Monday, December 11, 2017

Notes, quotes and comment

The Modern Era committee made its Hall of Fame selections and rejections Sunday.

It corrected one injustice by selecting Alan Trammell. It repeated another by leaving Marvin Miller out. And it committed a highly predictable error by electing Jack Morris.

That last is not a popular position in Minnesota. Morris was born and raised in St. Paul, he had that marvelous Game Seven to win the 1991 World Series, and he has a role in the Twins telecasts. (He's awful in that role, but that's the norm for FSN, which seems content to have analysts a generation behind the times.)

But the truth is, Jack Morris will be among the very worst pitchers in the Hall. (Rube Marquard and Jesse Haines are probably worse.) He was, as I said here, only once the best starting pitcher on the writers' ballot during the 15 years he was eligible. And he wasn't the best starting pitcher on the Modern Era ballot either. Both Tommy John and Luis Tiant have better credentials.


The winter meetings officially begin today in Orlando, Florida, but two of the biggest moves of the offseason have already happened: Shohei Ohtani signed with the Angels, and (pending a physical) Giancarlo Stanton will be traded to the Yankees.

I really don't get the Stanton hysteria. Yes, he hit 59 homers. Yes, he's a top-of-the-charts power hitter. He also has a long history of injuries -- 2017 was only the second time he's played 150 games. And his presence, plus that of Aaron Judge, probably means the Yankees are not going to be contenders in the Bryce Harper derby next winter.

Given a choice between Stanton and Harper, I'll take Harper. And it's not close.


Nor do I see Ohtani as a perfect fit with the Angels, although for his price tag imperfect fits are quite acceptable. Where do they get him the at-bats he desires? The outfield is pretty full with Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun. DH? They're paying Albert Pujols $24 million a year though 2021, and he can't move anymore.

And if Mike Scoscia comes out of spring training saying, "We weren't really serious about giving him at-bats."  that's not a good look. They're going to give Ohtani a legitimate opportunity to play or have a grumpy Ohtani -- and a reputation for deceit.

But all that can be a useful problem, if they handle it right.


Back to the Stanton trade. I snorted the other night at the office when I read the Associated Press lead to the trade story:

After helping the New York Yankees to five World Series titles, Derek Jeter might help them win another.

The notion that Jeter is being a sleeper agent for Brian Cashman is silly. The notion that Jeter is over his head in running a major league franchise is not.

And what is obviously true here is that Jeter's ownership group overpaid for the Marlins and are undercapitalized. Their primary goal this winter to unload debt, and the biggest piece of debt they inherited from Jeffery Loria's inept outfit was Stanton's contract.

Jeter tried to send Stanton to the Giants or Cardinals; Stanton, armed with his no-trade clause, refused. Ultimately, it came down to sending him to the Yankees for a pittance or having his contract on the books, and Jeter's group can't afford that contract.

Jeter may well have mishandled the trade talks by exposing his lack of alternatives, although that lack of alternatives was fairly obvious. The biggest mistake, however, was overpaying for a teardown project. They should have let Loria go bankrupt.


  1. I had a similar thought about Stanton. Great minds think alike! I'm also hoping that the Boone hire becomes a boondoggle. That manager model hasn't been very successful over the last few years. Here's hoping for another failure. . . .

  2. I am not so negative on Jack Morris, either as a broadcast sidekick, or as a HOF entrant.

    It is how you weigh his accomplishments.

    And, his bulldog performance as a Twin, on the biggest stage in one of the most interesting WS in our lifetimes.

    It maybe reopens the door for Oliva and Kaat