Friday, November 17, 2006

New World Order

Keeping with the 80s-Republican-presidents-theme: remember the first Bush? He was fond of speaking of a new world order. I remember it mostly from samples on the second album released by the rapper Paris, an album that was more than slightly critical of Mr. Bush and his policies. (To avoid having Alberto Gonzales shut down the Magic, I'll skip a link to that album, and merely say that its title song and cover art spawned an investigation by the secret service. It was an interesting moment in time where crazy militia freaks hiding in the hills of Oregon and hip hop heads from the inner city had a common enemy in the new world order conspiracy theory.) Well, it seems that Theo Epstein and those poor, down-trodden Boston Red Sox who just can't keep up with the Yankees' payroll have ushered in a new world order in baseball.

The financial side of this new world order - and its ripple effect - look a lot like the conspiracy theory. I mean, $51.1 million just to talk to a pitcher? While I liked Matsuzaka, I have to agree that the numbers don't add up here. (Though the chart in the first linked article - showing the pitching staff that you could have for less than $51.1 - is really misleading. Most of the players listed there are not eligible for free agency, and no team could get them for anything near their current salaries on the open market.)

But, let's talk about the "world" part for a minute. With Tampa Bay picking up a star 3B from Japan (nevermind that the last thing the Devil Rays need is more bats to squeeze into their lineup), and the M's possibly among the teams looking for a cheaper pitching alternative from the Far East, baseball is starting to look more and more like a truly global sport. And Thomas Boswell agrees. Is it bad if MLB becomes to baseball what Europe is to soccer: stealing the best talent from everywhere else in the world for their professional leagues? Would it be possible to ever have competing leagues in different countries, to be a global sport more in the mold of soccer than basketball? Why can't the MLB owners stop the season for two weeks to let the best players in the world compete in the World Baseball Classic when they are in shape, like the NHL does with the Olympics? Besides being totally awesome - it really seems like it would would be in MLB's best financial/public-relations interests to make baseball appear to be a globally shared sport, rather than an imperialistic, American one.

Another question: Does Bavasi think anyone believes him when he says that teams are calling to see if he would be willing to deal Beltre? I'm sure they could get rid of him if they were willing to pay a big chunk of his salary, but I have never really understood the point of paying players that play for other teams.

I don't like signing Jason Schmidt, at least not for more than one year. I'd rather get Ted Lilly for less money and hope that he breaks out than hope that Schmidt somehow becomes less injury prone as he gets older.

Okay. Enough out of me. What do you all think?

Monday, November 06, 2006


Remember Ronald Reagan ? Remember how he used to say "Well.." in his very grandfather-like voice when he answered questions? When I was 5 years old, it seemed kind of comforting. Of course, I didn't know what trickle down economics involved then.

Aaaanyway, that's what I would say if I were Ronald Reagan if someone were to ask me what I thought of the M's opting to not pursue Daisuke Matsuzaka. "Well...ok then." Of course my initial reaction was actually "You cheap bastards." But, I'm not sure that it's a terrible thing now. It sounds like Matsuzaka is a bit of an, um, "well", arrogant ass. In fact, Dr. Deteco compared him to A-Rod.

So, moving on then. There are lots of other free agent options. Clearly, bringing in a pitcher or seven needs to be the number one priority this winter. Unless of course we're okay with a rotation of Felix, Washburn, Baek, and....."well", there you go. Take a look at this list and decide who you like. Now, I don't know how many of those guys have club or player options for 2007. But, at first glance, the guy who catches my eye (like a pie in the sky) is Ted Lilly. The big names are Schimidt and Zito, but the contract that those guys are going to demand may be absurd. They're both fine and dandy, but Lilly may come cheaper. Plus, Lilly had better K/9 and K/BB than both of them.

By the way, this site is way better for looking at free agents. I love Google.

So, I'm done with this post now. I could say more but it's been a long time and the Magic faithful are getting restless. Go get Ted Lilly!