Satire: Joe Morgan's very special advice to the Reds

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It took a few hours of digging, but HardballTalk has uncovered Joe Morgan’s first memo to GM Walt Jocketty issued under his new title as Special Adviser to Baseball Operations.
Apparently typed by the same person who used to handle his ESPN chats, it reads as follows:

Dearest Walter,
While our 2010 Reds are undoubtedly a fine team, I can’t help but remember how the 1975 Reds were 13-1 after 14 games. We have the game’s greatest manager in Dusty, so it’s time for you to go get us some players.
1. Trade Chris Dickerson to Mets for Gary Matthews Jr.
Matthews is a great defensive outfielder and he gets things done. Some guys seem to focus better when the game’s on the line. Dickerson just strikes out a lot.
2. Trade Drew Stubbs to Mariners for Ken Griffey Jr.
Griffey’s old man hit .330 with 25 homers for the 1975 Reds. The Kid’s still got it. Stats don’t tell you about heart, determination and mental attitude.
3. Trade Homer Bailey to the Rangers for Julio Borbon
No pitcher with the name Homer is ever going to be a winner. Why I remember when we went and picked up a pitcher named Woodie Fryman and we never won another World Series. Don’t downplay intangibles. Derek Jeter is the best example that you can get of a guy that helps you win championships with his intangibles. Now, Julio isn’t actually related to our old ace reliever Pedro Borbon, who had 45 saves for the 1975 Reds, but we don’t have to tell anyone that.
4. Trade for Alex Concepcion and Concepcion Rodriguez
I just asked Mark Simon and he told me there were two Concepcions playing in the minors right now. We need them both. Doesn’t matter who you have to give up, Walt. Follow my plan and we’re not going to have use for that Bruce fella anymore anyway.
You go ahead and get started on these and then we’ll see about getting some pitchers. I know you’re pretty much hopeless there after you missed out on Livan over the winter, but I have my eye on a few guys. I’m told Tommy Hanson will be starting on Sunday night, and he reminds me of a young Gary Nolan. I’ll do you a solid and talk him down a bit.
Regards,
Joe Morgan
Hall of Famer
2 World Championships
2 MVPs
5 Gold Gloves
P.S. Russ Ortiz is available. Not every day you can acquire a 20-game winner.
P.P.S. I’d just like to congratulate my daughter for winning her gymnastics competition last weekend.
P.P.P.S. None of this is real, if that wasn’t abundantly clear already.

The Yankees are paying $86 million for a one-inning reliever

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OXON HILL, MD — The Yankees signing of Aroldis Chapman late Wednesday night came as something of a surprise. And the money — $86 million — was something of a shock. Yes, we knew that Chapman was going to break the bank and likely set a record as the highest paid relief pitcher in history, but seeing it in black and white like that is still rather jarring.

In the coming days, many people who attempt to analyze and contextualize this signing will do so by pointing to the 2016 playoffs and the unconventional use of relievers by Terry Francona and the Indians and Joe Maddon of the Cubs. They’ll talk about how the paradigm of bullpen use has shifted and how relief pitchers have taken on a new importance in today’s game. Chapman’s astronomical salary, therefore, will be described as somehow more reasonable and somewhat less shocking than it first seems.

Don’t buy that jive for a second.

Yes, Andrew Miller and, to some extent, Chapman himself were used unconventionally in the 2016 playoffs, but not long into the 2017 season we will see that as an exception, not the rule. And not just because Chapman showed himself unable to hold up to that level of use in the playoffs. It will be the excaption because the Yankees have shown no inclination whatsoever to deviate from traditional bullpen usage in the past and there is no reason to expect that they will do so with Chapman in the future.

As you no doubt remember, the Yankees had Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller for the first half of 2016. Such an imposing back end of a bullpen has rarely been seen in recent history. All of them, however, were used, more or less, as one-inning-a-piece guys and no real effort was ever made to break any bullpen usage paradigms or to shorten games the way many applauded Terry Francona for doing in the playoffs.

Miller pitched 44 games for the Yankees, totaling 45.1 innings. He pitched more than a single inning on only three occasions. Chapman pitched 31 games for the Yankees, amassing 31.1 innings. He was used for more than one inning only twice. Betances worked in 73 games, totaling 73 innings. On 11 occasions he pitched more than one inning.  It was unconventional for a team to have three relievers that good, but they were not, in any way, used unconventionally. Nor is there any reason to expect Chapman to be used unconventionally in 2017, especially given that Miller is not around and Chapman has shown no real ability to be stretched for multiple innings for a sustained period.

None of which is to say that having Chapman around is a bad thing or that he is any less of a closer than his reputation suggests. It’s merely to say that the Yankees paying Chapman unprecedented money for a closer should not be justified by the alleged new importance of relief pitchers or that changing role for them we heard so much about in the playoffs. Indeed,  I suspect that that changing role applies only to pitcher use in the playoffs. And I do not suspect that this transaction alone pushes the Yankees into serious playoff contention, making that temporary unconventionality something of a moot point in New York for the foreseeable future.

It is almost certain that the Yankees are paying $86 million for the same one-inning closer Aroldis Chapman has been for his entire seven-year career. His contract may or may not prove to be a good one for New York based on how he performs, but don’t let anyone tell you now, in Decemeber 2016, that it’s better than you think because Chapman will somehow transform into a 1970s-style relief ace or something.

Report: Yankees sign Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million deal

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Update (12:02 AM EST): Rosenthal adds that Chapman’s contract includes an opt-out clause after three seasons, a full no-trade clause for the first three years of the contract, and a limited no-trade clause for the final two years.

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees have signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million contract. Mark Melancon recently set the record for a contract earned by a reliever at $62 million over four years. Chapman blew that out of the water and many are surprised he didn’t fetch more.

Chapman, 28, began the 2016 season with the Yankees but he was traded to the Cubs near the end of July in exchange for four prospects. The Cubs, of course, would go on to win the World Series in large part due to Chapman. The lefty finished the regular season with a 1.55 ERA, 36 saves, and a 90/18 K/BB ratio in 58 innings between the two teams.

Chapman was the best reliever on the free agent market and, because he was traded midseason, he didn’t have draft pick compensation attached to him.

The Yankees don’t seem to be deterred by Chapman’s domestic violence issue from last offseason, resulting in a 30-game suspension to begin the 2016 regular season.