Monthly Archives: December 2009

NFL Notes

– The Vikings, yuk. I don’t know what went wrong this week, and two weeks ago against Arizona. For some reason they just can’t win on Sunday night. Luckily, the next time they have to play on Sunday night is… the Super Bowl? At any rate, they’re still NFC North champions.
– The Eagles won their fifth straight, beating the 49ers at home, and clinched a playoff spot in the process. Yes, I have a feeling they’re going to be playing the Vikings in the playoffs again. Maybe I can get my wife to let our baby be a fan of the winner- think she’ll agree to that?
– Why couldn’t Chad Ochocinco wear Chris Henry’s number again? I have no understanding at all of how these things work.

Sports Radio Moment of the Day

A caller to WIP last Friday, an old timer, had the following take on the trading of Cliff Lee by Phillies: The organization is cheap- after all, they once gave Richie Ashburn a pay cut after he hit .330!
That happened in 1955. So a pay cut, 54 years ago, during reserve clause times, by a previous ownership group, should clearly reflect poorly on the current team, which has been to two straight World Series, has a $140 million 2010 payroll, and just signed the best pitcher in baseball to a $60 million deal. Same old Phillies.

Mauer: What Not to Do

Charley Walters in the Pioneer Press has an interesting idea about the Twins/Mauer negotiations:

Mauer is represented by Baltimore-based agent Ron Shapiro, who also represented late hall of famer Kirby Puckett of the Twins. Maybe Shapiro could insist on an out clause for Mauer should the Twins finish below .500 in a season.

The Twins would be insane to agree to that. Not only would they risk losing Mauer in the event of one bad year- which would sort of defeat the purpose of the whole idea of “locking him up”- but imagine a scenario in which the team is around .500 in September. At that point, Mauer’s goal of reaching free agency would be counter to the goal of the rest of the team (winning.) There’s a reason no one ever does that. It’s also unnecessary- the Twins have had a losing record exactly once in Mauer’s career.
Then again, in the same column Walters argues that Jack Morris should make the Hall of Fame, in part, because he tied for the second-most Opening Day starts in history.

Quote of the Day

Jonathan Chait, on what’s really happening with Joe Lieberman:

I suspect that Lieberman is the beneficiary, or possibly the victim, of a cultural stereotype that Jews are smart and good with numbers. Trust me, it’s not true. If Senator Smith from Idaho was angering Democrats by spewing uninformed platitudes, most liberals would deride him as an idiot. With Lieberman, we all suspect it’s part of a plan. I think he just has no idea what he’s talking about and doesn’t care to learn. Lieberman thinks about politics in terms of broad ideological labels. He’s the heroic centrist voice pushing legislation to the center. No, Lieberman doesn’t have any particular sense of what the Medicare buy-in option would do to the national debt. If the liberals like it, then he figures it’s big government and he should oppose it. I think it’s basically that simple.

I never liked that guy, ever.

Thoughts on the Halladay Deal

The deal is now (just about) final; a few scattered thoughts:
– The Phils get arguably the best pitcher in baseball, for 4-5 years, for less money than they would have had to pay for him in free agency. So barring injury, they’re assured of a sure ace for all of that time.
– Wednesday and Thursday were fun, fun days on Twitter and MLBTradeRumors, as scenario after scenario flew through the air- I think about 50 different players were mentioned as being part of the deal at one point or another.
– I love that Halladay wanted to sign with the Phillies because his house in Florida is near their spring training facility.
– Fans in Philly are upset that Cliff Lee had to be traded in the bargain. Well first of all, the question isn’t “who’s better, Halladay or Lee?” It’s, “what’s better- one year of Lee, or five of Halladay?” The answer to that should be obvious.
– Yes, losing Lee sucks for the Phillies. Should they have traded Joe Blanton instead, dumped his salary, and kept Lee for one more year? That would have been preferable- but apparently there was next to no interest in Blanton, and they couldn’t have gotten prospects for him.
– It would have been awesome to have a front of the rotation of Halladay/Lee/Hamels, sure- but the Phils won the World Series in ’08 with a top three of Hamels/Myers/Moyer- next year’s front line of Halladay/Hamels/Happ (plus Blanton and possibly Pedro) is considerably better than that. And don’t tell me they “can’t beat the Yankees” with that rotation- who the hell knows? The next World Series is in ten months; we don’t even know who will be in it, who will be good next year, who will or won’t be injured, etc.
– If I were running the Phillies, I’d feel a lot worse about losing Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor than about Lee- they both look like studs, who are under control for a long time. Plus, the team is quickly getting older (I believe 7 of 8 regulars are 30 or older), and they need a farm system to step in once the current run is over. Then again, Taylor was quickly flipped to Oakland, and knowing the A’s, if he’s any good he’ll be back on the trade market again in 2-3 years.
– Another byproduct of this- the return of the “Phillies are cheap” meme! Sure, they gave a $60 million extension to a superstar pitcher, bringing their payroll to $140 million- those penny-pinching jackasses! Yes, people are going to be upset when a move has to be made to get under a budget- but it’s a very, very high budget. Like, Top 5 in baseball.
– And yes, Philly phandom has spent the last several days (and really, the last several months) debating whether they’d rather have Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay. As a Twins fan- or really, as a fan of just about any other team- I’d LOVE to have that problem.
– Then again, it seems pretty clear the Jays got a better haul of prospects for Halladay than the Twins got for Santana. I bet the Blue Jays make the playoffs again before the Mets do.
– Phuture Phillies had by far the best analysis of the trade that I’ve seen.