July 12, 2014

#Cardinals thoughts: What is it with Tampa Bay fans on Price and Zobrist?

Rays fans, at least judging by visitors here and the more ardent ones I've run into on NBC, seem to be drinking the Kool-Aid of their GM, Andrew Friedman, on overvaluing the trade value of David Price. And, they seem to be in a league of their own on overvaluing the trade value, or value in general, of Ben Zobrist.

Price first.

I'm not the only Cards fan to say that whatever Freeman is wanting for Price, it seems to be too much, especially since he turned down an offer from the Oakland A's that included Addison Russell, who one commenter here admitted is one of the top 5 prospects in the minor leagues.

I've blogged before that a likely final offer by the Cardinals was better than what the Rays could likely get from other teams, per a guesstimate of those other teams offerings made by a Tampa sportswriter, no less.

Not all of us Cardinal fans are alike. One, at least, among NBC commenters, hugely overvalues Tyler Lyons, who in my opinion will never be better than a regular back-end starter, and IMO probably won't even be that. Some probably think it funny that, after Boston-inspired, Boston-fueled rumors that the Cards were interested in Jake Peavy started getting airplay, I suggested a reverse salary dump, sending Matt Holliday to Beantown as part of a larger trade. Why did I suggest that? Because Holliday's on Cardinal books for three more years, if he doesn't waive his no-trade, and his age-related decline curve is about the same as a certain Tampa second baseman.

But we're all agreed on one thing: Friedman seems to be getting greedy on Price, and Rays fans are even worse.

I've noted before that Friedman faces two ticking clocks. One, of course, is the July 31 waiver-free trade deadline. If Friedman can't move Price before then, his trade value drops, and drops a fair degree, of course.

The second is March 31, 2015. After that, Price becomes strictly a rent-a-player. A team unsure of resigning him, who trades for him after the start of next year's season, would be unable to offer him the qualifying offer at the end of that season, of course.

But, hold everything.

Masahiro Tanaka is now on the disabled list with what's been diagnosed as a partial ulnar collateral ligament tear. No Tommy John surgery planned yet, but if non-surgical methods don't work, it will be the knife. And, the Rays may know that by July 31; if not, they can probably at least assume they won't be seeing the Tanaka of his first dozen starts. Between that and CC Sabathia likely not coming back this year, stressing the back end of the rotation to where it will blow up, the Yankees are due to sink, no matter the skippering genius of Joe Girardi.

And, in Toronto, Adam Lind, for 2 months, is hitting the DL, joining Edwin Encarncion, though his injury is much less severe.

Friedman, at a minimum, has to wait until close to the trade deadline unless he gets a big offer. He has to see how series Tanaka's injury is, how much they fall and may continue to fall if it is serious, and then, see if his own team's recent surge can continue. Ditto on the Jays.

If answers to all the above are favorable, the Rays could be in third place in a weak AL East at the trade deadline, and close to passing the Jays into second, assuming the Orioles don't also slump.

In any case, the Price being right or wrong is seemingly not a Cardinals problem any more. I'm sure that Yadier Molina going on the shelf for the rest of the season with his thumb injury surgery means John Mozeliak's not trading for anybody. Well, not as a "buyer." It makes me wonder, speaking of Holliday, if the Cards might become a "seller," in fact.

Meanwhile, per my Holliday comment, picking up that other thread.

I've already blogged that I think the Rays' infielders' previous years' defensive performance is overrated due to Tampa's early and aggressive use of defensive shifts, a tactic much of the rest of the league is now catching up to. (Zobriest's dWAR is down a lot this yer, and Evan Longoria has a negative rating.)

Another issue is that 2B has a relatively rapid aging curve.

Looking at relatively recent history? Robbie Alomar’s last season was at 36. Lou Whitaker’s last full season was at 36. Bobby Grich’s last full season was at 36. Second base has a pretty rapid aging curve on the far side of 35; Ryne Sandberg also illustrates this.

Zobrist will be 34 next year.

On another post, a Tampa fan, after saying Zobrist is so valuable, hinted at the idea of a straight-up trade of Kolten Wong for him, or those two being a primary trade focus.

Well, you can't have it both ways; you can't say Zobrist is so great, then say you'd want him and Wong mentioned in the same breath. As for value? I said that if Zobrist offered the Cards 3.5 WAR next year, and Wong 2.5, it's only a 1-WAR trade. Hardly enough for getting rid of long-term control of Wong before we see him play out. And no, I don't think that's an overestimate on Wong. In fact, it may very well be an underestimate by a full point of WAR.

Hence, the people, whether Rays fans or ESPN baseball writers who, in general, look stupider by the day, thinking the Cards had a black hole, or near it, at 2B, "had to" have a replacement there, etc., and saying all of this because Wong had a slow start, and then, after his send-down and call-back, played much better until he had played several games with an injured shoulder before going on the DL. Seriously, the "Worldwide Leader," at least in baseball, becomes a leader only in stupidity. (Well, with the new 538, it becomes a leader in hyperbole, too.)

As for Rays fans? I appreciate the frustration of being in a small market while you've had a winning team until this year. Don't blame Cards fans, or Cards writers, or even neutral writers smarter than the ones at ESPN, for calling you out on your greed, though.

Blame the people who don't show up for Rays games. Maybe you could never have a huge market. But, you don't have that small of a population market, either. Greater Tampa-St. Pete is bigger than metro Cincinnati. Or Kansas City. Or Pittsburgh. And, that's not counting getting a few Orlando fans to make a relatively short trip.

Just a little more attendance would also allow for a little more in ticket prices, even at a place like the Trop. It would also help the next TV contract a bit. With that in mind, if that were happening, the Rays could easily run an $85M payroll, and probably a $90M one.

So, if you have Stockholm syndrome, don't blame me; blame the people not filling the seats.

July 11, 2014

Hey, #DwyaneWade? #DerekJeter has a product for you; thanks, #LBJ!

Now that LeBron James has made it official about returning to Cleveland, and it looks like Chris Bosh, because of that, will accept the Houston Rockets' max contract offer at any time, the third, most aging member of formerly-in-Miami's Big Three, Dwyane Wade, has to be suffering. (Well, maybe not totally; see the update below.)

No.

Let's be more precise.

Wade's nads have probably hit the floor as he stares at nearly $10 million a year in contract money he pissed away from his opt-out, along with the knowledge that, if Bosh is out the door, too, Miami's teh suck for next year and beyond. (How differently this would have played out if the Heat hadn't done a cheap-ass amnesty of Mike Miller last year, I don't know.)

Anyway, no worries, D-Wade.

The Cap'n's got you covered.

Or, to put it another way, Derek Jeter has something uplifting for you.

A story today has the background on Jeter's investment in a company that makes $100 junk-cooling underwear.

Actually, per their description, and per the comment of a person at NBC Sports, it sounds more like a higher-tech version of the old sock in the shorts or something.

Anyway, Dwayne, go see Jeter.

Your balls are in good hands with the Cap'n.

Come to think of that, Pat Riley's nuts are probably also dragging the floor about now.

Update: Oooohhhh, Bosh halfway bails out D-Wade and Riles by doing a max with Miami

That's OK; Wade can use Jeter's nut sling for his aching knees, or the testicles that will be dragging the floor due to knee pain.

Even with Bosh back, D-Wade can't take off 2/5 of the season next year for Miami to be in the top half of Eastern Conference playoff seedings. Note: That's all, even with Wade playing every game. If he takes off 30 games in 2014-15, the Heat are about No. 6 in the East, on the road in the first round, and likely saying bye-bye. That said, even if they are a No. 3, that will be with Wade's knees fried by the end of the regular season.

And, we're assuming Bosh can handle the pressure of being "the man" in Miami, far different than in Toronto.

So, Chris,  maybe YOU need Jeter's $100 shorts.

Are the #Cardinals still trade-deadline buyers? Stand-patters? Sellers?

Up until July 11, a lot of baseball fans in general and Cardinals fans in particular assumed that the Birds were a major player for trading for Tampa Bay's  David Price. Short of that, some people have mentioned Ben Zobrist as an infield bat that might inject life into an anemic lineup, though Cards fans know the problem starts with the outfield and, above all, the decline of Allen Craig.

But, that was before July 11.

That's when the Cardinals took a body blow with Yadier Molina going on the shelf, likely for the rest of the season, with his thumb injury surgery. I'm going to assume that, if his loss for the year is worth a price of four wins, and with Ryan Braun back in the Brewers lineup after a brief hiatus, that no Brewer slump will likely be big enough or long enough to catch them for the division title.

As a corollary, I also assume that means Cards GM John Mozeliak is not rushing Michael Wacha's return. In fact, if we hear nothing further by the All-Star break, I'm assuming he's shelved for the season. Add in that Shelby Miller continues to struggle, and, outside of info from the Cone of Silence at Busch Stadium, presumably still has a balky back, and, the Cards contending for the title in the NL Central seems iffy.

That likely means Mo's not trading for anybody. With the change in the wild-card rules, adding another WC in each league but making them go into a one-game play-in, it might be more fun for fans, but the WC itself is worth much less from a postseason point of view. So, why risk Wacha for just a wild card? And why trade prospects for just a wild card?

Certainly, I hope he's not making a major trade, or rushing Wacha back, just for a wild card game.

(And, yes, I'm aware that, just after having written this, the Cards took the first two games in a series against the Brewers and are now tied for the NL Central lead. I'll stand by what I said.)

Beyond that, the Rays might not be sellers, anyway.

Masahiro Tanaka is now on the disabled list with what's been diagnosed as a partial ulnar collateral ligament tear. No Tommy John surgery planned yet, but if non-surgical methods don't work, it will be the knife. And, the Rays may know that by July 31; if not, they can probably at least assume they won't be seeing the Tanaka of his first dozen starts. Between that and CC Sabathia likely not coming back this year, stressing the back end of the rotation to where it will blow up, the Yankees are due to sink, no matter the skippering genius of Joe Girardi.

And, in Toronto, Adam Lind, for 2 months, is hitting the DL, joining Edwin Encarncion, though his injury is much less severe.

So, Rays GM Andrew Friedman might be thinking, "All I have to do now is hope we don't have injuries and maybe we can catch the Orioles, too and win the division."

Might the Cards become sellers, though?

If so, of whom?

Not Adam Wainwright. Yes, he'd bring a lot, but he's too valuable.

I have a couple of players in mind.

Former closer Jason Motte, with the exception of one bad outing last week, seems to be recovered fully from his Tommy John. The Tigers, Giants and other contenders looking for a rent-a-closer might pay something for him.

A second might be the aforementioned Mr. Craig. He still has a "friendly" contract, and if he could hit a bit of a hot streak before the deadline, could be tempting.

A third would be a bit of a gamble, on hoping the one "positive" OF this year draws decent interest — and I'm talking about Jon Jay.

The fourth would be more controversial yet.

That's Matt Holliday. First, the Cards would have to get him to waive his no-trade clause. Second, he's a fan favorite.

That said, while his continued loss of defensive range might be acceptable, when combined with this year's power drop, it's not. A number of AL teams might take him as a DH, or combo OF/DH. And, because he hasn't slipped too far yet, he could get a good return.

In exchange, moving any of the three outfielders would open the last two months of the year to a fuller look yet not only at Oscar Taveras, but also Randal Grichuk and even Stephen Piscotty.

This season is very "fluid," yes. I'm not writing the Cards off. I am saying they should be prepared to look at all options. I'll venture Mo is, and so fans should brace themselves for seeming "surprise" moves.

In any case, due to all the things I mentioned above, moves by the Cards, or major moves by any team, are unlikely before the last week before the deadline.

As for Cards' needs, if Mo is a seller, while Tony Cruz has surely studied well at Yadi's need, a prospect catcher for the future would be a great pick-up.

July 10, 2014

Jeter publishes 'The Contraction'

Word has it that Derek Jeter, the greatest shortstop ever to come from Kalamazoo, Michigan, play for the New York Yankees, and sell hot dogs in the Alameda County Coliseum, flipping them behind his back during the 2001 playoffs, has a book out.

Well, his ghostwriter has a book out.

You may have heard that it's called "The Contract," and is a Horatio Alger-type, or more, Michael Jordan-type, story (whether it's basketball Jordan or baseball Jordan) about trying to play shortstop for his Little League team.

Well, actually, the REAL Jeter book is called "The Contraction."

And, here's a sample of what it contains, in an editorial review summary:
“The Contraction” is a lovely true story of how Derek Jeter, more than a dozen years into his New York Yankees career, finally discovered that his defensive range at shortstop had been shrinking every year.

Jeter, after listening to general manager Brian Cashman and others, decided to change how he played the position. To his surprise, he found out that he could catch balls he never did before.

Unfortunately, he found out that “The Contraction” now also described his throwing range and that he couldn’t get any of these newly-caught balls to first base without at least one bounce.

Jeter was so horrified and depressed over his own mortality that he broke his ankle tripping over his own night baseball shadow.
Have fun, Cap'n.

But, we've gotten samples from another chapter of "The Contraction," too.

Here you go:
Alex Rodriguez, when signed by the Yankees as a free agent, told Cashman that he had noticed Jeter's shrinking range. He said he was willing to play third base because Jeter was the incumbent veteran at short, but really thought it would help the team more if he played short and Jeter made the switch to third base.

When Cashman would not commit to further discussion of the idea, Rodriguez began dropping comments around the Yankee clubhouse. Eventually, Jeter commented back, saying privately that A-Rod was a horse's ass. 

Rodriguez tried to make things up to Jeter by saying, "No, but I am a centaur," and presenting him a copy of his famous painting.
Boy, I can't wait to read this.

Here's another selection, from a famous Yankees-Red Sox incident.
When I saw Don Zimmer rushing the mound to go after Pedro Martinez, I first wondered, "What the hell is he doing?"

I thought for a moment about trying to help him, then I told myself, "What am I thinking?"

First, Pedro's a tough bastard. Second, Don was that stupid. Third, I got a hot date tonight and can't afford to get hurt.
And, a tidbit, on Joe Torre as manager:
Oh, Joe was great, even without any help from Zimmer. But, he was really, really great in general. Man, I love that hot Italian ass. No, really, Torre was a great manager.
But wait, that's not all. In "The Contraction," Jeter has more background on his investment in a company that makes $100 junk-cooling underwear, which could cause shrinkage, an actual contraction.

Riffing on his kids' book, "The Contract," he talks about it Dr. Seuss terms:
I’ve got junk in my trunk
And that ain’t no bunk;
But my junk stays cool
Because that’s my rule.
Kids, treat your junk with pride
And let it take you for a ride.
"The Contraction." You read it here first.

On the other hand, the current model, at least, of Jeter's Junk Adjusters aren't a full-pubes super-condom. I'm sure Jeter, the ultimate ladies' man, will fix that.

Right-wing US chickens home to roost with border influx of young Ill Eagles

The Dallas Morning News has a good summary of what's up with the recent surge of border crossings.

There's a few things to note, besides the biggie that these are primarily youth. (Sidebar: I'm surprised the wingnuts haven't unveiled the phrase "anchor teens" yet.) The second biggest is that, while the numbers are growing, the U.S. border isn't being overrun by 1 million, or even 100,000, Hispanic teenagers.

The next big thing is that these are not from Mexico. Rather, most of them are from Central America, specifically the so-called "northern triangle" of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Commonality? U.S. meddling, sometimes going back decades, to prop up or install repressive right-wing governments.

Guatemala is the original banana republic, when Jacobo Arbenz was overthrown in a 1954 coup, launched by the CIA and done on behalf of United Fruit, parent of Chiquita Bananas. Sidebar: This is why Ike blathered about the military-industrial complex. He thought the snoops-industrial complex could do things like this cheaper, as it had already in Iran, and as Ike planned for it to do in Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.

Per that Wikipedia link:
Following the coup Guatemala was ruled by a series of US-backed military regimes until 1996. The coup sparked off the Guatemalan civil war against leftist guerrillas, during which the military committed massive human rights violations against the civilian population, including a genocidal campaign against the Mayans.
All of that contributed to a lack of stability that is tied to gang-related crime in Guatemala today.

El Salvador? This is where Reagan backed death squads in the early 1980s. 

Honduras? That's where Reagan built up a U.S. military presence in the 1980s, to support the aid to the death squads in El Salvador as well as the help to the "freedom fighters" trying to overthrow the democratically elected leftist government in Nicaragua. Can't forget about the burning U.S. hatred for the Sandanistas, can we? That said, Nicaragua has managed to have more stability than the above three countries, probably in part because the U.S. was never able to get the same foothold there.

That said, all four countries, including Nicaragua, have per capita incomes about one-third that of Mexico. Purchasing power may go farther, but still, that's a slim income. Also, while NAFTA only undercut Mexico's agriculture, CAFTA may have some similar effects further south.

So, between U.S.-caused instability, U.S.-connected violence, and possible U.S.-caused wage instability, is it any wonder that people from these countries are coming north?

Chickens coming home to roost.

And, that's not the only way they are.

In its own craven nod to McCarthyism, already back at the time of that Arbenz coup, the AFL-CIO was helping set up "friendly" unions in Latin America, many of which were little more than CIA listening posts.

And, the Reaganite anti-Communism of the 1980s, combined with conservative Catholics in both the U.S. and Latin America taking their cues from the papal ascent of John Paul II and kicking liberation theology, and a more liberal attitude toward birth control, to the curb had other consequences.

Result? On birth control? Guatemala having the highest birth rate in the Western Hemisphere. Honduras is second highest. They're both below a number of African and south Asian countries, but their rate is high enough to add to all the instability, with exploding populations.

On the rest of liberation theology? More liberal priests and bishops, and nuns, who challenged right-wing governments to do more for the poor, especially if they led protests and movements themselves, got reassigned. Ask Francis the Talking Pope about that, and his own involvement with the reassignments.

Of course, that ignores the more liberal church workers who, at least in places like Francis' Argentina, met the jails and torture cells of the right-wing dictators. Or sometimes, met their guns.

Take that, to a Texas lite guv candidate, The Stinking Anglo Formerly Known as Danny Goeb™. And no, they're not diseased, either.

So, yes, failure to actually go to the border may be Obama's Katrina moment, or at least something in the neighborhood. But, he's cleaning up a mess that's more Republican than Democratic.  (That's setting aside that neoliberal Democrats often went along for the GOP ride, especially on free trade.)

And, making it easier to throw the kids back across the border may be a short-term answer for the U.S. but it's not a long-term answer for us, nor any sort of answer at all for Central America.

I'm actually surprised it took this long for this much of a surge like this. That said, in the previous decade, when I was in suburban Dallas, my anecdotal evidence is that, based on young children's entries in elementary school projects, at least 10 percent of Hispanic immigration to America, if not more, was from further south than Mexico, namely, from Central America.

July 09, 2014

#ESPN baseball writers blow it (again) on Peavy to #Cardinals rumors

Only yesterday, ESPN was fanning the flames of rumors that the Red Sox were going to move Jake Peavy to St. Louis and that, according to Jayson Stark, the move could "happen quick."

First, fans who know the Cards know they need an OF bat more than anything. And, that with Joe Kelly coming back from the DL sooner than expected, a rotation of Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez and Kelly had no room at the inn for an end-of-the-line Peavy.

Indeed, non-Cardinal fans also questioned the reality of this, figuring it was as much a salary dump move by Boston as anything, while perhaps trying to fan the flames of rumor, which on teh Twitter said that the Braves and Brewers both might be interested. (As for the idea that a GM wouldn't try that? Tosh ... and gentlemen do read each other's letters, and emails today, contra Henry Stimson.)

Yes, Peavy was scouted by the Cards last week; so was the whole Red Sox team, as the two play in August.

Underscoring the salary dump angle? The fact that the Sox just gave A.J. Pierzynski his DFA walking papers shows that the Peavy talk, from Boston's part, is at least half salary dump.

Yes, Peavy's long indicated interest in the Cardinals. But, an ERA+ of just 86 (with an FIP of 4.81 showing it is that bad) and a WHIP of 1.437? Peavy is replacing AA (now AAA) callup prospect Marco Gonzales with those numbers, but nothing more. He's not been above average, if that, the last two years, and been a very good or better pitcher since his Padres days. 

But, there is yet more.

As for ESPN's blatantly wrong overtouting of Peavy-to-Cards rumors, I want to take a look at this piece by the Post-Dispatch's Derrick Gould:
That does not resonate with the Cardinals who are "looking for offense" at this point and not a pitcher like Peavy, a source with knowledge of the team's strategy said.

The Cardinals have had an eye on the available pitchers for at least a month leading up to July and the trade deadline because they wanted to see if an upgrade for the rotation was possible, one that would create a trickle-down that also strengthened the bullpen. Their search has expanded to include starters who could also offer the team innings especially if the injuries persisted.
There's a bunch of stuff to unpack here.

First, note "the source." That could be Mo himself, speaking off the record so as not to piss off the Red Sox too much.

My guess is that Mo did a bit of "kick the tires" stuff, but nothing heavy at this time. And he certainly didn't plan on giving the Sox Allen Craig. Peter Bourjos, maybe. But Craig, for a pitcher who couldn't currently start for St. Louis, and would be a No. 5 only if Kelly weren't back? Not a chance. And, he got pissed that somebody in Boston nudged Jayston Stark and Gordon Edes over at ESPN to running something, and something that named the Cardinals first.

Second, note the timetable of "The Cardinals have had an eye on the available pitchers for at least a month leading up to July." Why? Because Kelly's self-believed Bo Jackson hamstring was taking longer to heal than expected, No. 1. No. 2, the Cards had some inkling of Wacha's problems by mid-June, and maybe knew something about Miller's back by then.

Well, Kelly's back, and Miller's back is no worse, at least. Carlos Martinez is continuing to stretch out his innings/pitches per start. So, that last sentence, the "Their search has expanded to include starters who could also offer the team innings especially if the injuries persisted," is pretty close to null and void.

And, the Red Sox knew that as of yesterday. So did Stark and Edes of ESPN, who started this.

Teh brilliants of ESPN swing and miss again!

The border issue — is it actually Obama's #Katrina moment?

Yes, wingnuts have said more than once — eight previous times, at a minimum, Dave Weigel says — that "X is Obama's Katrina moment," and every such pronouncement has been wrong.

That said, this time, the mainstream media, a left-of-center online blog and news site, the Daily Beast, and a good fellow liberal blogger, are all saying that Obama blew this one.

Let's start with the MSM of NBC. It notes:
This is not the first time the White House has dug in its heels on an optics-related critique.
Tis true. That is part of what's contributed to the "eight previous times" list of Weigel's.

The Daily Beast goes from there:
I usually try to ask myself what I’d be saying if a Republican did X, and if a Republican did that, I’d be teeing off. It’s not defensible. ...

And this is pretty far afield, but keep an eye on Aleppo in Syria. Aleppo has been a stronghold of the more legitimate opposition to Bashar al-Assad. It might be about to fall to Assad’s forces. This, two weeks after Obama announced a big aid package for the moderate rebels. Syria is Obama’s biggest foreign policy failure—he should have delivered that $500 million to those forces long ago, but he delayed. When Assad’s recapture of Aleppo is consummated, Obama is going to look played again. 

That delaying is a pattern. I don’t understand it. I covered New York mayors. When a crisis hits, you go. 
Most people this side of Benghazi-slavering wingnuts will miss Aleppo, or forget about it in short time, but the problems on the border are a different issue. That's especially because Obama just asked Congress for an emergency appropriation.

It's also right in the mix of ongoing debate about who's going to get the Latino vote in the future, and Texas Democrats' problems with voter turn out.

Finally, friend Perry:
Obama is letting them tar him with this.  He could put a stop to it by simply going to South Texas.  Yes, he would have to endure being with Rick Perry for several hours, probably the worst punishment imaginable, but to just keep to his fundraising schedule is simply awful.  Not as awful as detaining children in crowded conditions with the threat of deportation... but everybody has to suffer a little now.
Bingo. This is half of what's wrong. Compare his Jan Brewer moment in Arizona a few years ago. Obama gave her the "optic" of finger-pointing at him, then moved on.

Go to the border. And, visit American citizen Hispanics in the Valley. Listen to them and their concerns as well as Anglo ones. Drum up some capital.

Then go near an actual crossing area, while making sure to invite Rick Perry and Greg Abbott to go with you. Ask both of them what they would do about the political problems in Central America causing this. Put them on the spot, not yourself.

I've noted Obama's previous "optics" failures myself.  This one may not be "Katrina," but, contra Weigel, it's more serious than the others.

The man is sometimes just an idiot on stuff like this.

Witness that the NSA phone-snooping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel wasn't enough. Nor was recruiting a German intelligence agent to go double. No, now there's apparently a second physical spy on Germany. (facepalm)

July 08, 2014

#Cardinals trade rumors flying — Jake Peavy? Please, no

As the Cardinals struggle with injury to Michael Wacha and an uncertain-to-unlikely return, along with the longer-term loss of Jaime Garcia and the balky back of Shelby Miller, and as it seems that Tampa Bay is being greedy on what it wants in return for David Price, as it showed the A's in rejecting their offer last week, which included hot SS prospect Addison Russell, the Birds are rumored to be looking elsewhere for an arm.

Namely, Boston. Namely, Jake Peavy. (The Post Dispatch has more.)

And, I say, barf me.

That said, I don't think this baby has any legs. Not a peep about this out of, say Rosenthal. It’s prolly more ESPN hot air mixed with a BoSox trial balloon to see what fish bite.


Yes, he's long indicated interest in the Cardinals. But, an ERA+ of just 86 (with an FIP of 4.81 showing it is that bad) and a WHIP of 1.437? Peavy is replacing AA (now AAA) callup prospect Marco Gonzales with those numbers, but nothing more. He's not been above average, if that, the last two years, and been a very good or better pitcher since his Padres days.

Rumored asking price? Allen Craig.

Nope. Even though Craig is still struggling this year, either Boston eats about half of Peavy's contract or else throws in another player.

And, they're not trading Brock Holt, let alone Xander Bogaerts. And, contra one Cards fan commenting at NBC, I'll pass on Will Middlebrooks.

Mike Napoli would replace Craig in platooning 1B with Matt Adams, and could be, theoretically, asked to go behind the plate again, but, he's $16M each of the next two years.

If the Sox want a straight-up trade as a salary dump, I'd give them Peter Bourjos, but not much more.

Or, swap salary dumps. The declining Matt Holliday, if he'll waive his no-trade, for Peavy plus, say, Mike Carp, plus prospects. That opens full-time play for Oscar Taveras for sure. And, since Holliday's contract runs through 2017, this wold be a good long-term move.

I know that's an off-the-wall idea, but, Holliday's back's gotten more balky this year, and his general rate of decline has increased. Plus, without a good defensive CF out there every day, his increasing lack of range becomes more visible too. In the AL, you wouldn't have to DH him every day; you could mix LF and DH and maybe get him to learn 1B.

Anyway, if Cards are lucky, this may not happen for other reasons. Twitter rumors say the Braves and Brew Crew are also both kicking the Peavy tires. 

Also, the ESPN rumor, which Derek Goold has now given a good, swift kick, is coming from ESPN. Take it with a big grain of salt, especially as other sports outlets haven't provided any confirmation.

As for Rays management? Your Price clock is ticking. Not the July 31 clock, which, in your greed, is likely to pass by without result.

No, your March 31, 2015 contract. With the start of next year's season, Price, with a new team losing the QO right, officially enters rent-a-player stage.

Texas redistricting battle could go through half of decade

The three-judge panel in San Antonio hearing the challenge to the Texas Lege's redistricting of Congressional, state house and state senate seats has released the latest update on its timetable.

Between the phases of the trial and the appeals, is the Texas GOP going to try to spin things out through even the 2016 election? It wouldn't surprise me.

Anyway, at least we know when to fire up the popcorn.

The capitalist GOP becomes socialist over 2016 confab

This time, it's over the 2016 Republican National Convention. The party is tagging Cleveland ahead of Dallas as its choice.

Why?

It thinks that a Dallas convention might leave it holding the bag on cost overruns while, per the story, Cleveland will cover the whole shebang.

That's called socialism, specifically, corporate socialism.

Beyond that, two other points.

One, if this is such a worry of the RNC, does that mean that political conventions are like the Olympics — money-losing blood-sucking leaches? Why would any city vie for the dubious honor of hosting one, in that case?

Two, if this is what normally happens, why would a somewhat struggling Rust Belt city like Cleveland seek out this dubious honor?

Beyond this, I'm going to be disappointed at not seeing Ted Cruz become combustible on a national stage in his own backyard. 

And, maybe that's the real reason the RNC doesn't want to come to Dallas. It wants to keep the crazy aunt wingnuts halfway in the attic. Could you imagine Open Carry Texas showing up at at Dallas convention? Reince Priebus would crap his pants.

July 07, 2014

Guns at #Target and #Starbucks versus #TexasOpenCarry

Many liberals, like this reporter at Mother Jones, are doing cartwheels over Target banning guns from its stores.

Only problem? Target, like Starbucks a few months back, actually did no such thing.

Its actual statement:
Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so. But starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target -- even in communities where it is permitted by law.
Two basic, easy-to-follow thoughts, quite logical and simple, unless you're the type of "liberal" suffering from something like Battered Obamiac Syndrome.

"Respectfully request" is not an "order" or anything like it.

And, the first sentence, like good gun control people know about the first clause in the Second Amendment, is the controlling sentence. Note there that Target says it has followed local laws on guns and "we will continue to do so."

In short, nothing has changed at Target besides it now telling folks like Texas Open Carry, "Please, please, pretty please, don't bring your guns here."

And, "liberals" like the MoJo reporter, and many others, are dumb enough, or desperate enough, to actually fall for this.

I wasn't. Within an hour after the announcement, I Tweeted Target, calling bullshit until the company announces an actual policy change. So far, I've not been contacted back and no such policy change has been announced.

Again, Starbucks did similar last year, asking people not to bring guns there but NOT announcing a policy change.

You cannot, cannot, believe that any company wants anything other than what Starbucks wanted last fall, to be kept out of the crossfire, pun very intended, and nothing more -- until that company STATES a formal policy (and enforces it) rather than ASKS somebody not to do something.

Period and end of story.

And, Target and Starbucks aren't going to change until they get more pressure.

And, that was exactly the idea of Texas Open Carry all along. They've wanted to massively, in-your-face publicize this. And, the only way Target and Starbucks can get out of the crossfire is by officially refusing the crossfire's coming to their stores.

So, if you've contacted Target to thank them, way to go. You played right into their hands and sent the wrong message. You need to write again. And, in the future, you need to put down the hymnal and stop singing Kumbaya to Target, Starbucks, Chipotle and anybody else until they stop "respectfully requesting" and start changing actual policies.

July 06, 2014

#Cardinals GM John Mozeliak is out of line on Jaime Garcia

So, Mozeliak is boo-hooing that oft-injured lefty starter Jaime Garcia didn't talk to him personally, although he did talk to Cardinals training staff, before deciding on thoracic outlet surgery. (It's a decision with which I disagree, given Garcia's shoulder history; I think he should accept reality and retire, if nothing else, but that's another story. Now, if the surgery helps him in the "real world," then, by all means, do it.)

Here's the key:
Issues clearly extend beyond Garcia’s shoulder to a rupture of trust. Mozeliak chafed at Garcia’s handling of the situation and seemed blindsided by disclosure of the condition and the decision for surgery. Garcia had questioned the club’s treatment of his shoulder as far back as two years ago.
Mo and his complaining seems to be a two-way issue on communication, as the story notes, and as commenters about it on NBC also note.

That said, per the P-D piece linked at top, the communications issue, on the team side, has involved more than just Mo:
Relationship between team and pitcher began to fray when Garcia sensed distrust from manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan upon his return from Tommy John surgery.

Garcia has long been described as immensely gifted but obsessively routine-oriented. Sensitive to organizational suggestions that he lacked toughness, Garcia attempted to pitch with shoulder discomfort in the 2012 division series against the Washington Nationals.
And also per the story, different opinions on medical and training care have involved other players:
Garcia’s situation was one of several that became a tug-of-war between longtime Cardinals medical supervisor Dr. George Paletta, the Cardinals training staff and team Injury & Performance Specialist Dr. Clayton Skaggs, a chiropractic who heads a Kirkwood institute that counts numerous former and current Cardinals players as clients. ...

The roiling medical rift appeared to resolve itself when the Cardinals announced this spring they were turning over all player care to Mercy Hospital, their official medical provider.
So, it's pretty complicated. More than Mo's telling us in a sound bit.

Speaking of, where have we heard communications issues with Mo and a pitcher before? (With manager Mike Matheny also possibly involved.)

Oh, less than a year ago, in a case which also involved the general public and fandom. 

As a Cards fan, I think Mo has very little room to complain, not just because of looking petty here, but because of how he (and a bit, Matheny) handled Shelby Miller in the postseason last year.

How long before we hear something like Miller’s current back problems were why nothing was said about why he was on the postseason roster but not actually pitching?

After Mo levels with We the Fans about what truly was up with Miller last fall, only  then does he have room to complain about Garcia in my book.

Beyond that? Re the P-D piece, which I recommend reading in full:

My No. 1 takeaway, on the “trust” issue, is to say this sheds hints of light, if not a lot, on Oscar Tavares and his ankle, and the team’s handling of it, last year.
My No. 2, as noted above, is wondering more of what we weren’t told about Shelby Miller last fall.
My No. 3 is, is this worse than MLB average? The communications and trust problems on medical issues? If it is, word will circulate to potential free agents, etc.