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, at that moment that only occurs 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 opinions to my ten stray thoughts on a Friday.

So, without further ado:

Perfect Execution

If I was to stand in the batter’s box and get hit by a pitch from any Major League Baseball player, I’d choose Chicago Cubs reliever Manny Corpas, who hits batsmen like an absolute pro. Watch as Corpas plunks Alejandro De Aza to lead off the eighth inning, after Alex Rios, in the previous inning stole second base despite a six run lead late in the game.

It’s so perfectly blatant, and targeted right at De Aza’s bum. It’s no surprise at all that Corpas and De Aza are actually friendly off the field. According to the White Sox outfielder:

I did face him before. Actually, me and that pitcher, we’re cool, we’re friends. I’ve known him for a long time.

However, while it appears that Corpas was kind with his unwritten rule punishment, De Aza may want to check back into his friendship with the Cubs reliever because according to his PitchFX velocity chart, the first pitch of Corpas’ outing, the one that hit De Aza was the hardest one he threw.


Your Fill In The Blanks Of The Week

Website: Baseball Hall of Fame Gravesites
Twitter: NotReallyBrettLawrie
Publicized Way Around MLB Blackouts: AppJudgment
Comment Insult: You’re an absolutely terrible blogger.
Comment Defense: All he is doing is relaying news.
Tumblr: Bill James/LeBron James

Etiquette Question

If you joined a softball team mid season, taking over for someone who couldn’t keep playing due to real life circumstances, what’s the proper etiquette for paying dues? I mean, if the person you’re replacing doesn’t want any money, it’s not as simple as just taking his spot on the roster. Your new teammates, who, theoretically speaking, you don’t know very well, all had to pay the proper amount to join the team. Are they going to look at you any differently?

Or, is it enough that you ask the question on your baseball blog so as to let them know that you’re aware of the situation, and not totally oblivious to getting off on the cheap?

The Wandy Rodriguez Option

This past week, we talked a lot about the July 31st trade deadline and the potential differences from past deadlines due to the new collective bargaining agreement between owners and players. A recurring theme in those discussions has been the shift in the type of trade target at which teams may be looking.

Instead of stretch run rentals that will end up giving back a compensation draft pick to the acquiring team, players with multiple years of control are going to be the more sought after asset this deadline. One player with a contract who should fetch a nice return is Houston Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez, whom several teams have already scouted.

Rodriguez is scheduled to make a very team friendly $10 million this season, $13 million next year, and then has another $13 million team option for 2014. However, if you look at the small print of Rodriguez’s contract, you’ll find that the 2014 team option turns into a player option once he’s traded, which doesn’t just mean one less year of control.

Rodriguez is 33 years old. It’s beyond a slim possibility that a team will not want to be spending $13 million on a declining 35 year old two years down the road, but that’s exactly what will happen if Rodriguez has a bad 2013 season. A player option is a lose/lose situation for any team acquiring Rodriguez, and in the end it’s likely to make his price tag significantly lower than if the clause wasn’t in the contract.

It’s Unreasonable To Expect Reason In Sports

There were a lot of people up in arms over Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon complaining about Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson ratting out his reliever Joel Peralta for using pine tar in his glove. He’s not being reasonable in such a complaint, and yes, it’s somewhat hypocritical considering that Maddon himself asked a home plate umpire in a World Series game to check out Joe Blanton.

However, don’t be foolish and assume that Maddon isn’t aware of how unreasonable and hypocritical he’s being. It’s absolutely something he’s doing on purpose to take on some attention and protect his player’s back, and it’s absolutely something that every single manager would do if he was put in a similar situation.

Almost, But Not Quite

An actual Dustin Parkes quote from the first few weeks of the season:

I don’t know why the Los Angeles Angels wouldn’t call Mike Trout up. There’s no doubt he’d offer a win or two beyond whatever Vernon Wells is going to do for them.

While most of Mike Trout’s playing time has come at the expense of Peter Bourjous (or as Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper refer to him: Peter Bourgeois), it’s worth noting this, after only 48 games from Trout:

Mike Trout: 3.5 fWAR, 3.5 rWAR, and 2.9 WARP.

Vernon Wells: 0.0 fWAR, -0.4 rWAR, and -0.2 WARP.

MLB Blackouts

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports has written something of a scathing article on Major League Baseball’s black out policy. He recaps the situation facing many consumers in the United States quite nicely.

Exclusive content, such as live baseball, makes them must-carry channels for cable companies. RSNs approach them, demand to be included on their basic-cable tier and reap huge subscriber fees when the companies accede. In areas where it makes no sense to carry a particular RSN, the fans are out of luck even if they buy the Extra Innings or MLB.tv packages. Baseball will black out those games.

It’s ridiculous and unfair that, in this day and age of ultimate access, anyone who wants to watch a baseball game should have circumstances render them incapable of doing so. It’s one thing to protect an asset, quite another to inconvenience others who have no intention of harming that asset.

Passan relates the problem to the music industry before Napster, and there’s more than a small element of truth to that comparison. I’m not completely caught up on all the latest technology, but surely MLB.tv is capable of geo tagging content so that it’s visible in areas where there is no regional network broadcasting the baseball game. It seems like all too obvious of a solution.

Popular Players

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

  1. Albert Pujols
  2. Alex Rodriguez
  3. Derek Jeter
  4. David Ortiz
  5. Barry Bonds

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

  1. Tim Lincecum
  2. Mike Trout
  3. Will Middlebrooks
  4. Jose Bautista
  5. Jeff Samardzija

Shameless Self Promotion

Have you guys subscribed to the Getting Blanked Show on YouTube yet? All the cool kids are doing it because all the cool kids want to watch our daily video show where we talk about each other and the Minnesota Twins in a derogatory manner.

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Simply The Best

This GIF is from the Getting Blanked GIFs of the Week. It’s awesome for several reasons, but my favourite thing about it, even more than displaying the epitome of Yankee douchedom, even more than the celebratory-turned-finger-pointing lady friend, even more than the right-right-left-right-right fist pumps, even more than Jason Heyward laughing it off, is that the Yankees fans in question here are doing what they’re doing while the score above them reads 6-2 for the opposition. Incredible.