The Mets have been ravaged with injuries and broken down players. The Mets seem to have been cobbled together with veterans who you thought have retired and rookies who should be in AA
So no doubt Omar Minaya looked at the available free agents and said "Hey, he's made 1 start in the bigs over the last 2 years. That's what we need... another medical liability. Not Jon Garland and his 200 innings a year plus World Series experience. Nahhh... we want the guy with one game under his belt over the past 2 years."
Rich Harden has the durability of Nolan Ryan compared to him.
They are expecting a quality start out of him.
Let me put this in perspective. Over the past two seasons, Kelvim Escobar has made one more start than Harry Morgan.
I don't know what is more amazing:
That Escobar was nearly tied by Sherman Potter... Or that Morgan is still alive!
Either way, it doesn't bode well for the Mets pitching staff.
So it is official... Jason Bay is a Met and his days as a Red Sox left fielder are over.
And even though the signing was announced less than 24 hours ago, it has already been declared a bust by SI.com, Yahoo Sports, The Post, and many bloggers.
And while as a Red Sox fan I would rather see him break down on someone else's dime (and pick up a few draft picks from the Mets) I think Bay is worth a nice salute before he leaves.
He played well for the Sox (with a few slumps here and there) over a year and a half. And to the morons who say that the Red Sox lost the 2008 pennant because they had Bay instead of Ramirez, please do a little homework.
Bay would have been the MVP of the Division Series in 2008 if they gave out that award. (I do.)
He batted .412 in the (and a 1.356 OPS) in the Division Series, including a key home run in Game 1 amd doubling in the 9th inning of Game 4 and scoring the series ending run.
And the Red Sox didn't lose the ALCS to the Rays because of Bay (and his .927 OPS.) They lost because Beckett got crushed in Game 2, Lester got crushed in Game 3, Wakefield got crushed in Game 4 and the Red Sox couldn't hit Garza nor Price in Game 7.
It's always about pitching.
Oh and lest we forget Bay's home run against Mariano Rivera last spring. (Doesn't that seem like a lifetime ago?)
So the Sox aren't being sentimental... they are piling up draft picks and hoping to make the next big smash.
But Bay, while still ringless (and will probably remain that in Flushing) he is still worth a Red Sox fan salute.
Lots of people lament during the off season that big market teams (the Yankees, the Red Sox and the Mets) sign all of the big free agents and small market teams like the A's can never retain their All Stars.
Well the times are a changin' again!
Happy Days are here again!
Didn't you hear? The Oakland A's reached deep into their pocket books and re-signed a 2 time All Star and kept one of their own in the fold!
Well one of the residual effects of the bewildering Javier Vazquez for Melky Cabrera deal is it opens up left field again… and there is speculation that it was done do retain Johnny Damon… even though he’s 35 years old, his defensive skills are eroding and he already did what he was supposed to do (help lead the Yankees to a World Series title.)
Why would you sign him to a long term deal when he will clearly break down by the end of it? And sacrifice a talented outfielder (Melky)10 years his junior? And sacrifice that outfielder for a pitcher (Vazquez) who in 12 seasons has had 3 good ones and a meltdown in New York?
Because the Yankees are sentimental!
People refer to Yankees as the Evil Empire (and by people I mean Larry Lucchino.) But a more appropriate name would be Mr. Softee.
Look at all of the people who come back for second acts as a Yankee (think Andy Pettitte, Joe Girardi, Nick Johnson and even Javy Vazquez). And how often they keep their own veterans around (Jeter, Rivera and Posada are all still there.) And when one player leaves (a la Matsui) Yankee fans cry about how they should have kept him.
Everything about the Yankees is sold on a bit of sentimentality.
Whether it is showing the clip of Lou Gehrig declaring himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth, or showing clips of Thurman Munson or pining for Ruth, Yogi or Mickey, the Yankees are always sold on mushiness.
Watch any Yankee highlight film or any Yankeeography on YES. They make Love Actually look as mean and gritty as a Scorsese film.
They are running out of numbers to retire and their Old Timers Day is a lovefest like no other in baseball.
They spent a billion dollars to make a stadium that looked like the OLD stadium (instead of the perfectly good and profitable stadium they were using.)
Even the calling of “27 titles!” is a call to the past.
Now contrast that with the Red Sox, who are usually portrayed as the more emotional and sentimental franchise. Look at all of the players they just set adrift the nanosecond their skills start to erode.
And so many greats leave Boston on bad terms that I could write up a 25 man roster of players in my lifetime whose left Fenway in a huff. (And it looks like Mike Lowell might be the next one on the list!)
But not the Yankees… even the guys who DO leave angry (Yogi, Reggie, Goose) are brought back as Prodigal Sons.
And now it looks like Johnny Damon might be the latest one to come back… and technically he hasn’t even left.
And the Yankees start a brand new century looking very similar to the last.
I have a hunch that Nomar Garciaparra has probably played his last game in the big leagues.
He hit for a decent average last year in Oakland, but with very little power and he of course got hurt. And he can't play the field.
I can't speak for every GM, but I can't imagine too many wish lists include "A punchless injury prone DH... who is right handed."
So his 13+ year career is probably kaput... his final game was on October 4 (my anniversary) in a 5-3 A's loss to the Angels.
Nomar went 2-3 with a run scored and struck out in the 8th in his final at bat.
Kind of anti climactic, huh?
Every year the free agent market plays a very cruel trick on a number of players. Their contract runs out and they see other players sign with other teams... and like a brutal game of musical chairs, spring training rolls along without an invitation.
And they find out their career has ended because nobody wanted to sign them. No farewell tour. No bows. Just a phone that doesn't ring.
Last year players like Ray Durham found themselves scrambling for a seat.
The year before Kenny Lofton and others saw productive careers unceremoniously end.
Even Hall of Famers like Rickey Henderson and Steve Carlton saw their careers just fade away, and not on their terms.
And now it seems like Nomar is the latest player whose career will probably end because nobody wanted him.
But let's not forget how great Nomar was... For 6 out of his 7 full seasons in Boston he looked like he was going to be one of the great figures in Red Sox history.
He came out of the gates blasting, hitting a homer in his first at bat as a call up in 1996. He was the 1997 AL Rookie of the Year and with Mo Vaughn put together an MVP caliber 1-2 punch that looked like it was the foundation of a potential World Series winner.
In 1998 he was the runner up to Juan Gonzalez for MVP. His power blossomed. His OPS soared to .946. His average finished off at .323 and was a 35 homer 122 RBI guy.
And in the playoffs, he homered 3 times in 4 games,driving in 11 and posted a slugging percentage of 1.000 in the Sox loss to the Tribe.
In 1999 the Sox were supposed to take a big step back when Mo Vaughn left for the Angels. But Nomar (and Pedro) carried the team on their backs. Nomar became a batting champ and continued to put up power and run producing numbers. His OPS rose to 1.022 and again he produced big in the Division Series and also the ALCS against the Yankees.
In 2000 he won another batting title and was intentionally walked a league leading 20 times.
At that point he was approaching legend status. His first name was a rallying call for Red Sox fans. Just scream "No-MAH!" and you knew you were amongst friends.
As if his first name wasn't enough of a challenge for Native New Englanders, try Gah-Cee-Ah-Pah-Rah!
He was the heart throb before Johnny Damon (and the pink hats) started showing up.
He was the Red Sox answer to the shortstop debate of the late 1990s/early 2000s. Jeter was the winner, A-Rod the best all around player, Vizquel the best defender... but Nomar was the best hitter.
And he got what it meant to play for the Red Sox. He got close with Ted Williams, knowing that if all went well, number 5 would hang on the right field facade.
When he came back from a injury plagued 2001 season to regain his All Star stroke in 2002, it looked like he was going to lead the Sox to the promise land... especially after the Yawkey family finally gave up control of the team. In fact going into the last month of 2003, Nomar seemed like as good a choice as any for AL MVP... and the team looked destined to win the AL Pennant.
If you stopped time right there in September of 2003 and I told you the Red Sox were going to win the World Series in 2004 and 2007, you would only assume that Nomar was not only going to be on the team... but be one of the heroes.
If I told you that the trading away of Nomar was going to be the turning point of the 2004 season for the better because injuries, the botched trade of Nomar in the off season and his souring attitude made dealing him imperative, you'd commit me to an insane asylum.
If I told you then that he had only one All Star caliber year left in him... and that would be as a first baseman for the Dodgers in 2006, you would say "Yeah right. And Johnny Damon is going to the Yankees!"
Alas Nomar won't be among Yaz, Williams or Rice.
His legacy will be more like Fred Lynn or his teammate Mo Vaughn... an MVP while with the Red Sox but whose post Boston career literally limped along with injuries.
His timing is along the lines of Don Mattingly, who missed one Yankee World Series run by a year at the start of his career and missed another by a year at the end of his career.
So let's forget all of that now.
Let's just go back and remember Nomar right up until his slump at the end of 2003... Let's freeze him in time and remember the charismatic player who wanted to win in Boston so badly.
If his career is over, I hope Francona hires him as a coach. If the Sox ever win another World Series, it would be nice for him to be on the field as a champion.
And maybe he and Mia can have a boy one of these days that the Sox could sign.
But don't think of him sulking in the dugout while Jeter flew into the stands in 2004.
Think about the post season homers and the clutch hits.
And think of those crazy tics and rituals in the batters box, tapping his feet and pulling at his gloves.
Lackey is gone… so is Figgins… and there goes the final two players from the 2002 World Champion Angels.
With the arrival of Hideki Matsui, that also means the end of Vlad Guerrero’s run in Orange County. (Not Los Angeles… Guerrero never played in Los Angeles.)
The Angels must be in a state of shock… and one that Jason Bay can’t revive them from. Oh they will still be a competitive team, but their wonderful run in the 2000s (6 post season appearances, 5 Division Titles, 3 trips to the ALCS and the 2002 World Championship) looks like it might be drying up.
They had a mess of young talent but they also held on to some players for just too long. (I wonder what the Dallas McPherson’s of the world could have fetched at the trade deadline when thttp://i2.cdn.turner.com/si/2009/writers/jon_heyman/10/18/sunday.scoop/mike-scioscia.jpghey always seemed to stay pat.)
Mike Scoscia has had a borderline Hall of Fame career as a manager as it is now.
If he brings another Angel team to the World Series, it will have 100% turnover from his first title team.
If he does THAT, then his place in Cooperstown is secure.
Last night was one of those "race to ESPN and get an update" nights that I love in the off season.
Actually these days I race to the MLB Network and have my web browser open.
But last night was a little different. My wife was making macaroons for our kid's teachers... and she was tired... and needed her husband to take over and cook them.
Fine. Wifey went upstairs and a dutiful husband went to dolloping coconut mixed with apricots onto a baking tray... all the while trying to making sense of the upheaval that was happening in the world of baseball.
THE RED SOX SIGN JOHN LACKEY FOR 5 YEARS AND MIKE CAMERON FOR 2 YEARS
But I love both of these moves. The Red Sox made their rotation stronger with a "Don't F--- With Me" stud. Granted I don't think he is a true #1 ace... but with Lester and Beckett still hanging around he doesn't have to be.
Any rotation that starts with Lester, Beckett and Lackey is going to win a lot of 3 game series.
This takes some pressure off of Dice-K for his comeback.... takes some pressure off of Theo should Beckett want to skedaddle after 2010!
AND they improved the pitching without sacrificing Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Ryan Westmoreland, Casey Kelly, Ryan Kalish, Josh Reddick, Lars Anderson, Junichi Tazawa nor Jose Inglesias.
And also guess what? He's not going to the Yankees!
Meanwhile Mike Cameron is a nice player. So is Jeremy Hermedia. Together they will probably hit a little and field a little. There is no need to over pay for a Jason Bay or a Matt Holliday.
Besides, next year there will be no Ortiz, Varitek, Lowell nor Beckett on the books. There are some big fish available... best not have Bay locked up for his declining years!
(Also Bay leaving town means they get the picks lost from the Lackey signing.)
All in all a good night for Red Sox fans.
THE PHILLIES FINALLY LAND ROY HALLADAY... BUT WHO GOT WHAT? AND DID THE PHILLIES PAY TOO MUCH?
First let me get my petty Red Sox fan perspective out of the way first... I am so relieved that Halladay is completely out of the AL.
He is not a Blue Jays, he is not a Yankee, he is not an Angel... all which bodes well for the Red Sox new revamped rotation.
OK, on to the trade. I THOUGHT I understood what the Phillies were up to.
I THOUGHT the Phillies were basically saying "Hey! We don't know how much longer we have the whole Howard/Rollins/Utley team together... so let's try to get Halladay in here, have the best team in the NL... have the best chance at three straight pennants in Philadelphia since the days of Connie Mack... and go into the World Series with Halladay and Lee going 1-2."
Then I heard Lee was involved in the trade.
Hmmm, I thought. Well I guess the Phillies figured they didn't want to part with some of their prospects like Kyle Drabek or Michael Taylor.
Then I heard they were sent in the trade too.
But they get some minor leaguers back from Seattle.
What in the name of Pete Incaviglia is going on in Philadelphia?
Is this a lateral move?
They start with a Cy Young caliber ace leading a questionable rotation and have some good prospects.
They finish with a Cy Young caliber ace leading a questionable rotation and have some new prospects.
Yes, I know that Halladay is now locked up to a long term contract and Lee’s deal was done at the end of the year… but this wasn’t about avoiding a negotiation.
This was about putting together an uber team. This was about putting a team together to play in that third straight series and possibly have this Phillies squad become the most loved team in Philadelphia Sports History.
And wouldn’t it have made more sense to drag this out? The Mets and Twins dragged out the Johan Santana trade until the Mets basically got a bargain. And no offense to Halladay, but Santana is a better pitcher.
And now, they made their big deal and seem to be in the same place.
Notice I didn’t write “they made their big move.” The Phillies haven’t moved anywhere.
Oh the Mariners have… they trade three minor leaguers and got a second ace. That’s what the Phillies should have done.
Even one season of Halladay/Lee would have been worth it.
Meanwhile the trade is so complicated and involves so many parts that I had to make sure that I wasn’t involved some how.
Now Oakland is involved according to Buster Olney, who has no reason to lie.
Brett Wallace, the prize in the Matt Holliday deal, will be shipped off to Toronto. In the end the Jays snagged a top pitching prospect, one of the top hitting prospects in the game and a solid minor league catcher. A potentially great haul, and no doubt better than two draft picks.
HEY J. P. RICCIARDI! If you could have pulled that off last summer, you’d still have a job!
THE LUNATICS WERE OUT ON WFAN!
While baking the macaroons, I listened to WFAN streaming on my computer. I was the biggest WFAN addict in New York and man it was great listening to the always brilliant Steve Somers calm down Met fans looking to jump off the edge.
“Why didn’t WE get Cliff Lee?” “Why didn’t WE sign John Lackey?”
The Shmoozer was his usual smooth and borderline condescending self, especially when dealing with the callers who kept saying “The Mets Have No Heart!”
Somers would counter “What is more likely is they have no TALENT!”
The handful of Yankee callers complaining about Hideki Matsui leaving cracked me up.
“We’ve GOT to keep Matsui!” Somers would ask “WHERE WOULD HE PLAY?”
Of course there is nowhere. He’s gone and wouldn’t be the first World Series hero to find a new address the next year. (John Wetteland anyone?)
If there is a more insane gathering of irrational sports fans than late night on WFAN, then I can not imagine it. And no better keeper of the insane flame than Somers.
That’s a lot to digest… and so are these macaroons which KICK BUTT
Major League Baseball needs to find ways to make the off season more of a show!
Football has it down.
They are a year long event as a sport, even though each team only plays 16 regular season games.
Baseball plays 10 times as many games and yet sometimes has trouble staying on the national radar.
Football has made the draft a must watch TV event… they draw huge crowds to workouts and practices… their pre season games draw better ratings than some MLB playoff games…
Baseball needs to get some of the football showmanship that keeps it on the front page all year.
They are some small things they can do, like don't hold the Winter Meetings until AFTER the Non Tendered Free Agents are announced. Or don't announce you are thinking about contraction hours after a great World Series has been played.
Of course that would mean having an actual Commissioner, but I digress.
The staff at Sully Baseball has been compiling ideas of ways MLB can put on a few shows and stay in the public eye, even when games AREN'T being played.
THE BASEBALL AWARD SHOW
Why they don’t do this now completely baffles me.
Think of it… one night, we learn the Rookie of the Year, the Manager of the Year, the Comeback Player of the Year, the Gold Gloves, the Cy Young and the MVP are all awarded on the same night.
We get to see A-Rod, Pujols, Lincecum and Ryan Howard in a tux. We get to see former baseball greats paired up with entertainers to present awards.
“Ladies and Gentlemen… Bob Feller and Lady Gaga!”
It would be worth it to cut to Jim Leyland squirming in his seat uncomfortably during the song and dance number that starts the show.
You get a comic who loves baseball to host it… Jerry Seinfeld? Chris Rock? ME!!!!
You show clips, have reunions on stage. “Ladies and Gentlemen… welcome all the closers Bobby Cox used from 1991-2005.”
Wouldn’t that be a more fun way of learning about the awards than a press release?
THE HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCEMENT
The way the Hall of Fame is announced now is so anti climactic. A phone call is made, a press release is faxed or put on a website and it gets leaked.
Not neatly dramatic enough.
I say they channel their inner Publishers Clearing House notifiers.
Each of the Hall of Famers on the ballot… from Bert Blyleven to Jay Bell… need to be home between 12 AM and 3 PM EST. We see a van drive but we’re not sure where we are…
Then they pull up to a house, ring the door bell. Who could it be?
JIM RICE ANSWERS THE DOOR!!!! JIM RICE IS A HALL OF FAMER!!!!
He hugs his wife and kids. We see the actual moment it happens!
But wait, we’re going back to the next van driving up…
I’m telling you it is a wonderful new baseball tradition we can unleash!
REVENUE SHARING SPENDING SPREE
The Yankees, Red Sox, Mets and other big market teams need to cough up money to revenue sharing and teams like the Marlins, Reds and Pirates collect… but what do the teams DO with the money.
Forget this vague “putting it back into the team” promise. Let’s see it!
They have 24 hours to spend all of the revenue sharing money.
And have it be just as the free agents are announced.
Each team has to spend EVERY SINGLE DIME in 24 hours. It will be like Supermarket Sweep, except with baseball players!!!
If it is going into scouting, then they have to show which scouts are getting paid. If it is going into draft picks, they have to produce one of those big ass Ed McMahon checks that they present on draft day.
And if it going into free agents, they have the 24 hours to spend it.
After 24 hours, they money goes back to the original team.
Wouldn’t it be funny to see GMs turn into the equivalent of Richard Pryor in Brewster’s Millions? And those lose revenue teams would get a chance to have money put into their teams… and there is the chance for some REALLY strange signings!
THE SALARY FLOOR
While some people yap about baseball needing to limit spending, I say some teams need to step up! Each team should have a minimum payroll… let’s say $50 million.
$50 million isn’t outrageous. I’m not asking teams to crack nine digits. But teams like the Marlins taking the field with a $36 million are asking for trouble. (Granted they put a winning product on the field while the Mets flopped with a payroll 4 times that… but again I digress.)
Now in 2009, only 3 teams would have been affected by the salary floor… the Pirates, the Padres and the Marlins.
But they’d each have to pony up some cash on the day before Spring Training… and they’d have to do it at a live workout at the Walt Disney Complex in Orlando.
Imagine it… all of the unsigned free agents working out and showing what they got.
Basically every year you'd have the opening of Major League.
You'd get some cut superstars... and Jose Canseco would inevitably show up.
Who knows? Maybe Billy Crystal can try out again!
Make it a reality show... "SO YOU THINK YOU MAKE THE BIG LEAGUES!"
And then at the end of the day, live on TV, the teams that need to work up to the salary floor start handing out contracts to get the payroll to $50 million.
A Marlins team with $14 million more talent on the roster last year could maybe have won 90 games.
And hey… how could a show that gets baseball chatter going on in small markets be a bad thing?
The strange thing is, even though my tongue is firmly in cheek as I write this, I am also being serious! I would watch every single one of these programs.
They would be TV events and internet events for baseball during the off season… and get some markets that aren’t thinking about baseball at least chatting for a day or two.
And before you dismiss all of this as just Sully being crazy, remember… when ESPN approached the NFL with their idea of broadcasting the Draft, it was dismissed as just another piece of cable filler.
I do know what I want the Red Sox to do, and it has NOTHING to do with Jason Bay... or Adrian Gonzalez... or even Roy Halladay.
The Red Sox have lost their identity offensively.
They were the Papi and Manny show. Well Papi is a shell of his former self and even though Theo seems hell bent on acquiring everyone ELSE named Ramirez, Manny is long gone and his replacement Bay looks gone too.
Now Pedroia, Youk and Victor Martinez all make for an OK lineup... and maybe even one that could win another wild card. But they need a new identity.
And I do not know the names of the guys who will be that new identity.
One is a terrific left handed hitter. The other is a fearsome right handed hitter.
And preferably they are two guys will either be a product of the Red Sox farm system or be plucked from another organization and use up their rookie eligibility in a Sox uniform.
Think about the great combinations the Red Sox have had since the franchise was revived in 1967.
Tony Conigliaro and Carl Yastrzemski... This would have been the most beloved 1-2 punch in Red Sox history had Jack Hamilton's pitch not hit Tony C in the face.
As it was, the two had a few terrific years together with Yaz providing the all around offense and Tony C smacking the home runs and making the hearts flutter.
Both could have been the MVP in 1975 or in 1979 (Lynn won it in 1975.) Rice WAS the MVP in 1978.
I can not recall a better 1-2 tandem of home grown players who emerged at the same time as these two. A new Lynn-Rice for the 2010s would be the greatest thing to happen to Red Sox Nation since Dave Roberts' steal.
(Isn't it odd that the Red Sox amidst the Yawkey years held onto RICE and not Lynn?)
It's funny. I originally felt apologetic about including these two. But why? They are both Hall of Famers... and they gave the Red Sox a righty-lefty threat that was quite unique. Twice when Jim Rice was a top 5 finisher for the MVP, Boggs won the batting title and led the league in on base percentage in the same year.
Plus had Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell, Ray Knight or Mookie Wilson made an out in the 10th inning of Game 6, then THEY would have been the ones to have lifted the Curse!
Granted the least sexy of the lefty-righty tandems. But Burks was a solid all around offensive player who continued to produce long after the Red Sox dumped him. (He came back to earn a ring with the 2004 squad.) And Mike Greenwell may not have been a Hall of Famer like Williams, Yaz or Rice... but he gave the Red Sox 9 full seasons in left, hitting .295 or better in 8 of those seasons, had some decent pop and was runner up to Jose Canseco in the 1988 MVP vote.
Doesn't it seem like they had more than 2 full seasons together? They were a perfect duo. Vaughn, the big lovable lug from Connecticut who was beloved by the fans and helped ease the Red Sox terrible reputation with African American players... but also could launch homers that just towered into the bullpen and be a .300 hitter and a top 5 MVP finisher 3 times. (Yeah he won the MVP in 1995... but Albert Belle should have won it.)
And Nomar, whose name became a rallying cry, was the 1997 Rookie of the Year his first full season with Vaughn and the MVP runner up his second and final year with Vaughn. When Vaughn left it broke up the tandem that seemed destined to break the curse.
Ahhh the ones who DID break The Curse. And we now know they weren't just eating Wheaties either.
But for those magical 5 1/2 seasons, there was no middle of the order that spelled doom faster than Papi and Manny. Papi brought the best out of Manny and Manny made sure Papi saw some fast balls to hit!
Papi had 5 straight top 5 MVP finishes in that run and Manny had 3 top 10 MVP finishes in the same 5 year run.
And you will note that with the exception of Papi and Manny, they were all products of the Sox farm system. And only Manny was a player of note before coming over.
These were hitters who played either their whole career as a Red Sox hitter or at least played their prime years in Fenway.
I am not talking about importing Adrian Gonzalez or Matt Holliday and seeing them break down in a Red Sox uniform or not fit in to the crazy Boston sports culture.
We need to develop our own... and then use the Red Sox resources to keep them around. They way that Pedroia, Youkilis, Lester, Ellsbury, Papelbon and hopefully Buchholz, Bard and Bowden will be Red Sox for a long long time.
The time has come for the next great 1-2 punch in Red Sox history... and until then we are on a bridge.
Let's hope this bridge is built quicker than the Big Dig!
Perhaps it is appropriate that one of the pictures of proposed sites for the A's new ballpark features arrows going in all sorts of directions.
But it looks like Mayor Ron Dellums and company are going to try and keep the A's in town and finally unveiled some places to stick a baseball only ballpark.
Maybe they should have had a plan when the Raiders came back to town 14 years ago. Let's face it, the Oakland Coliseum wasn't a great place to see a ballgame BEFORE Al Davis returned to town, but since then it has reached "Stade Olympique in Montreal" levels of "They can't POSSIBLY play a big league game there!
So now the stadium is half empty during playoff games (I went to a playoff game in 2003 where there were 18,000 tickets available AFTER first pitch... my parents went to a deciding Game 5 in Oakland where they bought tickets at the ticket window DAY OF GAME!)
And it is not filled for Raider games ever. It is as if they found the way to perfectly foul it up for BOTH football and baseball.
The sad thing is there was a lot of money flowing through California in the 1990s... might have been the right time to build a ballpark!
Their neighbors across the Bay were in a rancid stadium (the Stick, like the Boston Garden, was more romantic in memory than it was in reality.) And now they have arguably the best new stadium in baseball.
And the A's are stuck... And California is handing out I.O.U.s and Ah-Nold is more likely to get a budget for Last Action Hero 2 approved before getting a working budget for the state.
Not the best time to be spending dough on a new ballpark.
Maybe if the A's had built a new ballpark in the 1990s there would have been enough dough to keep the early 2000s teams together.
But now the city is scrambling to find some space along the Bay to stick a park and maybe put a few people to work.
Frankly I was hoping the A's would move to San Jose. There would be nice sports symmetry there. Each Bay Area city would have 2 teams.
San Francisco would have the Giants and the 49ers. Oakland would have the Raiders and the Warriors. (And the Warriors should change their name to the Oakland Warriors... Golden State sounds like a Cal State school scrambling for cash.) San Jose would have the Sharks and the A's.
I hope they find a new place soon... the A's are a proud franchise and they deserve better than being the OTHER team ruined by Al Davis!
Bernie Taupin and Elton John said it best in “Honky Cat”… a change is going to do me good.
Sometimes a change can do a ballplayer some good. Sometimes a player is simply stuck in a bad place and changing to another team could awaken the star player within
Three World Series MVPs were players that were considered damaged good before they changed addresses and were revived. (Dave Stewart, Scott Brosius and Mike Lowell.)
Other players just have excessive expectations and can’t meet their potential until they switch uniforms and help a team to the World Series title. (Jose Contreras and Jeff Weaver come to mind.)
Which brings me to insane multiteam trade #2 of the Winter Meetings that should take place.
Earlier today I proposed a 9 team deal that basically shuffles a bunch of bad contracts around.
Well now I am suggesting that three of the whopper, gigantic, unmovable, GMs have been fired for less contracts should be swapped for each other.
The Giants deal Barry Zito and his $83 million contract over 4 seasons to the Blue Jays
The Blue Jays deal Vernon Wells and his $98.5 million contract over 4 seasons to the Cubs
The Cubs deal Alfonso Soriano and his $95 million contract over 5 seasons to the Giants
The Giants bring in Soriano, a player who at one point in his career looked like an MVP candidate… but is coming off of injuries, terrible defense, and not exactly endearing himself to the Chicago faithful.Soriano gets a fresh start and could move to first base and protect Pablo Sandoval. And they wouldn’t have to give up any young pitching talent.
The Blue Jays would get Zito, a starting pitcher to fill the inevitable void left by the Roy Halladay deal. Plus Zito had much more success in the AL than the NL… go figure. And as big as Zito’s contract is, it is would actually SAVE the Blue Jays nearly $5 million a season compared to Wells.
The Cubs get Wells, a player who before his giant contract was a Gold Glover with power and was considered to be one of the good guys in the game. Maybe he would relax in Wrigley and regain his power stroke and defense. And if it doesn’t comeback, his contract is a year shorter than Soriano’s.
So once again, your pal Sully has the right idea… you can’t get out from a crappy contract. But maybe a DIFFERENT crappy contract can make the difference?
How can it be worse than seeing these guys sit miserably in their current dugouts for the next 4 or 5 years?
The Phils would love to move him and his $24 million deal… but that won’t be easy.
Notice I didn’t say IMPOSSIBLE!
Philadelphia needs to find some teams who are also willing to move around some salaries and bad deals… and it would help if a team has a gullible general manager, another team needs to slash payroll because of an impending divorce and yet another club has no payroll restrictions.
The Staff at Sully Baseball has devised a 9 team trade involving 11 players and a bunch of bad contracts.
In the end Brad Lidge will have found a home after being passed like a hot potato to all 9 teams and only 2 teams would see their own payroll affected more than a few million dollars.
Here’s how the trade would unfold.
The Phillies deal Brad Lidge and his $24 million deal over 2 years to the Reds for Francisco Cordero and his $25 million deal over 2 years.
The Reds deal Brad Lidge and his $24 million deal over 2 years to the Royals for Gil Meche and Jose Guillen (combined $24 million but both done after this year)
The Royals deal Brad Lidge and his $24 million deal over 2 years to the Mets for Oliver Perez and his 2 years $24 million deal
The Mets deal Brad Lidge and his $24 million deal over 2 years to the Cubs for Milton Bradley and his $21 million deal over 2 years
The Cubs deal Brad Lidge and his $24 million deal over 2 years to the Mariners for Carlos Silva and his $24 million deal over 2 years
The Mariners deal Brad Lidge and his $24 million deal over 2 years to the Angels for Gary Matthews Jr and his $23 million deal over 2 years
The Angels deal Brad Lidge for his $24 million deal over 2 years to the Dodgers for Juan Pierre and George Sherrill (combined 2 years for $27 million)
The Dodgers deal Brad Lidge and his $24 million deal over 2 years to the Yankees for Kei Igawa and his 2 year $8 million deal
What the trade means to each team…
Francisco Cordero for Brad Lidge
Cordero can close and Lidge is done in Philadelphia Payroll Difference: + $1 million
Gil Meche and Jose Guillen for Francisco Cordero
Cincy can sign a closer and they get a decent starter and a malcontented but talented outfielder, something Dusty Baker has some experience with. Payroll Difference: EVEN
Oliver Perez for Gil Meche and Jose Guillen
KC gets a talented but inconsistent pitcher. But getting Jose Guillen off the team is a plus. Payroll Difference: EVEN
Milton Bradley for Oliver Perez
Getting Perez out of New York is a must. Slashing payroll is a plus. Maybe Bradley can thrive with a change of scenery. Maybe Omar Minaya will be the billionth person to think that Bradley's talents will cancel out his baggage. Payroll Difference: - $3 million
Carlos Silva for Milton Bradley
The Cubs would be lucky to get used toilet paper for Milton Bradley. And who knows? Maybe Silva can be a decent #4 starter with any luck. Payroll Difference: +3 million
Gary Matthews Jr. for Carlos Silva
Both players are damaged goods, but maybe Matthews can take advantage of the gaps in the outfield. Besides, the Mariners are clearly coveting all things Angels. Payroll Difference: -$1 million
Juan Pierre and George Sherrill for Gary Matthews Jr.
The Angels get a speedy outfielder who might replace Chone Figgins plus some needed bullpen depth while fleecing their cross highway neighbors. Payroll Difference: +$4 million
Kei Igawa for Juan Pierre and George Sherrill
This is clearly a salary dump, but with the impending nasty divorce that is brewing over Dodger land, it might be prudent to demp essentially a fourth outfielder and a set up man to free up some dough. Payroll Difference: -$19 million
Brad Lidge for Kei Igawa
The sooner Igawa is gone, the sooner the biggest blunder in Brian Cashman’s career will be wiped from the records. Plus Lidge won’t have to close… there’s a fellow named Rivera doing that. He can just let it rip in the 8th… and maybe send Joba to the rotation forever. Yeah it is a bump in salary… but these aren’t the Pirates! These are the Yankees! They can afford it. Payroll Difference: +$16 million
Ahhh if only the Winter Meetings were really like this!