He is 32 years old and the classic player who might have a short shelf life, which is why two years, $16 million US is not a bad deal -- he won't be there long enough for him to block anyone in Tampa Bay's organization. Some of his biggest comparables saw their careers slide off a cliff when they reached that age. Regardless, the Rays got him primarily for those .279/.406/.545 slash stats vs. left-handed pitching. Left-handers proved their undoing in the World Series when they have to face the Cy Young and Cy Old, the Phillies' Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer.
There is a whiff of a team overreacting to what happened to it in the post-season Tampa struggled to hit left-handers all season. This upgrades the DH spot for the Rays significantly.
MLB Network: Are we missing much?
In all honesty, at this point in the calendar you're grateful for any baseball chatter in Canada. Even the callers to MLB Home Plate on XM Radio who ask why Steve Garvey isn't in the Hall of Fame are tolerable.
ShysterBall has been on top of the MLB Network's debut. They have Hazel Mae, but their early offerings have veered have been heavy on the syrupy and the faux-intellectual dilettante nuisances -- yes, they employ Bob Costas. Slate had an awesome article in October that held out hope someone would at least try to bring informed baseball commentary to TV:
"... my show would take a cue from sites like Baseball Prospectus and Hardball Times and put crucial decisions in context. Consider BP's observation that the Angels-Red Sox series turned on three characteristically bold base-running decisions by the Angels that all turned out badly, which they used to illustrate the point that Mike Scioscia's managerial style has not kept up with the particular skills of his roster. Or their breakdown of the Phillies-Dodgers NLCS, which observed that the Phils' decision to bat Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in succession will allow Joe Torre to use his left-handed specialist, Joe Beimel, against both of them in key spots. It isn't as if this kind of analysis can't be put together on short notice — you just need analysts who aren't John Kruk."It is doable. It is hard to believe that there aren't younger journalists who can both be telegenic and offer analysis -- they're used to being on camera and they know their way around Baseball-Reference.com. Sticking people with more of the jockocracy is repeating the NFL Network's folly.
This, that and the other
- Not to encourage a culture of attack, but please read The Tao's takedown of regular Prime Time Sports panelist James Deacon. No disrespect, but a man who is regularly on a nationally syndicated sports-talk radio program should know that major-league teams never trade a top-end starting pitcher, not to mention that you can't trade a draft choice in baseball.
- Bill James projecting Toronto native Joey Votto to have a 30-homer, 102-RBI season for the Cincinnati Reds.
- The Blue Jays' Travis Snider is pegged to put up 19 homers, 83 RBI with an .804 OPS this season. Those are serious numbers for a 21-year-old player.
- This is just idle speculation, but if the San Diego Padres are sold for $400 million US, does it give Rogers Communications a ballpark figure for what it might get for the Blue Jays?