Photo courtesy of Hard Knox Sports
Back in 2008, while I was deep in the midst of working on The ‘Burgh Blues, I started a somewhat unconventional campaign on my blog to “Bring Pedro (Martinez) To The ‘Burgh.” Martinez was coming off a 12-start season (including three postseason starts) with the Phillies, where he took the Roger Clemens approach and decided not to pitch in a Major League game until mid-August. As the case always is, the Bucs needed veteran starting pitching, and seeing Martinez at PNC Park would’ve been a sight.
There was something about Pedro Martinez I always liked. It wasn’t just his circle change or his ridiculous K/BB rates that intrigued me. Even when I was a Yankees fanatic, I would watch games in which Martinez started in awe. He was (and still is) a goofy character, a common trait amongst my favorite sports players.
Photo courtesy of USA Today
And it’s this guy.
Photo courtesy of nytimes.com
With Baseball’s Winter Meetings two weeks away in Dallas, Texas, it’s perfect timing to dive into the free agent pool. This is the first of a nine-part series entitled Set You Free* that will take a position-by-position look at this offseason’s free agency market. Today, Jesse Behr starts us off with designated hitters.
It was Opening Day, April 1973. Ron Blomberg sat in the visitor’s dugout at Fenway Park in what was likely utter confusion. Blomberg didn’t have a number penciled next to his name on the Yankees lineup card but rather two letters “D-H.” American League owners had voted to in introduce a “designated hitter” to every lineup for a three-year trial run. Blomberg, an underwhelming outfielder by trade, had committed 13 errors at first base for the Bronx Bombers in 1972. He had no position to call home because he wasn’t really cut out to play any position. Knowing that, Blomberg was the perfect test subject for the American League DH.
Though it certainly doesn’t hurt, you don’t have to play pro ball or go to an Ivy League school to become a GM. Here are the ‘imperfect’ roads taken by the current class of *general managers, listed in reverse chronological order:
Dan Duquette, Baltimore Orioles
Amherst College, 1980
Played baseball as a catcher at Amherst College. Started his career with the Brewers as a scouting assistant. Served as General Manager of the Montreal Expos (1991-1994) and Boston Red Sox (1994-2002). Named General Manager of the Orioles in November 2011.
There is an epidemic failure within the game to understand what is really happening, and this leads people who run Major League Baseball teams [capitol Major League Baseball?] to misjudge their players and mismanage their teams. People who run ball clubs, they think in terms of buying players. Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players, your goal should be to buy wins. And in order to buy wins, you need to buy runs.
You’re trying to replace Johnny Damon. The Boston Red Sox see Johnny Damon and they see a star who’s worth seven and a half million dollars a year. When I see Johnny Damon … I see an an imperfect understanding of where where runs come from. The guy’s got a great glove; he’s a decent leadoff hitter, he can steal bases. But is he worth the seven and a half million dollars a year that the Boston Red Sox are paying him?
Baseball thinking is medieval. They are asking all the wrong questions. … I think it’s a good thing you got Damon off of your payroll. I think it opens up all kind of interesting possibilities.
- Jonah Hill as Peter Brand, Moneyball