December 09, 2016

Looks like #Cardinals WILL overpay for Dexter Fowler (updated)

So much for rumors, reported by Bernie Miklasz and others, that Cubs free agent center fielder Dexter Fowler did not want to play for the Cardinals. Also so much for rumors that Cardinals GM John Mozeliak did not want to give him a long-term deal, as in not above four years.

Derrick Goold at the Post-Dispatch and others are reporting a 5-year, $80-million deal is in the offing.

Oh, it's even worse. 5/$82.5 WITH full no-trade.

On salary, it may not be a huge overpay, especially if Mo front-loads the contract, like he did three years ago with Jhonny Peralta. But, he only gave Peralta four years.

Yes, we're in the land of overpays.

It all started with the four-year/$110 million contract for Yoenis Cespedes, which was was itself an overpay under either the old or new CBAs

Then it got worse when it leaked that Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, via überagent Scott Boras, wants a 10-year, $400-million new contract. No, really. And now, Boras is boo-hooing that the new CBA hurts Latino players not yet inside the MLB system.

I had expected 4/$70 for Fowler, which would be a higher AAV, but by "just" $1.5M per year. (Update: at $82.5, not $80, the AAV is equal.) I later wondered why the Cards didn't consider something like what the Cubs actually did, which set Fowler lose — sign former Card Jon Jay back to the team. C'mon, Redbird fans, you'd have taken him, even with recent injury concerns, at 1 year, $8 million. (Is he another former Card with some sort of animosity toward the team?)

Adam Eaton sounded great in trade, but reportedly the Chisox wanted Alex Reyes as part of the deal, and I'm glad Mo said no, if that was true.

This isn't perfect. I wish they had kicked the tires further on Lorenzo Cain, if they didn't. Of course, maybe Fowler is in "buy me now" mode, and west on I-70, Royals GM Dayton Moore is NOT in "I'll trade now" mode. Ian Desmond seemed another possibility, one talked up by Mo just before he signed with the Rockies.

Otherwise, per my scenario, Fowler's moderately better than Jay at drawing walks, maybe a touch better as a baserunner, but not as good a defender, which makes a deal with Fowler more puzzling yet, if it's for five years and partially because the team doesn't think Grichuk can patrol center. Why they think Fowler will help, I don't know. Even with allegedly having problems with balls straight over his head, Grichuk is right now a better defensive center fielder than Fowler.

Makes me wonder yet more if Mo doesn't have some tiff with Jay or vice versa.

And, of course, Mo will blame naggers among social media users and bloggers for riding his case over this. Yep, that's me.

Missing from Trump's generals cabinet? #MAGA

A lot of people have noted that Trump seems to be picking a lot of former generals to his cabinet.

(That said, maybe he forgot to watch Seven Days in May. A coup would trump [I see what I did there!] impeachment, would it not?)

In the spirit of fun, let's suggest some nominees for positions Trump has not yet filled.

More generals for the generals' cabinet:
1. Biggus Dickus for Secretary of State. If not him, Gen. Jack D. Ripper. I had actually thought of Ripper, with his fluoridation concerns, to run the EPA.
2. General Tso for what, FDA?
3. Gen. Phil Sheridan, of infamous mal mot about "the only good Indians I saw were dead" to run the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
4. Gen. William T. Sherman needs to be named to a newly-created Cabinet position, which would, of course, be Secretary of Texas. Or, since he preferred hell, he could run the White House faith-based initiatives program.
5. Gen. Smedley Butler is, of course, our Secretary of Commerce. Might as well be fully honest about this.
6. Quintus Fabius Maximus (we'll see who gets the reference) will be White House special counsel for Obamacare repeal.
7. Alexander the Great will be White House press secretary. Why? #MakeAlexanderGreat-Asiatics!
8. Gen. Lee could be our Secretary of Transportation. (Think about that one, too.)
9. "Gen." Jeffery Immelt is our Secretary of Energy.
10. The Donald could rename himself, or be renamed by others, as General Zod.

We do need a Secretary of the Navy, too.
Adm. Horatio Hornblower? Capt. Bligh? Capt. Ahab? Lt. Com. Queeg? The Navy guy from Village People? Gilligan?

Many American Generals and Admirals!

Make Admirals and Generals Autocrats!

December 08, 2016

#Recount2016 — quick Michigan update

A federal district judge, Mark Goldsmith, has changed his earlier ruling and deferred to a Michigan state appellate court saying Jill Stein is not an "aggrieved party" and therefore put her recount effort there back on hold. She's apparently going to next appeal within the state court system to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Quick analysis.

1. She should have followed this route all along. Failure to do so is probably why the 6th Court of Appeals on the fed side overruled Goldsmith. It probably mentioned deference to the state court process.

2. At the same time, this shows some of the things wrong with federalism.

3. This also illustrates the "why" of my call to use the Constitution's stipulation of the presidency as America's one national race to use that to implement national vote standards for, at least, that one race.

4. The Michigan electoral statute seems pretty clear. Stein is not an aggrieved party. Did her lawyers check that in advance? Hey, David Cobb, YOU are a lawyer, too!

December 07, 2016

Bryce Harper and Scott Boras, crack-smokers (updated)

Bryce Harper, $400M man?
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, via überagent Scott Boras, wants a 10-year, $400-million new contract. No, really.

Other than his career year of 2015, which currently seems to be an anomaly of major size, Harper has never posted more than a 135 OPS+ nor more than 6 WAR.

He's an average defensive right-fielder, and not hugely above average there offensively.

As somebody else said on Twitter, if Harper actually is "worth" that, then Mike Trout is worth $1 billion.

Along with that, let's include blogs like this one, calling it "a great deal," among the crack-smokers while we're at it.

Update, Dec. 7: If Adam Eaton is headed TO the Nationals, then our $400M man is surely headed AWAY as soon as the Nats get the right offer, right? Just how long they hold out for what seems to be the "right" offer?

"That's a clown question, bro."

Of course, the Mets get part of the blame this offseason. A 4/$110 contract for Yoenis Cespedes was itself an overpay.

These winter meetings will be silly season indeed. Pretty soon, the contract last year for Jason Wayward, I mean Jason Heyward, will get called small potatoes, especially if he rebounds. And, owners will continue to not help themselves.

That said, from the Cardinals' point of view, this just jacked up the free agency price for Dexter Fowler. He's going to want 3/$50 at a minimum.  And 4/$70 would not surprise me.

As for Harper, Boras and the Nats? The Nats have two more arb years with Harper, so they have time to figure out how serious Boras and Harper are before deciding to make counteroffers, or already start entertaining trades. I could see a slumping team trade a hot Harper in midseason next year if the price is right.

Overpay for Fowler? Try a trade? It's Mo's move for the #Cardinals

Yes, it looks like outfielders could be pricey indeed this offseason.

It all started with the four-year/$110 million contract for Yoenis Cespedes, which was was itself an overpay under either the old or new CBAs

Then it got worse when it leaked that Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, via überagent Scott Boras, wants a 10-year, $400-million new contract. No, really.

Other than his career year of 2015, which currently seems to be an anomaly of major size, Harper has never posted more than a 135 OPS+ nor more than 6 WAR.

He's an average defensive right-fielder, and not hugely above average there offensively.

As somebody else said on Twitter, if Harper actually is "worth" that, then Mike Trout is worth $1 billion.

That said, from the Cardinals' point of view, this just jacked up the free agency price for Dexter Fowler. He's going to want 3/$50 at a minimum.  And 4/$70 would not surprise me. That said, the Cardinals' initial offer of 4/$60 would not be so much an overpay — if he took that. That's the team, not him.

So, the trade route? Adam Eaton sounds great, and just like another player the Chisox just traded, Chris Sale, young and under contractual control.

On the other hand, that means Cards GM John Mozeliak will have to shovel out the prospects, just like Boston did with Yoan Moncada and three others to get Sale. I'm OK with Luke Weaver being in such a package from the pitching side, though not overenthusiastic, but really don't want other AAA/AAAA players to add in. If the Chisox need an MLB player back, give them Tommy Pham. I would prefer NOT to include Carson Kelly; young catchers with potential don't come along a lot.

Update, 7 p.m. Eaton's moving — to Washington. Which, in turn, means that Bryce Harper is even more likely to be moving somewhere else. Heh, heh.

Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain are other rumored trade options. Dyson's a poor man's Fowler with just one year of contract left. He might partially fill a gap, but why? If you're thinking of him, let Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk further develop on their own instead. If that's Mo's idea of an "answer," it would be sad indeed.

Cain is certainly a better defensive player, though Dyson isn't bad. He's also a cut, but not two cuts, above Dyson with the bat. He might be worth resigning, but in the longer term, I think the Cards would have to do that with the proviso of moving him to right. And, AFAIK, MLB doesn't allow trades to be made with part of the trade value contingent on resigning a player.

The third answer, to riff on Dyson vs. current players, is to stand pat, and possibly think about 2018 free agent outfielders, though that crop isn't great either. Assume that Carlos Martinez moves another step forward, Adam Wainwright will be somewhat better, that the later two-thirds of the season Lance Lynn will be like he was in 2015, and that "whomever" can fill out the back part of the rotation decently, the bullpen will be straightened out, and that, if Mike Matheny is serious, fundamentals of play will be improved.

Mo said "some clarity is starting to shake out" Wednesday morning. That said, kind of weirdly and with interesting timing, he mentioned Ian Desmond. More weirdly yet, the Rockies just signed him to a contract with some very interesting creativity on salary structure.

Since the Cardinals have sucked on baserunning ever since Matheny became manager, it's kind of hard to take him seriously here, though. 😣😣😣 Ditto on Mo wanting more speed, as he knows enough about Matheny at this time to know his weaknesses. 🍋🍋🍋

So, sorry to new Post-Dispatch columnist Jose de Jesus Ortiz. Turd-polish him all you want, but I'll believe Matheny is continuing to improve ... when he actually does so. And, according to Redbird Rants, John Lackey complained about management at end of 2015. Whether he meant Mo or Matheny, I don't know.

#Recount2016 — Is the #GreenParty at the end of its tether?

The North Star's Mark Lause certainly seems to think that may be the case. He does a good job of explaining all the rabbit trails and spider webs within the national Green Party, its relation to various state Green Parties, and more.

Part of that includes blasts at "paper parties" among various state parties.

Funnier yet? He's from the Green Party of Ohio — the same Green Party as Bob Fitrakis. 

Lause also does a good job of calling out the third member of the recount troika — 2004 Green Party prez candidate David Cobb.

I had no idea, until seeing this piece, he was that involved with Progressive Democrats of America. PDA seems to have a rabid following, stereotypical Berniebros who had been waiting for their Bernie to appear, and then refused to believe he couldn't win when it was clear by May that he couldn't.

Like Barack Obama, Cobb has been compromising away the compromises in advance, it seems. And, per part of my concern about Jill Stein's vote recount, her flirting with Bernie Sanders — even talking about a deal to step aside as Green Party presidential nominee, which she could not do — illustrates just what's wrong with such dances.

Lause's nutgraf is about halfway down. It's a good one on explaining how the party works, both that the national and state levels:
Except for a few states, the Greens are not a membership party and there are no national standard of what membership entails.  It describes itself as an alliance of autonomous state parties, an organizational structure that represents a kind of synthesis of the ideology of John C. Calhoun with impulses of a particularly flakey and apolitical New Age libertarianism.  Some states have organizations of tens of thousands of members and others consisting of handfuls of people whom get to represent their entire state.   Although often no more than paper parties, the latter can do anything pretty much anything it wants, including a decision to not run in elections at all and even to support Democrats that seem acceptable for one reason or another.  As far as that goes, the same applies to local groups.  This has permitted the party in my city and state to endorse Democrats with depressing regularity while regularly running no more than a handful of Greens statewide.
That's a pretty damning indictment.

I'm going to add to it with an analogy. It's like NPR or PBS, which are also bottom-up, for those who don't know. Picture your local PBS phoning it in during most the year, which cutting a deal or two with the local NBC, CBS or ABC station to rebroadcast some PBS show in exchange for some dinero, and a tip jar of publicity, or something like that.

(That said, from what I know of the Texas Greens, and the fact that one of its leaders shared Lause's link when I posted it on Effbook, says that it's not a paper party. It's got room to improve along with Greens national, as I recently blogged. But, not a paper party.)

That indictment hits hard enough by itself.

It needs to be read in part in context of the previous paragraph, too:
Nevertheless, others saw the party’s function as less that of a political party or a movement than that of an NGO.  They saw victory coming through court cases, and lobbying to influence Democratic officeholders.  They felt the sting of Democratic disapproval much more deeply than those of us uninterested in fantasies of a convergence of the Democratic party with Green values.  And the peculiarly undemocratic structure of the GPUS left their views grossly over-represented.

Agreed, totally. You run as your own party first, first of all. Second, right. You run as a party, not a parallel to the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense or whatever. Third, yes, while it's gotten more democratic, the national party still has problems, and until recently, I didn't realize just how bad the problems were in the past. 

Lause does partially give back with his other hand:
In the end, vote fraud is superfluous to ensuring an unrepresentative outcome, but that ethos of cutthroat competition leaves plenty of room for it.  The problem Robert Fitrakis and other grass roots activists have demonstrated this repeatedly in their investigations of state and local elections. … 
But that’s a far cry from the comic book universe in which elections are “rigged” by some centralized national management. . . . . And it is only in that universe that someone can seriously believe that one recount aimed at fixing that one problem is going to eguarantee the honesty of future elections that will put Greens into office. 
That fact is that all the efforts of the Democratic Party, combined with those of the Republican Party–and of all the courtrooms and legislative bodies in the country–have failed to restore confidence in the system, and I don’t think that that any party that can’t get 5% of the vote has the power to do so.

What's key is next.

He says trying to play this way is a mug's game in the first place:
That election system here is grounded in the two-party system established by slaveholders to maintain slavery.  It’s a winner-takes-all structure in which almost each and every officeholder in the U.S. has to be in one or the other of those parties. … 
So when we try to participate in that with an excellent candidate running a laudatory national campaign, that “election system” excludes our candidate from the debates and keeps her as far off the radar as possible.  This is the system in which we want to secure confidence?

I disagree that that's why the two-party system was established. I've posted on social media about the untrueness of this "Electoral College was to support slavery" myth. It was founded for many reasons. Besides, parties already existed at the time of the American Revolution and the Constitutional Convention, no matter the spin of the founding fathers.

But the rest of this is spot-on. 

On the broad constitutional issues Mark mentions, Daniel Lazare's "The Frozen Republic" is a great read. 

Personally, I think the following, as someone who has voted Green downballot as well as presidentially, but is not a regular dues-paying member at the state level:
1. The party needs to stop running a safe states strategy at the presidential level.
2. It needs to move on beyond former candidates who think that way.
3. It apparently needs to push some state parties to clean house.
4. It needs to partner less pre-election, or intra-election, with Democrats in general.
5. It needs to move in a more explicit eco-socialist direction.
6. It needs to become more reality-based on all scientific issues related to environment and more, not just climate change.
7. Related to No. 6 would be stop believing in conspiracy theories in general, or people who like to trade in them, whether Fitrakis or Greg Palast, who I have already demolished.

And, if the Green Party isn't the vehicle like this, then I agree with Lause it's time to hop into another existing vehicle of the left, or else create a new one.

==

Sidebars:
1. I owe Counterpunch's Jeff St. Clair, notably, and others like him a partial apology over 2004. The Green nomination system then was indeed rigged. Could Nader have overcome that, had he run again himself in 2004 instead of his 2000 Veep, Peter Camejo? (Camejo was Nader's independent run Veep in 2004.) Possibly. If nothing else, he could have done to expose this undemocratic process to daylight.


That said, Nader brought this on himself. He made a pledge to run a safe states campaign in 2000 — then broke it. Yes, I just said above that I oppose such campaigns. However, starting with my first piece on this year's recount, I've repeatedly chastized Stein for breaking party loyalty and unity.

Besides that, though, he could have challenged the paper parties directly, as just noted. Rather than do that, though, he eventually played a hand in creating the Justice Party — in part perhaps for real worries, but in part for spite, IMO.

So, the apology is partial, not full.

2. I owe Stein thanks for leading me to learn more about the Green Party in the last month than I had in the previous 16 years, possibly.