Quick hits: Harang done for the year

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Here’s a few quick hits to get you started for Sunday’s action:



– According to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse,
Aaron Harang will miss the rest of the season after undergoing an
emergency appendectomy. He finishes yet another disappointing
campaign at 6-14 with a 4.21 ERA. His 14 losses led the majors, while
only four other pitches gave up more homers (24 in 162 1/3 innings).
However, his 2.86 ERA over his last four starts give at least some hope
that he’ll be worth the $12.5 million owed to him next season.
Scott Rolen was activated from the disabled list to take his spot on the roster.



– On the heels of Aaron Cook going down with a strained right shoulder, the Rockies are on the verge of adding some reinforcements
in veterans Russ Ortiz and Jason Giambi. Ortiz was 3-6 with a 5.57 ERA
in 23 games (13 starts) with the Astros before being released on July
30. He was granted his release by the Yankees last week after going 2-1
with Triple-A Columbus. As for Giambi, he’ll function as a left-handed
bat off the bench. The 38-year-old slugger batted just .193/.332/.364
with 11 homers and 40 RBI before being released by the Athletics on
August 7. Both are expected to join the team when rosters expand in
September and would be eligible for post-season play.




– Oh, the ego. Jonathan Papelbon and Manny Delcarmen have expressed some concern
at the prospect of the Red Sox acquiring Billy Wagner. Papelbon went as
far to ask, “What has he done? Has he pitched this year?” while
comparing the potential move to Eric Gagne in 2007. The Red Sox
have until 1pm ET on Tuesday to complete a deal for the 38-year-old
southpaw.

Derek Jeter calls Bryant Gumbel “mentally weak”

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Derek Jeter has not covered himself in glory since taking over the Miami Marlins. His reign atop the team’s baseball operations department has been characterized by the slashing of payroll in order to help his new ownership group make more money amid some pretty crushing debt service by virtue of what was, in effect, the leveraged buyout of the club. A club which is now 5-16 and seems destined for five months more and change of some pretty miserable baseball.

Jeter has nonetheless cast the moves the Marlins have made as good for fans in the long run. And, yes, I suppose it’s likely that things will be better in the long run, if for no other reason than they cannot be much worse. Still, such reasoning, while often accepted when a lesser light like, say, White Sox GM Rick Hahn employs it, isn’t accepted as easily when a guy who has been defined by his hand full of championship rings offers it. How can Derek Jeter, of all people, accept losing?

That’s the question HBO’s Bryant Gumbel asked of Jeter in an interview that aired over the weekend (see the video at the end of the post). How can he accept — and why should fans accept — a subpar baseball product which is not intended to win? Jeter’s response? To claim that the 2018 Marlins are totally expected to win and that Gumbel himself is “mentally weak” for not understanding it:

JETER: “We’re trying to win ball games every day.”

GUMBEL: “If you trade your best players in exchange for prospects it’s unlikely you’re going to win more games in the immediate future–”

JETER: “When you take the field, you have an opportunity to win each and every day. Each and every day. You never tell your team that they’re expected to lose. Never.”

GUMBEL: “Not in so–”

JETER: “Now, you can think — now– now, I can’t tell you how you think. Like, I see your mind. I see that’s how you think. I don’t think like that. That’s your mind working like that.”

. . .

DEREK JETER: “You don’t. We have two different mi– I can’t wait to get you on the golf course, man. We got– I mean, I can’t wait for this one.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I mean–”

DEREK JETER: “You’re mentally weak.”

I sort of get what Jeter was trying to do here. He was trying to take this out the realm of second guessing among people who know some stuff about sports and subtly make it an appeal to authority, implying that he was an athlete and that only he, unlike Gumbel, can understand that mindset and competitiveness of the athlete. That’s what the “get you on the golf course” jazz was about. Probably worth noting at this point that that tack has never worked for Michael Jordan as a basketball executive, even if his singular competitiveness made him the legend he was on the court. An executive makes decisions which can and should be second-guessed, and it seems Jeter cannot handle that.

That being said, Gumbel did sort of open the door for Jeter to do that. Suggesting that baseball players on the 2018 Marlins don’t expect to win is not the best angle for him here because, I am certain, if you ask those players, they would say much the same thing Jeter said. That’s what makes them athletes.

No, what Gumbel should have asked Jeter was “of COURSE you tell your players to win and of COURSE they try their hardest and think they can win every night. My question to you is this: did YOU try YOUR hardest to get the BEST players? And if not, why not?”

Question him like you’d question Rick Hahn. Not like you’d question Future Hall of Fame Shortstop, Derek Jeter.