A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Michael Bourne

I guess it's a good day since we've been given reprieve and told by a rodent that we're getting spring in 6 weeks (as opposed to 6 more weeks of winter), so we will continue to burn the hot stove for the day that will be Pitchers and Catchers Report Day.
In doing this, we read and think baseball. Other than ESPN, we generally will read Bleacher Report, which is actually a pretty decent baseball site that breaks things down as a mix between USA Today and Maxim. We get our baseball knowledge quick and simple, and if we are so inclined, we can see who the hottest wives and girlfriends of players are.
Today, they have a list of players who need long term extensions other than Albert Pujols, who I am still curious how the talks can go this long. I keep hoping the hot stove heats up all the way and I FINALLY get to wake up on one of these cold and icy days and hear something really good other than my alarm, which will inevitably send me to school, or as was the case today, the computer so that I could eventually figure out that school was canceled as the rain keeps freezing up on the highways and pavements, thus preventing school.
So let's see who gets picked. Michael Bourne? Get real. Sure, he steals bases, but he has no power and his batting average isn't that great. In fact, his bases stolen went down last year. A long term deal with him is like the Eagles signing Donovan McNabb until he was eligible for AARP when he first came out of the gate.
Anibal Sanchez is up next, and let's be honest, other than a great rookie year and a no hitter, he's above average, but does that equal a long term deal? If we're giving money and lifetime contracts away, I'll take one. Hell, I'd be happy for a few good years and a shoe deal (a pair of sneakers, water hiking shoes, and dress shoes - I won't even ask for them to be player endorsed).
Jonathan Papelbon is next. Obviously, these guys didn't read my discussion on closers. This guy needs to be retired to some Irish bar in South Boston - not signed to a long deal. Get real. The future is already in Boston (Daniel Bard). Why pay this guy well over $10million per in the hopes that he can close until he gets as old as Trevor Hoffman when he finally realized he wasn't really that special.
Grady Sizemore is an injury risk, but other than that, Cleveland has to show love for a hometown player soon before they all end up on the Red Sox and Yankees through trades and free agency.
Brandon Phillips has a lot of love for his second sack ability, but is that reason to sign him long term and give him 9 figures or upper eights?
Jose Bautista had a good year. He figured out how to hit home runs. Does that mean he gets a big salary? Not after one year it doesn't.
Matt Cain is a World Series hero and above average for the seasons that he plays. As a result, he can handle himself when it counts and since the Giants are primed to compete for years to come, this is the first choice that seems realistic.
Cole Hamels - I already said my peace about him, but other than being able to sue for non-support, it's not that he's bad. He's just not a player I want to build a team around. However, as the number 4 starter in a rotation that stands to be dominant for ages, he's a good cog in the machine, but that still doesn't get the Phillies a bat in their lineup, which is what they really need.
Prince Fielder has an ugly swing and a declining production trend. He was given over $15million for an additional season. If he gets it together when it counts, he might be worth a couple more years, but long term and big bucks? Weren't the Brewers expecting to lose him? Is Zach Greinke and a few young players really worth spending lots of money and building around? The Reds and Cards are here to stay and in a division that tough in a stadium that yields lots of home runs, is he really all that he's cracked up to be? I wouldn't pay big bucks for him with all those what ifs, and frankly, Bud Selig probably won't either, but that said, he is a decent personality for where baseball is in 2011.
They also list Josh Hamilton, and I get that for the same reason that Fielder is a decent personality for baseball 2011. I've written about that before, but frankly, just as Sizemore is an injury risk, Hamilton is a relapse risk. We've seen that before. If he shows us some discipline, we can show him some paycheck love, but frankly, he's scary to two groups: his opponents who he can just crush and his team who can lose him if he gets injured or sent to rehab. Personally, he's worth a short contract with some nice figures, but long term?
We live in a society that is currently $14 trillion in debt. This number goes up like a clock moves through the day. It just happens. Some of us want to pay it off and be fiscally responsible while others want to spend like there is no tomorrow. Some of us wonder if it can ever be paid off (I'm in that group). It almost makes me think we're trying to bankrupt China the way we did the Soviets, but alas, if we keep borrowing from the Chinese, eventually someone is going to come collecting or just declare that they own this country. It's a scary proposition and nowhere is it more true than with baseball money. The salaries are so large and ridiculous, that it's insane. I don't blame the players for taking it or even asking for it since the owners have paid for so long, but still... it's crazy.
Stores like the one out of Bleacher Report underscore the insanity that is our country's financial crisis, but that said, I like dingers when batters are hitting them into orbit, and I love strikeouts when pitchers are dropping curves from 12 to 6 to make batters look stupid.
I guess it's all a no win thing because my game won't pull in it's belt and tighten up and asses will still find their way to the seats.
As a result, we will bemoan the future of our game and wonder if Bleacher Report is on crack. We think they are, and to that, we can only offer them Whitney's advice: "Crack is whack."

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