Some chatter while we wait for Roy Oswalt's decision

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As Drew noted last night, there’s a deal in place between the Phillies and the Astros for Roy Oswalt.  Everyone is now waiting for Oswalt’s decision on his no trade clause.  I have some thoughts on that (see below) but in the meantime, let’s speculate about what the deal may look like, assuming it goes through.

The rumor that has been going around is that the Phillies would get some money along with Oswalt — the figure I saw was $8 million — and that in exchange they’d send back J.A. Happ and prospects Matt Rizzotti and Vance Worley.  We all know Happ, so let’s look at the rumored prospects.

Rizzotti is a 1B/DH who has been raking in high-A and AA this year, with a combined line of .362/.443/.595 (and the numbers are actually better at AA than A). The problem with him, though is that he turns 25 after this season which makes him a bit old for the leagues he’s in. While it’s possible that he’s a late bloomer who made a big leap forward this year, the guy doesn’t really project to a big time major league talent. He could probably start for a bad team like Houston, though.

Worley is a 22 year-old starter who is 9-4 with a 3.03 ERA in 20 starts, all but one of which have come at AA (he was recently promoted to Lehigh Valley).  His strikeout numbers don’t suggest he’s an overpowering pitcher — he has a 6.6 K/9 in his minor league career — but he’s decent enough. My guess is that he projects as a swingman/4th-5th starter-type.

Overwhelming? Nah. But given how much money Oswalt is owed, it would be an OK haul I guess. And of course the deal could involve different dudes. More than anything, though, it probably speaks volumes about how light St. Louis’ farm system is that they couldn’t find some mid-level prospects to fill out a deal like this to make it happen.

As for Oswalt’s decision: everything I had been hearing last week was that he didn’t want to go to Philly due to some combination of him (a) not feeling comfortable with the organization; (b) not feeling that they had as good a chance to win as St. Louis; and (c) simply liking St. Louis.  In the last week, however, the Phillies have been on a roll and the Cardinals have appeared to not be a realistic match.

We all have desires in this world, but sometimes we have to adjust them when the facts on the ground make them unreasonable.  Given that two of the three things that had been turning Oswalt off to the Phillies are no longer operative, he may just say “screw it” and go where he has a chance to win something this year.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.

Yadier Molina says Adam Jones “has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people”

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After the U.S. won the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday night, Adam Jones told a reporter that he and his teammates were motivated in part by the fact that Puerto Rico already had championship t-shirts printed up and plans for a parade/celebration in Puerto Rico in place beforehand.

Which, OK, whatever you need to motivate you, Adam, but all of that seems complicated by the fact that (a) ALL teams playing for a championship have pre-printed gear, thus enabling them to be put on moments after the final out; and (b) Puerto Rico’s celebration plans were not contingent on winning or losing. In fact, they went ahead and had a parade/celebration even though they lost. The WBC was a big deal to them in ways it simply wasn’t to the U.S., so it makes sense.

Yadier Molina of Team Puerto Rico did not take kindly to Jones’ comments. He tells ESPN Deportes this:

“Adam Jones … is talking about things he doesn’t know about,” Molina told ESPN. “He really has to get informed because he shouldn’t have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made . . . He has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people,” Molina said. “Obviously, you wanted to win; he didn’t know what this means to [our] people.”

Kind of a messy little controversy, eh?

My feeling about it is that Jones probably didn’t know the whole story about Puerto Rico’s plans and misinterpreted celebration for arrogance. I also suspect that most players motivate themselves in all manner of irrational ways like this, but we just don’t hear about it all that much. Jones can do whatever he wants to psych himself up, but it changes the equation a bit when you talk about it to the press. Perceived slights that an athlete uses internally can seem petty once exposed to the light of day.

Either way: Jones does not have a reputation for being insulting or disrespectful, so I seriously doubt that was his intent here. I also think that, while Molina has a right to be miffed, the “he must apologize to the Puerto Rican people” thing is laying it on a bit thick. Maybe Jones can just text Molina and some P.R. players and say he was sorry, followed by a “we’re all good, man” and this can end? That makes the most sense.

If not, well, the Orioles do play the Cardinals in an interleague series this summer, so maybe we’ll see some fireworks.