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!

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.