Wait people do actually think Cashman is trying to get himself fired?

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My “Brian Cashman is trying to get himself fired” comment from yesterday was meant as a joke. Not a good one — a bit too dry; I think I told it better on Twitter before repurposing it for the post — but I don’t honestly think that the man is trying to get canned.

My real issue was that because of the other stuff that has happened lately — and because of how easy it is to turn a couple of data points of oddness into some big b.s. trend — eventually someone was going to make that sort of connection.  Someone would list the random things like Cashman scaling down a building, losing out on Cliff Lee, hating the Rafael Soriano deal and all of that, and draw some distraction-inducing conclusion from it.

And someone did. Lupica, natch:

And there are people in baseball who wonder if Cashman has begun moving toward the door, if he really does want to go somewhere else and show the whole world that he is more a general manager than a money manager, that he doesn’t need to spend $200 million a year to build winning baseball teams.

Look at the wild, weird baseball winter Cashman has had already …

Then, as I suspected someone would, Lupica cites the highlights of Cashman’s winter, throws in extended recitation of that “Seinfeld” episode in which George tried to get fired by the Yankees and voila, Questions Have Been Raised.

And maybe it doesn’t matter because it’s just Lupica and that’s what he does. But a few days ago Brian Cashman said that dealing with the media garbage is the hardest part of his job.  I presume this is the stuff he’s talking about. How nothing can be taken at face value. It all has to mean something. I don’t blame him for chafing at it. I know it’s silly to base your moves off of what the media might do, but I did kind of wish that Cashman wasn’t fueling the haters’ fire.

I know this is going to sound silly coming from someone who posts 20 times a day about all manner of unimportant topics, but sometimes things don’t demand a grand unification theory.  Things just happen.  Maybe they’re worth a few sentences on a blog here and there, but a full-blown 750-word column lends itself to grander explanations.  Oftentimes ones that are purely illusionary.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.