Give the Braves a chance, OK?

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Like I said yesterday, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that the Braves did a good job in the Vazquez trade. There are many potential sliver linings to what some are unfairly calling the blackest of clouds, but Atlanta clearly didn’t get anything approaching equal value for a pitcher of Vazquez’s caliber. Melky Cabrera is clearly not going to make the difference in Atlanta. The Yankees won this trade, no doubt.

But while it’s one thing to call the Braves the loser of yesterday’s trade, it’s another thing altogether to use that trade as a blanket indictment of the Braves, their ownership and their desire to win baseball games.  That’s what Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus did in his column yesterday (sorry; most of it is registration-only), and he said so in no uncertain terms:

The Braves made themselves worse entirely so that Liberty Media
wouldn’t possibly have to use the red font in its spreadsheets. Vazquez makes
$11.5 million in 2010, Cabrera will make about $4 million, maybe a little less
(I’m guessing here, because of Cabrera’s arbitration eligibility). That’s $7.5
million in Liberty’s pockets, on top of the $7.5 million they saved on Soriano,
for $15 million saved in two trades that make the team worse by maybe four
games, maybe more, in 2010. Not that four wins is pretty much the difference in
making the playoffs and not in the NL just about every season, and not that
Liberty Media cares. They care that the Braves have positive cashflow, and
everything else is irrelevant.

I’ve been reading Joe Sheehan for years, and I gotta tell ya, I was pretty sure before yesterday that he knew that the rosters didn’t freeze and the season didn’t start on December 23rd. I was pretty sure he knew that when a team frees up salary in a trade, they have more than eight hours to spend it on other players before they can be accused of pocketing the money and pissing on the hopes of the fans. I was pretty sure that he knew that it was prudent for a team that has a surplus in one area to trade some of it away in order to get players (or money to acquire players) that addressed a deficit in another area.

Which, by the way, is what the Braves have shown every intention of doing. As Braves GM Frank Wren said yesterday, the team is going to use the $8 million or so that they have freed up as a result of dealing Vazquez to pursue a bat. I don’t know whose bat. And heck, maybe Wren will make a bad choice in the bat he gets. But the fact is that they had six starters and no first baseman or left fielder when we all woke up yesterday. If they
break camp with five starters and a first basemen and/or a left
fielder, they will have made the team better, even if the team they have is sub-optimal.

Look, I am just as frustrated at Liberty Media’s ownership of the Braves as the next guy. And I think Sheehan makes many excellent, general points about the drawbacks of corporate ownership in baseball in the course of his article.  But to say, mere hours after the Vazquez trade that the deal stands as a shining example of corporate neglect of a baseball team is outrageously premature.

Let’s see where the team
is in April. If the Braves have done nothing to improve their offense by then, great, I’ll buy what Sheehan is selling. Until then, give them a chance, OK?

Pete Rose dismisses his defamation lawsuit against John Dowd

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Last year Pete Rose field a defamation lawsuit against attorney John Dowd after Dowd gave a radio interview in which he said that Rose had sexual relations with underage girls that amounted to “statutory rape, every time.” Today Rose dismissed the suit.

In a statement issued by Rose’s lawyer and Dowd’s lawyer, the parties say they agreed “based on mutual consideration, to the dismissal with prejudice of Mr. Rose’s lawsuit against Mr. Dowd.” They say they can’t comment further.

Dowd, of course, is the man who conducted the investigation into Rose’s gambling which resulted in the Hit King being placed on baseball’s permanently ineligible list back in 1989. The two have sparred through the media sporadically over the years, with Rose disputing Dowd’s findings despite agreeing to his ban back in 1989. Rose has changed his story about his gambling many times, usually when he had an opportunity to either make money off of it, like when he wrote his autobiography, or when he sought, unsuccessfully, to be reinstated to baseball. Dowd has stood by his report ever since it was released.

In the wake of Dowd’s radio comments in 2015, a woman came forward to say that she and Rose had a sexual relationship when she was under the age of 16, seemingly confirming Dowd’s assertion and forming the basis for a strong defense of Rose’s claims (truth is a total defense to a defamation claim). They seem now, however, to have buried the hatchet. Or at least buried the litigation.

That leaves Dowd more free time to defend his latest client, President Trump. And Rose more time to do whatever it is Pete Rose does with his time.