There are no words to describe how important David Ortiz is to the Red Sox. It is genuinely getting to the point where he should simply be walked regardless of the situation when he comes to bat in a game winning situation—two runners on; three runners on; no runners on—-walk him. It’s safer. He is the new, unpretentious Reggie Jackson.
As for all the dogmatic and self-important baseball writers who insist that a player who is predominately a DH and rarely plays the field should be excluded from MVP consideration—-if they continue to deny David Ortiz his just due based on some unilaterally imposed criteria of their own devising, they should simply have their credentials taken away. If there was ever any doubt, it should no longer be a question as to who the Most Valuable Player in the league is. It is David Ortiz.
Is Brian Cashman kidding? Just when I thought he couldn’t get any worse with his spin doctoring and corporate doubletalk, he comes up with this gem: "As we move forward right now, Andy Phillips is definitely a part of this team, Joe Torre will have decisions to make on a daily basis in how he wants to attack his opponent."
"Attack his opponent"?
How about this:
"With the conglomeration of varied weapons at his disposal, Joe Torre will possess an array of implements to effectively ascertain an opponents soft underbelly and will, therefore, utilize our coalition of opulent acquisitions in successfully navigating our organization to the preeminent accolade."
Not bad, huh? Maybe I can get a job writing some of his self-aggrandizing ****. I think Brian Cashman is beginning to believe those who see fit to call him a "genius". And that’s dangerous.
What exactly are the Pirates doing? They had valuable, marketable commodities in Sean Casey, Roberto Hernandez, Oliver Perez and Craig Wilson. And what did they get in return for those valuable commodities? They got Xavier Nady, a minor league pitcher named Brian Rogers (who ESPN is reporting to be a marginal prospect, but who knows?)and Shawn Chacon. Now, does it sound like the Pirates received a quality return for their merchandise?
When is the Pirates fan base going to rebel against the ineptitude of their team’s front office? How much is going to be enough? They sign veteran players—they trade veteran players for lesser than market value; they acquire young players—-they trade or release young players who flourish elsewhere; they hire a quality manager—-they leave the clueless Dave Littlefield in as the GM. When is enough going to be enough? When people talk about Dave Littlefield, they are always careful to footnote any criticism with their insistence that he’s a "nice guy". Well, I’m quite sure the hardcore Pirates fans wouldn’t mind having a guy in the GM chair who’s a real p r i c k, yet knows how to run a big league franchise. Leo Durocher may have had a point: "Nice guys finish last." Especially if they’re running the Pirates.
The Mets traded Xavier Nady to the Pirates for Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez. I’ve mentioned that the Mets should get Roberto Hernandez back numerous times; but the idea was that he augment Duaner Sanchez—not replace him. As for Sanchez, for those who haven’t heard, he was injured in a car accident while riding in a taxi in Miami and may be out for the rest of the season. This is the second time that a Mets pitcher has been injured riding in a taxi—maybe the Mets would be well-advised to offer a team car service for players 24/7.
Losing Sanchez will hurt the Mets more than people realize. He has been the only one that has been completely reliable out of the bullpen, and that includes Billy Wagner. While this isn’t going to affect the Mets getting to the playoffs, it may have major ramifications when in the playoffs. The bullpen is way more important than the starting pitching in the playoffs. Without Sanchez, Aaron Heilman is going to have to revert to the form he showed last season to effectively replace Sanchez. And the Mets are going to have to hope that Hernandez continues pitching as well as he has for the Pirates.
While I think Bobby Abreu is overpaid and not as good as everyone else seems to think (he’ll be a washout in the playoffs—- watch), the Yankees had to make that deal. Getting both Abreu and Cory Lidle while not giving up any of their supposed top prospects makes perfect sense as long as they don’t mind adding to that ridiculous payroll. We’ll know about those prospects in a few years; whether that was a simple salary dump for the Phillies or a robbery of young talent. (Keep in mind who their GM is. Pat Gillick has built winning teams for his entire career as an executive and is an astute judge of talent.)
But the Yankees are insulting Gary Sheffield’s intelligence when they tell him that a decision has not been made on whether or not to pick up his option for next season. There is no way, no way, that Sheffield is going to be a Yankee next season. Are they going to have a 38 year old $13 million DH who is coming off a major injury and is going to whining about wanting a contract extension? Sheffield has a history of turning petulent when he feels he is being disrespected. I think in certain instances, he has had a legitimate gripe; but now, the Yankees are doing the equivalent of patting him on the head and saying, "We haven’t decided what to do about your contract; you might be back next year," while knowing that they’re not going to pick it up.
I’m not saying that they should pick up his option. He’s coming off an injury to his wrist, which is the source of Sheffield’s immense power and bat speed; and he’ll be 38. But at the very least, don’t insult the intelligence of Sheffield or the fans by saying otherwise when both are too smart to believe anything other than the reality.
I wonder if Marcus Giles is going to provide the Mets with binoculars so they can see the Braves in the rear view mirror, as he suggested the Mets were before the series.
Amid all the speculation about the possibility of Barry Zito heading for the Mets, I think that Omar Minaya’s true objective is to pry Jason Schmidt away from the Giants. While Brian Sabean has said that he won’t trade Schmidt if he thinks the Giants are in contention, I still think that it is a possibility that he will move Schmidt for the right price.
Sabean is a smart general manager who has kept his team in contention despite the team operating as a business with a budget. With that in mind, Sabean must decide which direction he would be best suited to turn in order to ensure his team is well equipped for the future. The decision would be much easier if there were a team in the National League West that took control of the division and a Wild Card team that was way out in front. But, as it stands now the Giants have lost six straight games to bad teams; with a 51-53 record, and only 4 games out of first in both their division and the Wild Card, the Giants are stuck in the middle of trying to make the playoffs or start planning for the future.
I believe that there is a real possibility that the Giants will trade Schmidt—-if they get a lot for him. If Sabean looks at the situation objectively, he may well decide that it’s time to move forward. The Giants roster is not just old, it’s ancient. They have three outfielders who are over 40; their entire infield is in it’s early to mid 30s; their starting catcher is 35. And they’re struggling.
It’s hard to decipher exactly what Sabean is doing. He just traded for Mike Stanton to shore up the bullpen, and while Stanton probably didn’t cost the Giants a top prospect, his mere acquisition raises questions as the what the long term plan is. Most importantly, Barry Bonds is on his last leg and last two months of his time as a Giant. They have to decide what to do.
This is a team that, when they had Bonds, Schmidt, Robb Nen, etc. at their best and were winning between 95 and 100 games, still didn’t win the World Series. They made it to the playoffs consistently, but lost in the playoffs every time except in 2002. Now is the watershed moment for this team. Does Sabean continue to drag this listless, fading group along, or does he begin to restock?
Reports have said that Minaya has been aggressive and dogged in his pursuit of Schmidt. Are the Giants prepared to swallow the public outcry if it appears as though they’re giving up by dealing their best starting pitcher? Sabean has shown in the past that he doesn’t worry about public perception of his deals. This is a team that was ready to let Barry Bonds, still homering at a geometric rate, walk if he didn’t agree to a reasonable contract; and let their World Series manager, Dusty Baker, leave in a contract disagreement. If the Mets deliver a reasonable number of high-end prospects, Sabean would have to consider it very seriously. It’s a very difficult decision that Sabean has to make and with the minutes ticking by and his team spiraling, he will have to make it very soon. It’s unlikely to happen, but with every loss and every minute, his team is getting older and less productive. If they continue down the road they’re on, the Giants are looking at a long term rebuilding project. They simply have to decide whether to keep crawling along with their geriatric roster trying to make one final run; or to prepare for life after Bonds by trading their most marketable commodity—Jason Schmidt.