- Dustin Pedroia wins AL MVP:
You could argue for days whether Dustin Pedroia should have won the MVP based on objectivity and numbers; there was legitimate support for Justin Morneau; Joe Mauer; and my choice, Kevin Youkilis; but all that aside, Pedroia’s ascendance to 2007 Rookie of the Year and world champion, to 2008 MVP is an example to anyone who has their dreams stepped on by someone who wouldn’t have the courage or abilities to make their own goals a reality, so they have to cut down others to have company in their misery.
Pedroia is listed at 5’9″, which means he’s probably closer to 5’7″; he went to Arizona State University, where there were probably thirty other second basemen with “tools” far superior to Pedroia’s; he joined a team that has designs on contending every year in the highly pressurized (and inherently negative) environment of Boston and has jumped through every hoop, wall, trap and bit of adversity to become a superstar.
If nothing else, Pedroia—-with his Pete Rose desire, performance and attitude—-should serve as an inspiration for those who have a clear-cut vision of where they want to end up (and this doesn’t have to be sports related, they could be goals to do anything) and have naysayers give them nine zillion reasons why they can’t achieve them, but ignore such nonsense and keep trying. Even if someone has limited ability, that doesn’t mean they can’t outwork others who take their gifts for granted and eventually surpass them.
Much is said about the cocky way in which Pedroia carries himself, but I think that cockiness and under-the-surface anger is a way of taunting those that doubted him and he has a right to do that with all he’s made of himself. The saying that 90% of succeeding is just showing up is accurate. A guy with Pedroia’s size is probably one in a million to make it as far as he has, but if that one guy gives up because everyone’s telling him he can’t do it, then that one shot is reduced to zero. Ignorance is bliss especially when coming from someone whose own bitterness is like a disease trying to infect others. If Pedroia listened to those that counseled him (with their own negative agendas) into being “realistic”, who knows what he’d be doing now? Probably coaching somewhere and wondering what might have happened if he’d just kept trying. Luckily, he ignored them and he’s collecting post-season hardware like an industrial strength vacuum cleaner; if he wants to strut about it, everyone should just get out of his way and let him strut, because he’s earned it.
- Cubs re-sign Ryan Dempster:
I would normally question the wisdom of the Cubs giving Ryan Dempster a four-year, $52 million contract off of his career year, but in looking at several factors, it’s actually a smart move. Dempster’s 2008 season was probably the best season he’ll ever have, but in three years with Florida, he was a similar pitcher; he wasn’t this good and his stats were bloated by a few games in which he got shelled and was left out there way too long, but if he’s healthy, he can be counted on to give his 210 innings and win 13-16 games. Had the Cubs let him leave, they would’ve had to overpay to replace him via free agency or trade and an average of $13 million a year is pretty fair for a guy who probably could’ve squeezed another year and another $20 million or so from someone out on the open market.
Look at it this way, Jeff Suppan is making $12.75 million a year; Carlos Silva is making $11 million a year. If Dempster shows up to spring training 2009 in the excellent shape he did for 2008, then he should stay healthy and at least be a 200-inning guy; and most importantly, the Cubs would’ve had to shell out far more to replace him. They’re going to need his innings with Rich Harden’s injury history, so this is actually a good move.
- Mariners to name Don Wakamatsu as their new manager—-ESPN Story:
I know very little about Wakamatsu other than that he’s managed in the minors and coached under Buck Showalter with the Rangers and Bob Geren with the Athletics last season. Working under Showalter can only help someone learn about X and O strategy, so the Mariners have to hope that it translated to Wakamatsu. Supposedly, Rangers GM Jon Daniels wanted to hire Wakamatsu to manage the Rangers after Showalter was fired and was overruled by owner Tom Hicks, who hired Ron Washington. This is probably a signal that Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is going to start clearing out some highly paid veterans; we’ll see if it works.
- Reason # 2,000,000 why some guys are experts in their own minds:
A caller posed a hypothetical trade to Mike Francesa yesterday on his radio show and it went like this: the Yankees should send Robinson Cano and Phil Hughes to the Pirates for center fielder Nate McLouth. Francesa enthusiastically agreed, continuing on with his ill-in
formed man-crush on a player like McLouth, for whom he has scant knowledge other than that his…*
*Hey, I just looked at McLouth’s stats and he was born on October 28th, just like me.
…first season as an everyday player was solid. Not great, solid. And he won a Gold Glove award which—-according to those who follow the metrics of fielding—-he didn’t even come close to deserving since he’s been called below average as a center fielder; not just average, below average.
I’ve seen McLouth and he’s an okay player; I don’t know if he’s ever going to be more than that. He’ll hit his 20 or so homers and steal a base here or there, but if anyone suggested this absurd trade to Brian Cashman in a serious manner, he might attack them. For all of Cano’s faults (the slow starts; the ambivalent play; the arrogance), not long ago, he was linked with being sent to the Dodgers for Matt Kemp, who has MVP potential, just like Cano. Does Nate McLouth have MVP potential? In a word, no.
Having seen McLouth far more than the two or three times Francesa’s seen him (not that Francesa would know what he’s looking at anyway), he’s a very similar player to Nick Swisher and the Yankees certainly don’t need two of those. I have to believe that unless there are off-field issues that we don’t know about with Cano, he’s going to recover and return to the player he was in 2006 and 2007.
Making matters worse, Francesa’s got them throwing in Phil Hughes as well. I don’t know what’s going on with Hughes and why everyone’s all of a sudden dumping on him, but it’s not like he went out and performed atrociously and behaved worse like Ian Kennedy did (and I wouldn’t automatically give up on Kennedy either); Hughes was hurt. This could be a case of the Yankees deliberately trying to reduce the pressure on Hughes by diminishing expectations. He’s still got the potential to be a 15-game winner in the big leagues and he’s only 22; dumping him as an additive on what’s a stupid trade to begin with would be a huge error. They’re better off signing Jim Edmonds or waiting to see if Mike Cameron or even Ichiro comes available than going after McLouth to play center field, especially for Cano and Hughes.
- Coco Crisp traded to the Royals:
Rotoworld.com is reporting that the Red Sox have traded Coco Crisp to the Royals for Ramon Ramirez. What the Royals need with Crisp is beyond me to start, but to also trade a valuable bullpen arm like Ramirez is ridiculous. This is a steal for Theo Epstein and the Red Sox if it goes through. Maybe I was wrong about Dayton Moore; I’m having trouble finding new ways to defend him if this is the way he’s going to build his team. Journeyman outfielders like Crisp, you can find; 26-year-old relief pitchers with 146 strikeouts in 156 career innings in the big leagues, you can’t; and this is after trading another useful reliever, Leo Nunez, for another player you can find in Mike Jacobs. If this is Moore’s version of improving his team, the Royals are in trouble.