Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday

For many, Friday represents the end of a long work week that was filled with heavy doses of sludging and drudging. It’s my hope that at the end of every week during the baseball season, during that point of the day on a Friday afternoon when it’s too far away from closing time to leave work early, but too late in the day to start anything new, you’ll join us here to check out some random observations and contribute your own opinion to make us all smarter about baseball.

So, without further ado:

The Best Players 25 And Under

On Wednesday, John Sickels of Minor League Ball listed a dozen of the best non-rookie Major League Baseball position players aged 25 and younger. As evidence that he let the maple syrup go straight to his head, Sickels names Brett Lawrie as the second best among his “personal favourites.”

While I’m pretty sure the use of “personal favourites” is little more than a good way of excusing oneself from criticism, it’s worth noting that listing Lawrie ahead of Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey and Jason Heyward is ridiculously wrong in any ranking that isn’t Amount Of Red Bulls Downed Before Game Time.

Here’s how I would list my top twelve:

  1. Justin Upton
  2. Andrew McCutchen
  3. Buster Posey
  4. Giancarlo Stanton
  5. Jason Heyward
  6. Starlin Castro
  7. Eric Hosmer
  8. Mike Trout
  9. Brett Lawrie
  10. Desmond Jennings
  11. Pablo Sandoval
  12. Dustin Ackley

The Best Players 35 And Over

I don’t want to be accused of prejudice, so if we’re going to celebrate the youth of baseball, we pretty much have to talk in equal measure about those in the twilight of their respective careers.

My top twelve position players who are 35 years of age or older:

  1. Alex Rodriguez
  2. Ichiro (!)
  3. Carlos Beltran
  4. Chipper Jones
  5. Lance Berkman
  6. David Ortiz
  7. Paul Konerko
  8. Carlos Lee
  9. Torii Hunter
  10. Marco Scutaro
  11. Alfonso Soriano
  12. Todd Helton

The Aggravating Thing The Manager Did

Throughout the baseball season, which begins in earnest in less than a week, we’ll be delivering our impressions of the seemingly stupid things that managers do. From poor bullpen management to questionable calls for sacrifice, a lack of consideration for pinch hitting, baseball managers make a ton of questionable calls that often go against what playing the percentages would suggest to be the right course of action.

Every time we criticize a manager’s action this season, you can expect to see Disapproving Cito seconding our opinion in animated GIF form.

On that note, it surprises me how reliant every baseball club seems to be on analytics when making personnel decisions compared to how ignorant every baseball club seems to be on analytics when making in game decisions.

It’s a massive gap.

Trading Bobby Abreu

If rumours are believed to be true, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have been trying to move Bobby Abreu throughout the Spring. Taking a look through the team’s roster, here is a list of players, not including Mike Trout who was recently demoted, that could fill outfield spots in 2012:

  • Peter Bourjos
  • Torii Hunter
  • Vernon Wells
  • Mark Trumbo
  • Bobby Abreu

Here is a list of Angels that could hit in the DH spot this season:

  • Kendry Morales
  • Mark Trumbo
  • Bobby Abreu

Abreu is the epitome of redundancy. As nice as it would be to get that much sought after fifth starter that Los Angeles is after, they should be quick to settle for anything they can get in terms of salary relief on the $9 million owed to Bobby Abreu.

Due to back loaded contracts, Abreu will make $1 million less than C.J. Wilson this season, and only $3 million less than Albert Pujols. Vernon Wells will make $21 million of the $63 million still owed to him this season. That’s $9 million more than Pujols salary this year.

The Happiest Person

There are a lot of candidates for the title of happiest person to come out of the $2.15 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers. There’s Frank McCourt, who, after running the team into the ground before declaring bankruptcy, is suddenly a billionaire (at least until he pays off his many, many, many debts). There’s Magic Johnson who appears to be ready and willing to become the face of another franchise in Los Angeles. And there’s every single supporter of the Dodgers who can gleefully say that Frank McCourt has nothing to do with their team anymore as they enjoy an ownership group that is actually interested in investing in their favourite team.

However, for my money, the most pleased person coming out of the team’s sale is MLBPA head Michael Weiner, who must be having fits of joy over the prospect of the L.A. Dodgers becoming something of a Yankees West when it comes to free agent spending and payroll capabilities.

Overrating The Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers were probably the favourite to win the American League Central before they acquired Prince Fielder. However, I don’t understand how his acquisition vaults the Tigers into the stratospheric elite of the American League, when he’s basically replacing the injured Victor Martinez.

The former catcher is probably a 2.5 – 3.5 WAR player, while Fielder is a 4 – 5 WAR player. The rest of the Tigers lineup remains as unimpressive as it was before the big signing which in honesty only represents a mild upgrade over the injured V-Mart.

Making matters even worse is that we don’t know what kind of effect Cabrera playing third base will have on Detroit’s more ground ball prone pitchers like Doug Fister and Rick Porcello.

The signing also poses issues for the future.

Assuming Alex Avila remains behind the plate and the Miguel Cabrera experiment at third base goes the way most of us expect it to, the Tigers are going to have a problem fitting three players into two positions when Martinez returns next year.

Follow Friday

Five new people to follow on Twitter, who aren’t already followed by everyone you follow:

  1. Jason Wojciechowski: Insight. Humour. And a slight bias toward the poor Oakland Athletics. Really, who could ask for any more from a full time lawyer, part time blogger.
  2. Steven McEwan: Blue Jays, Blue Jays and more Blue Jays. This blogger makes nerdiness cool again.
  3. Ben Duronio: An Atlanta Braves blogger out of New York, whose healthy doses of cynicism are matched in quality only by his abilities to analyze the business side of baseball.
  4. Punk On Deck: A likable St. Louis Cardinals fan. If that doesn’t sound appealing enough to follow, you probably don’t know a whole lot of St. Louis Cardinals fans.
  5. Space Moneky Mafia: Pity follow candidate! A Detroit Tigers blogger who doesn’t even know how disappointing his team is going to be this year.

Shameless Self Promotion

As always, you can check out our Facebook page by clicking here, and if you’re into it, try “liking” us to get updates on new videos and funny pictures in your own Facebook news feed, as well as the occasional link back to the blog. Staying on the social media train, you can also follow Getting Blanked on Twitter to get regular links to all of our content and fresh bits of sarcasm.

While we’re on the subject, feel free to subscribe to our iTunes feed as well, which will bring all the audio goodness of our podcasts and live streams and other things featuring our ugly mugs to your computer free of charge, including our new daily show which is set to begin at the start of the season.

I’d also like to advise all Getting Blankards, as well as members of the DJF monkey army, to take next Thursday afternoon off work, or get prepared to cut class early, because we’re throwing down a celebraish to start the baseball season at Opera Bob’s.

For more details, see the original post, or check out the facebook invitation.

Outrageous Fortune

It’s pretty much a no brainer that the San Francisco Giants aren’t going to pick up the club option attached to the final year of Barry Zito’s incomprehensible seven year, $126 million contract. But did you know this . . .

When the Giants opt out ahead of the 2014 season, they’ll have to pay Zito $7 million.

Earlier, I mentioned the $63 million still owed to Vernon Wells over the next three seasons. The San Francisco Giants’ southpaw starterish pitcher is owed $46 million over the next two seasons.

Both Wells and Zito signed seven year deals that guaranteed them $126 million. One other player in baseball history has signed a deal at those terms: Jayson Werth with the Washington Nationals. It’s clearly a curse.

Want to know something even more ridiculous?

Ryan Howard’s five year $125 million deal is only beginning this season.

Popular Players

Yesterday’s five most popular player profiles at Baseball Reference were:

  1. Chipper Jones
  2. Ichiro (!)
  3. Alex Rodriguez
  4. Albert Pujols
  5. Jamie Moyer

Over at FanGraphs, the last 24 hours has seen these player profiles visited the most:

  1. Eric Hosmer
  2. Ichiro (!)
  3. Albert Pujols
  4. Aroldis Chapman
  5. Bobby Abreu