I do not profess to be some baseball expert by any means but I have followed major league baseball since the mid 50’s and I started becoming a serious follower of major league baseball when the Milwaukee Braves beat the New York Yankees in the 1957 World Series in 7 games. To me, baseball is interesting because of its history, its characters and last and certainly not least the fact that on any given day at any given game that you might be lucky enough to attend, that you will see something that you have never seen before. I have been to a lot of games at numerous baseball parks but I still have never seen a no-hitter or a batter hit for the cycle at a game I attended but I have seen many other interesting and historic baseball feats over the years.
Baseball is a unique game for a whole bevy of reasons such as the fact that there is no clock in baseball, each playing field has its own peculiarities, there are 162 games to be played and that does not count playoffs or spring training, some extremely interesting characters both from the player’s side and the ownership/front-office side, cheating by players has been tolerated even encouraged unless it becomes too blatant, owners have no payroll limitations, free agency has given players the right to work/play where ever they wish for the most part and various other reasons that I haven’t listed here.
MLB players, its owners and baseball fans everywhere actually benefit from free agency. When the last out of the World Series is made and the off-season begins you would think that baseball would go on hiatus as far as the fans are concerned but that is not the case in modern-day baseball. When the playing season ends the free agency season begins and hot stove league baseball remains a hot topic of discussion for true baseball fans even if football, hockey, and basketball seasons are underway and the ballparks are covered with ice and snow. Fantasy baseball is almost a year round event now as its players follow the free agency moves and make their draft plans accordingly. Heck, there are already drafts going on for the 2015 season.
But I am getting side-tracked here, my intent was to do a short piece on “why are these things happening”? Real head scratcher as far as I am concerned. As I said earlier, I am no expert but some of the moves or more accurately stated “proposed moves and /or rumors” by our local Twins team or other MLB teams make me really wonder what the heck these people in baseball are thinking? First off, the average person has no concept of the dollars in play and that it is easy to spend someone else’s money, I realize that. No one really know for instance what the Twins revenue really is and the few people who do surely aren’t going to divulge those secrets. How often do you hear someone say or write “it’s only $5 million, we should do it”. Or what idiotic owner first brought options into baseball contracts where as they can sign a player for $10 million dollars or they can choose to pay him $1 million to walk away, what is up with that? What bozo pays someone a million dollars not to work for them? MLB does.
So here are a couple of real head scratcher’s for me –
Why would former Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer who will turn 36 before the 2015 season begins turn down a $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Colorado Rockies to sign a two-year deal with the New York Mets for $21 million. Cuddyer missed all but 49 games for the Rockies this season due to injury. Maybe I don’t understand this qualifying offer business as well as I thought I did. As I understand it this process has been in place for three years and 34 qualifying offers have been made and zero have been accepted. Hard for me to fathom turning down $12-$15 million for one year’s work.
Numerous stories are being written about the Twins pursuing outfielder Torii Hunter who played for Minnesota from 1997-2007 before leaving via free agency. Hunter will be 40 years old this coming July and he just put $14 million in the bank thanks to the Detroit Tigers in 2014. No argument here the Twins outfield is a mess with no center fielder, no left fielder, and Oswaldo Arcia in right is not exactly a gold glover. Still, having said that I don’t understand why the Twins would pay Hunter around $10 million to play for them in 2015. We are talking 15 home runs and 80 RBI and a .280 average but is that worth $10 million or so even now for a team that has little to no chance of achieving the .500 mark? I know that fans still love Torii and he was a good player here for many years but let it go for God’s sake. The man can’t play like he did back in his 20’s. Why do the Twins and their fans always want their former stars to come back home? Haven’t you folks heard the old saying “you can never go home again?”
Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press tweets that there is interest between Wily Mo Pena and the Minnesota Twins. The soon to be 33-year-old Of/DH goes about 260 and has played in Japan for the last three season. Pena last appeared in the majors in 2011 with the Seattle Mariners and has never played in more than 110 games in the majors at any point in his career. I could care less that he hit 32 home runs in Japan in 2014, the last thing the Twins need to spend money on is a DH. Rumor or fact, this is just plain STUPID! If the Twins look they will find other positions that need more help then at DH.
Let’s move on from the Twins for a bit and see what else is going on in the AL Central. Last year the Chicago White Sox signed first baseman Jose Abreu from Cuba to a $68 million six-year deal and in 2014 the 27-year-old Abreu rewarded them with the American League Rookie of the Year award. Now the Sox go out and sign free agent 1B Adam LaRoche to a two-year deal for $25 million. I hate to repeat myself but what the heck are they thinking? They have numerous holes to fill and they chose to sign another first baseman. I sure hope the Sox know something we don’t because as first glance this is another dumb Sox move.
Joe Maddon opted out of his manager gig in Tampa a couple of weeks ago because things were heading south in Tampa and the Chicago Cubs seem to have a future. That created an opening for a new Rays manager and the three finalist are Kevin Cash, Don Wakamatsu, and Raul Ibanez. RAUL IBANEZ? Where did he come from? Why is he qualified to manage a big league team? The last time I saw him he was playing for the Kansas City Royals in 2014 and now he is a finalist for the Tampa Rays manager job, how do things like this happen? Like I said, a real head scratcher for me.
You can’t make this stuff up but yet it happens in baseball day in and day out.