Everybody is good at something. Some sing, some paint, some parallel park on busy city streets as if their vehicle was guided by the HAND OF GOD. Other people are good at bunching their collective undershorts and having a good, old-fashioned, freakout.
As luck would have it, all the people with the latter skill tend to congregate on twitter. And when news comes down that Team X signed washed up Player Y to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, the urge to freak out is to great. And then, where there was once a sleep Monday in late January, is a full-blown crisis.
Considering the low stakes of most minor league deals, it is amazing the feelings they can easily evoke among the bunched gitch collectives. When the Phillies sign Yuniesky Betancourt to a minor league deal, it is the crowning achievement of what has to be the saddest off-season for a quasi-contender in baseball history.
When the Yankees sign Juan Rivera to a minor league contract, it is another damning example of the suddenly spendthrift Yankees cutting corners. Lining their pockets with all that cable money instead of pouring money into the on-field product. Another indignity suffered at the hands of ownership. What are they, the Mets all of a sudden?
Fans overreact to this signings for a variety of reasons. Nobody like retreads, hopeless names with little sex appeal and even less chance of a dead cat bounce type of season. Nobody, that should say, except baseball managers. It doesn’t take too much in the way of mental gynmastics to envision a situation in which Yuni Betancourt and Juan Rivera get at bats at the big league level.
In the case of the Phillies, Yuniesky DOES reflect a growing trend in Philadelphia, a troubling trend indeed. Considering their injury risks all around the diamond, it almost behooves the Phillies to keep a player just like Betancourt at the ready. Who knows when Chase Utley or Michael Young will miss time due to injury? There’s good old Yuni, ready to step in and contribute!
There are no bad one-year deals and there is no harm in an invite to Spring Training camp. These signings, by no fault of their own, bring out the deepest fears and fatalism of most fans. With only a few pessimistic leaps, the image of Juan Rivera or Yuni Betancourt getting serious playing time for a title-aspirant club would drain the blood of most fans. Be forewarned, it could happen to you!
And the rest
Something stinks in Tampa Bay. It stinks all the way to…the MLB offices in New York! (dramatic organ blast) [Shadow of the Stadium]
A defense of the Diamondbacks off-season [Fangraphs]
The St. Louis Cardinals name Benji Molina their assistant hitting coach. Which totally makes sense when you consider… [Eye on Baseball]
This should end well. [Miami New Times]
Ronny Cedeno, now a member of the Cardinals! At least it gives them something to complain about – it’s so cute when Cards fans think they’re people for a few minutes at a time.
— alex fritz (@boxcar_fritz) January 29, 2013
Check out the Steamer projections. [Razzball]