Sunday Lightning 1.30.2011

  • Theater of the idiotic:

The carping between the Yankees and Rangers is like one of those arguments of indefinable origin that escalates without anyone remembering how it started in the first place.

Randy Levine with the Yankees and Chuck Greenberg with the Rangers seemingly can’t stop themselves from taking shots concerning Cliff Lee—whom they both failed to sign.

The latest is Greenberg’s assertion that the Rangers stayed in the Lee sweepstakes long enough to prevent the Yankees from nabbing him early in Lee’s free agency jaunt, allowing the Phillies time to cobble a suitable offer to swoop in and get him.

Levine responded with the following:

“I think Chuck is delusional,” Levine told ESPNewYork.com. “He has been running the Rangers for a few minutes and seems to believe he’s mastered what everyone else is thinking. I think he should let Cliff Lee speak for himself. I’ll be impressed when he demonstrates he can keep the Rangers off welfare. What I mean is make them not be a revenue-sharing recipient for three years in a row, without taking financing from baseball or advance money from television networks. Then I’ll be impressed.”

You can read the entire ESPN column here.

Apart from the desire to get the last word in, what’s the point in all of this?

Why is Levine even responding to an assertion from Greenberg that has no basis in any statement anyone from the Lee camp has made? From what I understood, the Phillies were always lurking around Lee and had told his agent that before signing anything to please come back to them and give them a chance to make an offer.

What difference does it make anyway? The Yankees are smarting from the hit they’ve taken as they aura of financial invincibility was damaged not by any economic downturn, but by a player choosing to go elsewhere for less money.

As for the revenue sharing comment, how is that Levine’s business? It’s a bullying tactic from one who believes they’re supporting another by saying, “I’m paying you, therefore I own a part of you; so you do what I say and shut up.”

It’s authoritarian from a entity that is not an authority.

Worse, it actually sounds like something Lenny Dykstra would say.

When Dykstra talks about one of his many familial financial squabbles, his argument is that because his relatives worked for him in running his car wash franchises, that he—Lenny—“bought” their houses.

How that makes sense is up to you to judge.

Does Randy Levine feel comfortable with using logic similar to that of Lenny Dykstra?!?

Because the Rangers spend less money on players and the Yankees more, the rules of baseball dictate that the Rangers get money from the higher spending teams; that has nothing to do with Levine—who’s not an owner of the Yankees—and is specious reasoning at its best; at worst it’s plain stupid.

Regarding the idea that Lee should “speak for himself”, why should he comment? He’s being dragged in the middle of a custody fight between two parties who haven’t the right to claim he belongs to them in any capacity after the fact. Lee decided to go to the Phillies; the Yankees and Rangers are still bickering over the remnants of a player who is not a member of either organization and decided to go to the other league.

Did the Rangers offer hold things up as Greenberg claims? Who knows? More importantly, who cares?

  • Aaahhh!! My eyes!!!!

Is this somehow related to Billy Beane‘s lost Midas touch?

Are they trying to regain his Moneyball aura of infallibility with the new golden uniforms they’re going to wear?

If nothing else the A’s new uniforms will distract opposing hitters because they’re so awful, but I’m wondering who was in charge of: A) designing them; and B) approving them.

They’re hideous and if this is Beane’s doing—if he touched the uniforms and they turned this color—then he should stop touching things. Immediately.

  • Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them:

The above line is from Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi and it implies pretty much what you think it implies.

Take this for what it’s worth, but Buster Olney said the following on Twitter in reference to the Athletics pursuit of Mariner infielder Chone Figgins:

The Figgins conversations with Oakland/Seattle happened three weeks ago. Seattle not motivated to move him; it was never close to happening.

“Not motivated to move him”?

Really?

Of course we don’t know what the A’s offered for Figgins; what the financial deal would’ve been; what the Mariners were willing to do, but “not motivated to move him”?

How could they not be motivated to move him?

Figgins was awful last year; the Mariners are going to be terrible; he’s making a lot of money; he acted like a baby as the Mariners season crashed around him and nearly got into a fistfight with then manager Don Wakamatsu over lack of hustle.

With the Mariners current circumstances—in a full-blown rebuild and mired in a tough division—why wouldn’t they be “motivated” to move Figgins?

To give Figgins the benefit of the doubt last season, you can say that the way the Mariners played and behaved—after years of Figgins being in a controlled and organized atmosphere of the Angels—must’ve come as some sort of a culture shock; the tone around the club was poisonous. He played better in the second half of the season and I do think he’ll have a normal year in 2011—.290 average; .370 on base; 40+ stolen bases; good defense back at third base; I also think Eric Wedge’s presence in the manager’s office will prevent some of the nonsense that went on last year; but “not motivated”?

Why?

There are few players on the Mariners roster for whom it makes sense to say they’re not listening to offers. Felix Hernandez and Franklin Gutierrez are two. Other than that, why not listen? Why not see what they can get back? And why not be aggressive in bringing in pieces that are cheaper and more pliable to a long-term future of good play and good behavior?

This comes on the heels of the decision to keep Milton Bradley and the earlier discussions involving David Aardsma (before he needed hip labrum surgery) that they wanted an “impact bat” for him.

“Not motivated”? An “impact bat”?

They need a reality check in Seattle. Soon.

I’ll respond to mail/comments tomorrow.

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  1. #1 by Jane Heller on January 30, 2011 - 4:19 pm

    I care about what Levine said to Greenberg. I think other Yankee fans care too. And the consensus is – Good for Levine! Greenberg has been sniping at the Yankees and their fans since Mrs. Lee whined about having beer dumped on her at Yankee Stadium. He was apparently made to apologize by MLB. But it continues. I think Levine was trying to say, “Enough already. Just worry about your own team.”

  2. #2 by The Other Mike on January 30, 2011 - 9:24 pm

    From what I understand, Greenberg didn’t direct his comment about Lee at anyone in the Yankee organization. He was asked a question by a fan at the local Ranger Fan Fest and he gave his [purely speculative] opinion.

    He wasn’t sniping at anyone, as far as I can tell. Somebody seems to be a little overly sensitive [speaking about the Yankee front office, not Ms. Heller above].

    • #3 by The Other Mike on January 30, 2011 - 9:39 pm

      As far as the Mariners go, I feel bad for those poor fans up in the Pacific Northwest. I am a Rangers fan and I grew up hating [but respecting] Griffey Jr. and his organization.

      Still, to see them fall so far in recent years, after their one decent stretch in the ’90s, leaves me with a fair amount of sympathy.

      They need to rebuild. They need to do what the Rangers did just 4 years ago and tell their fans “Please stick with us, we won’t be this terrible forever. We’re turning this ship around.”

      Part of that process would probably involve letting their GM go, as he seems both dazed and confused most of the time. Then you sell off the pieces you don’t absolutely need and get younger.

      Off the top of my head, I would hold onto King Felix, Gutierrez, and Ichiro. I suppose you also give Justin Smoak an opportunity to prove himself [I never understood why fans around here were so excited about the guy or why the M’s seemed just as excited].

      After that, restock your system and put a few warm bodies on the field until fresh talent comes up.

      I suppose all of that sounds easier than it is, but at least it’s a plan. Right now they just seem to be wandering in the dark, hoping some natural disaster wipes out the rest of the American League or something.

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