Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Notes from the start of the offseason

It's obvious that Scott Boras has at least one fish on the hook, otherwise he never would have done the high-profile opt-out on Alex Rodriguez' contract. That being said, the real intrigue here is over who leaked the story during Game 4 of the World Series, and why. John Heyman over at SI.com was the first to report it, but the question of who got him the info remains open, and interesting. The leak certainly hasn't helped Rodriguez' bargaining position any, and the fan backlash against Boras may make it easier for GMs to hold the line on Boras clients.

Speaking of the A-Rod debacle, can anyone else remember seeing Peter Gammons so visibly furious on-camera? That being said, why Der Commish took a swipe at "statheads in their garages" during his post-World Series rant over Dustin Pedroia remains a mystery. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Red Sox remain one of the most analytic-friendly organizations in baseball (four words: Bill James, on payroll), and durn near every "stathead" I know loves Pedroia precisely because he produces instead of just looking good in a uniform. (See: Braggs, Glenn). One explanation - Boras is fond of doing all sorts of dubious statistical projections to prove his clients are going to be twelve stories tall and made of radiation over the life of their exorbitant contracts. Then again, if more teams were analysis-friendly, they'd be able to call bullshit.

Renteria to the Tigers. The big win in this one, of course, is anyone who gets to listen to the Braves' announcers trying to pronounce the names of the players the Braves got back - Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez. Both are young players with lots of upside, but Renteria is still an All-Star caliber shortstop, and the Tigers had strength at precisely the positions (young pitching, outfield) to allow them to deal. The real question will be how Carlos Guillen's production stacks up at first base, now that Tigers have moved him across the diamond to protect his health.

Joe Girardi is an interesting choice to manage the Yankees. While he was Manager of the Year in the NL for his job on the 2006 Marlins, let it not be forgotten that A)he fought against keeping some of the players who overperformed on the roster out of spring training and B)pretty much every young pitcher he touched blew a gasket this year. That can't make Joba Chamberlain, Philip Hughes, et alia feel good.

Torre to the Dodgers is also interesting, in large part because he'd be stepping into a situation where he'd have a GM who prefers vets to kids and a farm system full of kids ready to contribute (not to mention better than the vets on the roster). What this really does, however, is let the Dodgers grab at least some of the headlines this off-season, even if the Angels do nab A-Rod. For all of the "If Torre goes to LA, then A-Rod will follow" speculation, let's not forget that the two of them weren't exactly inseparable in the Bronx. It was Cap'n Jetes whom Torre let sit in Santa's lap all the time, not "the third baseman".

At this point, all things Steinbrenner are just sad.

Grady Little - zapped at the last minute by the Yankees, again.
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