There seems to be a ton of good stories out there this morning, so I thought I’d link to some of them.
Bill James has created a bit of a controversy by saying:
If the players all retired tomorrow, we would replace them, the game would go on; in three years it would make no difference whatsoever. The players are NOT the game, any more than the beer vendors are.
Which, of course, got the Players’ Association upset:
Executive Director Tony Clark’s regarding Bill James’ comments... pic.twitter.com/UHa4j1LSqD— #MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) November 8, 2018
Reckless? Really? Nah.
Insulting. Well yeah, that was more or less the point. Bill was talking about Scott Boras comments. Boras, of course, would like a better market for, and more teams bidding on, free agent players. He’s an agent. He’d like the players to be able to make more money.
Boras has some points. I don’t think it is in the best interests of the game for teams not to try to win. It can make us fan jaded. It has made us fans jaded.
Not surprisingly, player’s salaries haven’t kept up with revenues. 18 years ago ARod signed a $252 million contract. Since then revenues have continued to grow. I read that revenues are up over 70% since then and yet Harper $300 million offer still seems stupidly high.
Anyway, I love Bill James, he’s ok with saying whatever he thinks. And, he’s likely right, if all the major league players suddenly retired, in a few year baseball would be the same. Maybe not three years, but soon enough.
We get attached to players, but when they leave, we get attached to other players. I loved Gary Carter. Tony Fernandez was a favorite of mine. Carlos Delgado? loved him. Roy Halladay. Jose Bautista. Each one comes, then goes, and I think I’ll never like a player as much and then someone else comes along. I really enjoyed watching Lourdes Gurriel this year. I can see him becoming a favorite of mine.
I can’t wait for Vlad Jr. to join the long list of players I love to watch. Then, if I live long enough, there will be someone after him.
That was Bill’s point, if indelicately said, the game is the thing, there will always be new players and we’ll continue to love the game.
But none of that means that players shouldn’t be payed well. If it is a choice of the players getting the money or the owners getting the money, I would far rather it go to the players.
John Lott, in the Athletic, profiles Vladimir Guerrero, the teammate. Subscription required. It is gushing. It is overly gushing.
Vlad Guerrero Jr. is head-over-heels in love with the game that has become his job. He is charismatic without conceit. His teammates and manager call him humble. And his passion is contagious, as his new teammates in the Arizona Fall League have discovered over the past month.
During a recent batting practice, for example, Guerrero quietly took aside Pirates’ prospect Will Craig, who had just finished a frustrating turn in the cage. The conversation was short. Guerrero appeared to have spotted a slight flaw in Craig’s mechanics. Craig paid rapt attention.
And about his defense:
“There’s some stuff there at third base that’s definitely promising,” Clapp said. “He’s just got to keep working at it. He’s got a strong arm to go across the infield. Get that footwork going and some agility, you’ve got a serious third baseman.
It is a great, go subscribe and read it.
Shi Davidi has notes about a possible rule change that would make a full trade deadline 50 days before the end of the season (mid-August) and do away with waiver deals.
Still, there’s believed to be some momentum for the idea and one of the catalysts for the shift may have been the Blue Jays’ messy Aug. 31 waiver trade of Josh Donaldson to Cleveland for right-hander Julian Merryweather.
Shi also tells us that the Orioles either have or want to talk to Blue Jays V.P. of baseball operations Ben Cherington.
And he tells us that the Jays aren’t sure what position Lourdes Gurriel will play next year. That’s not a surprise. They have a lot of pieces to fit together.
Shi also profiles our new bench coach.
Sports Illustrated has a story about the record low number of intentional walks in the MLB and notes that the Astros only gave out 4 intentional walks this season. They look at each one of the 4.
Off topic, but the Verge has an early review of a foldable cell phone. I want one.