Let’s mine the mainstream media and find stuff about which to rant and rave.
The revisionist history with Scott Kazmir:
The Mets’ horrific trade of Kazmir to the Devil Rays for Victor Zambrano is now ancient history; we won’t know what would’ve happened with Kazmir, the Rays or the Mets had they not made the deal.
The residual effects have subsided and Kazmir is on a major downslide. The reactionary response to Kazmir when he first arrived in the big leagues was one of indignation that the Mets were stupid enough to trade a pitcher with such electric stuff.
Five-plus years later, his arsenal isn’t what it was. His fastball and slider no longer have the life they once did and he’s injury-prone.
For all the hype surrounding Kazmir, how good was he? He made over 30 starts twice in his career; pitched 200+ innings once. From 2005-2009 he was pretty good. And that’s it. No more, no less.
Is he “done” as so many suggest?
I don’t think he’s finished, per se; he’ll have to learn to pitch differently if he’s going to have any success at all—but it’s possible. Perhaps this fall as a starter will place Kazmir in the bullpen and the adrenaline rush from being a reliever with enliven his fastball and help him stay healthier than he can as a starter. I’ve long said he should be a reliever and if the Angels fall into that as a matter of necessity, he could be quite useful.
Kicking dirt on Lou Piniella:
Kevin Millar made some negative comments about former Cubs manager Lou Piniella in a radio interview—ESPN Story—suggesting that Piniella was out of tune with player complaints and the team was disorganized.
Was it Piniella or was it the Cubs being the Cubs?
Ordinarily I’d look at Piniella’s career and Millar’s consistently flapping mouth and dismiss the allegations, but considering the way the Cubs imploded after their failed run at a championship in 2008, it makes sense.
It did appear that Piniella’s interest had waned after the 2008 NLDS loss and his passion was missing. Players sense when a manager’s heart isn’t in what he’s doing anymore and if he’s ignoring a simple entreaty to keep them happy like posting the lineups earlier then maybe it’s time for him to go.
He tried to bluff his way through hoping reputation and teamwide talent would win out—literally and figuratively. That can’t work with a veteran clubhouse because once they see where the season is headed, they’ll bail. And that’s what happened with the Cubs.
Although Millar says some ridiculous things without thinking on occasion, in this case he was probably speaking for a large segment of the Cubs roster and telling a truth they others had kept to themselves.
The Pedro Feliciano Chronicles:
Think about this for a second.
There’s a controversy about Pedro Feliciano.
Rarely has a relatively nondescript lefty specialist been the subject of such a lasting bit of “news”.
I have one question: if Feliciano was healthy and pitching well for the Yankees, would Yankees GM Brian Cashman be saying that Feliciano was “abused” by the Mets? What if Feliciano said, “I’m better with more work” or something in that vein? Would Cashman thank the Mets for working Feliciano to the point where he’s at this best?
For a GM who’s become so immersed in objective analysis, he’s doling blame and providing subjective caveats for a pitcher to whom he gave $8 million and is on the disabled list.
If Cashman felt Feliciano had been abused, he shouldn’t have signed him. Period.
As for the Mets, they simply can’t win in the court of public opinion or with the media no matter what they do.
They made a conscious decision not to bring Feliciano back because he’d been used so heavily and the new regime doesn’t want to pay that kind of cash for a lefty specialist—they made the right decision given all circumstances—and they get attacked because they ruined him for the Yankees.
The leaps of logic are astounding.
You want to hear my voice, don’t you?!?
Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide is available and will be useful for your fantasy leagues all season long.
I published a full excerpt of my book here.