9:21 A.M. UPDATE: Rosenthal now reports that Podsednik is saying he has a deal with a club and that the Royals are saying they have a deal with an outfielder and that we should “put 2 and 2 together!” UPDATE: Now Jerry Crasnick has a source confirming this and that a formal announcement will come tomorrow once the physical is done.
9:00 A.M. Why everyone is talking about some college football game this morning when there’s big news like the Royals thinking about signing Scott Podsednik floating around I’ll have no idea. Priorities people.
Podsednik hit .304/.353/.412 with 30 steals and 75 runs in 132 games
after joining the White Sox on May 1. But he hit just .243/.299/.369 in
2007 and .253/.322/.333 in 2008.
His defense is generally below average (Carl Crawford can thank Podsednik for the inside the park home run he hit last July on a truly atrocious jump by Podsednik). He’s fast, but he gets caught stealing a lot. He’s a guy who can be useful if he hits .300, but he’s only done that twice in nine years and he’s going to be 34 this year.
I know I’m guilty of slamming the Royals at the drop of a hat, but I’m not doing that here. Podsednik can be marginally useful if he’s not making much money. But if the Royals give him a lot of money and expect him to be the everyday centerfielder, this would fit the profile of a lot of recent Royals signings: overpaying for a recognized name and a recent statistical bump while ignoring the guy’s overall body of work, his likely production going
forward and the fact that it could probably be replicated by any number of cheaper options.
On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”
There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.
It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:
On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.
“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”
One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.
None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”