Yesterday I wrote about scoops regarding player transactions and the like, offering my somewhat rambling take on it all.
Today Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has his own take, and it’s much better informed and, frankly, a lot more interesting than mine:
Readers don’t go online to read Rosenthal and Heyman for the latest in-depth, investigative feature about their particular teams. But for breaking stuff around the game of baseball, those guys are really good at it. And they’ve both done the newspaper thing — beat writing, column writing — extremely well in the past. This is just a different gig for them. And one their websites care dearly about.
Newspapers? Sure, they love to be first. But these days, more and more emphasis is being placed on getting it right.
There’s a lot more to that, including a fun anecdote which explains why I didn’t see Baker with all of us degenerates at the hotel bar during the Winter Meetings for the past couple of years.
If you’re at all interested in what people in baseball media think about baseball media, by all means, check Geoff’s take out. And yes, I promise: no more meta-content about blogging and baseball writing and stuff today. I know it gets old for some of you.
UPDATE: I lied. One more media thing: Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times — who gets his share of scoops and has been the subject of some of my snark from time to time — is leaving the sports beat and will soon begin covering Iraq for the New York Times. Wow. That’s a far cry from baseball. Good luck, Michael, and keep your head down.
On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”
Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”
Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.
The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.
When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.