Comment of the Day: Sleeping Junior

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Flying Ken Griffey.jpgAfter over a year of working on this blog I thought I have pretty much figured out what to expect when it comes to certain subjects. Yankees-Red Sox stuff? Oh, so predictable.  Steroids threads? I can chart out how the comments are going to go with those like I was Hari Seldon with a TI-84 calculator.  The Phillies fan insecurity-fests are a much newer phenomenon, but I’m even starting to grok those pretty well too.

But I gotta tell ya, I’ve been rather surprised at how the comments in the Ken Griffey Jr. thread are going so far today.  If you would have asked me how I thought it would have gone before I posted it, I would have figured that about 95% of the comments would be of the “he needs to hang it up and give his job to someone who cares” variety, with a smattering of “he was so good once, sad to see him go” offerings.

Imagine my surprise when I was met with a great number of comments wondering if he had a thyroid problem or some other medical condition or otherwise trying to rationalize or explain away the fact that he was snoozing during a ballgame.  What happened to all of the “he’s paid top play a kids game!” comments?  Where is all the outrage we typically see when A-Rod does something less than godly?  Man, if A-Rod had fallen asleep in the clubhouse he’d probably need to be under police protection right now.

All of which brings us to our comment of the day.  It was really the most baffling — and hilarious — comment I’ve seen in some time.  Does it attack Griffey? No. Does it defend him? Not really.  Instead, it goes after the anonymous players who told the reporter about the incident itself: 

The entire generation born after 1980 are just a bunch of rat fink
ba—–s. I work kids that age….so i know…snitches.

Look, on some level I understand that being a generally likable guy for the past 20 years has bought Junior a lot more leeway than your average ballplayer, but I figured that at some point — and that point being simply unprepared to play the game of baseball on a given day — likability wouldn’t matter and people would at least go through the motions of tut-tutting Griffey over this.  Guess not.

And with that I’m getting out of the comment thread prediction business. Because you guys are way more unpredictable than I had given you credit for.

Padres sign Trevor Cahill

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Trevor Cahill (53) during the seventh inning of Game 3 in baseball's National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.

He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.

Justin Verlander: “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process”

DETROIT, MI - JULY 20: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the eighth inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on July 20, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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The Tigers have sent some mixed signals this winter. The offseason began with widespread reports that GM Al Avila was going to break up the team. Indeed, it was reported that he was willing to field offers for any and all players, on up to Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.

As the offseason has unfolded, however, a rebuild has not materialized.

Avila traded away outfielder Cameron Maybin. He signed old friends Omar Infante and Alex Avila. He made the usual sorts of minor league signings every team makes to fill out the roster. Detroit still needs a center fielder and there continue to be rumors that outfielder J.D. Martinez and second baseman Ian Kinsler could be had for the right price, but it’s been pretty quiet at 2100 Woodward Avenue.

If that changes, however, and the Tigers do start to rebuild, there’s one key member of the team who doesn’t really want a part of it. From the Detroit Free Press:

Justin Verlander is 33 years and 330 days old.

He’s not that old.

But the Detroit Tigers ace right-hander – a 12-year major league veteran – is old enough in baseball years to know that he doesn’t really want to be part of a rebuilding process.

“Would it have been upsetting for me if we started trading away everybody?” he told MLB Network Radio on Friday morning. “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process.”

Verlander will make $28 million a year for each of the next three seasons and has a vesting option for 2020 if he finishes in the top 5 of the 2019 Cy Young vote. He had an excellent return-to-form in 2016, but his contract is still pretty big for a pitcher with his mileage, making it seem unlikely that he would be moved absent the team eating a huge portion of his salary. The same could be said for Miguel Cabrera who, despite still being one of the best hitters in baseball, is making between $28-32 million between now and 2023. A wonderful player, but an extraordinarily difficult contract to move. Both superstars have full no-trade protection as 10-5 men as well.

At the moment the rebuild does not seem to be materializing and the Tigers — as I think they should, probably — will enter 2017 aiming for the AL Central crown, not aiming at restocking their farm system.

But what will Verlander think, however, if the Tigers find themselves out of contention come May? What will he think if Ian Kinsler — a valuable player on a tradable contract — is sold off? Or Justin Upton? Or J.D. Martinez?

It’s worth watching.