Is K-Rod old school, or is he being abused?

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Francisco Rodriguez 3.jpgI have a lot of friends in academia. When they talk about the things they love about that world, they talk about the free exchange of opposing viewpoints. The ability to lay one’s intellectual cards upon the table and engage with those who subscribe to competing philosophical creeds in pitched, but respectful battle. What they love the most is that, though tempers may flare from time to time over the issues of the day, collegiality reigns supreme, because they are all ultimately there for the same purpose: to further the Knowledge of Man.

Which is kind of what it’s like at the New York Post:

In many ways [Francisco] Rodriguez really does have the soul of those old-time
stoppers, the ones who growled for the ball every day and pitched as
long as they needed to. Someone asked K-Rod if he’d be available to
pitch tonight, against the Braves, despite the five outs and 25 pitches. “Of course I am,” he said, in a tone that surely would’ve made
the Goose proud.

That’s the Post’s Mike Vaccaro, practically lionizing K-Rod for getting a five-out save against the Cubs last night.  But wait! Who’s that strolling into the lecture hall?  Why, it’s Professor Sherman!

Jerry Manuel is desperate . . . Manuel already has used Fernando
Nieve in 11 games, the most in the majors. That is a pace of 111 relief
appearances for the season. Manuel also ridiculously had Francisco Rodriguez warm up between 8-10
times last Saturday in the 20-inning game against the Cardinals and
then asked for a five-out save last night against the Cubs.
Pushing relievers now will cost the Mets at some time this season.

They clearly disagree on last night’s K-Rod save. I’m leaning Vaccaro’s way, because I think it’s ridiculous that anyone would pay a relief pitcher what Rodriguez makes and never ask him to pitch more than one inning. But I suppose reasonable people may differ on this point, and I tend to agree with Sherman’s points about Fernando
Nieve.

But isn’t that the beauty of academia? We can argue about these points all day long and, even if we never come to agreement, we are all enriched by the process of debate.  Kudos to the New York Post for allowing itself to serve as the marketplace of ideas!

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

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Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.

While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.

Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.

Cooperstown, here he comes.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.