Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Action Slows to a Crawl and Manny gets Greedy

This is the week I phone one in.

Next week is all the exciting recap of the off-season action and just a couple weeks after that we have the World Baseball Classic Preview and following a few weeks after that you will witness the greatest Major League Baseball Preview these internets have ever seen. I have a pretty extensive vision for a 3-part Preview in mind, but if anybody has any suggestions now, just start pouring them in. I will be much-obliged to take in any more information. These an event years in the making.

But enough about the future, what do we have this week?

Answer: not a hell of a lot of anything. I would like to get the one big move out of the way.

New York (NL) signs SP Oliver Perez to 3 year, $36 million deal
Wow, just wow....leave it to the Mets to drop my jaw. Oliver Perez hadn't signed for three months. He seemed to be yet another victim of the failing economy. I figured Boras and Ollie would hedge their bets, sign a 1 year, $10 million deal and pray for a stronger economy in 2010. But the Mets were in a charitable mood this week, apparently. 3 years and $36 million cannot be described as anything but charity. The Mets didn't just overpay, they over-committed. 3 years for Oliver Perez? I know he isn't that old, but you can't say he isn't a huge-calculated risk. This is the same guy who looked like a world-beater for a year in Pittsburgh, then looked like a #5 AAA starter the next, then looked excellent for the Mets, then turned in the first pitching performance in NLCS history, then fall back down to Earth and pitched like a mediocre #3 pitcher last year. So if his career has fluctuated for the last 5 years of his career, why would the Mets feel like he will be consistent enough from now on to warrant a 3 year deal? What an insanely generous deal. One more thing about the M'azings. In the ESPN article announcing the Mets' casual decision to make the worst deal of the year, the article also referenced that the Mets had signed Freddy Garcia somewhere in the distant past of this off-season. Where was that press release? I think the odds that Garcia is a better pitcher than Perez are 2 to 1.

Then there's Jason Varitek. Oh Tek. What does it say about the Red Sox when their "Captain", presumably the intellectual and emotionally level-headed one, turns down $10 million in arbitration in a weak economy and then cashes in for HALF OF THAT, with his tail between his legs. And for the record, Jason Varitek is not worth more than 1 year, $1 million this year. That extra $4 million is as much a gift from the Red Sox as Oliver Perez's gift of a deal. Boston probably just wanted to put a band-aid on Tek's bruised pride. 

Of course, there is another Boras client who is making poor decisions this week. I think 1 year, $25 million is the absolutely perfect deal for Manny Ramirez. He could earn the second biggest salary in the league this year, win the NL MVP, then cash in next year for a 3-year, $80 million deal. Apparently, Boras and Manny thought differently. I just pray that the Dodgers do not reward him for greed. There is NO ONE, literally no one out there who will sign Manny for more. The Giants are the only other team in the sport who are interested and they would only him if they can get him less than the Dodgers are willing to pay. The Dodgers can't give in and give him more money. They would just be negotiating against themselves...and unlike the Yankees, they can't afford to do that.

This just in, Barry Bonds did steroids!

And I still don't care. Barry Bonds is a jerk, a cheater and a potential prisoner in the future. But he is also a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. Even if you can prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt that he did steroids (and you probably can at this point), you still have to realize that a sizable chunk of his competition was as well. The Hall of Fame exists to document greatness throughout baseball history, not to selectively pick the nice gentlemen from each era. Barry Bonds is an ass but he is still one of the most prolific players to ever pick up a bat and he is the very icon of the Steroid Era. And Major League Baseball can close their eyes and pretend that the Steroid Era never happened all they want, but it did happen and you can't ignore it. Barry Bonds was the best player of his era, and he belongs in the Hall. There don't need to be any asterisks. History will know of the unfair things he and many others did, and history will judge them accordingly. But he still belongs in the Hall, even if he is sitting in his cell when his name appears on the ballot.

That is pretty much all that happened this week. There is just one tiny personal thing left. 

I finally read Moneyball, and it is the best sports-book I have ever read in my life. It is pretty much all I have been able to think about for the past four days since I finished it. Just a masterpiece, absolute masterpiece. Billy Beane immediately jumps to the front of the list of my baseball heroes, and my faith in Mark Shapiro is forever rewarded for turning Bartolo Colon into Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee and not Cory Lidle and Carlos Pena, like Billy Beane tried to get him to do.

To those of you who have read Moneyball.....doesn't it rock?

To those of you who haven't read it and thank me next week. 

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