Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday: Covering the Bases

Some musings on Halloween Friday…

  • Congratulations are in order for Royals GM Drayton Moore who made the first boneheaded move of the offseason by trading reliever Leo Nunez to the Marlins for first baseman Mike Jacobs. While the 25-year-old Nunez is no Brad Lidge, he did post a very respectable 2.98 ERA and WHIP of 1.24 in 2008. Nunez will be a cost-effective option for the Marlins in 2009, earning close to the major league minimum salary of $400,000. Jacobs, on the other hand, is terribly overrated and not nearly as cost-efficient. Although Jacobs’ 32 home runs last year will be a welcome addition to a Royals lineup which seriously lacks power, his .299 OBP will be an albatross for a team that was second-to-last in the American League in that category. The left-handed Jacobs is also a liability against southpaws, having hit them at a meager .235/.275/.414 clip in 338 career plate appearances. His mediocrity notwithstanding, Jacobs’ expected 2009 salary of $2-3 million will make him a much more expensive option than incumbent Royals Billy Butler, Ryan Shealy and Kila Ka’aihue – all of whom could easily match his shoddy defense and 2008 OPS of .812 despite earning approximately the league minimum.
  • From the “We told you so” department: Prior to the start of the World Series we explained how David Price’s left arm would be a difference maker for the Rays in their quest for the title. Too bad their manager Joe Maddon doesn’t read Infield Chatter. Instead of bringing in Price and his electric stuff in the 7th inning of Game 5 after Tampa Bay had tied it 3-3 on Rocco Baldelli’s solo home run, Maddon went with the soft-tossing duo of J.P. Howell and Chad Bradford. The result was a Pat Burrell moon shot off the center field wall for a double followed shortly by Pedro Feliz’ RBI single, which proved to be the game winner. When Price finally did enter the game in the bottom of the 8th, he breezed through the heart of the Phillies order. Next time listen to us, Joe!
  • Moving the World Series to a neutral site in an effort to combat unruly fall weather is nothing less than a moronic idea. True, the conditions in Philadelphia were miserable, but did that really matter to the 45,000 Phillie fans who were still at the park at 2 AM on Saturday or the same number who braved the elements for hours on Monday before Game 5 was suspended? Of course not. Baseball has always been a sport where local ties run deep. To sever this connection on the eve of baseball’s most grandiose moment would be a tremendous disservice to millions of fans who have supported their teams through the thick and thin of a grueling 162-game season. If anything, MLB should take note of the fact that the Phillies had 16 days off during an October in which they played just 14 games and eliminate some of the excessive days off between games and series. This would shorten the post-season by at least one week and reduce the chances of the World Series being plagued by inclement weather.

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