After the Brooklyn Dodgers lost the 1953 World Series, manager Charlie Dressen asked for a three-year contract. Owner Walter O’Malley demurred, reminding anyone who would listen, “The Dodgers have paid more men not to manage than any other club.” Egged on by his wife, who was said to have written O’Malley a letter demanding a multi-year deal for her husband, Dressen rejoined, “My wife and I got to have security.”
It it possible to make anything resembling sense of the Miami Marlins’ latest l’affaire d’absurd? It is, though not even Edmund Burke (who conjugated the strategic mischief of the French Revolution), Martin Buber (who conjugated the spiritual foundation of dialogue), or Red Smith (whose conjugation of official baseball mischief in his time was second to none) themselves would find it easy to do without reaching first for their preferred distilled spirits.
Ethically, of course, the deal reeks like the dead Fish conventional wisdom claims it to be, particularly in view of:
Southern Florida just wasn’t made for a blizzard. As it turns out, the Blizzard of Ozz just wasn’t made for the Miami Marlins, a team about which it’s not unreasonable to say nobody really knows for whom it was made.
Exactly a month plus a day after he crowed laughing that the last thing on his mind was the possibility of his execution, Ozzie Guillen’s head dropped into the guillotine basket after king Fish Larry Beinfest, who is not exactly immune to execution speculation himself these days, released the rope and let the blade slide smoothly down the frame.
Allen Barra has dared to say what others, seemingly, can’t bring themselves even to think. The New York Yankees, who may or may not survive the postponed American League Championship Series Game Four, will be a rebuilding team once this postseason ends, perhaps one way or another, though no one now expects the Yankees to survive the current round. Possibly including the Yankees themselves.
Of the current aggregation, and not even thinking about the fallen Derek Jeter, who was performing well enough before he stumbled uncharacteristically into an ankle fracture, Barra thinks the Yankees are bound to retain first baseman Mark Teixiera, despite a second consecutive season of falling performances that are tied, perhaps, to increasing injury proneness, though he, Barra, would still try to unload him.
If you want to know the best reason why New York Mets manager Terry Collins isn’t anywhere close to the proverbial hot seat, and why Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine may be lucky to escape with his life when the season ends, you need look no further than what Collins did after a gruesome enough loss to the Philadelphia Phillies Thursday and before a blessed enough win against the Miami Marlines Friday.
Well, now. That’s the way to heal the wounded.
It’s time for this organization to move on and be tough on the players. We’re not going to go through, ‘OK, let’s wait for another month. It might be better.’ It never happens. Agents and doctors and different opinions make guys take a different way. Now it’s time for the Marlins to take our way. I don’t care about opinions. That’s the way we’re going to do it from now on . . . I expect everybody here to be healthy for spring training and ready to go, because if not, they’re going to be surprised . . . Guys play bad, have surgery, rehab, and I’m the one who is going to get fired. We paid them a lot of money for them to play for us. They’ve got to respond to us—to the Marlins.
Turns out the Chicago Cubs got a pair of A-level minor leaguers, Christian Vilanueva (3B) and Kyle Hendricks (RHP), from the Texas Rangers for Ryan Dempster . . . decent prospects but not necessarily blue chips. For the most part, few no-questions-asked blue chip prospects moved in the non-waiver trade period, Jean Segura (SS) possibly having been the bluest of the chips when he went to Milwaukee in the Zack Greinke deal.
How and why did the Rangers—hungering for rotation help with Colby Lewis gone for the year (entering the final fortnight, his was the hole they needed to fill)—end up settling for Dempster when all was said and done? According to Fox’s Ken Rosenthal:
Sandy Koufax has made annuals visits to the New York Mets’ spring training camp in Port St. Lucie for several years. His longtime friendship with beleaguered owner Fred Wilpon is one reason; his longtime friendship with manager Terry Collins has become another. This time, his first spring visit focused on two young Mets pitchers, Bobby Parnell and Matt Harvey. The Hall of Famer talked mechanics with Parnell and confidence with Harvey, who said he was “blown away” by Koufax’s visit.
The Hilton Anatole hotel in Dallas has been there before. That’s where Alex Rodriguez accepted $250 million of then-Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks’s misspent money, once upon a time. Hicks had a club three-to-thirteen-deep in pitching woes, and he decided the most surefire way of plugging up the leaking runs was to commit the near-equivalent of a solid pitching staff to . . . a shortstop.
Before you arrange the necktie parties for the parties involved, let’s make one thing absolutely incontrovertible: When all was said, and too much was done or undone, depending upon your point of view, the New York Mets had little enough choice but to think about letting Jose Reyes go. Especially if they weren’t going to quit kidding themselves and swap him at the midsummer nonwaiver trade deadline for something better than a third-round draft pick at best.