Charlie’s Devils

Finley (left) with Dick Williams, who managed back-to-back Series champs before trying to escape the asylum.

Finley (left) with Dick Williams, who managed back-to-back Series champs before trying to escape the asylum.

It’s mentioned only in passing in Jason Turnbow’s Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s. (New York: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt; 386 p, $26.) But what Finley did to outfielder Ken (Hawk) Harrelson in 1967 gave a sneak preview into two things.

Finley showed what he was capable of doing to divide and conquer his own team, never mind that he often united the team against him. And the Hawk showed what a player considered top drawer or with the visible potential to get there could earn on a fair, open market, at a time when baseball owners continued abusing the ancient reserve clause to keep them chattel.

Yes, children—minus Strasburg, this Nats rotation DOES have good postseason chances

Let’s try this again.

Assume the Washington Nationals will stick to the script and implement, some time in September, the exclamation point of the Strasburg Plan. Period dot period. Assume, too, that there’ll be enough blue murder screaming over the Nats torpedoing their own postseason chances. Maybe even some conspiracy theorists demanding a formal investigation, perhaps into whether someone isn’t buying the Nats off bigtime to tank. (Would the conspiracy theorists surprise you, really?)

Now, shove all that to one side and look at the Nats’ rotation without Stephen Strasburg.

Zimmermann—Without the Stras, he won’t be leading a rotation of pushovers . . .

D-Train's Derailment, and Others' . . .

How strange and sad it is, now and over a lifetime of watching and loving the game, that as often as not the players who are the most fun to watch become the players whose careers derail soon enough after they get their first tastes of success. Dontrelle Willis is the latest such casualty. The sad part is that the D-Train won’t be the last, even if he might take comfort in knowing he wasn’t even close to the first.

The D-Train: from phenom to finished . . .

From Cy-VP to Sayonara?

Some speculation commences that precedent argues against Justin Verlander, the American League’s Cy Young Award winner and Most Valuable Player Award winner for 2011, facing other than sobering after-effects. Well, now. It’s worth a look to see just what are the precedents involving pitchers who have scored both awards for a single season.

Big Newk—the first CY-VP . . .