What the VORP? (cont.)
Posted: Monday August 27, 2007 12:13PM; Updated: Monday August 27, 2007 2:31PM
Sometimes I don't think Curt Schilling listens to himself. He comments that he wants to impress upon young pitchers and that Tampa could be just the place for him. What about mentoring Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Dice-K and Josh Beckett, who are all 28 or younger?
Schilling thinks that everything that comes out of his mouth is a pearl when most of it is just garbage. His reasoning to want to pitch for Tampa Bay made no sense. You are absolutely right. Boston has just as many good young pitchers as Tampa Bay. And besides, I don't believe anyone in the history of baseball has chosen to sign a multi-million dollar contract for purposes of mentoring. If he wants to mentor, he should become a coach.
I think Schilling is just arrogant enough to believe that he can lead the D-Rays to the promised land. He's convinced himself that he was the main cog in both Arizona and Boston, so why not?
Yes, I think you are correct. The fact they haven't won more than 70 games, are on their way to another 95-loss season and have a payroll of about $25 million doesn't deter Schilling from thinking that, at age 41, he can turn it around. It's probably that sort of thinking that has enabled him to have a great career. That said, I still don't believe he's going to Tampa.
Maybe Schilling feels that he's wealthy enough so that he doesn't have to scrape for every extra dollar? Isn't that the kind of ballplayer who writers and fans say they want? If so, then why criticize Schilling for failing to be a money-grubber?
One reason he doesn't have an agent is that he doesn't think it's worth it. So I wouldn't say he isn't focused on money. What he doesn't realize is that he's cost himself money, because even an average agent could do more than 5 percent better than him. I admire players who are in it to win. And I do believe Schilling is a winner. So I have to give him that. And yet, I have to think he is full of baloney in his comments about wanting to be a Devil Ray. In any case, I don't think he should be discussing where he wants to play next when his team is in a pennant race.
I know that you don't mention Eric Gagne in your article but I have to ask you: Don't you feel that Boston has been had? Gagne has cost the Red Sox three games! Perhaps its time for Terry Francona to demote Gagne to the seventh inning until he proves that he can perform when it counts.
I thought getting Gagne would be a great move for Boston, and I am not about to give up on that thought now. I suspect Boston isn't either. He appears to be throwing well. Perhaps there's an adjustment to becoming an eighth-inning pitcher vs. a closer, and if that's the case, I am not sure if moving him to the seventh inning would help much (unless you think reducing his impact is the solution). Anyway, I wouldn't give up yet.
I think the Dodgers did exactly the right thing in not giving up on their young players. Remember Cey, Russell, Lopes, Garvey, Yeager? They all came up together and matured together. Sometimes you just have to "stay the course."
They may well have done the right thing. I was merely suggesting that the Dodgers may regret making virtually all their prospects off-limits if they don't make it to the playoffs this year. While they have produced a number of terrific prospects, I don't believe it's likely that every last prospect is bound to turn into a star, though. I wouldn't trade Matt Kemp (or certainly Russell Martin or Jonathan Broxton). Although I might consider trading James Loney, Andre Ethier, Chad Billingsley or Andy LaRoche in the right deal.
The irony, in my view, is that it has been the Dodgers' inability to recognize that the future is now and that their prospects are better than their veterans. The Opening Day lineup of this team should have featured Loney, Kemp and Wilson Betemit (if not LaRoche) with Nomar Garciaparra and Luis Gonzalez either on the bench or not on the team. The team's decision to play Nomar (now, surprisingly, injured) over first Loney and then Betemit/LaRoche has been a huge mistake -- one that everyone saw coming -- and may cost this team the division. Of course, this says nothing about the decision to sign Juan Pierre, which was tragic -- and, again, identifiable as so at the time the deal was made to almost everyone in and out of baseball.
I do think they would have been better off just giving Loney the first-base job than re-signing Garciaparra. However, that's easy for me to say now. I also think Kemp and Ethier are good enough to play every day. I am not as sold on LaRoche.
Bud Selig gets an "A"? Seems to me Barry Bonds and Selig deserve the same grade since they're both responsible for this mess.
The "A'' was for the chase, and he was there for eight days before he had to meet with baseball's drug czar George Mitchell, who is battling cancer and on a tight schedule. Selig was there for No. 755, and had Bonds not gone dry, Selig would have been there for No. 756, too. As it was, he had representatives of his there, and he called to congratulate Bonds. In terms of the "mess,'' while perhaps Selig should have pressed for drug testing a year or two earlier, I can't put him in the boat with the cheaters.
You call it "whining," but Bobby Cox knows when to take the heat for his players and keep them in the game. There's a reason why most players love playing for him and it's not because he's a "whiner." They know he's got their back and will fight for them.
Sometimes I feel as if I am alone, but Cox's charms are lost on me. All I can see is that he is a man with a bad temper. And from what I can tell, he usually starts whining on that bench way before one of his players gets involved.
Cox was a better GM than you are as a columnist. A far as on-field performance, name one other manager with his achievements since 1961. He took the Braves from worst to first and won with the Blue Jays in the '80s. And you have managed how many big league games? Cox may lack rings, but he defends his players better than anyone in the game.
I concede that Cox is a very good manager. But he isn't better than Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, Lou Piniella, Tommy Lasorda or many others I could name, and his so-so in-game strategies are exposed come October.
Isn't this thing with A-Rod pretty simple? No one except the Yankees would pay more than $27 million a year. If A-Rod wants something like seven years, $180 million, why don't the Yankees just sign him to an extension for four years and 100 million? A-Rod's still getting his huge deal and the Yanks save the $29 million. Take it easy, Jon.
I am not sure the Yankees are the only ones who'd pay the $27 million, or more. But I do think there's a decent chance they do wind up keeping him. If they do, it will be via an extension, as you suggested, as that's the only way they'd keep the $29 million Rangers owner Tom Hicks would still owe. Hicks is on the hook only if A-Rod doesn't opt out. Once he does, Hicks saves the bucks. My guess is that you are way short in your guess as to what he'll get, though. My guess is $256 million for eight years total. You are welcome to remind me if you were closer.
Am I crazy or is there reason for optimism in Baltimore? It would seem that if the Orioles tried again to fix the bullpen this offseason, the team isn't in that bad of shape. I would think they could at least get a setup man and a prospect for Miguel Tejada and then get top draft pick Matt Wieters on the field and move Ramon Hernandez to DH.
No, I would never call one of my readers crazy. I already called one person crazy this week (Schilling) and that's plenty. There's almost always some reason to feel some optimism, and the signing of Georgia Tech's switch-hitting catcher Wieters is a very good start for the O's. I hear he's also a pretty good relief pitcher, so maybe he could do double duty for the O's (I'm not kidding about that).
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