Tis’ the season for contract signings and player shuffling. Some teams, like the Phillies and Red Sox, have been making splashes in the news with their moves. Other teams (ahem, cough, the Mets, ahem, cough) haven’t done much at all. It is this lack of production by Mets management that prompted us to ask if you felt that they’re revamping the team in the best possible way. All 5 votes went to the TBB because if we ran the show, we “would’ve handled sh*t by now.” No one believed that management was doing okay since by 2020, the team was sure to be a playoff contender, but no one thought that the Mets needed to crack open the piggy bank and sign someone worth signing either. While we appreciate the vote of confidence, we’re pretty sure that the Mets just need to use their wealth for good instead of evil (or BS).
The big hullabaloo this week has been over Cliff Lee resigning with the Phillies. Shocking, not because he blew off the Yankees (c’mon…did anyone REALLY think he was coming here?), but because it was the stealth ninja Phillies who won the battle for less years (5 instead of 7) and less money ($30 MILLION less…not $30. $30 MILLION). One might think that Lee must really hate New York to make a decision like that. However, Lee claims that he’s got “nothing against New York” nor does he “fear New York.” He says that Philly is simply a better fit for him and his family (aka Mrs. Lee). Certainly a pitching rotation that includes Roy Halladay is infinitely more enticing than one comprised of a fickle AJ Burnett, potential retiree Andy Pettitte (regardless of his impressive resume), and CC Sabathia. Indeed, we’ll go so far as to say that Halladay is the best pitcher in the game right now and his accomplishments occurred predominantly while pitching for a team without any shot at the post season thanks largely to the dominance of the Red Sox and Yankees. All that aside, Mrs. Lee (and we know it WAS Mrs. Lee who flexed her influential “Good for the Family” muscles) is foolish to think she’ll find better-mannered fans in Philadelphia than in New York. If she found spitting on another person foul (and trust us, it IS foul and totally out of line), wait until someone pukes on a fellow fan just because (click here to read more).
Please understand that it’s not that we’re picking on him because we find Lee inherently douchey or anything like that (truly, we’re not sure that he IS douchey), but to refer to his new pitching staff as “historic” is a bit arrogant. Oh, yes. Halladay IS historic (or at least will be the day he steps down). While Lee is legitimately talented, he’s not Halladay. Had it been Halladay (not that this was an option for the Rangers, but hypothetically speaking) on the mound for Game 5 in the World Series, we’re pretty sure that the series would have gone to Game 6. That being said, does anyone think that Ted Williams described himself as “historic?” Did the players of Murderer’s Row take a look around at one point and say to themselves, “F’n A, Cotton. We’re HISTORIC?” No. These men played the friggin’ game and they did it well. People loved them. These are players that had an aura and a mystique about them that CREATED history. When players like Mickey Mantle and Lou Gehrig began to deteriorate before our very eyes, it was like watching magic fail. That’s why we still talk about them with such reverence. We don’t want to remember their deterioration because it breaks our hearts. We want to remember who they WERE and what they accomplished. Just like these historical and magical players before him, Halladay is something special to watch…even if slightly terrifying (especially on the night of a full moon). Lee doesn’t have it. Neither does Cole Hamels. And as tough as the Phillies rotation is, no one is going to build Mount Rushmore in their name.
Lastly, before anyone commends him for picking a team just to play the game instead of for their bank account, it should be noted that Lee’s hardly making peanuts to pitch for the Phillies. He’s still the 6th starting pitcher in history to garner a contract worth $100 million or more. Oh and Mrs. Lee? Enjoy the sports culture in Philadelphia. We’re confident you’ll find it…shocking enough to be considered art.
In other baseball news, the A’s signed designated hitter/outfielder Hideki Matsui to a 1-year deal and we’re really not sure why, but that’s not our concern. Sources claim that Rich Harden has agreed to return to the A’s with a 1-year deal, pending a physical. While Harden had a great run in his early years with Oakland, he had a pretty rough 2010 season with the Rangers, going 5-5 with a 5.58 ERA in 20 appearances. He managed to walk 62 batters in 92 innings. Eeeek! Reportedly, Bob Geren is planning on using Harden out of the bullpen, already having 4 solid starters and multiple options for a 5th.
The Commissioner announced on Wednesday that the minimum salary for an MLB player is rising by $14,000 to $414,000 year. This means that the lowest guy on the totem pole/roster is making at least $414,000/year to be the least productive guy on the team. Is there another career option that offers this kind of money? That’s completely insane. Why did we study and get good grades when all we had to do was be a male with athletic abilities? We feel so cheated.
The potential for a Christmas Miracle (also known as Carlos Beltran being traded to another team...or planet) has officially been squashed. On Thursday, when asked about trade rumors, Beltran said he'd only just heard about them when a cousin in Puerto Rico informed him. Do you not own a television or have internet? You get paid enough. He said that since he did not receive a call from his agent or the Mets, he assumes the reports are merely rumors. Beltran also claims that he only wants to play for the Mets in 2011. Sure he does. Who wouldn’t want a scenario where you don't have to produce anything, play below your ability, and remain on the DL while receiving an obscene paycheck?
While the Phillies landed Cliff Lee, the Yankees have signed former All Star pitcher Mark Prior to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Prior began his extremely promising career (even though he sported a ridiculously offensive Billy Goat-type Brazilian chin strip) with the Cubs, pitching alongside Kerry Wood and nearly winning the NL Cy Young in 2003 when he was only 22 years old. Unfortunately, injuries have since plagued the man and he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2006. This is scary. The Red Sox sign big names like Adrian Beltre and Carl Crawford and you sign an injury-laden pitcher who may or may not be able to live up to his former glory. Yikes. If Prior performs well enough in spring training to earn a spot on the regular season roster, it’s still unclear as to whether he’ll be utilized as a starter or out of the bull pen. Our guts say that given his lack of playing time, he’ll have to be used as a reliever…at least at first. The Yankees have also officially announced that former Dodgers’ catcher Russell Martin will be their new full- time catcher. The contract is only for 1 year and worth $4 million with the expectation that his presence will help ease the transition between Jorge Posada and the prospect, Jesus Montero. Martin currently has a broken hip mending and a surgery scheduled for today to repair a torn meniscus. If these injuries heal as they should, Martin will take over duties as starting catcher. Um…but what if they don’t??? Posada has already been notified that he’d primarily serve as the team’s designated hitter, which definitely makes sense given the issues with his knees and losing his bat would be a detriment to the lineup. What is interesting about this scenario is what happened to Francisco Cervelli? We’d hate to see someone with his kind of heart get swept under the rug without any sort opportunity to fight. Everyone is still waiting for Andy Pettitte to make his decision about retirement. With the signing of Lee, the options for starting pitching are minimal and his decision is more important than ever now. If they’re only left with CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett as our big guns, Serena might jump in front of a bus.
Finally, a source told ESPN that Kerry Wood will be returning to the team that initially signed him in 1995, pending a physical with Cubs’ team doctors. The base salary is supposedly for $1.5 million for 1 year, but since the deal isn’t exactly complete, the details have yet to be worked out. Rumor has it that Wood rejected an offer from the White Sox that was worth twice as much as what the Cubs offered. The Yankees also apparently made Wood an offer (the specifics of it are unknown to us) that he declined and Serena feels a bit sad about this. He performed well for the Yankees out of the bullpen, especially when they needed him most and seemed like the rest of the bullpen was falling apart. However, if the rumor about the White Sox offer is true, it seems clear that Wood simply wanted to return “home” and we can respect that.
A few of you may recall Lisa’s obsession with the mini doughnuts she’d eaten at Pier 39 in San Francisco. She thought she’d never be reunited with them again, but our darling fan, Mamacita was amazingly awesome enough to package up some Pier 39 mini doughnuts and overnight them to Lisa’s house. Apparently, the stand that sells these tiny treasures is called Trish’s Mini Doughnuts, so if any of you are in the Pier 39 area, be sure to check it out. Her thoughtful gesture makes Mamacita TBB Super Hero of the Week!
With the holidays upon us, we leave you with our rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. “Cliff Lee the ‘historic’ pitcher has a very uptight wife and if you ever saw her, you wouldn’t even know who she is. All of the other Phillies pitchers shouted out with glee for with the addition of Lee, they will go down in baseball history…at least so they think!”