Quick bits and comments from my mind
? The Manny Ramirez situation is one of the most fascinating offseason dramas in years, the latest development being that Ramirez rejected a one-year, $25 million deal from the Dodgers.
One wonders how much money it would take to get Ramirez to sign a one-year deal. I am reminded of a $50 million offer to the Beatles to reunite for a single concert in the mid-1970s. Even John Lennon was up for it at that price. A long-term contract can bring a player security, but if you make enough money in a single season, that IS security. Such an arrangement might be best for Ramirez and for the teams, as he can continue to demand a higher premium for playing a year at a time, while his teams will have some assurance that he will actually come to work.
? The Orlando Hudson in center field idea resurfaced yesterday both in the comments and (by implication) from this interview on the MLB network with Hudson himself, and in this bit from Ken Rosenthal, who says, “[N]either the Mets nor Yankees currently has an opening at second base, but [Hudson] seems to be banking on one of those clubs pursuing a creative solution.” Swell. Let’s hope the Yankees don’t do anything unconventional. First, it’s always novel when you have a center fielder play center field, as opposed to a second baseman, a dancing bear, or a giant eggplant. Actually, if they go with the dancing bear, put me down for season tickets. Second point, one I’ve raised before: Hudson is a career .277/.336/.411 hitter on the road. This is a break-even performance at either second base or center field, but at least if Hudson is at the keystone a team has the benefit of his good defense. In center field you might get good defense or you might not, but my guess, based on a lifetime of seeing this midcareer moves largely blow up (call it the Juan Samuel Observation) would be “no.” Thus: average bat at best, defense questionable… Melky or Gardner is a better bet, and cheaper, too.
? Those that suggested moving Robinson Cano to center field: I again invoke the Juan Samuel Observation. I then also note that Samuel was really fast and Cano is slow enough that around the time he hits 30 I expect us to be discussing how he’s now too sluggish to play second.
? Melky Cabrera’s late and close numbers don’t impress me at all. That he hits a powerless .296 in tight games is nice, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that he’s not been very useful in the other 85 percent of his career plate appearances. Jim Edmonds has a lower batting average in such situations, but has also hit 33 career home runs. Which do you suppose led to more victories? Melky’s odd single or Edmonds’ odd homer? Also, re projections: if a projection system says that Melky is going to reach base 33 percent of the time, and Edmonds is going to reach base 33 percent of the time, but that the former will slug .380 and the latter .420, there isn’t much of an argument as to who that system thinks will be more productive. Now, other Edmonds critics have pointed out his declining range, and I buy that. However, that’s why you keep Gardner or Cabrera on the roster, to caddy for the guy. The only problem with the Edmonds plan is that he also needs a platoon partner, and the Yankees don’t have one on hand.
? Of all the commercials on the Super Bowl, the one that has really stayed with me was one of the first. It basically said, “If you’ve been shafted by the economy, try selling cosmetics.” It frightened me in that I could hear ghosts of 1932 saying, “If you’ve been shafted by the economy, try selling apples.” Brrr.