Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday Notes

- Arbitration numbers have been exchanged, and my favorite is that of Joe Blanton. Blanton filed at $10.25 million for 2010, while the Phillies filed at $7.5 million. Excuse me? Only four pitchers ever have filed arbitration numbers at $10 million or higher. Tim Lincecum, Felix Hernandez, Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Zambrano. And now Blanton. Which doesn't belong in that group of five? If I were the Phillies, I wouldn't settle, I'd take it right to arbitration, and my entire argument would consist of saying "Seriously?" and then sitting down.

- Today's Philadelphia Daily News also reports that the Phillies will try out Eric Gagne at some point today. Low risk. If he shows anything, why not?

- Turns out Benjie Molina won't join the Mets, opting instead to return to the Giants. Does Jason Bay catch?

- Joel Piniero remains eminently available and coveted. I don't know why either.

- Ok, I'll lay off Joel now. Enough is enough. How do I really feel? Decent pitcher, ok stuff, needs a good defense behind him and he can be a decent three or a good fourth starter on an NL team. Keeps you in the game, doesn't dominate, but doesn't go out in the second inning either.

- Sounds kinda like Joe Blanton. He of the $10.25 million arbitration request, you may have heard.

- Joe Posnanski's column does an outstanding job of explaining factors beyond steroids that have influenced baseball over the last 15 years or so- and also places the era in a bit of historical context.

- Is it just me, or has the steroid era become far too oversimplified? Much like the political landscape right now (Republicans calling every Democratic program socialist, Democrats blaming every problem in the country on George W. Bush), there is an easy, thoughtless, default answer to any challenge regarding the recent homer-happy era. Steroids. Just like in politics (where there's a big difference between government-assisted and government-run, and George W. hasn't been in office for over a year), the real answers are far more complex and nuanced, and involve varying degrees of incluence from numerous sources. Players such as Carlton Fisk and Jack Clark just sound like angry old-timers, when the reality is that many players of that (and every generation) also would have used steroids had they been involved in that era. Just stop. It's much more refreshing to hear an opinion like Mike Schmidt's, who acknowledges that if he played in that era he would've been tempted to use, and may very well have done so.

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