A few tiny tidbits before you head out to face the weekend. These are the dregs, my friends. Until January comes around, when complain they’re the real dregs. It is all relative, I fear.

There will be news in the coming weeks, as arbitration offers are declined and the free agent “frenzy” kicks off. Thankfully, there is no Free Agent Day in baseball like other sports, with GMs clambering around trying to make deals like a bunch of frat bros at 1:59am.

There is no fear that all the good free agents will be “gone” and some poor, misguided GM with a wad of cash burning away in his pocket will just toss it at anyone to avoid holding the bag. Such insane/idiotic spending is what gets teams and leagues into trouble, spending money to avoid losing it.

Plus I’d have to work, like, late at night if that was case. And that “me” time is important, y’all.

Ben Cherington Plays You Like a Violin

The new Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington is a wise man. He inherits a very good baseball situation with an optical culture problem (of which he was very much a part). The feeling of unease around Red Sox Nation is obvious with fans and a knives-out media throng very conscious of the touchy-feely aspects of their ageing-yet-excellent club.

Conscious of the focus on “soft-skills” and the value “winning attitudes” among his club, Cherington sounded off on an easy target in soon-to-be-former Red Sock J.D. Drew, appeasing the braying masses with a single deft stroke.

Drew is an interesting case,” Cherington said. “At his best he was a guy appreciated by both the objective and subjective camps. When he was at his best he had incredible physical skills that any scout could see. But if there was a failing, it was things like [the lack of emotion over the Ellsbury steal].

“I put a value on that. I prefer to have players for whom the game means something, as opposed to players who don’t care so much about the game.”

That is a perfectly executed nothing quote. It sounds great and should keep the hounds from his gate for a few days. The “changing culture” storyline now has a bit of momentum as Cherington sets out to tweak the most talented team in baseball.

Jays Add to an Area of Strength

The Blue Jays announced the hiring of Chuck LaMar as “a special assistant with an emphasis on amateur scouting”, further bolstering an already stuff scouting team. The list of AGMs and scouting mavens in the Toronto front office is quite impressive. Former general managers and industry “it-guys” all working to develop the best talent possible as the Jays mount their offensive against the AL East giants.

LaMar is a former Rays GM where he is credited with such moves as drafting Carl Crawford and Josh Hamilton. Which is a little bit silly, in a way. Picking the highest-rated prospects at the top of the draft is no sure thing but guys with the tools of Hamilton and Crawford probably didn’t cause a great deal of debate in the Rays draft rooms.

Beltran Does the Blaming

Free agent outfielder and cause of all suffering in the world Carlos Beltran recently changed his representation, moving away from Satanic figurehead Scott Boras to kind and cuddly agent Dan Lozano. Lozano is the scrappy underdog who also represents free agents Albert Pujols and Jimmy Rollins.

The list of teams vying for Beltran’s services might be shorter than we think, with the Giants the early favorites to sign the outfielder to a multi-year deal. John Shea of the San Fran Chronicle suggests a two-year deal with a vesting option for a third might get it done for Beltran. Are many other teams willing to offer that long a deal for a player with Beltran’s injury history? Not likely. The Giants impulse to do the wacky, ill-advised thing is strong. Which makes this deal inevitable and its tragic outcome all but assured.

The A’s Sell Low, Medium, and High

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports suggests the A’s are willing to listen on “anyone on the roster with the exception of second baseman Jemile Weeks.” While that might sound like a ringing endorsement for their young second baseman, I prefer to think of it as a damning indictment of the A’s roster as a whole.

The A’s pitching is often lauded with the oft-injured Brett Anderson and oft-overrated Trevor Cahil leading the charge. Gio Gonzalez is a nice pitcher certainly not untouchable. The A’s are right to listen on any of these players (especially closer Andrew Bailey) as they represent sell-high opportunities for a team that could easily upgrade at every spot around the diamond.

Players Pass On

Sad notes today as two former players, Matty Alou and Bob Forsch, died within the last 24 hours. Forsch, a former Cardinals and Astros pitcher, died just a week after throwing out the first pitch in his former team’s Game Seven victory to clinch the World Series. Alou was a long-time member of the Giants and Pirates who famously played a few innings in the same outfield as his two brothers Felipe and Jesus. Alou was 72 and Forsch was 61. Rest well, old friends.

Image courtesy of Three Word Phrase.