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!

Bud Selig to teach a class at Arizona State law school

Bud Selig
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Before Bud Selig ultimately retired, he had a couple of false start retirement announcements only to have the owners beg him to sign on for one more term. In one of those false starts he talked about how the University of Wisconsin had set up an office for him in the history department and that he’d be doing some research and teaching a class now and again. And he has, in fact, taught some one-off seminars at Wisconsin’s law school and the like.

Now something a little more permanent along those lines is in the works for The Greatest Commissioner in Baseball History. The Arizona Republic reports that Selig will join the Sports Law and Business program at Arizona State University’s law school where he will teach and advise as well as start up a speakers series in which he will bring in high-powered guests. No word on how many speakers will talk about big, important historical sports law cases like, say collusion in baseball, which was orchestrated by an ownership class in the mid-to-late 80s, of which Bud Selig was far and away the most influential member. That could get sort of awkward, I suppose.

Either way, it’s a good way to keep busy. I mean, that’s what it has to be as he’s not hurting for cash, what with the obscene $6 million severance package the owners gave him to, I dunno, not give interviews about bad stuff that happened back in the day like Fay Vincent does all the time. Stuff like collusion. Maybe he gets the $6 million for some other purpose. Who can say, really? It’s never made any sort of sense otherwise.

Anyway, good luck in Tempe, Bud. Maybe I’ll stop by your office at ASU when I’m there next month — I always stay in Tempe — and we can chew the fat or climb that butte with the big A on it or something. First round at Four Peaks afterward is on me.

White Sox sign first baseman Travis Ishikawa

Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Travis Ishikawa hits an RBI-single off Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Raisel Iglesias to drive home Neil Walker in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Reds won 4-3. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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First baseman Travis Ishikawa has agreed to a minor-league contract with the White Sox that includes an invitation to spring training.

Ishikawa was previously reported to have a minor-league deal with the Mariners last month, but the signing was never finalized. Now he joins the White Sox, who have Jose Abreu and Adam LaRoche ahead of him on the first base/designated hitter depth chart.

Ishikawa had some big moments for the Giants in the 2014 playoffs, but he’s a 32-year-old journeyman with a lifetime .255 batting average and .712 OPS in 488 games as a big leaguer.

It’s possible the White Sox could keep him around as a bench bat and backup first baseman/left fielder, but Ishikawa seems more likely to begin the season at Triple-A.

Mariners sign reliever Joel Peralta

Joel Peralta
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Right-hander Joel Peralta has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training.

Peralta spent last season with the Dodgers and was limited to 29 innings by neck and back problems, posting a 4.34 ERA and 24/8 K/BB ratio. Los Angeles declined his $2.5 million option, making him a free agent.

He was one of the most underrated relievers in baseball from 2010-2014, logging a total of 318 innings with a 3.34 ERA and 342 strikeouts, but at age 40 he’s shown signs of decline. Still, for a minor-league deal and no real commitment Peralta has a chance to be a nice pickup for Seattle’s bullpen.

White Sox sign Mat Latos

Mat Latos
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Jerry Crasnick reports that the Chicago White Sox have signed Mat Latos.

Latos was pretty spiffy between 2010-2014, posting sub-3.50 ERAs each year.  Then the injuries came and he fell apart. He pitched for three teams in 2015 — the Dodgers, Angels, and Marlins — with a combined 4.95 ERA in 113 innings. And he didn’t make friends on those clubs either, with reports of clubhouse strife left in his wake.

In Chicago he gets a fresh start. It doesn’t come in a park that will do him any favors — Latos and U.S. Cellular Field don’t seem like a great match — but at this point beggars can’t be choosers.