Thursday, January 31, 2019

Some Eve Of February Thoughts - Free Agents, HOF, Others

Here we are on the last day of January and all of us (fans, writers, etc.) should be thinking about Spring Training which begins in two weeks. Instead, we are still looking at the top free agents on this year's slate unsigned. Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel are still searching for homes. Every single day, I go to Major League Trade Rumors to see what has happened and the answer is still the same - Nothing! Can we end this misery so we can go on thinking about the season?

The funny thing is that I remember thinking the same thing last year. We were all wondering where J.D. Martinez was going to land. And when he did, and where he did gave me the sinking feeling that the Red Sox were going to win the division and the World Series. I really felt that way and I was right.

I also know I am correct in what I wrote about the consequences coming from the last two off seasons. While my reasoning might be a bit flawed, the players' union and MLB are headed to a showdown about compensation since the dynamic has changed for free agency. It is all about youth now and value and we are going to have a work stoppage if things do not get worked out.

But how much of this is the players' fault? The money gets ridiculous after a while. If Machado and Harper take $34 million for five years instead of ten, is that not still a ridiculous amount of money? I think I could survive the future with $170 million. We'll never be sure, but the rumor is that the Nationals already offered Harper $30 million per for ten years. Three-hundred million dollars is not enough? Oh my. If a really good "real life" salary is $100 thousand a year, then 40 years at that salary is equal to $4 million in a lifetime! Come on now! Figure out where you want to play and sign on the dotted line already!

From a fan's perspective, I would love to see Harper's swing in Yankee Stadium. And I love the walks. I do not mind him taking Brett Gardner's spot in the outfield. Though I do think Giancarlo Stanton is a better player playing in the field at least half the time.

On the other hand, I would hate to see Machado land with the Yankees. I have made that clear all along and I know it is not a popular stance. I know it is kind of stupid, but I like rooting for likable as well as talented players. I do not like Machado and I never will. Plus, I love Miguel Andujar and Didi Gregorius and want them playing the left side of the Yankee's infield.

Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel need to find homes too. Kimbrel is probably asking for too much and Keuchel is probably asking for too long. I just want to think about Spring Training and dream about what the Yankees and other teams are going to do in 2019. I simply want this over with.


I cannot quibble with those selected to the Hall Of Fame this year in the writer's vote. The committee vote held earlier was a joke. But the four selected were deserving.

As a longtime Yankee fan, of course I am ecstatic that Mariano Rivera is a HOFer. He was the classiest player that ever put on a uniform. Mike Mussina had a more valuable career than both Schilling and Halladay, but, if you listen to Michael Kay, he was not a class act.  It takes all kinds and it is about the value the player's performance was when they played.

That is why I continue to maintain that the HOF is bogus as long as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are not enshrined there. Perhaps "enshrined" is part of the problem. Being in the HOF is not a beatification. We are not creating saints here. We are designating players as the best of their eras. In the supposed steroid era, there were no better players than Clemens or Bonds. Until this is rectified, I will never go there or celebrate the organization.

And how does Scott Rolen keep getting overlooked!?


Super Bowl Sunday is upon us and I must say that I really, really want the Patriots to win. I moved from New Jersey to New Hampshire in 1975 and was never a Jets or Giants fan. I liked the Bills when O.J. was there. Stupid me, eh?  But I was not passionate about any team.

After I moved, in the pre-cable days, the only games we could get on Sunday were the Patriot games. Those were the days of Steve Grogan, Sam "Bam" Cunningham, Darryl Stingley and Russ Francis. I have adopted them ever since. That means that I am not a "winner" and rooting for a team because of its success. The same is true for the Yankees (though the Patriots will never be as important to me as the Yankees).

The game scares me and to predict the Patriots to win would be foolish. I certainly hope they win and add another notch in the team's dynastic run.

Oh, and one thing about that "run." It is said by many to be the best dynasty ever in sports. While it is amazing, these people should look at the Yankees from 1947 to 1964. Yogi Berra has twice as many rings as Tom Brady.