I have no intention to launch into a discourse of one of my favorite subjects outside baseball: alleged infomercial scam artist Kevin Trudeau; but I saw that Trudeau has a new infomercial hawking a book he’s written as some sort of companion to his other poorly written, poorly reviewed and useless books about the mysterious "THEY" who are plotting to destroy and enslave humanity. (This one is about some mysterious diet that makes all the dreams of those who are looking to lose weight and don’t want to have to actually do anything to lose the weight, come true.) The thought occurred to me that perhaps Kevin Trudeau would be the man to take over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and turn them into something resembling a competent major league baseball team.
I have no idea whether Trudeau knows or even cares anything about baseball; but I have to give credit where credit is due: the man is diabolical. He can sell anything using his tried and trusted techniques of playing on the baser human instincts of laziness and fear. Such skills are easily transferable; perhaps the Devil Rays should talk to Kevin Trudeau. The man, to my knowledge, has no background or experience running any kind of baseball team; but then again, neither does Andrew Friedman, the current man in charge of the Devil Rays baseball "operation".
As horrendous as Jeff Weaver was with the Angels last season; with the colossal failure he was in New York; and the disappointment he was in Detroit; what makes the Seattle Mariners believe that three months in St. Louis under the tutelage of Dave Duncan and Tony LaRussa and some success in the playoffs will translate into a smooth transition back to the American League?
Weaver didn’t even pitch all that well during the regular season with the Cardinals; he pitched relatively well in the post-season in some high pressure games, but that doesn’t mean he’s "turned the corner", as the Mariners undoubtedly hope. This move seems more desperate than anything else.
On the plus side, Weaver only signed a one-year contract; he should still be motivated to prove that he deserves a long term deal; so it’s no long-term commitment for either side; there really isn’t much for either side to lose. The Mariners shouldn’t place their hopes particularly high with Jeff Weaver.
Todd Helton would be a good pickup for the Red Sox; the change might wake up his bat; but it’s doubtful that, at age 33, he’s ever going to approach the ridiculous numbers he put up from 2000-2003. It’s interesting that as the whiffle ball numbers diminished for everyone in Coors Field, so did the numbers of Todd Helton.
Yes, his on base numbers are still huge, and yes, he’s a Gold Glove winner at first base and an intense competitor; but is he worth the salary the Red Sox are going to have to pay him even if the Rockies pick up a large chunk of it? Regardless of what they have to surrender in the trade (Mike Lowell and Julian Tavarez aren’t much of an asking price); and perhaps they can afford to throw in one of their young arms; but is Helton a necessity or a luxury item designed to gain attention for the Red Sox in January to distract from the reality that they still don’t know who their closer is going to be?
With the addition of J.D. Drew, the expected seasons from Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz; the understated production of Kevin Youkilis; along with Julio Lugo, Jason Varitek and a comeback year from Coco Crisp, the Red Sox have more than enough firepower. They don’t need Helton, especially since he has struggled with injuries over the past few years. Unless the Red Sox address their problem in the bullpen, all the firepower in the world isn’t going to help them make the playoffs; and unless they have secretly planned all along to place Jonathan Papelbon back into the bullpen, they still don’t have anyone who they know can be trusted in the back of the bullpen.
If they trade Manny Delcarmen and/or Craig Hanson along with Lowell and Tavarez, the Red Sox fans should ask themselves why they didn’t put together a similar package to get Chad Cordero from the Washington Nationals because he fills a need that the Red Sox have, rather than feeds a desire to see another big name like Helton’s splashed all over the Boston tabloids along with another nauseating Theo Epstein press conference.
The only thing that concerns me regarding the Todd Helton to Boston rumors are the prospects of another anointing press conference replete with Theo Epstein’s corporate crud; are we going to hear something similar to what he said when the Red Sox won the bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka? The quotes: "We have long admired Mr. Matsuzaka’s abilities and believe hewould be a great fit with the Red Sox organization"; and "Clearly, we believe Mr.
Matsuzaka is a real talent."
I can’t wait for them to introduce Helton: "Clearly we believe Mr. Helton can provide that which he achieved for the Rockies of Colorado here with the Red Sox; if not, perhaps we can use his quarterbacking skills honed at the University of Tennessee in backing up Peyton Manning on our flag football team; aha ha ha ha ha; how droll." Then he can sing the Yale school fight song.
As for Dan O’Dowd, he’ll be too busy trying to enter his office by doing as he always does——pulling on the door handle for forty-five minutes before his secretary comes over and shows him that the three signs surrounding the door that say "PUSH". Then she’ll open the door for him and gently escort him to his set of blocks to build something creative.
With Todd Helton’s production having dwindled from it’s ridiculous heights of a few years ago, it does make sense for the Rockies to try and trade him to get some value while taking his salary off the books; but given his history, Dan O’Dowd is not the guy I would want making this deal for the Rockies. O’Dowd’s ineptitude is become the stuff of legend. What exactly is it that has allowed him to continually make these absurd decisions in running his team and yet still keep his job?
The rumored "bounty" for trading Helton (and paying a chunk of his salary) is reported to be Mike Lowell and Julian Tavarez. I’ll let that digest for a moment.
Yes. He’s going to get back Mike Lowell and Julian Tavarez and he’s going to pay a chunk of Helton’s bloated salary. The Rockies are supposedly asking for young pitching in the form of Craig Hanson and/or Manny Delcarmen, to which the Red Sox have said no. There will supposedly be some pitching prospects going back to the Rockies, but with O’Dowd, who knows?
Dan O’Dowd should tell the Red Sox that if he’s getting Lowell and Tavarez in exchange for Helton; and the Red Sox are refusing to include any of the requested pitching prospects, then the Red Sox have to pick up Helton’s entire salary. Will O’Dowd do that? Apparently not. How much more are Rockies fans going to take of this absurd reign of the inept Dan O’Dowd?
As for the Red Sox, Helton would be a good addition and the change to a possible contender would quite possibly wake up his bat; but shouldn’t they be more focused on addressing the pressing problem in the bullpen? Unless they intend to let Jonathan Papelbon start for awhile and return him to the bullpen if none of the "tryout" closers works out, there isn’t anyone on the roster who can be counted on in the late innings. If they can get Helton for what the rumors are stating is the asking price, they should do it; then they should tell Papelbon that he’s going to be needed in the bullpen. Only then will they be able to truly consider themselves contenders, because without a dependable closer, there are going to be a lot of games blown regardless of how many runs that reconstituted lineup is able to score.
This is the absolute truth: I was intending to get the Extra Innings package on my digital cable this season; now that baseball is about to announce that exclusive deal with DirecTV, I won’t be able to get it. I’m not as upset as some fans who have had the package and grown accustomed to it have a right to be.
I’m not quite sure whether the baseball people that are making this deal realize that the exclusive deal that the NFL has with DirecTV should be seen differently; in the past I’ve given those in positions of power the benefit of the doubt that there must be some rational basis for the decisions they make. With each passing day, that belief is becoming more and more absurd. I won’t miss it because I never had it, but it must be irritating for fans who look forward to seeing certain teams now that they either have to switch to DirecTV or find another option.
One thing I will say is that these types of selfish and shortsighted decisions tend to backfire. My cable system received a "freeview" of the NFL network in late December and there really wasn’t all that much to get excited about. For the eight or so NFL games that the network is going to show, they’re going to have to find a lot of filler to pass the time. What I saw on the network was the constant repeating of the week’s highlight shows, followed by "insider" type reality shows about tryouts for various teams’ cheerleading squads; my fiancee seemed to be more interested in that than I was. (I’m not all that interested in the decision making process that goes into the chosen color for some chick’s hair.) Only the truly fanatical NFL fan is going to go through the time and trouble of switching cable systems for eight games when they can just as easily walk to a local tavern and watch them.
As for baseball, there are, of course, many more games available than there are in the NFL; but to think that a large enough number of fans are going to make that same switch because of their desperation to watch those out of town games is overestimating their fanaticism. I’m speaking as to my own preferences when it comes to watching games, but I believe that there are a great number of people who share my sentiments and will decide that it’s easier to forego the Extra Innings package than to go to the time and trouble of changing their cable provider.
Until Roger Clemens definitively retires, we’re going to have to deal with the constant speculation as to which team he will join for his half season of work. Clemens’s agents have said that the only teams that Clemens will consider joining are the Astros, Yankees and Red Sox; now with Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano surrendering the uniform number 22, which Clemens wore while with the Yankees, in hopes of Clemens’s arrival in mid-season, the pros and cons of which team would be best for Clemens to join should be weighed.
The pros for each:
The Yankees will offer Clemens the opportunity to win another championship and to do it while pitching with his close friend Andy Pettitte. They will also probably offer him the most money out of all the interested suitors.
The Red Sox would offer Clemens comparable money to the Yankees and his return to Boston would right a supposed wrong that was perpetrated by then Red Sox GM Dan Duquette in letting Clemens leave in the first place. The Red Sox have also said that they would be willing to be flexible with Clemens’s schedule, as the Astros are.
The Astros continue to offer most of the same things that they’ve provided over the past three seasons, except that Andy Pettitte is no longer there. They’re going to be competitive this season; they have a strong bullpen; and there is the matter of the special perks that Clemens receives in that he doesn’t have to show up at the ballpark unless he’s pitching, and that he doesn’t accompany the team on all the road trips. There are also the matters of Clemens’s son Koby, who is in the low minor leagues for the Astros; and the personal services contract that Clemens has with the Astros; those things make it very attractive for Clemens to remain with the Astros.
The Yankees aren’t going to let Clemens make his own schedule as the other teams appear willing to do.
The Red Sox bullpen is looking like it might be a problem; they really don’t need another starter, they need bullpen help. Why would Clemens want to join a team that is going to have a hard time making the playoffs while drawing the ire of both the Yankees and Astros?
The Astros probably wouldn’t be very happy with Clemens if he abandoned them to selfishly re-join the Yankees or Red Sox after the Astros have been so generous financially and accommodating to his desires to be a "part-timer". One other thing that shouldn’t be discounted is the presence of Clemens’s son in the Astros minor league system. In looking at Koby Clemens’s stats, he doesn’t appear to be much of a prospect. If Clemens wants his son to make it to the big leagues, the only chance he may have is if Clemens himself is still a member in good standing with the organization. If he leaves, the Astros might up and release Clemens’s son.
All of this speculation is ultimately meaningless. Clemens himself knows the pros and cons of each situation. I believe that the decision is going to come down to the Astros competitiveness in their division; money won’t be such an overriding factor. If the Astros are in contention for a playoff spot, then Clemens will return there. If not, then he will choose between the Yankees and Red Sox. Since the Astros look like they’re going to be pretty good this year, it’d be a huge surprise if Clemens is pitching for anyone other than the Houston Astros this season.