Monday, November 30, 2009

Someone Else's Opinion

I don’t know about you, but I am not looking forward to the Winter Meetings next week. I know I haven’t said much about all the trade speculation that’s floated around, but other bloggers (whose pages you probably already read before reading this) have pretty much said what I would say, and as something new seems to pop up every day, anything I write would rapidly go out of date. It’s also exceptionally complicated for three big reasons. The first is that it’s rather difficult to separate confirmed fact from speculation (And quotes from “anonymous executives” don’t help matters, because if you’re not giving your name, what’s to stop you from just making stuff up?). The second is that my gut instinct is to inherently not trust people, even if they haven’t given me reason not to trust them (this statement goes for both the writers and the Tigers brass). The third is that the national media, for some reason, seems to hold the Tigers in low regard. I don’t know why that is, but it’s getting annoying. Still, I will try to come up with something more substantial later in the week. In the meantime, I spoke with Chuck, my baseball guru, last week, and as per usual, he had some things to say about the goings on in the baseball world. So consider this a “guest blog” of sorts (Some of you may wonder why he doesn’t have a blog of his own. I’m sure he’d enjoy it, but he’s in his sixties and is completely computer illiterate). Here’s his insight (and remember, he’s a Yankees fan):

--He loves Granderson. I think he’d be willing to give up the entire Yankees’ farm system to get Granderson. However, he doesn’t see how trading him would make sense for the Tigers from a tactical standpoint.

--We didn’t talk much about Edwin Jackson, but he seems to think the only reason to trade him would be if Dave Dombrowski managed to absolutely fleece the hell out of the other team.

--This was before Lynn Henning decided to ramp up Cabrera trade talks (Seriously, has there been a completely separate confirmation from anyone else?) but after Ken Rosenthal’s moronic proposal about trading Cabrera to the Red Sox for Mike Lowell and Jonathan Papelbon. Not surprisingly, my baseball guru didn’t think that was a fair return, given his opinion that Miguel Cabrera is a “franchise player” and Lowell and Papelbon are not (plus I’m guessing there’s also the fact that Miggy would be more of a thorn in the Yankees’ side than either of those two).

--Basically, once I gave him the info on the Tigers’ payroll situation for the next few years, he agreed with me on what would probably be the best move for the Tigers: Try to tread water and ride out 2010 and then really go for it in 2011 once all that salary gets freed up (That would mean retaining players who can help you in 2011).

--He wasn’t happy with the Cy Young selections because “the win totals weren’t high enough.” He followed that up anecdotally by saying that Denny McClain had the same number of wins (31) in 1968 as Tim Lincecum (15) and Zack Greinke (16) combined. He proceeded to partially retract his criticism of Lincecum, saying that he wasn’t as familiar with the National League and that his guess was that Lincecum won because the two Cardinals pitchers split the vote. He had more ammunition against Greinke. His biggest arguments were that he didn’t win enough games and that most of the teams he beat were under .500. I have largely abstained from giving opinions in these sorts of matters, but I did tell him the popular reasons: Greinke’s ERA and the fact that the Royals’ offense is not very good. Chuck retaliated by saying that Nolan Ryan (His all-time favorite pitcher, from what I can tell) once led the league in ERA and strikeouts but went 8-16 because he didn’t get any run support (I did look this up and he was right. It was 1987 and he finished with an ERA of 2.76, which is actually very good, and he did finish 5th in the NL Cy Young voting that year. One thing that surprised me is he only led the league in ERA one other time, and he finished 4th in the Cy Young voting despite a ridiculous 1.69 ERA in 1981. On the other hand, he only pitched 149 innings that year, which leads me to believe he was injured at some point). Now, he was NOT arguing for CC Sabathia, although he did say he would rank Sabathia ahead of Greinke (in saying that he would’ve placed Greinke fourth). He seemed to be angling for Verlander (“because he’s a horse”) and Hernandez (based on the fact that King Felix had comparable ERA and strikeouts to Greinke but more wins even though Seattle’s offense was almost as bad as Kansas City’s) in some order (I got the feeling he’d place Verlander ahead of Hernandez, though). And please, if you’re gonna criticize, don’t direct it at me. I have no opinion on the matter (if you want to criticize me for having no opinion, fine, although I think that’s kind of pointless).

--This conversation occurred before the MVP voting results came out, but I’m guessing he has no problems with them, given the fact that he told me he wouldn’t be upset if Miguel Cabrera won. Now, I probably would not have voted for Cabrera, but I don’t understand why everyone’s mad that Mauer’s selection wasn’t unanimous. What difference does it make? If Mauer is destined for the Hall of Fame, it’s not going to make or break his selection. And according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, it doesn’t cheat him monetarily. He gets an extra $100,000 for being named MVP, plain and simple. Trust me, if one of our guys is voted Cy Young or MVP someday, I won’t complain if it’s not unanimous. That said, it would be interesting to hear Keizo Konishi’s take on the matter.

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