Rooting for the Laundry

Boy, I am in one hell of a moral quagmire.

My dear, darling, beloved, pin-striped Yankees have just added the best reliever in baseball to their bullpen. The Yanks now boast the only three relievers in baseball who had 100+ strikeouts in 2015 and all of them throw over 100 mph. The dominate three are Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and a guy who just happens to be under investigation for some horrific domestic violence charges.

The Yanks’ latest addition, Aroldis Chapman, has been accused of domestic violence charges that includes (but is not limited to) choking his girlfriend, pushing her against a wall and firing a gun eight times in his garage. Basically, he is accused of the stuff human garbage piles are made of. It seems as though, with this trade, the Yankees have undone all of the good work Joe Torre has done in bringing domestic violence issues to light (check out his DV outreach foundation, Safe At Home, at joetorre.org).

All of their good karma seems to have been burned up.

The price for Chapman was too good to pass up. The Yankees sent four minor prospects, only one of whom is close to major-league ready, for a man who is arguably the best reliever in baseball. When two teams backed out of trades when these allegations surfaced, Chapman’s price was driven way down. The Cincinnati Reds were desperate to get rid of him and I don’t blame them. The deal for Chapman is risky because we are not sure how many games he will miss due to suspension and he is in the last year of his contract.

As a baseball move, it was a brilliant no-brainer. As a moral move, it makes you wanna barf.

So how am I, as a woman and a huge Yankees fan, supposed to react to this signing?

In my other blog earlier this year, I wrote a scathing critique of the Dallas Cowboys and Greg Hardy. The big difference is that I have no attachment to the Cowboys. I hate them, in fact, so it was easy to skewer them. Now, I am forced to ponder how to root for my team while still being disgusted with Chapman. I am SO EXCITED for the Betances-Miller-Chapman three-headed monster that will be the bullpen, but I’m sick about what Chapman has allegedly done. I don’t want him playing for my team, but I really want him playing for my team.

Cheering for the Yankees does not mean I cheer for domestic violence. Cheering for the Yankees also does not mean I am ignoring the awful things Chapman has allegedly done. Perhaps I am simply rooting for the laundry, as Seinfeld coined so appropriately. I root for the Yankees, but I won’t root for Chapman. He will get support through osmosis until he can prove to me that he is changed. If he takes the Ray Rice route and owns up to what he has done and takes steps to better himself, perhaps I will cheer for him genuinely.

Until then, I am going to die of happiness because of the amazing bullpen the Yanks boast, but I am also going to hate myself a little.

Oh, and by the way, don’t think that PED use and domestic violence are the same thing and warrant a similar suspension. Nope. Nope nope nope. If you think that, you’re wrong. I’d rather see DV offenders suspended for 80 games and PED users suspended for far less. I’d rather have someone cheat than have them put their hands on a woman. When I have kids, I’d rather them look up to someone like A-Rod or Ryan Braun instead of Greg Hardy or Aroldis Chapman. But whatever.

 

http://www.pinstripealley.com/yankees-editorials-opinions-analysis/2015/12/30/10687970/mlb-aroldis-chapman-yankees-brian-cashman-trade-domestic-violence ………This article by Pinstripe Alley was wonderful and perfectly describes how I feel about the trade. 

 

 

 

Draft Kings and Pete Rose

Yesterday, it was announced by Major League Baseball that Commissioner Rob Manfred has decided not to reinstate Pete Rose into the game of baseball.

Okay, that’s fine.

I get it: Pete Rose gambled and that’s a big no-no in the game of baseball. Let’s move on.

However, the more I think about it, the more I start to feel a little unsettled. As I watch more and more commercials for Draft Kings, the “Daily Fantasy Sports Operator” (or as I and the state of New York call them, a gambling company), the more I get a bad taste in my mouth.

Don’t you find it interesting that MLB and a GAMBLING organization are in an exclusive partnership?

Don’t you find it interesting that MLB has, since 2013, had a small stake in the GAMBLING company? Meaning, of course, that whenever Draft Kings does well financially, so does MLB?

Don’t you find it interesting that experts on ESPN, Fox Sports, and other sports networks, who APPLAUDED Manfred’s decision, have fantasy segments on their networks, telling fans what players they should spend, er, I mean GAMBLE, their money on?

Isn’t it interesting that Draft Kings grew exponentially since signing a partnership with MLB? And by “exponentially”, I mean going from $2 million in April 2013 to nearly $300 million by October 2015? (Thanks Forbes for the #’s)

Isn’t it interesting that MLB abhors gambling so much that it banned Pete Rose for life, but the same league who banned him are in an official partnership with Draft Kings?

I don’t know about you, but I smell hypocrisy and it doesn’t smell good. If MLB wants to continue to draw a hard line stance on gambling, it needs to cut ties with Draft Kings. Plain and simple. Yeah I know, it’s not illegal to play fantasy sports online, but come on. It’s gambling. I don’t care what the courts say, it’s gambling.

MLB won’t let it’s players or front office peeps use the website, yet they have a partnership with them…hmmm… Why get into a partnership if your players or front officer workers cannot enjoy the benefit of said partnership? What is MLB was all like, “We have a partnership with Gatorade, but no one can drink the Gatorade”?

MLB needs to ditch Draft Kings ASAP. It’s easier said than done, but they can’t expect to have Pete Rose’s ban taken seriously if they are still buddy-buddy with Draft Kings.

Draft Kings isn’t some shady back alley, nor is it an iffy mob underworld, but this is a very fine line baseball is walking. MLB can’t just walk the walk with Rose, it also has to talk the talk and ditch their affiliation with a GAMBLING company.You can’t denounce gambling and say it’s bad when you are a direct beneficiary of a GAMBLING company.

You can’t have your cake and ban it, too.

 

 

 

Shock the World, Arizona

About 24 hours ago, it was seemingly a two-team race to sign the most coveted prize on the free-agent market: Zack Greinke. The Los Angeles Dodgers were the favorite to re-sign their right-handed ace and keep the knock-out 1-2 punch of him and fellow (multiple) Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw. There were also talks in San Francisco that the Giants were trying to sign the ace. The two NL West powerhouse teams were battling over Greinke and no one was surprised.

Then the Arizona Diamondbacks came in and shocked the world.

As first reported by Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal, the D-Backs were offering Zack Greinke a monster deal to come pitch in the desert. Just how monster? Well, Greinke is going to make $206.5 million dollars over the next six years, which can pay for: my college loan debt 14,750 times, 1,894,495 Zack Greinke jerseys, 8,641 2016 Ford Mustangs, and 24,294,117 churro dogs.

But why would he want to sign with the D-Backs? After all, they have been viewed as one of the three doormats of the NL West, along with the San Diego Padres and the Colorado Rockies. Perhaps it was the lure of the fresh new uniforms the D-backs rolled out a few days ago. Perhaps it was the lure of being able to eat a churro dog anytime he wants.

Or, perhaps, he sees what a great team the Diamondbacks are becoming.

In 2015, the D-backs ranked in the top eight in the majors in runs, slugging percentage, OBP, stolen bases, and extra-base hits (thanks to ESPN.com for the stats). In the National League, only the Rockies scored more runs. ESPN’s Aaron Boone commented last night that the D-Backs defense is on-par with the Kansas City Royals, which is a big compliment. Truly, the weak area of the team was the rotation. They did not have a number one pitcher, or number two for that matter. Adding Greinke gives the D-Backs a lot of reassurance in their rotation.

Of course, getting paid $206.5 million dollars doesn’t hurt either.

It’s kind of a surprising move for the D-Backs to offer such a high contract. They were not a team known for breaking the bank for any reason. But, signs that they were wanting to spend big money came along a few days ago when they supposedly offered free-agent Johnny Cueto a 6-year $120 million deal, which he ultimately turned down. This is a team that, for most of its young existence, has done a great job of relying on their own player development to get the job done. The problem, though, is that for the last three or so years, the players in their farm system were not ready for the big leagues until this past year. 2015 was a special year for the D-Backs because they got to see how good their farm system was. The position players were trickling into the locker room and making a big impact. With several top-ranked pitching prospects on the cusp of being big-league ready, the D-Backs are looking good for years to come. Over the last few years, they have also been shedding pay roll so they could financially make a big move like this. Now, armed with a new 20-year TV deal worth nearly $2 billion dollars, this small-market team is sending a strong message: our time to win is now and we will spend money to make that happen.

Aside from vaulting the team into the post-season conversation, the signing of Zack Greinke does so much more. This signing sends a jolt through the fan-base, showing them that sticking with the team through the lean years and the continuous rebuilding could be well worth their recent suffering. When I got that news alert on my phone last night, I got chills. I was sure I might throw up from excitement. I also began to wonder how long it will be before I can buy a Greinke shirsey. Now, maybe Chase Field will start filling up again. Now, maybe more free agents will want to sign in Arizona. As a D-Backs fan and native Arizonan, I would find myself frustrated with the constant “rebuilding” process and I questioned why the D-Backs operated with such financial frugality, even though they had money to spend. The last few years have been tough, but signings like this make me feel optimistic. That feeling I had last night was a feeling I haven’t felt about the D-Backs in a long time.

I finally felt tangible optimism.

Sure, I’ve been optimistic about this team before, but this is different. This is a feeling that the organization as a whole is turning a corner and that the next few years are going to be really fun to watch.Will they regret his contract five so or years down the road? Probably. I’ve said before it’s stupid to give pitchers over thirty more than a five year deal, but I am a post-season craving D-Backs fan. I’ll deal with it.

So, pending a physical, Zack Greinke will be a Diamondback and I can’t wait.

*****

FYI, Buster Olney of ESPN gave a pretty interesting take on LA’s position in his Insiders column today. Here’s a snippet since not everyone pays for a subscription to the Insiders columns…

“…what is odd about the Dodgers’ parting with Greinke is that, besides their monster deal with Clayton Kershaw, they don’t owe a lot of money to other players beyond 2017. In 2018, they’re on the hook for about $42 million, toAdrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig and Brandon McCarthy, and in 2017, they’re set to be in the last season of deals with Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Alex Guerrero.

The Dodgers, however, would not give Greinke a sixth year in their offer, sticking to a reported $155 million over five years, and when the details of the Arizona deferrals are completed, it could turn out to be that they were outbid by about $35 million to $40 million by a division rival.

The Dodgers’ front office has signaled for weeks that it wanted to go young, but now the Dodgers have to live out that vision, which will be difficult. George Steinbrenner’s Yankees learned three decades ago that a team cannot be the financial bully in the room, with fans expecting an annual shot at championship, and step away from the table for a year or two at a time. Any rebuilding effort must be made on the fly, in concert with an effort to win, and that is the challenge.

And while you can debate the merits of a giving a 32-year-old pitcher a sixth year on top of a five-year offer and walking away from a deal over the difference of $30 million, there is no debating this: Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw propped up the Dodgers last year. When either of those pitchers started, L.A. was 43-22, and when anybody else started, they were 49-48.

The Dodgers might sign a cheaper alternative to Greinke, someone like Johnny Cueto or Scott Kazmir, but now the pressure on Kershaw will be even greater, and the same will be true for first-year manager and front man Dave Roberts, whose coaching staff was already in place when he was hired. They will be the first to feel the brunt of the fans’ frustration if the Dodgers drift backward in the standings and fall behind the Diamondbacks and Giants.

But that unhappiness would trickle upward, quickly, and the politics of failure would manifest, with a course change inevitable, despite the best-laid plans of December 2015. Former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington knows all about that.

A storied franchise sold for $2 billion just lost one of the three best pitchers in baseball over the sake of $30 million or so five years from now.” 

espn.go.com/blog/buster-olney/insider/post?id=11788

 

 

 

 

 

Big Bucks in Beantown

Leave it to the Boston Red Sox to pull an Evil Empire-esque move.

Yesterday, news broke that the Boston Red Sox offered marquee southpaw David Price a record contract. Get this: Price is set to make $217 million over the next 7 years.

Yep, Boston took a page out of ol’ Boss Steinbrenner’s book of free agent spending.

Well, actually, last year was the start of an Evil Empire-type series of signings in Beantown when the Sox signed Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. Of course, I am sure they would love to take those signings back. Pablo the Panda was about as productive as a regular panda would have been and Han-Ram quickly showed that he was not a man destined for the outfield. Panda and Han-Ram were signed to spark serious offense, but the Sox had one of the worst team batting averages in all of baseball in 2015. Which is why, to some, throwing money at another big-time free agent seems foolish, especially considering how strong their farm system is.

However, I think it was wise for Boston to spend big money on a pitcher. Not $217mil, but I do think they needed an ace. Price is worth a lot of money, and I don’t take issue with him making about $31 million a year. However, I DO have an issue with the length of his contract. Price is 30 years old, so it would naive to think that he would still be worth so much money four or five years down the road. Did the Sox learn nothing from watching the Yankees suffer through the end of CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez’s monster contracts? Goodness knows the Yanks could use the cap space to get better and younger talent.

I guess I should have prefaced that I do not favor contracts of more than five years for ANYONE over the age of 30 in baseball. I think it is flat-out fiscally irresponsible. Yes, the players like job security, but do they like being a liability later on in their contract? Players are not ignorant to the fact that they are not holding up their end of the contract in the latter stages of said contract. Regardless, I just don’t think teams should offer long-term deals to older players – As a Yankees’ fan, I have seen this backfire A LOT.

I think David Price is a fantastic pitcher and worth the gobs of money he is going to collect. The dude has a career ERA of 3.09, a career WHIP of 1.13, and has amassed 1372 career strikeouts. Not only that, but he has a career win-loss record of 104-56.

But my goodness the Sox were silly to sign him for so many years.

If the Sox are going to tap into the Yankees’ fondness for throwing money at big-time players, they should also remember that there is a price to be paid (pun totally intended) for big-time spending. The Sox will probably be cursing themselves in about five or six years when Father Time eventually catches up with David Price and they can’t move him.

In the end, if I have learned anything from this signing, it is that if I ever have a son, I am tying his right hand behind his back and forcing him to pitch left-handed.