Made you look!
Well, there is some snark here, but there are also a few rabbit trails, including the World Baseball Classic, Toronto Blue Jays money dumps, and Ruben Amaro wonderings, and Derek Jeter leadership criticism that you may not find anywhere else on the internet this week. But first, let us consider who Cafardo is. What is he attempting to contribute to accomplish?
It is hard, sometimes, to determine what the Point of View of Nick Cafardo is, exactly. Is he a talking piece of front office types? Herald of the scout? Link from the fans kitchen table into the clubhouse? Wannabe GM?
I suspect that it would be helpful to determine who Cafardo is. In the meantime, it seems like he simply writes scenarios that front office types need him to write. Can you see Ruben Amaro asking himself…how are we going to dump Young? There is so
much video, so many scouts, so many blogs, so many advanced metrics (sorry, for that error, we all know that Amaro has no idea there is a such thing as an advanced metric) how am I going to get anyone to trade me something decent for Michael
Young??? I know! I’ll call Cafardo and have him stir the pot by suggesting some teams want Young! That’ll drive a bidding war!
What else does Cafardo offer, really?
Well, let’s see…
1. Totally agree with Jonathan Papelbon, Bruce Bochy, and Mike Scioscia, who are on record as saying Yasiel Puig does not belong in the All-Star Game. He hasn’t earned it. The sample size simply isn’t big enough. Tremendous player to watch, however. “He’s got these long arms where he can protect the outside of the plate and not have to crowd the plate,” said one National League scout. Is he Bo Jackson? “Not that good, but very athletic,” the scout said.
There is no doubt that there is an argument against Puig. He has been fun to watch, but he has not had a huge sample size. But I am in the camp that thinks that he has as much of a sample size as a middle reliever. We invite them into the All-Star teams
The Bo Jackson comparison is so utterly ridiculous, my first draft of this response did not even mention the travesty. But it has to be mentioned. When Puig decides to dominate the NFL as an offseason hobby, have him give us a call.
2. Great story Friday on Alex Rodriguez by Bob Nightengale of USA Today. It really humanizes Rodriguez and chronicles his determination to come back from a serious hip surgery, and the fact he’s won over his teammates again, especially Derek Jeter.
Alex Rodriguez is very good at baseball. He is a New York Yankee. This is a combination that will generally get someone demonized (See: Dave Winfield). The fact that Jeter is the bestest captain in the history of the world seems to fall short when
one considers his (admittedly perceived) jealousy and indifference toward A-Rod. He should be more questioned for this. Then again, he should be more questioned for his defense and severe ground ball splits…but he is Jeter.
3. The Royals have been waiting for Eric Hosmer for a while. Looks like he arrived in June at the most opportune time.
It seems like just two paragraphs ago, Cafardo made an entire argument against something based on sample size. Now, Hosmer has “arrived” because of one good month.
But this leads to a different issue: have you noticed the distinct lack of blaming injuries on the World Baseball Classic this year? Hosmer was a late addition, and he has begun to break out a little bit. Maybe we can eventually get to the point where
American baseball players take that tournament seriously. When they do, I suspect the fans will. But so long as we pretend like Victorino, Francouer, Adam Jones, Eric Hosmer, Jimmy Rollins and others are the best American players, fans will continue to pretend like the tournament does not exist.
I teared up in reading this.
It is too bad, however, that Cafardo (in other pieces) has already given the 3b of the future tag to Xander Bogaerts.
5. Said the same scout, who has been following Boston’s system in advance of the trade deadline, “If they want to make a really big deal, like a Cliff Lee, they might be in the best position of any team in baseball to do it. They have chips.”
What is the point here? That the Red Sox have a good farm system? We all know this. That Cliff Lee is available? We do not know this. The Red Sox are looking to make a big trade? We do not know this. That the Red Sox need to fix anything, without first looking to use said farm system, in any place other than the bullpen? I am not so sure that is the case.
6. I can see the Dodgers landing Ricky Nolasco, particularly because they can absorb the $5.5 million remaining on his Marlins contract.
And by the end of the day…done.
7. Miguel Cabrera has done something this season no major league player has done since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau — go 4 for 4 with at least two home runs in three games. He’s done it against Tampa Bay, Houston, and Texas. Cabrera may be in a fight for Triple Crown honors with Baltimore’s Chris Davis, and he can become the only righthanded hitter with three straight batting titles since Rogers Hornsby won six straight from 1920-25.
Breaking: Miguel Cabrera is good at hitting. And it seems far more likely that Cabrera wins a third straight batting crown (impressive, even if a mostly meaningless stat) than a second straight Triple Crown. But, if we thought last year’s MVP vote was a nightmare, just wait until the Chris Davis v. Miguel Cabrera v. Mike Trout stuff heats up this September.
Want more Cafardo from the Sunday notes? Here we go:
1. Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies — Interest by at least the Dodgers and Royals, but one Phillies official indicated the organization may want Utley to be the glue during the rebuilding process. The Phillies would rather find a new home for Jimmy Rollins, but he has a no-trade clause. Rollins is from the Bay Area and might approve a deal to Oakland, but for now there are no signs the A’s would be interested.
Chase Utley is so, so good. He is already a borderline Hall of Fame candidate and, if he can rejuvenate and stay healthy, likely will become a no-brainer. He is fun to watch, plays both sides of the game, and has a World Series to his name. But if the
Phillies are serious about rebuilding around him as a 34 year old, they (read: Ruben Amaro, Jr.) are crazy. They are not close any more, are aging rapidly, still owe Ryan Howard a trillion dollars (or so…), and have a weak farm system.
It is time to tear it down in Philly. Trading Rollins is not enough. Time to tear it all down. And if they want to keep Utley, so be it. But couch it in your desire to keep him for his whole career, retire his number, etc. Don’t pretend like he is the center of the next great Phillies team.
Finally, why would the A’s be interested in Rollins? Their left side of the inflield has been an undeniable strength in 2013.
2. Michael Young, 3B, Phillies — There are at least 10 teams who have made contact with the Phillies regarding Young, according to a major league source, and it would “be an upset” if the Phillies held on to him. He certainly fits the Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers to name four teams, but there are apparently many more.
Michael. Young. Is. Not. Good. At. Baseball.
At least not anymore (he has a negative bWAR each of the last two seasons, including a brutal -2.0 last season).
And frankly, after whinging about position changes, trade rumors, playing Philly, yada, yada, yada, he is not the good soldier brilliant teammate the media wants him to be. Can we begin to see through him, yet?
3. Joe Blanton, RHP, Angels — An interesting observation by a baseball official, who said that he thought Blanton pitched better when he was heavier. He was 250 pounds and is now at 215. It appears Blanton had more stamina and velocity back then.
Being that nearly every scientific finding ever screams in opposition to this, perhaps his stamina had more to do with his younger age than his lighter weight.
I mean, this is how prognosticating works, right. Someone makes an observation (Blanton is thinner, yet seems worse for the wear) and then a hypothesis for why this could be (he is thinner, but also older) is presented. Not with Cafardo. He is happy with just simply: “DUDE! That is WEIRD!”
4. Raul Ibanez, OF/DH, Mariners — Ibanez has hit 21 homers and would be an ideal pickup for a contender, but there’s a feeling that the 41-year-old might be someone the Mariners would keep to set an example for some of their younger hitters. Shane Victorino works out with Ibanez in the offseason and marvels at his
physical ability and strength.
Shane and Raul. Offseason buds. Now you know.
5. Kyle Lohse, RHP, Brewers — There’s a lot of discussion about the Brewers trading John Axford and Francisco Rodriguez, with Yovani Gallardo also being discussed. But while a lot of teams stayed away from Lohse as a free agent, he could be a stabilizer for a contending team. Lohse is 4-6 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.163 WHIP, so he’s pitched well for a poor team, without the benefit of spring training.
Well, that would be a fascinating strategy by the Brewers. They were (rightly) roasted for punting their first round pick in this June’s draft since they have a brutal farm system. But, if they could turn the first year of their reasonable deal for him into a
trade for a good crop of prospects, the free agent signing would not have been for naught. Listen, the Brewers did well to receive Jean Segura for Zach Greinke. Maybe they can get a good piece like that back for Lohse. If they do, this free agent signing makes a lot of sense, strategically.
6. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, Red Sox — Interesting discussion will ensue on Ellsbury. One National League GM is a fan, and said, “A very good player, but speed guys once they hit 30, you have to beware about length of contract. He’s interesting in that he hit 30-plus homers and then stopped hitting homers. He’s obviously a great player, but you want to see the power numbers go up, not down.” Agent Scott Boras’s take — bring on the OBP and the home runs be damned.
I am on record as saying that Ellsbury will likely receive a deal similar to what Michael Bourn got this offseason. Scoff all you want. MLB executives have learned their lesson from Carl Crawford. He is a risk signing for 5-7 years from now, as his game is based on skills that erode with age.
Also, is that an actually Scott Boras take? As in Cafardo got on the phone with Boras? Or is Cafardo just guessing, and therefore doing Boras’ work for him?
Does Cafardo think he is Boras employee Jon Heyman, now?
7. Alex Rios, RF, White Sox — While Rios would fit teams such as Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and the Yankees, entering the weekend he hadn’t hit a home run since June 9, and had only two since May 17. He’s hitting .271 on the season with 11 homers and 28 RBIs, but also hindering any trade attempt is the remaining money on this year’s $12.5 million salary and next year’s $12.5 million. The White Sox would likely have to eat some of it. They have received a few calls on him.
I still curse the Blue Jays for so easily getting rid of Rios and Vernon Wells at no financial burden to them. Those deals paved the way to this offseason blockbuster. Fortunately, that deal has not worked out as well as they had hoped.
8. Cliff Lee, LHP, Phillies — The feeling now among some Phillies officials is that they won’t deal him, but rather continue to build around him. Lee’s $25 million salary for each of the next two years, and $27.5 million in 2016, makes it difficult to get a number of teams interested. He would be anyone’s prize, but the Phillies would have to foot some of the bill as long as they were getting a big return.
Cliff Lee has an argument to make as the best pitcher in baseball over the last six seasons. But, as I argued regarding Utley, a 34 year is not who the Phillies should be building around. Also – I’d rather not have the contract that owed a 35, 36, and 37
year old season pitcher $25 large per season.
9. Lance Berkman, DH/1B, Rangers — Certainly one of the reasons the Rangers signed Manny Ramirez to a minor league deal is because Berkman’s recurring knee woes have caused him to have a poor season. It almost reminds people of the season he had with the Yankees when he could never get right. Berkman is hitting .191 (13 for 68) with two homers, six RBIs, and a .279 slugging percentage since June 1. He has virtually no power in his swing.
Let this be (another) warning that once great players get old. He is 37 years old. This is not unexpected.
Also, he has a statistically similar OPS+ to Michael Young. (+/- 7 points)
Until next time, enjoy the quality writing for which the Boston Globe is paying big money.