Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Mike Gill Show: The day before the bomb drops edition…

I received the docket for today’s segment on ESPN 1450’s Mike Gill Show. Today’s topics include :

  • The Mitchell Report: What do you expect, 60-80 names? Do you expect major names or more or less second and third tier players?
  • Does baseball really want this report out?
  • Gagne to the Brewers ... smart move or bad move?
  • Rowand put his house up for sale--does that really mean he is moving?
  • When will the FA signings pick up?

The Mitchell Report: What do you expect, 60-80 names? Do you expect major names or more or less second and third tier players?

I have heard numbers ranging from 60 to over 100 could be mentioned. If you look at the names already linked to steroids in one form or another, it’s a pretty good cross-section of the sport. I think the report will be likewise. According to the Steroid Era site the number is already at 64 players. Obviously the Mitchell Report will have others we have not heard about as of yet. While some on the site are still somewhat speculative, I think that there will be things in the report confirming those suspicions.

There have been a few leaks regarding the investigation itself. Some state that it’s too harsh, others claim it will be vague, and still others question the methodology used by George Mitchell. If some reports are to be believed, it appears than Mitchell did little more than request various interviewees to make their best guess on who they thought may be juicing. We’re going to have to wait and see how credible will be the report. Will it be weighty and well-sourced or will it be little more than the Blue-Ribbon economic report of a few years ago that was little more than ownership propaganda and public relations than anything truly substantive.

Does baseball really want this report out?

I think most team owners do since it could throw a wrench into the remainder of the offseason marketplace and depress salaries somewhat. In addition, the marketplace has spoken and it appears that steroid usage hasn’t hurt baseball’s revenues (quite the opposite in fact) so there will be little or no economic fallout from the report. If it slows the market down it could even be a plus for the bottom line.

I think G.M.s are the most nervous since they’re expected to have their thumb on the pulse of the roster. They’re the ones entrusted to put the team together and could potentially look bad if they gave a large contract to a juicer over the last 2-3 seasons. We see guys like Torii Hunter, Carlos Lee, Barry Zito, Vernon Wells etc. receive long-term deals in excess of $16 million per year; if their names crop up in the report, then the G.M.s signing them may be dealing with very large albatross contracts.

Eric Gagne to the Brewers--is this a good or bad move?

It’s a good move. The Brewers lost their closer Francisco Cordero to the Reds and Scott Linebrink to the White Sox so they needed to plug those holes. They’ve picked up Salomon Torres who may or may not retire as well as the always-reliable David Riske. There’s little risk to the Brewers since it’s a one-year deal at the going rate. I’m fairly certain Gagne’s pratfall in Boston was an aberration. He wasn’t as good as he performed in Texas nor as bad as he pitched in Boston--he’s somewhere in between. The NL Central is the perfect place for Gagne to build up his value for free agency after 2008.

The question is this: How will Ned Yost manage his new bullpen in 2008? Did he learn anything from his missteps of last season? I co-authored (ghost wrote may be more accurate) a post-mortem of the Brewers 2007 collapse with a fellow who prefers to be called ‘Harvey’s Wallbangers’ that analyzed Yost’s bullpen management (or lack of same).

Aaron Rowand put his house up for sale--does that really mean he is moving?

I wouldn’t think so; if Rowand was set on leaving Philadelphia, he would have placed his house on the market long before now. It doesn’t mean he’s not moving either--the question is where his new house is located. If it’s a ways away from ‘The City of Brotherly Love’ then there’s some cause for concern. It could be a simple matter of realizing he’s about to get a very healthy raise from $4,350,000 to somewhere between $14-18 million per year. Now he’s getting ready to find accommodations that reflect his (soon-to-be) new income bracket.

Of course, I also said Andruw Jones wouldn’t sign until February so be mindful of the source. I’m not called “Nostradumbass” for nothing you know.

Edit: Geez, can I miss them or what? Aaron Rowand signs a five-year deal with the San Francisco Giants. No dollar amounts are known at this time. I'm guessing they paid a premium since they are still a ways from contention.

Then again ... I have been wrong before. Nostradumbass indeed.

When will the free agent signings pick up?

Very soon, midnight (Eastern Time) tonight is the deadline for non-tendering unsigned players. That will put a lot of players into the marketplace enabling clubs know what is available for upgrading the roster. To use one example: If the Blue Jays don’t offer Reed Johnson a contract he would be a tempting (and cheaper) alternative than signing Rowand for six years at (a minimum of) $14 million per year. If healthy, Johnson would fare very well in the NL. He’s a solid defensive outfielder with good on base skills, a touch of power and a smart base runner. Johnson could hit 20 HR with an OBP north of .360 in Philadelphia.

Best Regards



Jonathan said...

Great offseason post, covers all the bases that need to be without getting mired in rampant and foundless hot stove speculation.

I say that because I'm sorry I always come here and freak out instead of giving credit where it's due. Oh well...

GAGNE?!?! For 10 mil!!! I agree that he's somewhere in between his two performances last year, but that's a pretty average reliever What is he getting a 4 million dollar raise for? In the Mitchell report even the Sox's scouts were super leery about the effect his lack of roiding would have on him. I guess it's one year and I'm just turning into an old man who sits on the porch and complains about how expensive everything is these days, but 10 mil!! That's what we're paying Halladay next season! (most out of context supporting argument ever).

John Brattain said...

I say that because I'm sorry I always come here and freak out instead of giving credit where it's due.

Hey, I love you just the way you are (in a strict, fellow Jays fan non-sexual kind of way).

The Jays have got the "X-factor!!" He's got some OBP skills which is a nice change of pace but I'l have to go into more detail later (make sure you've got something up on Mockingbord that I can use for plagari... errr research).

If he can post an OBP of .350 I'll be quite happy having that on top of the lineup. It should help minimize any temptations to bunt ;-).

I'm slogging through the Mitchell Report right now and a bunch of analysis so I can do something for MSN.

Gonna be a busy weekend.

Best Regards


P.S. Any plans to submit another article to THT? Your first one was very well received.

Jonathan said...

My partner is crime got to the Eck signing first and pretty much summed up my thoughts. Not particularly sold on all his gritty intangibles, but we really needed a leadoff guy and that was a really cheap deal. Kinda unfortunate that we have two of the best utility men in the league now, but that's what they are and I don't blame J.P. for thinking that he was going to go for 3/21 or so.

Hahaha...I was going to mention that. Mac lead the league in bunts/appearance last year so I don't know where you're going to get your fix. ;)

Wait, I don't even have to look it up. Eck has to be a big bunter. Or at least a lot of his contact accomplishes pretty much the same thing.

It's a pretty good read, eh? I like all the cheques and notes that break it up. Ok maybe I'm just a baseball loser but hearing about even the most banal behind the scenes stuff is entertaining. Let me know when your article is up.

I have sort of a follow up article to the umpire thing I'm working on but it's taking me way too long to crunch things. Do you think I could sell something a little different? Opinion and thoughts flow so much easier than research...

P.S. I hear there's this cool new thing called email now!!!

John Brattain said...

Are you sure about that? I've crammed several envelopes into the CD drive and you haven't answered any of the messages!

Does it go into one of the bus ports?

I've attached sufficient postage so that can't be the problem.

It must be time for bed, my nagging VCR says it's midnight ... repeatedly.

Best Regards