Joba Chamberlain’s Spot Not Guaranteed With Yankees

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How far in the eyes of the Yankees and baseball in general has Joba Chamberlain fallen?

The once-ballyhooed righty has avoided arbitration by agreeing to a 1-year contract worth $1.875 million; interestingly the contract is non-guaranteed. It’s a strange and unfamiliar choice on the part of the Yankees not to guarantee a deal for such a comparatively paltry amount considering some of the other players on their roster and that their self-enacted payroll constraints won’t come into effect until 2014. If they’re going to be successful this season, they’re going to need Chamberlain. The departure of Rafael Soriano and the age and status of Mariano Rivera—returning from significant injury—make Chamberlain a necessity and not a luxury.

In years past, the Yankees have been perfectly willing to spend (and sometimes waste) money on pitchers rehabbing from injuries with an eye on them contributing in the future even if that future wasn’t until the next year. They did it relatively successfully with Jon Lieber; unsuccessfully with Octavio Dotel; and the grade is still pending on David Aardsma. Have the Yankees’ cost-cutting hopes reached a level where they’ll be willing to cut Chamberlain to save the bulk of his salary with termination pay if he pitches poorly in spring training? Because that’s what this means. Below is the relevant clip from the basic agreement:

(T)he contract is not guaranteed, so if the player is released during Spring Training, the club would only owe the player 30 days or 45 days salary as termination pay, depending on when the player is released. (A player on an MLB 40-man roster receives 100% of what remains of his salary if he is released during the regular season).

The Cliff Notes version boils down to Chamberlain trying out in spring training and if he pitches poorly, they’ll dump him.

Chamberlain, while being a minuscule fraction of what he was supposed to be, is at the very least a serviceable relief pitcher who, conceivably, could close if Rivera is unable, leaving David Robertson to do the hard work as the set-up man. He has very little value on the trade market unless the Yankees pay a chunk of his salary and take another club’s similar player. If they start offering him around, teams will just wait until the Yankees terminate the deal and go after Chamberlain as a free agent.

It would be understandable if Chamberlain hadn’t pitched last season—as he wasn’t expected to after his accident in spring training in which he injured his ankle—but he returned far sooner than expected from both the ankle injury and 2011 Tommy John surgery and was an important member of the bullpen late in the season. He pitched very well in September as the Yankees were in an unexpected dogfight to make the playoffs. Now he’s fallen to unforeseen depths as a step above a non-roster invitee.

It seems so long ago that the debate regarding Chamberlain’s optimal role had grown so fierce with one side insisting that his dominance out of the bullpen was more valuable than any slightly better-than-average performance he’d be able to provide as a starter and screamed with violent intensity to hammer home the point. The Yankees jerked him around commensurately with the indecision, spurred by their own wishy-washiness on what he was and where he was best-suited to pitch. They played an overwhelming part in his destruction.

That the Yankees are mostly responsible for his ruination has been rendered irrelevant. In recent years Chamberlain had become an annual name on the most-overrated list in polls of other players. He’s no longer overrated. In fact, judging by the non-guaranteed contract, he’s not rated at all. He’s just sort of there and might not be there for very long. That’s a far cry from having been compared to Roger Clemens for those magical two months in 2007 when it appeared that the hype, for once, was real.

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Off Season Winners In Retrospect

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Let’s look at the teams whose off-season moves are paying off so far in 2012.

Tampa Bay Rays:

Acquired:  Jose Molina, Hideki Matsui, Luke Scott, Carlos Pena, Fernando Rodney

Subtracted: Johnny Damon, Kelly Shoppach, Casey Kotchman, Juan Cruz, John Jaso

The Rays did what the Rays always do. They cut out the players that were getting too expensive or had been signed as a short-term veteran stopgaps and replaced them with youngsters or other veteran stopgaps.

Molina hasn’t hit; Pena is doing what Pena does with a low batting average, good on base percentage and power; Rodney has been brilliant. None of the players they dispatched—Damon, Shoppach, Kotchman, Cruz, Jaso—have been missed or are doing much with their new teams.

Baltimore Orioles

Acquired: GM Dan Duquette, Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Matt Lindstrom, Wilson Betemit

Subtracted: GM Andy MacPhail, Jeremy Guthrie, Luke Scott, Vladimir Guerrero

The Orioles have played over their heads but Dan Duquette got rid of Guthrie and acquired Hammel and Lindstrom who are under team control and have pitched well. Chen has been very good.

Chicago White Sox

Acquired: Manager Robin Ventura, Kosuke Fukudome

Subtracted: Manager Ozzie Guillen, Mark Buehrle, Sergio Santos, Carlos Quentin, Juan Pierre

Getting rid of the volcanic and tiresome personality of Guillen and replacing it with the laid back Ventura has been exactly what the White Sox needed. They cleared salary by getting rid of veterans Buehrle, Quentin and Pierre. They’re not as good as they look right now, but the AL Central is wide open and they have enough starting pitching to stay in the hunt. They underachieved horribly in recent years under Guillen and are overachieving now under Ventura.

Texas Rangers

Acquired Yu Darvish, Joe Nathan

Subtracted: C.J. Wilson, Darren Oliver, Endy Chavez, Matt Treanor

Darvish has been as brilliant as I expected. Nathan is having a good season. They haven’t missed Wilson on or off the field.

Seattle Mariners

Acquired: Jesus Montero, Hector Noesi, John Jaso

Subtracted: Michael Pineda, Josh Lueke, David Aardsma, Jose Campos

For Michael Pineda (disabled list), Jose Campos (hot prospect and on the disabled list), the Mariners got a top hitting prospect in Jesus Montero who’s still finding his way and showing flashes of immense power and a young starting pitcher who’s also learning his craft in the big leagues in Noesi. They got rid of the troublesome Lueke for Jaso who’s been contributing big hits of late.

Oakland Athletics

Acquired: Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, Collin Cowgill, Bartolo Colon, Jonny Gomes, Ryan Cook, Jarrod Parker, Tom Milone, Seth Smith, Kila Ka’aihue, Manny Ramirez

Subtracted: Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey, David DeJesus, Josh Willingham, Ryan Sweeney

Reddick has 14 home runs and is heading for the All Star Game. Cespedes was a silly signing for a team like the A’s, but there’s no denying his talent. We’ll see what Manny does and the young pitchers Millone and Parker are high-end arms.

Washington Nationals

Acquired: Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Jackson, Ryan Perry, Mark DeRosa, Brad Lidge

Subtracted: Ivan Rodriguez, Todd Coffey, Jonny Gomes

Gonzalez has been terrific across the board and might deserve to start the All Star Game. Jackson has been consistent despite not accumulating wins.

Miami Marlins

Acquired: Manager Ozzie Guillen, Carlos Zambrano, Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle

Subtracted: Javier Vazquez, Chris Volstad, Clay Hensley, Burke Badenhop

Zambrano showed up in shape, has kept his temper in check and is showing why the Cubs gave him that contract in the first place (the majority of which they’re paying for him to pitch for the Marlins). Reyes is getting hot and Buehrle is a leader off the field and innings-eater on it. Bell’s been a disaster, but it pitching better lately.

Guillen was hired to draw attention and he did so negatively when he started trouble almost immediately with his idiotic comments praising Fidel Castro. Jeffrey Loria is under investigation for the stadium deal and looked silly using Muhammad Ali as a human shield to protect himself from getting booed at the regular season opener of the new stadium, but apart from Bell they’re getting what they paid for for the most part.

San Francisco Giants

Acquired: Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, Clay Hensley, Gregor Blanco

Subtracted: Carlos Beltran, Jonathan Sanchez, Andres Torres, Ramon Ramirez, Pat Burrell, Cody Ross

Cabrera’s not going to maintain this pace, but he’s still a good player and they got him for Sanchez who’s been hurt and had worn out his welcome with the Giants. Pagan is batting .314 with 10 stolen bases and has contributed several big hits to go along with his usual array of space cadet maneuvers. Blanco and Hensley have been solid, cheap pickups off the scrapheap.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Acquired: Trevor Cahill, Jason Kubel, Craig Breslow

Subtracted: Micah Owings, Ryan Cook, Collin Cowgill, Jarrod Parker

The Diamondbacks are struggling because they’re not getting the same above-and-beyond performances from the players that carried them to a stunning division title in 2011. That doesn’t diminish the work that Cahill, Kubel and Breslow have done. If the Diamondbacks don’t right the ship, it won’t be because of the players they acquired over the winter.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Acquired: Chris Capuano, Jerry Hairston Jr., Mark Ellis, Aaron Harang, Matt Treanor

Subtracted: Jon Garland, Jonathan Broxton, Jamey Carroll, Hiroki Kuroda, Casey Blake, Rod Barajas, Vicente Padilla

Capuano is pitching about 20 miles over his head; Hairston is hitting about 20 miles over his head; Ellis and Harang are respected, under-the-radar veterans.

The Dodgers didn’t spend a lot of money this past winter, but are getting far more than they paid for.

Off season losers and incompletes will be in forthcoming postings.

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MLB’s James Bond Villain Issues A Threat And Other Deadline Stories

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“No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!!”

With Kenny Williams as Soxfinger; Jack Zduriencik as Dr. Evil; Joel Sherman as Mini-Me; and Billy Beane as Brad Pitt as Billy Beane.

An empty threat?

I put nothing past White Sox GM Ken Williams, so despite the fact that his statement of possibly “turning over the entire roster” seems crazy, it’s possible that he’s going to do something drastic.

The White Sox are currently 50-51 and 3 1/2 games out of first place in a bad division. I can’t see him cleaning house with them that close to first place even if they do play poor-to-mediocre baseball over the next week.

As the linked MLBTradeRumors piece says, he could trade Edwin Jackson, Matt Thornton, Carlos Quentin and other pieces; but he’s not going to be able to move Adam Dunn or Alex Rios.

In other words, what’s the point?

The one thing about Williams that can be seen as simultaneously good and bad (or evil) is his single-mindedness. He had his sights set on Jake Peavy two years ago, Peavy rejected a trade to the White Sox, Williams tried again and got Peavy. They’d have been better off taking Peavy’s no for an answer.

He was also enamored with Ken Griffey Jr., traded for him and Junior was winding down by the time he got to the White Sox.

In other circumstances, he loved Gavin Floyd when there was no reason to love Gavin Floyd and Floyd’s become a solid and sometimes spectacular starter.

Warnings aside, I can’t see the White Sox blowing it up unless they lose all their games this week. Then everyone should duck.

A cheaper patch-job.

Varying reports have the Giants still after an outfield bat—B.J. Upton (WHY?!?); or Carlos Beltran—but they’d be better-served in filling their current hole in the lineup and behind the plate by going after the Mariners’ Miguel Olivo.

Olivo has power (14 homers); handles the pitchers well and can throw.

Yes, he’s signed through next year at $3.5 million with a club option for 2013, but so what? The Giants don’t know when Buster Posey‘s going to be ready to return and Olivo is a good replacement considering the weak market for catchers.

One would assume the Mariners will be very willing to move Olivo.

Then again, the Mariners wanted an “impact bat” for journeyman reliever David Aardsma before he got hurt, so reality might not be part of the plot in Seattle.

After 16 straight losses, it’s just as well.

Tra-la-la-la-la!!!!

Wag the dog.

If you check out the clearinghouse websites with writers attributing their “rumors” to various sources—and are truly reading what they’re writing rather than indulging in fast food for the mind while you’re sitting at your desk at work or staring at your smartphone—you’ll notice something interesting: within one piece, you’ll see 7-10 different reporters quoting 7-10 different “insider” sources saying 7-10 radically different things. Many times, they’re diametrically opposed to what the other “experts” and “insiders” have said.

Are you getting my point?

It’s circular self-indulgence and is likely to be completely inaccurate but justified as a “fluid situation”.

What that means is the stories are planted to maintain attention, keep the readers coming back to see what happens next (which won’t, in most cases, actually happen in reality), or gauge the reaction of the public-at-large.

But you keep on eating your Big Macs; go to Subway because it’s where “winners eat”; drink your Big Gulp.

You’ll be fine.

(No you won’t.)

//

Sunday Lightning 1.30.2011

Hot Stove
  • 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.

100+ Wins….In 2003

Hot Stove
  • A bad sign:

This rotation—C.C. Sabathia, Mark Prior, Bartolo Colon, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte(?)—would win 100 games.

Easily.

In 2003.

But it’s not 2003.

It’s almost 2011.

And, after taking a flier on Mark Prior, the Yankees are “interested” in Bartolo ColonMLBTradeRumors Story.

Yah.

Obviously, with the absence of legitimate “stuff” to write about, entities like MLBTradeRumors, ESPN’s Rumor Central (I call it Imagination Central) and the blogosphere aren’t as creative and skillful as I at finding “stuff” to write about, so they have to report on such stories as clubs being interested in the likes of Bartolo Colon. The Yankees would undoubtedly caveat their “interest” by saying they’ll look at anyone who might help them with no expectations as to what they’ll contribute.

The mere fact that the Yankees signed Prior and are “interested” in Colon signifies that they know their pitching is woefully short and they’re willing to try anything to patch it together until they get an answer from Pettitte and things shake out in season. By then, they’ll have an idea as to what Ivan Nova is going to be (I like him, his stuff and his toughness); which Burnett is going to show up; who’s going to be available via trade.

Colon, 38 in May, pitched well in winter ball and was competent when he last pitched in the majors with the White Sox in 2009; it’s not absurd to think he might be able to help; he’d be a better bet than Prior.

Why not have a look with no expectations?

The problem is that the Yankees aren’t in a position to be rolling the dice on pitchers like Colon and Prior and expecting anything of significance, yet that’s where they find themselves after missing out on Cliff Lee.

They’re waiting on Pettitte and looking at Colon.

And it’s a bad sign.

  • Perceived reality is fleeting; true reality is painful:

For an executive whose career is based in scouting and who has made his reputation as a stat-friendly GM (before the burgeoning disaster his tenure with the Mariners has become and is rapidly getting worse), Jack Zduriencik has failed in both aspects during his time as a team boss. Not only has he misjudged the likes of Milton Bradley and Chone Figgins on and off the field, but Zduriencik’s reputation as a baseball man and, more importantly, as a human being has taken a brutal beating in the past six months.

The way he was said to have double-crossed the Yankees after an agreed upon deal for the aforementioned Cliff Lee was bad enough, but that he turned around and acquired Josh Lueke—despite Lueke’s legal issues—in the deal he did make in sending Lee to the Rangers has sullied him worse than any pure baseball move could.

These were some of the more egregious gaffes by the proclaimed “genius” and “Amazin’ Exec” since last year. Now his closer David Aardsma needs surgery for a torn hip labrum.

In the grand scheme, this is not the fault of Zduriencik. Players get hurt. But the Aardsma case, on the whole, exemplifies the growing notion that Zduriencik might be overmatched as a GM; that he—in the tradition of Dave Littlefield and Dayton Moore—might have been better off as an assistant/man-behind-the-scenes rather than the final decisionmaker.

The Mariners had been looking to trade Aardsma.

They wanted an “impact bat” in exchange for him.

I say, “yes” to the first tenet of trading him; “no” to the second.

Regardless of your definition of “impact bat”, there’s no way, no how any team was going to give up anyone of significance for a journeyman like Aardsma. I’ve always liked Aardsma’s stuff and said so, but thinking that the rejuvenation of his career as a closer for a non-contender like the Mariners was a predicate for getting a so-called “impact bat” is absurd.

Perhaps Zduriencik is still harboring thoughts that the misleading save stat would hypnotize someone into giving up what was requested in a trade, but those days are nearly gone. The number of GMs who don’t think about what they’re doing before they do it and are blinded by misleading numbers and accolades are dwindling rapidly.

The old standby of teams to trick is flying out the window with Sandy Alderson taking over as GM of the Mets. I suppose there are teams who might have taken Aardsma’s 69 saves in the past two seasons as an indicator that he’s grown into his talent. The Pirates aren’t all that bright and there’s always the Royals ready to do something stupid, but an “impact bat”? Really?

What was Zduriencik expecting?

The Mariners closer is out for now and, with the hip labrum, one could reasonably expect him to be ready for the season, but that’s beside the point. Truth be told, the Mariners would find someone else to fill the closer’s role without Aardsma and that someone else would presumably be just as effective—Brandon League for example. The mistake isn’t that they were trying to trade Aardsma or that he got hurt before they could, it’s that he’s not someone who would beget the acquisition of anything more than a useful piece; that Zduriencik was greedy in his dealings and didn’t get anything at all when he should’ve gotten something for a scrapheap pickup.

It’s “genius”!!!

  • Viewer Mail 12.31.2010:

Joe writes RE Ichiro Suzuki and the Royals:

I don’t really enjoy watching Ichiro hit much either, relative to other “star” players.  I prefer reasonable *individual* home run totals, like the last few years. But the threat of the home run still entices me.  Ichiro doesn’t do that often. Not that I dislike watching him. Entertainment-wise, he looks like Lou Gehrig in that atrocious Mariners lineup though.


People outside the Royals organization have the ability to scout too.  And they are the ones that come up with these lists.  So this is mostly viewing from the outside.

I got the impression from the linked posting by Joe Posnanski that he was reluctant to go after Ichiro the way I did, but that’s my own interpretation. I don’t stop what I’m doing or flip to the Mariners games to watch Ichiro hit; it’s not like you’re missing something you won’t see later in the game if you don’t see his first inning at bat.

With the Royals, people are missing the point of my posting. They have all these prospects, but their major league maneuvers with the likes of Jeff Francoeur, Jason Kendall, et al. indicate that there’s a disconnect on how to build a winner.

Aside from Billy Butler, their development has been wanting with the prospects they have. Whether these prospects were acquired by this regime or the prior one is irrelevant; no one ever gave the Rays grief for the foundation that was there when they arrived. It was what it was and they moved forward. Some worked out, some didn’t. I question what’s going to happen with the Royals as they try to take the next step, and given the continued mistakes by their GM, I have a pretty sound case.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Alex Gordon:

I remember when Alex Gordon was supposed to be the Next Big Thing. Too bad he didn’t live up to expectations.

He may need a change-of-scenery. He’s going to turn 27 in February which is well young enough to turn it around. There’s still time. He might be a Phil Nevin-type—another 3rd baseman who needed a break and a little bit of a struggle to develop. Gordon showed great promise in 2008, but injuries have derailed him.

Jeff at Red State Blue State writes RE prospects:

I wonder if there’s a special place for washed away prospects… the Alex Gordons, Brandon Woods, Todd Van Poppels… part of me feels sorry for them, but then again, their bank accounts are way fatter than mine so they can kiss it for all I care. Making it big in the Big Leagues is tough. It’s not for the weak. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Here’s the problem with the “next hot prospect”—the latest being Bryce Harper/Stephen Strasburg—the outside pressures to perform and hopes of the organization can add another layer onto the already stifling expectations they’re facing.

Todd Van Poppel’s fastball was always pin straight, but he wasn’t given the chance to learn his craft before he found himself in the majors—as a prerequisite to his signing a contract after the A’s took a chance in drafting him—at 19.

I’ve questioned the Phillies strategy of leaving their youngsters in the minors for far too long. Both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley could’ve been in the big leagues at least a year-and-a-half before they were, but you cannot argue with the results. They’re maintaining a similar, no-pressure strategy with Domonic Brown.

Other clubs have tossed their kids into the fire and succeeded. Such was the case with the Diamondbacks and Justin Upton.

It all comes down to the individual case. Former Mets GM Frank Cashen always regretted rushing Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden to the majors before they were emotionally ready.

Maybe he was right.

Al Spina writes RE Bob Feller:

Bob Feller was a great pitcher, but an angry man, in my opinion, who could not relate to anyone in this day and age, let alone current athletes.

I don’t disagree.

For a long time, I ripped into Feller for being a miserable old buzzard (trying to keep it clean) for his over-the-top negative reactions to the players of today. Perhaps it was part of getting older.

Feller wasn’t shy in stating his opinion about the decline of society and the rampant disinterest in contributing to others. He may have pigeonholed every player into the same category and shown a bitterness because of it. Had he been less strident in expressing himself, his image may not have been what it was during his later years.

In the end, he did serve his country and was a great pitcher. The other stuff is a matter of personality and how he expressed himself.