Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bill Madden: Robinson Cano Deal One of Worst in History; Curtis Granderson Deal Very Good; He Wanted Colon for Two Years, but Will He be Proven Right?

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

Bill Madden was one of the few sportswriters who called for Omar Minaya’s head back when the Mets’ late affirmative action GM was wrecking the franchise, while pc sportswriters either looked the other way, or provided cover for Minaya.

With that said, his pre-winter meetings judgments are a mixed bag. He’s certainly right about the contract the Mariners gave Cano, which will preclude that franchise from contending for years, since it won’t have the necessary money for pitching or anything else, it is saddled with a player whose skills will soon begin declining, and who already is showing an attitude problem. He is more interested in being a “rapper” than a ballplayer.

When Cano signed the big deal, he immediately denounced the Yankees, saying they didn’t show him any “respect.” That’s punk talk. For Cano, apparently, “respect” means a franchise destroying itself for his vanity and greed. I haven’t followed this guy much in recent years, but I suspect that Hispandering sportscasters and writers have been airbrushing his image for years, and that he will wear out his welcome very quickly in Seattle.

But let’s say Cano was a wonderful guy. The contract would still be crazy. I don’t like ten-year contracts for anybody. Players get hurt, and even healthy, their skills deteriorate, especially now that they no longer can get “lightning in a bottle.”

Madden praised the Mets’ $60M/4 years signing of Curtis Granderson, and I concur. Granderson is just the sort of big-time slugger the Mets needed, and is a quality outfielder, as well. The trick for him is to keep his hands in at bat, so he doesn’t suffer anymore hand/wrist injuries, and pull the ball at Corporate Stadium, so that he doesn’t end up watching a lot of long fly balls die in the alleys there. Even if Granderson were to bomb or get hurt, we could still look back and say that the contract was reasonable.

Madden also called for the Mets to sign convicted juicer Bartolo Colon for two years. A week later, they did just that, for $20 million. Let’s hope that Madden is right about Colon, but I fear he is not. The young, morbidly obese Colon was a dominant pitcher who routinely threw in the mid-to-high 90s. but his arm fell off at the age of 33, right after he won the AL Cy Young Award. He then went from averaging 226 innings per season for five years, to throwing a total of 257 innings over the course of five years, and including the 2010 season, which he missed in its entirety.

He then was able to come back and throw three complete seasons, the second of which was o.k., and the last of which was superb (18-6, 2.65). But his current incarnation is as a junkballer, he only averaged 169 innings for each of the past three seasons, and he’s Dominican. The last matter means that although Colon is officially turning 41 in May, his real age is anyone’s guess.

Twenty mil for a morbidly obese, middle-aged starter, whose right arm is held together with scotch tape and chicken wire?

How many times have we seen a player somehow put together a superlative walk year, only to fall apart, as soon as he signs a fat, new contract? Colon is due to have his arm fall off for the last time.

As winter meetings open, Mets can complete fruitful offseason by signing Bartolo


Curtis Granderson was a good signing, though he won’t be nearly the home run threat in Citi Field. He’s a significant upgrade in the outfield, but for them to truly satisfy their fan base with a successful winter, they need to sign Colon, even if it means giving him two years.


Saturday, December 7, 2013, 4:46 P.M.
Updated: Saturday, December 7, 2013, 9:04 P.M.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

In 2013, Bartolo Colon wins 18 games for the A’s while making a base salary of just over $3 million.

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ORLANDO — Now that Jay Z has succeeded in making Robinson Cano a $240 million coffee pitchman in Seattle, while the Yankees have already spent $283 million on Brian McCann , Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran to bolster their deteriorated lineup, and the Mets have unloosened their wallets to import Curtis Granderson across the Triborough Bridge for a paltry $60 million, let the winter meetings begin!

My goodness, is there anything left to do?


Many years ago, MLB had a catchy little marketing slogan — “Baseball Fever — Catch it!” — which this offseason has apparently been revised to “Spending Fever — Catch it!”

Or in the case of Billy Beane in Oakland, who made three trades and one significant free agent signing ($22 million for Scott Kazmir) in two days last week, “Trading Fever – Catch it!” But despite all this flurry of activity, the Yankees and Mets, in particular, figure to have some adventures in Fantasyland over these next few days in the Magic Kingdom. Or as one GM said in the aftermath of Cano’s defection and a few hours before the Yankees’ signing of Beltran for three years/$45 million Friday night: “Beware the Yankees with $170 million in their pockets to burn.”


Indeed, even with McCann, Ellsbury and Beltran in tow, the Yankees still have holes at second base and possibly third, at least one upper level starting rotation slot and 1-2 more at the back end of their bullpen. The signings of Ellsbury and Beltran have made for a crowded Yankee outfield — not to mention the DH spot when Derek Jeter, for instance, needs to take a blow from shortstop and finds Alfonso Soriano, McCann, Beltran among others in line in front of him that day. Conceivably, the Yankees may now have to use Brett Gardner as a trade chip for a pitcher or a second baseman. In regard to the latter, they’ve talked to the Reds (who need a leadoff man with the free agent defection of Shin-Soo Choo) about Brandon Phillips. But while the Reds also are looking for a catcher (one commodity of which the Yankees have a surplus), they are said to be reluctant to trade for players such as Gardner, a year away from free agency. It’s uncertain if the Yankees will re-engage the Reds at the meetings, especially when they can fill second base much easier by just doing what they do best: spending more money, $10-15 million on Omar Infante, who fits their 2013 winter profile perfectly. A 31-year-old former All-Star who is still a quality player but who will not likely ever attain the same performance as his peak years.

Curtis Granderson agrees to four-year, $60 million deal with Mets.

Daily News Photo Illustration

Curtis Granderson agrees to four-year, $60 million deal with Mets.

As for the Mets, Granderson was a good signing, though he won’t be nearly the home run threat in Citi Field. He’s a significant upgrade in the outfield, but for them to truly satisfy their fan base with a successful winter, they need to sign Bartolo Colon, even if it means giving him two years. By signing Colon, the Mets accomplish two things: They get a top-of-the-rotation “bridge” to Matt Harvey’s return in 2015 and they establish themselves as legitimate wild-card contenders next season.


The 40-year-old Colon won 18 games for the A’s last season while making a base salary of just over $3 million and would figure to do just as well in the DH-less NL and pitcher-friendly Citi Field.

“I’ll say this for Bartolo, the way he pounds that strike zone with his fastball, he’s absolutely great for young pitchers,” said Beane, who wanted to retain Colon but couldn’t afford to wait for his market to form. “He was absolutely great in the clubhouse, and our kids all watched and emulated him.”


According to Beane, who, in addition to signing Kazmir to replace Colon in the rotation, shored up his bullpen amid the looming defection of free agent closer Grant Balfour by trading second baseman Jemile Weeks, his 2008 No. 1 draft choice, to the Orioles for Jim Johnson, the major league saves leader the past two seasons, and then dealing No. 4 outfielder Seth Smith to the Padres for setup man Luke Gregerson.

All the things Beane wanted to accomplish this winter fell into place. His one other deal — which raised some eyebrows — was acquiring speedy reserve outfielder Craig Gentry from the Rangers for his best outfield hitting prospect, 2010 No. 1 draft pick Michael Choice. Beane is no stranger to trading top outfield prospects (see: Carlos Gonzalez to the Rockies in 2008 and Andre Ethier to the Dodgers in 2005), and there are scouts who feel the dealing of Choice, who hit 54 homers in 341 games over the past three minor league seasons, could come back to haunt Beane as much as those two did.

'I’ll say this for Bartolo, the way he pounds that strike zone with his fastball, he’s absolutely great for young pitchers,' says Athletics GM Billy Beane.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

'I’ll say this for Bartolo, the way he pounds that strike zone with his fastball, he’s absolutely great for young pitchers,' says Athletics GM Billy Beane.


But as Beane explained it: “We felt our biggest need was to get some center field insurance for Coco Crisp. We could not risk losing Coco for any extended time and have no capable replacement. Gentry (who hit .280 and was 24-for-27 in stolen base attempts for Texas last season) fits that bill. I realize it’s all on paper, but even though we lost one of the best closers in the league last year, I feel our bullpen is even better now.”

Being able to replace Balfour with a closer in Johnson was also an early opportunity Beane felt he couldn’t pass up. “Same thing with Kazmir,” he said. “I’d have liked to be able to re-sign Colon, but in Kazmir I had a bird in hand. It was nice to get all my business done before the meetings. This will allow me to get my sleep at the meetings and do some socializing. It also reflects my distaste for the winter meetings. I’ve never liked that environment to make deals.”

Apparently, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski is of the same mind, at least this year, after filling two big needs last week — closer and lefty setup reliever — with his signing of Joe Nathan and his trade of No. 4 starter Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for hard-throwing lefty reliever Ian Krol, promising starting pitching prospect Robbie Ray and utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi.

The Tigers were thought to be potential suitors for Choo to fill a longstanding outfield need, but Dombrowski has indicated he’s done shopping.

Meanwhile, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, who had been under siege for his inability to acquire any quality bats, heads to Disney World accompanied by Cano and humming Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind.” But make no mistake, this is a contract that is destined to go down as one of the worst in baseball history, with everyone involved wondering: What were they thinking?

Cano, who was obviously always about the money, sure got it. But both he and the Mariners are soon going to find out $240 million can’t buy a World Series. And, as anyone in baseball can tell him, Boras could have just as easily put Cano in Seattle, just like when Boras took Alex Rodriguez out of Seattle and into Texas in 2000 when the perennial losing Rangers outbid everyone by $100 million.

Two years later, A-Rod was begging to get traded; you can be sure Cano will be doing the same. That is, unless he’s too caught up in traveling around the country on tour with Jay Z as he was these past seven weeks. “It makes you wonder,” said one baseball official, “whether he’d rather be a rap singer than a ballplayer. That’s a scary thought for the Mariners.”

1 comment:

countenance said...

As if the Mets have hope.

We know they don't really, for one big reason...They play in the National League.