the post-season
- Allow for the trading of draft picks
- Change the amateur draft (no slotting suggestions, include other countries, etc.)
- Eliminate the “All star game winner determines W.S. home field advantage” gimmick
- All playoff start times on weekdays are 7:30pm EST
- Salary cap/floor (remember, must have one with the other)
- Make mandatory all new stadiums must have retractible roofs; must be entirely team-funded
- Pick the next commissioner after Selig is gone
- You cannot: Eliminate any teams; Change the BBWAA rules
If you have your own blog, make sure to provide the URL and any other goodness you want listed (bio, picture, etc.). I can’t promise a landslide of hits to your site, but whaddya expect for free?
…and if she’s unhappy long enough, you’ll be without half your stuff. Remember that, single guys.
Some mocked Teixeira because he gave credit to his wife for helping him decide on which team he wanted to play for. Even the manly BoSox dude Youkilis noted that his wife’s happiness was instrumental in him signing a long term deal:
“It’s a great thing knowing that I’ll be here for hopefully the next five years,” the 29-year-old said. “My wife is from Boston and her family’s from here and that’s a major factor in us staying here.”
Don Zimmer is recovering from a small stroke suffered last month and hopes to join the Rays in spring training for what would be his 61st season in the game.
Zimmer, who turns 78 today, said Friday he is regaining the speech and mobility he lost.
“I never felt bad,” he said. “I never had anything bother me except that I’m a little wobbly and I’m slow taking a step. A week and a half ago, there’s no way I could talk to you. ”But I’m getting better.”
Yet more discussion (read: proof) why a salary cap in baseball won’t work or fix things. See, it’s not just me:
Using 2008 as an example, the thirty teams took in about $6 billion (not including MLB Advanced Media revenue), for an average of $200 million per team. Forty-five percent of that (the players’ share) is $90 million, which we’ll use as the midpoint between our floor and cap. If we want to make the floor 75 percent of the cap (a low-end figure, relative to the other leagues), we can use $77 million and $103 million, respectively.
With a $103 million cap, nine teams would have been affected last year, and a total of about $286 million would have had to be skimmed off the top. Since total salaries have to remain at existing levels, the bottom twenty-one teams would have had to take on this burden, which had previously been placed on theYankees, Red Sox, et al. On the other end, fourteen teams would have been under the payroll floor, by a total of $251 million. Even discounting the Marlins‘ $22 million payroll, the other thirteen teams would have had to spend an average of $15 million more just to meet the minimum. Some of those teams might be able to afford it; most wouldn’t.
Imagine being Frank Coonelly in this situation. Coonelly, thePirates‘ team President, has publicly supported a cap. Had our fictional cap/floor arrangement been instituted last year, the Pirates would have needed to increase their Opening Day payroll by $28 million. Not only would the team have taken a big loss, but Neal Huntington’s long-term strategy would have been sabotaged, since the team would have had to sign a number of veterans just to meet the minimum payroll.
Now fast forward to 2009. Let’s say the Pirates’ sales staff runs into major headwinds, with the team struggling and the economy sinking. The team’s top line takes a hit, falling $10 million from 2008. TheMets and Yankees, meanwhile, open their new ballparks, and each team increases its local revenue by $50 million. If the twenty-seven other teams are flat, total industry revenues rise by $90 million (not including any appreciation in national media revenue). Forty-five percent of that, of course, goes to the players. So even as the Pirates’ purchasing power decreases, the payroll floor actually rises.
I just happened upon this ESPN “Insider” article that was last updated 1/12/09, so it’s got a few days of stubble on it, but I wanted to bring out some things which were surprising. First, it goes to show just how statistically awful Abreu was last year in RF. Second, I happened to have a pretty strong posting about the game the author references, though I unfortunately did not discuss Abreu’s miscue.
Among right fielders who qualified for the batting title last season, Abreu was worst in the American League with a UZR of -25.2. Yes, you read that correctly. UZR says Abreu was more than 25 runs worse than your average right fielder, and the Rockies Brad Hawpe (-37.2, oof) was the only right fielder in the majors below him.
But 2008 was not an anomaly. Abreu’s UZR in 2007 was -4.2, and it was -15.6 the year before that. In fact, he hasn’t had an above-average UZR since 2002. And it isn’t just UZR that says Abreu is clueless in right. The Hardball Times’ Revised Zone Rating measures the percentage of balls hit into a player’s zone that are converted into outs, and Bobby Abreu (.872) was 12th out of 15 qualified right fielders by that metric in 2008.
I woke up still feeling that way, but, I can’t help but wonder if we’re watching the onset of a slow motion train wreck. The chart below summarizes my confidence in the team making the playoffs as well as it tracks the Yanks chances of winning last night’s game [see: FanGraphs chart]
But how is this team going to make the playoffs? The short answer is, unless Pettitte, Moose and Wang are going to win 3 out of every 5 games, at least, from here on out, we’re not. Joba riding in to “save” the team as a starter is an unfair burden.
So now what? It’s May 2nd. Let’s not throw our future out in the garbage by trashing them. They are just young kids, Hughes being the youngest starter in the Majors. Give them a chance. Take a deep breath. And if this year passes and we’re home in October, so be it. Next year, the albatross contracts are gone. We become a leaner organization with fiscal flexibility to make the strategic signing (hear me, CC? You too, Teix!). And hopefully, we become younger and more fun.
If I were Lord Theo, I’d get Papi on the phone and make it more than clear: Under no circumstances will we permit you to play in the WBC coming off your lingering wrist injury.
“I have been swinging some and my injured wrist has not bothered me since last year,” he told The Associated Press by e-mail on Thursday. “Just as I promised, if I’m healthy, I will join the team.“
Ortiz was on the disabled list twice last season with a partially torn tendon sheath in his left wrist. Doctors had told him to rest over the offseason.
As a Yanks fan, I’d say: Go for it, Papi!
The latest in a string of good moves (that conveniently excludes Julio Lugo and Bartolo Colon and Eric Gagne), the Sox signed Kevin Youkilis to a multi-year extension, avoiding arbitration.
Multiple baseball sources confirmed today that the Red Sox and first baseman Kevin Youkilis reached agreement on a four-year, $41 million contract extension through 2012, a deal that also includes a $13 million club option for 2013 that could bring the deal to $53 million over five seasons.
**Thanks to the guys at FackYouk for the picture!
Worth noting: The laboratory that produced the nutritional supplement that the left-hander claimed was tainted and caused him to falsely test positive has been raided by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Romero tested positive twice last season, on Aug. 26 and Sept. 19.
Ergopharm’s lab, located in Champ, Ill., and owned by chemist Patrick Arnold who was part of the BALCO steroids scandal, was raided by the DEA on Thursday, according to a source with knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified. Ergopharm produces 6-OXO, which Romero said he purchased at a General Nutrition Center in Cherry Hill, N.J. Romero also said he believed 6-OXO was not banned by MLB.
Romero tested positive twice last season, on Aug. 26 and Sept. 19.