Friday, March 21, 2014
Does This Spring Training Storyline Matter, Round 2
Storyline: Manny Ramirez wants to play again.
Does It Matter?: No
Why?:Because there are a ton of aging DH types floating around AAA who'll give you more production than Manny at this point without the injury risk or the media circus. Dan Johnson, I'm looking at you.
Storyline: Doug Fister's elbow is barking
Does It Matter?: Yes
Why?: The Fister trade was widely regarded as the head-scratcher of the winter, with Detroit sending a solid-plus starting pitcher to the Nationals in return for a prospect Happy Meal. At the time, the speculation was that the only reason Detroit made this deal was that they knew something the rest of us didn't. Like, say, Fister's elbow was a likely candidate to go kerblooey.
With a healthy Fister, Washington's the odds-on favorite in the division, especially with Atlanta's pitching staff going down like members of the Stark family at a wedding. Without him, things get a lot more interesting in the NL East.
Storyline: Giancarlo Stanton is hitting everything in sight a long, long way
Does It Matter?: To other GMs
Why?: The rest of the Marlins' lineup is either too young (Marisnick, Yelich), too old (Dobbs, Furcal) or just not very good (Hecchevaria, Bogusevic). Jose Fernandez and Jarod Saltalamacchia are not going to be enough to keep this team afloat, and if Stanton is indeed primed for a big year, it's going to come with no one on base and no reason to pitch to him. And since the Marlins are noted cheapskates, anything he does can best be viewed as an audition tape for the other GMs out there.
Except Ruben Amaro Jr, who would prefer to wait until Stanton's 37 years old.
Storyline: Zack Grienke isn't going on the Dodgers' season-opening 2 game trip to Australia
Does It Matter?: Not unless you're a member of the Australian tabloid media
Why?: The Boomhauer of the Dodgers' rotation is not known for soft-peddling his feelings, and he made it clear he was less than thrilled about the trip. That being said, the Dodgers are only going to need 2 starting pitchers and Greinke is notoriously fragile. Why subject him to the trip if you don't have to, particularly when he could strain his shoulder by sleeping wrong on an airplane seat during the 15 hour flight. (Which is totally the sort of thing he would accidentally do). For all the yelling and screaming, he didn't need to be there, so he won't.
Storyline: Will Tanaka live up to the billing?
Does It Matter?: Kind of
Why?: If he does, the Yankees are much more interesting, which is - I hate to say it - potentially better for the game as a whole. More likely that he follows the Yu Darvish career path, being merely good this year and really stepping up next year. The Yankees would probably be happy with that, as opposed to, say, Kei Igawa: The Sequel.