To me the most surprising aspect of the big three-team Curtis Granderson trade is that the Diamondbacks were willing to give up on Max Scherzer, who just moments before the deal was talked up by Arizona manager A.J. Hinch as a future ace and has always looked to me like a potentially dominant starter.
Scherzer is 25 years old with a mid-90s fastball, makes the minimum salary, is under team control through 2015, and has a 3.86 ERA with 240 strikeouts in 226 career innings. So why would the Diamondbacks essentially swap him for Edwin Jackson, who’s a year older, about 20 times more expensive, eligible for free agency after 2011, and coming off a career-year that included a 3.62 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 214 innings?
ESPN.com’s Buster Olney has a possible explanation:
If the Diamondbacks viewed Max Scherzer as a can’t-miss, front-line type of pitcher, there is no chance they would have traded him early in his major league service time. Rather, there is some sentiment inside (and outside) the organization that with his unusual head-snapping mechanics, Scherzer is going to be at high risk for injury, and that eventually, he would probably have to be moved to short relief.
Along those lines, Steve Henson of Yahoo! Sports writes that the Diamondbacks dealt Scherzer “because they thought he lacked durability” before amusingly noting that “the Dodgers said same thing about Pedro Martinez in 1993.” I’m not ready to declare Scherzer the next Pedro, but it is odd that Arizona would make him the 11th pick in the 2006 draft, watch him blitz through the minors and rack up 240 strikeouts through 226 innings in the majors … and then deal him because he might break down or end up in the bullpen.
My prediction: Scherzer will win at least twice as many games for Detroit as Jackson will for Arizona, and he’ll do so while being significantly cheaper.
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.