Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Grab Bag: Last Call for baseball talk

Oh, hey, it's August.  How 'bout that?  With the calendar officially flipping over to the page with a big '8' on it, today is one of the final Monday's I get to talk baseball.  Accordingly, in the bag today there's a bunch of trade deadline talk and musings over the unwritten rules of baseball.  Yes, football is coming, but it just isn't quite here...

Click below for the bag...

Ubaldo trade - I just don't understand why the Rox moved Ublado.  With 3.5 years remaining on his extremely club-friendly contract, the only reason to move him is out of fear.  Fear that he's washed-up, fear that he'll never get the first half of 2010 back.  You can't run a successful ballclub housed in fear.

Even if he never becomes that Ubaldo again, his contract ("$2.8 million this year and $4.2 million next year, with club-friendly team options in 2013 (for $5.75 million) and 2014 ($8 million).") makes him still very valuable as just a 3rd or 4th starter in MLB.  The Rox traded away a proven Major League performer (this is his 5th season), their 'greatest pitcher ever,' who they controlled for multiple years on the cheap.  The only reason you would do that is if you not only believe that he'll never get it back, but that you think he's 'worst pitcher in baseball' level bad, and that it's best to cut your losses. That just isn't the case here, and the Rox fucked up.
With his velocity returning, was now really the right time to dump Ubaldo?  Hell no it wasn't!
Ask the Boston Red Sox how that line of thinking works out.  I'm not saying that Ubaldo is Roger Clemens, as the Rocket was comparatively a much better pitcher before he left the Red Sox in '96.  What I am saying is that it's pointless to give up on Ubaldo now, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him find his groove sometime in the next 3.5 seasons.  At his current price, he needed to stay in Denver.  Sure, the Rox got a decent haul for him, but moves out of fear or worry rarely turn out well for the panicking club.

My Sox hold 'em at the deadline - Sox GM Kenny Williams must've been blinded by the Sox seemingly small 3 game deficit in the AL Central, as he essentially stood pat at the deadline.  Sure, a few days back he unloaded salary by sending the routinely-traded Edwin Jackson and the over paid Mark Teahen to Toronto in exchange for some marshmallow fluff, but that deal was essentially a lateral move as the Sox had a rotation replacement already in place (Phil Humber).  No, the White Sox kept chasing the '11 division title they'll never win by keeping all their essential (to 2011 at least) parts on the Southside.  I was more than ready to watch this ballclub get blown up, so I'm a little frustrated that we stayed with the hand dealt.

The real trick would've been to send the expensive Matt Thornton or Will Ohman elsewhere for parts.  Teams are always looking for bullpen upgrade this time of year, and often make rash decisions in the pursuit of 'pen help.  Sure, the market was slightly saturated with relievers since San Diego was looking to blow up their team... again.  But the Sox probably should've used the opportunity to spend some assets from their biggest area of strength to improve both the farm system and the ball club for the future.
My Sox are paying closer money to a non-closer on a losing team.  Maybe we should've dealt him as well.
Had Williams really felt adventurous, he could've always dealt sometimes-slugger Carlos Quenti, but again, the market was saturated with more attractive pieces.  Maybe that's the point: Kenny couldn't find fair return value since there were other attractive options out there for bidding team to use in order to drive cost down.  Irregardless, the current roster isn't going to win a division title any time soon, so a championship-minded team should've found a way to improve fortunes in further years.  Hopefully there's still time for Kenny to get some other GM drunk and offload the expensive heaping pile of trash that is Alex Rios.

Verlander bunting kerfluffle - One of the more infamous unwritten rules in baseball is that you don't attempt to break up a late-inning no-hit bid with a bunt attempt.  To the layman's eye, Angels shortstop Eric Aybar appeared to violate that rule by bunting in the 8th inning of yesterday's latest no-hit bid by flame-throwing Tigers ace Justin Verlander. Thing is, it's totally cool because Aybar was just getting back at the Tigers for breaking another of baseball's numerous and semi-inscrutable unwritten rules: that you don't pose after hitting a homer.

In the previous inning Tigers utility man Carlos Guillen crushed a solo shot to right, and instead of jogging around the bases like a good little millionaire, he decided to be a petulant little child and pose, stare down, and aggressively show-up Angels starter Jared Weaver (this had been brewing for a few innings as Weaver thought Tiger OF Magglio Ordonez had posed on a previous shot in the 3rd, and called him out for doing so).

Now, I can't stand Jered or the rest of the Weaver clan (his brother Jeff was a colossal douche), but Guillen's actions were beyond unacceptable, and Weaver was justified in following it up with a fastball at the head of the next batter, the blameless Alex Avila.  But the Angels retribution wasn't finished.  The following inning, Aybar lead off with his bunt.  Verlander botched it (possibly on purpose to keep his no-hit bid alive, potentially breaking another unwritten rule), and the inning eventually ended up with the no-hit bid gone, and the Tiger lead in jeopardy.

After the game, Verlander went about passive-aggressively calling Aybar and the Angels "bush-league" for not following the unwritten rules.  However, I'm absolutely convinced that without Carlos Guillen acting like a worthless twat Aybar hits away.  If Verlander, a team leader, wants to cast blame he can either throw it at the feet of petulant teammate Carlos Guillen or himself.  Guillen for, once again, being a twat, and himself for not better controlling his dugout.

The countdown is on - There are just over 33 days left before Buffs football kicks off.  Camp starts Thursday.  We're getting closer.............


JT said...

Go Dbacks!

~Tuba John

RumblinBuff said...

Go Pirates?

Rico said...

Wait...There's still baseball? I thought it all got washed away in the flood of NFL free agency news.