Sunday, March 27, 2011

Game 3 in Scottsdale

Yesterday we traveled to Scottsdale, the Spring Training home of the defending World Champion S.F. Giants. The game had a completely different feel from the more relaxed atmosphere of Goodyear. And that's a good thing. The announced attendance was over 12,000 and the park looked full. At one point we were looking for a spot to move into the sun, and didn't see any. (I thought the shade was great but, believe or not, it was a little chilly in the shade with the breeze.) The grassy hill (a staple at stadiums out here) was so full it looked like stands with people sitting in seats, not a grass with blankets. The park had more going on, too, but we thought that was because it's also used as a minor league park during the year, so it made more sense to have more stuff.

We heard parking would be tough, so we got there super early and parked right by the stadium (for free). Then had a good lunch (except for the food) at a Mexican place called Los Olivos. El Rio Grande is better, but we were able to sit outside in the shade of a big umbrella. That part was very nice. And the salsa was great. Scottsdale is a really cool area.

Tim Lincecum was the Giants' starter. He's probably my favorite major leaguer, non Reds category. It was fun to see him pitch, but even more fun to see the Reds hit him and hit him pretty hard. Brandon Phillips had two hard singles up the middle, and the one time he did make an out (2-3) he lined hard right at the left fielder. Talking to Phillips afterward, he said he loves to hit against the top guys. It really showed in his approach. Francisco homered (man that guy can hit) and doubled in another run. But the big blow was a three run shot to center by Fred Lewis. That one was not wind-aided. All told, the Reds got to Lincecum for 6 runs in five innings.

Unfortunately, that's all the Reds could scrape together. And they needed more. The Reds' newly minted fifth starter, Sam LeCure, pitched well, giving up just one run over 3.1 innings. He gave up five hits and walked two, striking out three. For Arizona, that seemed like Cy Young. Dusty pulled him after he got the first out in the fourth. That's when the wheels fell off. Bray came in and gave up two singles and a sacrifice bunt (the second out) and got the third out on a home run. With two on, Torres hit a home run to left. But the umpires (after one apparently gave the home run signal) said it didn't clear the wall and the Reds tagged Torres out as he jogged to third. To me it looked like the ball hit about eight feet in front of the wall, but BP said later the ball cleared the wall and bounced back. Proof, I guess, of what we've seen all week; it's really hard to see the ball when it's in the air. So the Reds escaped the inning with a 4-3 lead.

Massett pitched an inning of scoreless relief and then Chapman came in for the 6th. He faced five batters and gave up three singles, a double, and a hit batsman and threw two wild pitches. All five scored without Chapman recording an out. Hopefully, this will be treated as just one of those outings and everyone will forget about it.

Nobody else scored and the Giants took the win 9-6. We are now worried that perhaps we've jinxed the team. We have our last game today, at Goodyear against the Diamondbacks. I expect it to be pretty crowded with Diamonbacks fans, but we'll see.

Before the game, BP threw us a ball in the stands. We were about 16 rows up (actually in the second section) and he threw it right to me. But this tall guy in front of me made a great catch on it. When he realized we were Reds fans, though, he just gave me the ball. A really nice Giants fan. (I bought him and his friend a beer). Turns out, he went to junior high with Jonny Gomes.

Check back for a final report on today's game and for the trip recap.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Training game 2

Reds pitching is taking a beating. 15 runs on Thursday and another 10 yesterday. But the ball really travels here and the fielders have really had a tough time with the high sky. We've seen several fly balls and pop ups misplayed by the defense. So I'm not super worried; mostly everyone says Spring Training stats don't matter that much. What does worry me, however, is the injuries. Cueto is out to start the year and now we learn Bailey will start the season on the D/L. (I don't know why he didn't mention that to me when I met him yesterday; must not have realized I was a blogger.) And now Arroyo has mono. (Good thing Rachel only shook his hand yesterday when we met him.)

That leaves Volquez, Leake, and Wood as guys that started ST with a shot at the rotation. Presumably, Arroyo will be back by the third game (he never misses a start, right?) And we read yesterday that LeCure (who we'll see today against the Giants and Tim Lincecum in Scottsdale) as the fifth starter. Maloney has a shot, but he got roughed up for three runs on six hits in two innings yesterday. We'll see how LeCure does today.

That's the thing about being here, live, though. The stats don't tell the story. In a regular game the only thing that matters is did you get the job done. But here, how you pitch matters. Maloney pitched a great 8th, getting a double play after a pretty lucky hit, and then getting the first two guys routinely in the 9th. Then the Pads strung together a couple of hits and, all of a sudden, it's three more runs. Again, the stats just don't tell the story.

Volquez gave up five straight hits to start the game, but escaped the first having given up only two runs. He gave up only one more on a home run to Ryan Ludwick, pitching a total of 5 innings. Another potential run was cut down at the plate on a nice throw to home by Jay Bruce to preserve, at least for the moment, a two-two tie.

Bruce and Gomes then doubled back-to-back for the Reds third run and they had the lead. But it didn't last and the Reds went down 10-4.

Our host, Brandon Phillips, played yesterday. He started at second and batted lead-off. He struck out in the bottom of the first, but singled in the Reds' first run in the third in his only other at bat. He made a very nice play in the field (what else is new?) to save a run and end the fifth and keep the game tied before leaving for Miguel Cairo.

We got to go bowling with BP last night (I will do a full recap of the trip that's less baseball and more about how great a host Brandon has been at the end of the trip) and I got to ask him a "work question." What a treat for me to get to talk baseball with an All-Star, Gold Glover, 30-30 guy like BP. He explained to me his entire approach to the game. In the first, he took some extra pitches to see what the pitcher had. (Casey Kelly was the pitcher, the top prospect the Pads got in the A-Gon trade.) He was getting breaking stuff in and hard stuff away. Because of the extra takes, BP ended up in the hole and took a strike out.

But the next time up, with a guy on second, he singled through the hole at second for an rbi, and the Reds' first run. To me, it looked like he intentionally went the other way. He confirmed this to me at the bowling alley. He knew he'd get a fastball away, and saw the second baseman cheating toward the bag. So basically, he risked a strikeout to get more information on the pitcher in his first at bat, that he then used to drive in a big run when he had a runner in scoring position.

As I mentioned, we're off to Scottsdale to see the Reds take on the Giants. Look for a recap of that game tomorrow.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Blue Sox Baseball goes west - game 1

Things have been crazy since we woke up at 3:00 a.m. Thursday morning to catch our early flight for our Spring Training trip, courtesy of Brandon Phillips. Both our Dayton and Cleveland flights were delayed for deicing. The perfect context for a trip to sunny Arizona.

We made Thursday's game (1:00 local start) just in time for first pitch and had great seats right behind the dugout, albeit the Rangers dugout. We were initially excited that Dusty had every starter in, until we realized it was every starter but BP. (Don't worry, he texted us that he was working out in the clubhouse, watching the game on TV and that he'd meet up with us later. More on that to come.) One of the reasons we delayed our trip to late March was to see as many starters as we could and to see more of Phillips on the field.

Wood started, and the stat line did not look good. But he pitched to some really bad luck and a couple of weird errors that lead to a grand slam by Nelson Cruz. Wood could have been out of the inning unscathed, but it didn't come together. I guess that's spring training for you. Wood ended up going almost 6 innings. He also batted three times (the Reds didn't use the DH, although the Rangers did) and hit a two-rbi double. I wondered in what percentage of spring training games a pitcher gets three at bats.

The bullpen was erratic as well, but with the exception of Arredondo, most of the guys that gave up runs were not guys competing for major league roster spots.

But the bats were alive. The Reds scored 15 runs, with both Gomesy and Dave Sappelt homering. Sappelt's was half-way up the batter's eye in straight away center field; a monster shot. The centerfield spot (6th in the line-up) with Stubbs and Sappelt got on and scored every time but one, with 4 hits, a stolen base, and five runs.

Juan Francisco really looks good. He came in early for Rolen, who was hit by a pitch, and hit really well. Three hits including two doubles. He did miss a grounder down the line at third base. It was clearly a hit and not an error, but I kinda thought Rolen would have gotten it. If he makes the team, it will be on his offense. By contrast, the other left-handed power option of the bench, Jeremy Hermida, did not look that good, with a couple of strikeouts.

But the 13 runs wasn't enough as the Reds lost it 15-13 in a slugfest. Despite the loss, it was great being out there in the sun and watching baseball again.

We have another game today at 1:00, with a tour of the complex set for this morning. We're hoping to meet Dusty and a couple of players.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A little recent Reds history

This is a must click link for any Reds fan. Very informative.

Reds 25-man roster preview - position players

Last night we watched the MLB Network's 30 teams in 30 days series which featured the Reds. I was struck by the fact that they didn't tell us anything that my wife and I didn't already know. In fact, I think they got some things wrong; or at least different than the conventional wisdom among fans who follow the Reds. For example, they had a rotation of Volquez, Arroyo, Cueto, and Wood, with Bailey and Leake fighting it out for the fifth spot. Most Reds fans know Homer is out of options, so we assume it's Bailey in the fourth spot with Wood and Leake fighting it out for the fifth spot. Watching the special motivated me to start my 25-man roster preview series. We'll start with the position players.


Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan will be the two catchers. The Reds have two good catching prospects, but they won't be a significant part of this team this year. Mesoraco, the closer of the two, had a break-out last year, and could see time in case of a serious injury, but I think the Reds would go to Corky Miller as a short-term injury fill-in.

Interestingly, the Reds catcher spot may be the only language platoon in the majors, with Hanigan catching the English speaking pitchers and Hernandez catching the Spanish speaking pitchers. This would give Hanigan more starts, but Hernandez would catch opening day, because Dusty has named Volquez as the opening day starter. Hernandez can also back-up at first base in a pinch.


Three of these spots are a lock, Bruce, Stubbs, and Gomes. The Reds picked up the option on Gomes, which more than doubled his salary from last year. He earned every bit of the $800,000.00 he got last year and even at $1.75 mil this year is still a good bargain. He had some rough patches last season, and isn't a very good left fielder, but the kind of power he brings at under $2 mil. is a clear asset to the team.

Dusty has said Gomes will be the man in left field this year, which has surprised a few. I think most fans thought he would platoon with newly acquired Fred Lewis. After all, why give Lewis $900,000.00 if he's not going to play? The problem with Lewis as your fourth outfielder is that he's not a great defender and he doesn't have much power off the bench. But the contract (and the timing of it) indicate he'll be the fourth guy in the outfield.

That leaves the fifth outfielder, and probably the 25th guy on the roster. Heisey is the favorite for this spot. He's a good defender and could probably play all three spots. Plus he proved last year he could be an effective power guy off the bench as a pinch hitter, hitting four pinch-hit home runs. He's also already on the 40-man roster.

That's also true for Juan Francisco. And Francisco is left-handed. If the Reds go with Heisey, they will have no left-handed power on the bench. (Lewis would be the only left hander on the bench in that scenario). And the division is heavy with right-handed pitching. But Francisco isn't really an outfielder. He's more of a third-baseman. He would have the advantage of also backing up Rolen at third, and with Stubbs and Bruce probably needing little by way of a day off, the Reds may not need more than an emergency guy for the fifth outfield spot. We'll consider Francisco further when we get to the infield.

The Reds brought Jeremy Hermida to camp on a minor-league deal. I think he would be the best pick for this spot, providing decent defense and some left-handed power off the bench, but the Reds would have to find room for him on the 40-man. Look for Hermida to start in Louisville and be the guy the Reds look to if there's an injury.

A top prospect from last year, Todd Frazier, had a disappointing season last year and still doesn't have a clear position. He would be a good 25th man because of his ability to play everywhere. He's got good power and speed, but he'll need to rebuild his value in the minors for at least half of 2011. But if he starts strong, I could see him helping the Reds in the second half.

Dave Sappelt has gotten a lot of spring training press because of a hot start, but he is not a serious contender for the opening day roster. Nor do I see him on the Reds this year. the team simply has too much depth both in experienced guys and in prospects.

Finally, the Reds have had Yonder Alonso play some in left, but he won't see legitimate time with the Reds this year unless something goes seriously wrong.


Votto, Rolen, and Phillips are locks. The conventional wisdom is that the other three spots are also locks with Renteria, Cairo, and Janish. Most folks are projecting Janish as the starting shortstop, except for the "experts" who are still clinging to the out-dated notion that Dusty loves veterans and will feel compelled to start Renteria. That leaves Cairo and Renteria as the two back-ups.

Initially we thought Renteria would play a lot at third base, allowing a lot of rest for Rolen. But now we're told he won't play third, but may play some second base. (Are we finally seeing a path to move BP to short?) That leaves Cairo as the back-up at third. We've been told Dusty plans to rest Rolen a lot. So assume Rolen plays 130 games. That's a lot of time for Cairo at third. He played well last year, no doubt about it. But can he produce enough power at third with that much playing time? At this point, the only real option is Juan Francisco, and I don't think he'll make the team. When Rolen isn't playing Janish could hold down third with Renteria at short, but that's not enough offense.

Look for Cozart to take Janish's spot if Janish doesn't hit and Cozart starts off well in Louisville, but Cozart has no shot at the opening day spot. Valaika played some last year, but I don't think he has a shot either.

As an aside, here is one stat that, if it happened, would mean the Reds would win the division: Rolen gets 100 rbi's. I can't think of any other single stat that would mean more to this team. That would mean not only that Rolen was not sidelined by injury, but produced in the number four spot in the order. Plus, it would likely mean the Reds solved their lead-off problem, and got guys on base in the first three spots.

This year, more than any other since I've been a Reds fan, the Reds have very little uncertainty in their roster. That's true even though the Reds have a lot of depth. That depth will cause me some problems when picking the bullpen, which we'll do soon as part two of this series.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wherein I propose a plan for the Cardinals

With Adam Wainwright's season-ending injury and trip to the operating table the Cardinals are in real trouble. My first thought upon hearing the news? They have to trade Pujols. My second thought? They'll have to wait until at least June 1 to trade Pujols because they'll have to at least pretend to be trying to win in his last season as a Cardinal, because otherwise the fans would leave in droves.

But then I had an idea for a longer-term plan. This started with the idea that TJ surgery is a well-known commodity. See Joe Nathan, Edinson Volquez just to name a few. It's a pretty good bet Wainwright will be in camp this time next year getting ready for the season and a pretty good bet he'll preform at a pretty high level in 2012. So they could do this:

1. Trade Wainwright. He's owed $6.5 mil for this year and the Cards hold '12 and '13 options for $9 mil and $12 mil, respectively. Those would have vested had Wainwright made it through the season, but he didn't and they won't. So the Cards, could just let him go or trade him. The team trading for him would have to assume he'll be back and be worth the options. (No reason to trade for him except to pick-up the options.) If he performs in '12 and '13 the way he did in '09 and '10, he's worth far more than the options. (Can you trade a player that's on the disabled list?)

2. Trade Carpenter. He's owed $15 mil for this year with a club option for $15 mil for next year ($1 mil buyout). (More on this in a moment.)

3. Trade Holliday if they can. He's owed $17 mil per year through at least '16. He'd be hard to move, and wouldn't bring much back, but salary relief here would be the end game.

4. Wait for it . . . trade Pujols.

Can you image the haul the Cardinals could get for these four (really three) talents? They could rebuild very quickly and in three years be the kings of the division.

But here's what I would do:

1. Try and renegotiate with Wainwright. I think the club options on Wainwright are team-friendly, assuming he's healthy. But the club has some negotiating power right now and they should use it. I would propose moving everything up a year, $6.5 mil for this year, repeat that next year and then do $9 mil for '13 and $12 mil. for '14. This tacks a year on, defers some money, but overall gives Wainwright more money ($34 mil instead of $27.5). The Cards would have him through 2014 and presumably get three good years from him for just over $11 mil per. Sounds like a good deal to me.

2. Keep Holliday. He's signed through 2016.

3. Trade Carpenter right now. Can you imagine what the Yankees would give up for Carpenter right now? I'd start with asking for Phil Hughes and something else, maybe Joba. But if the Yankees balk, I'd ask for one of their top two pitching prospects (Banuelos or Betances), Ivan Nova, and Joba. Nova and Joba fill the Wainwright and Carpenter spots this year and the prospect competes with Shelby Miller for a spot in the '12 rotation that would include Wainwright, Garcia, Joba,and Nova. (They'd have to get rid of Lohse, which might be hard.) I could see an argument for waiting until the trade deadline to get more value of Carpenter, but I'd think he has more value to the Yankees right now. (Just ask the nearest Yankee fan.)

4. Announce the team will still play hard, but is rebuilding for a '12 and beyond dynasty. There are two obstacles to this plan so they will also have to ...

5. Sign Albert now! Tell the agent they'll pay what it takes and get it done. I think this is the only way the fans will accept the punting of what would otherwise be Albert's last year in St.L. (As an aside, I think the Cards can still sign Pujols after this season no matter what happens by matching Albert's highest other offer.)

The other obstacle? TLR. He won't have any interest in managing a rebuilding team even if for just one year. Worst case scenario, he's on a one-year deal and will have to manage out the season anyway. Best case scenario (and I admit I'm biased here) he quits. Everybody wins.

So in '12, they have Albert in the fold (and happy), still have Holliday, have Wainwright back, and a bunch of great young arms to fill out the rotation and add bullpen depth. That's the makings of a great staff in '12.

As a Reds fan I hope the Cards ignore all of my advice, keep Carpenter, lose Wainwright and Pujols, and have only Holliday to show for there big payroll after 2012.

Oscar preview

I had the good fortune to see all ten Oscar-nominated movies this year and quite a few of the other movies with major nominations. I wanted to share my thoughts, but also to share with you this much more comprehensive preview from my sister, who indicates we have similar tastes. I'm not sure I would have said that, but after reading her excellent recap, I have to agree. (By the way, I think Annette Bening lost to Hilary Swank both times.)

Here is how I would rank the ten nominees:

1. True Grit

I love the Coen Brothers' movies, and this one did not let me down. Some would call the dialogue hokey, but I thought it was classic Coen Bros. (Think Raising Arizona.) I agree with Laura that Hailee Steinfeld should have been a best actress nominee (and not a supporting actress), and the film was beautiful. But I don't think True Grit has a chance to win.

2. The Social Network

I was completely engaged in The Social Network. I am not an Aaron Sorkin fan at all, but I thought both the dialogue and the way he crafted the story were terrific, going with the deposition testimony and the flashbacks. I read the book the movie was based on, The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich (that's how much I liked it, I went out and bought the book to learn more) and it had none of the deposition testimony or the litigation. So that was all Sorkin. But like any movie based on fact, I wonder how much of it is actually true. With actual deposition testimony available, presumably it was very accurate, but you know Hollywood. It's between this and The King's Speech for the award.

3. The King's Speech

Laura mentions (as has every media outlet) how terrific Colin Firth was as the stammering future king, and no doubt he was. He should have won last year for best actor in A Single Man, and may win this year, but the real star of this movie was Geoffrey Rush. He is nominated in the best supporting category but he gave the single best performance of any actor in any role (that I saw) this year. And he still may lose to Christian Bale in the supporting category.

4. Black Swan

A terrific psychological thriller. I'll try not to spoil anything here, but stop reading if you haven't seen it and plan to. You start out wondering why everyone in Natalie Portman's character's world is crazy. Let's just say the journey to realizing that isn't necessarily true was one of the great cinema rides this year. It wasn't quite Requiem For a Dream, but I was on the edge of my seat for the entire movie.

5. 127 Hours

In case you haven't crawled out from under your rock (pun intended) and you don't know what this is about I won't spoil it, but let me just say who knew this could be so much fun to watch.

6. The Fighter

Now that I'm out of the top 5 I can be a little more critical. This was a great movie. Amy Adams was terrific and definitely deserved her best supporting actress nomination. The movie was inspiring, funny, and heartbreaking. But toward the end it got a little too sports movie. I will say that Mark Wahlberg is very talented. He always surrounds himself with great actors (think Boogie Nights) but holds his own and is always under-appreciated.

7. The Kids Are Alright

I've loved Mark Ruffalo ever since seeing him for the first time in one of my favorite movies, You Can Count On Me (with Laura Linney). But as Rachel pointed out, he played basically the same character in this movie as he does in most of his movies. This was a great film but just not in the class of the top five on this list.

8. Toy Story 3

I guess I'm getting more sentimental. I wouldn't typically have a kids' cartoon in my top ten, but this was a very good movie and a great story.

9. Inception

Any movie that includes a string-the-rope-across-the-slope-to-knock-the-driver-off-the-snowmobile scene can't win the Oscar.

10. Winter's Bone

Winter's Bone was a decent movie, with good performances. It should not be an Oscar contender, however. Blue Valentine would have been a better choice.

As far as the telecast, the big excitement is whether or not Banksy will show up (I say he won't). Either way, and whether or not it wins for documentary, put Exit Through The Gift Shop in your Netflix cue.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A great night

A pretty boring trip to LaRosa's turned very exciting last night. But first some background. I mentioned on my last post that some new ventures have kept me occupied, but they also prevented us from scheduling the spring training trip that we wanted to take this year. So that, coupled with the bad weather this winter, has had us down.

So last night at 7:00, we both got on Twitter to participate in Brandon Phillips's Twitter contest. He posted a question about himself and the first to respond would win a trip to Spring Training. The question was what was his favorite drink. Knowing that he doesn't drink alcohol, and figuring him for a wholesome, healthy guy, Rachel took an educated guess and said "milk." And she did all of that rather quickly. (I said OJ, just a hair behind her.) Looking at his Twitter feed, Rachel was the first to respond "milk" and I was the first to respond with "OJ" so I had a feeling we had a shot and was a little excited.

When we got home, Rachel had two private Twitter messages from BP and we started getting really excited. She messaged back and he announced she had won. Then, he called her and was very gracious and generous, basically telling us to pick the dates we want to come and to let him know. He would set us up with air fare, tickets, a hotel, and introduce us around to some players and to Dusty.

Rachel's Twitter feed exploded with congrats from a ton of folks and a ton of new followers. One crazy fan (who has a live internet show) messaged her to call into his show last night to talk about the contest. Overall, a great night. By the way, you can follow Rachel (@redsgal12), me (@bigzbluesox), and, more importantly, BP (@DatDudeBP) on Twitter.

Keep checking back because I will be blogging about the trip in detail. In the meantime, you have to read this blog post from last August where you can learn why Rachel is so deserving of winning such an awesome contest.

And thanks, BP. What a great guy!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Baseball is back

For guys like me, baseball is all year round (I've already made a fantasy baseball trade). But it's official today as pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training. I haven't been blogging regularly (or at all, really) because of some new ventures that have been taking up the majority of my time, but I'm hoping to blog more regularly during spring training and into the season. I appreciate your sticking with me.

The big question heading into spring training is what happens with the Cardinals and Albert Pujols. Right now, it looks like the answer to that is, "nothing." It seems very unlikely that the two sides can strike a deal by Wednesday, Albert's self-imposed deadline. Let's start this discussion with Albert's value. He's played ten seasons in the big leagues. In seven of his ten seasons he finished first or second in the MVP voting. In his "worst" season, he finished ninth. The other two years? Fourth and third.

He's never hit below .312, never hit fewer than 32 home runs, never knocked in fewer than 103 runs, and never slugged below .561. Once, he scored fewer than 100 runs (99 in '07) and once had an OBP below .400 (.394 in '02). He's never missed as many as 20 games in a season. Here is his 162-game-average stat line:

596 AB, 123 R, 198 H, 42 HR, 128 rbi, .331/.426/.624.

As Jim Memmelo (a Cubs guy) said on MLB Network Radio this morning, he's not a first-ballot hall-of-famer, he's a pre-ballot hall-of-famer.

So where does that leave us with the contract negotiations? They're not about how much he's worth; he's worth a lot more than any other player and probably more than he can be paid in this market. It's about what the Cards can (or are willing to) pay. Rest assured, if he goes on the market after 2011, he will find a team willing to pay his demand.

But the Cards aren't being asked to pay for this Albert, they're being asked to pay for the next Albert. When the Reds gave Jr. a huge payday after the '99 season, he looked like a sure thing to be worth every penny. At that point, Jr. had a career slash stat line of .299/.380/.569. Not quite Albert (no surprise, we spent the first part of this basically arguing there is no other Albert) but certainly the superstar everyone thought he was. After that, his career stats were .262/.355/.493. When you factor in diminishing defense and stolen bases, Jr. was just a tick better than Mike Cameron over that period, one of the guys the Reds traded to get Jr.

The current salary structure in baseball is out-dated. Players are reaching the pinnacles of their careers in terms of pay grade right when they should be starting to decline in their on-field skills. It's the second time a guy hits free agency. (Albert already signed a big $100 mil. deal -- this is his second big contract.) One look at the prospects list and it's clear where teams are going. Baseball is going to look like a fantasy roster with the top top players getting huge contracts (with marketing and ticket sales a huge driving force) and the rest of the team filled out with cheap pre-free agency players. With the fans' rabid interest in prospects, it's easier for a team to use a prospect because all the fans know who he is. In fact, sometimes it's hard for a team not to. (See Buster Posey and Aroldis Chapman from last season.)

What does Albert's future entail? That's the $64,000.00 (or $300 mil.) question. So the Cards only have to predict if Pujols will play the next ten years like his last ten, or follow Jr.'s career path. If it's the former, he's worth the $300 mil. If it's the latter, and they sign him, Pujols will do for the Cards what Jr. did for the Reds, provide a decade of below .500 baseball.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hall of Fame

Blyleven and Alomar are in; Larkin out. I haven't had time to write about the Hall of Fame like I did last year, so I'm going to provide you with only this link. If you read nothing else about the Hall of Fame this year, you should read this.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More details on Arroyo's extension.

I'm in Vegas, so not much time to blog, but here is a good link on Arroyo's Rolen-like extension and why he probably won't be traded.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Reds sign Bruce long-term

The Reds signed Bruce to a six-year extension for $51 mil. The club has an option for a seventh year. Details when we have them.