The Question

You asked me questions on Twitter. So I shall answer them.

26 Comments

If it’s Thursday, it’s Twitter question day. Here are the ones that didn’t make the video, which will be posted in a few minutes:

Q: Was Billy Beane smart enough to put in some kind of escape clause with Bob Geren?

Yep. Geren turns 50 this September. Few people know this, but his contract requires that he be taken from the great domed city and killed on that date. Unless, of course, he can be reborn in the fiery ritual of carrousel.  If you look closely, his LifeLock is blinking red right now, and will soon be black.

Q: When you become commissioner of MLB this month, can you please put Adam Dunn in the HR Derby even though he’s sucking?

Yes. But only if I have time after I take over the Dodgers, institute instant replay, and abolish the blackout rules.

Q: Which has a larger negative influence on MLB: bad Fox broadcasters or crazy blackout rules?

See the response to the previous question.

Q: Do you have any lefthanded friends who would like to be a member of the Yankees bullpen?

My friend Jonny. Jonny Venters. You can have him for Robinson Cano, but you have to take Uggla and his entire contract in the deal as well.

Q:  Why did you return for the last few episodes of Smallville after disappearing for several seasons?

I always wanted to be back earlier, but I was busy working on my plan to send nukes into the San Andreas Fault. The idea, see, is that the explosion and subsequent earthquakes would sink California and leave all of that barren desert land I bought as the new West Coast of the United States, greatly increasing its value. Its capital would be Otisville.

Q: Bryce Harper blah blah blah Big Papi blah blah blah double standard blah blah blah … nobody cares if Harper sucks, right?

Probably not, actually. Buster Posey and Bryce Harper taught us these past few weeks that there are different rules for superstars.

Q:  Can we talk about how you can possibly not love tennis?

This is in response to my ignoring/mocking a bunch of tweets about the French Open last weekend.  And it’s not that I don’t like tennis. Indeed, there was a time in my life when I loved it. Really, for several years in the late 80s and early 90s the race for my second favorite sport was fairly close between tennis and the NBA. I can’t really explain it. I just loved it. But like so many things, I let them drop when I got into my 20s.  And it will always be that way, I suspect. Really, I have no idea how people find the time to obsess on more than one sport after the age of 22 or so.

Q: Any reason for Washington to not start Ogando in the All-Star Game?

Not too many good ones. It’s amazing how low he has flown under the radar screen this season. 7-0, 2.10 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 60 K and 18 BB in 81 innings. Just as good if not better than anyone in the AL at the moment.

Q: If a tree falls in the forest and no one sees it, will Joe West still pick a fight with it?

Yes. After which the tree will be suspended for three games and nothin’ happens to Joe West.

Q: Oh and can we talk about what kind of moron goes thru such public humiliation without even meeting anyone???

I’m going to guess that that’s about Anthony Weiner. Which is a controversy I don’t really have a personal stake in so I’ll tread lightly. But I will say this: no woman I have ever met in my life would actually find a emailed crotch shot to be an essential brushstroke in the fine art of seduction, and I’m not sure I want to meet the woman who would.

Q: What’s more frightening in MLB: going to see Dr. Andrews or being drafted by the Royals?

As time goes on and their respective systems become more and more refined, each is less scary than it used to be.

Q: Pick one: Bud, Roger, Stern, Gary B for the value they have added to your fandom experience?

Since I’m not a fan of football, basketball or hockey, I should say Bud.  But let’s think about this: both the NFL and NHL help keep NBC Sports in business. Because NBC Sports is in business, they can afford to pay me. Because I have a job that requires me to watch baseball all the time, my baseball fan experience is way better. So, indirectly, Roger and Gary B. have done way more to enhance my baseball fandom than Bud Selig has.

Q: Does One Night in Bangkok make a hard man humble?

Get tied, you’re talkin’ to a tourist whose every move’s among the purist. I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine.

Q: What’s the one question you wish reporters would ask more often at post-game press conferences that they currently don’t?

What did Rawls mean in Political Liberalism when he used the phrase “a fully adequate scheme of equal basic liberties”? Was he suggesting a rationing of liberty? Should truly free moral agents be satisfied with mere “adequacy?”  Personally, I’d like to hear A.J. Burnett answer that one.

Q: If Jessica Alba married Joe Torre, would she be Jessica Torrealba?

No. She would be JoBa.  Which probably kills your mental image of Jessica Alba way more than the Torrealba thing did.

Q: When is it acceptable to start drinking before noon?

Opening Day, the first day of March Madness, Labor Day, Christmas, New Year’s Day if you had a bad New Year’s Eve and need some hair of the dog, most Fridays, other days as needed and/or which end in the letter “y.”

Q: The New York Daily News is still calling for Yankees revenge vs.the Red Sox. Can we put their writers in front of a batting machine throwing 95 instead?

Let us not doubt the opinions of those who write for the Daily News. They gained great experience and insight into what is and is not proper on a baseball field during their studies of the subject baseball ethics in journalism school and during their own playing days. Each of which totally happened, I’m sure.

Q: Am I insane for thinking “Where Are You Tonight” is one of Dylan’s better songs and Street Legal is a damn fine album?

I don’t think I’d say “better songs.” It’s good. It’s overlooked, certainly. I would say more or less the same about Street Legal. Not my favorite, but a “meh” Bob Dylan album is better than listening to Foghat or something.

Q: How exactly is it you make a living blogging? Also, are you the perv that designed the glass staircase in that courthouse?

First question: Jedi mind trick. Second question: no, but that’s the courthouse in my home county and in which I would be practicing law today were I not making a living blogging. As for that staircase: bad move, I suppose, but given that the courthouse that it’s replacing was filled with asbestos, drinking fountains that spewed rusty, stinky water and round — yes round — courtrooms with no windows and bad lighting, I think I’d prefer people peeping under my kilt as I alight the staircase to anything I had to endure in that old wretched building.

Thanks all! Let’s do it again next week!

The Yankees are paying $86 million for a one-inning reliever

chapman
9 Comments

OXON HILL, MD — The Yankees signing of Aroldis Chapman late Wednesday night came as something of a surprise. And the money — $86 million — was something of a shock. Yes, we knew that Chapman was going to break the bank and likely set a record as the highest paid relief pitcher in history, but seeing it in black and white like that is still rather jarring.

In the coming days, many people who attempt to analyze and contextualize this signing will do so by pointing to the 2016 playoffs and the unconventional use of relievers by Terry Francona and the Indians and Joe Maddon of the Cubs. They’ll talk about how the paradigm of bullpen use has shifted and how relief pitchers have taken on a new importance in today’s game. Chapman’s astronomical salary, therefore, will be described as somehow more reasonable and somewhat less shocking than it first seems.

Don’t buy that jive for a second.

Yes, Andrew Miller and, to some extent, Chapman himself were used unconventionally in the 2016 playoffs, but not long into the 2017 season we will see that as an exception, not the rule. And not just because Chapman showed himself unable to hold up to that level of use in the playoffs. It will be the exception because the Yankees have shown no inclination whatsoever to deviate from traditional bullpen usage in the past and there is no reason to expect that they will do so with Chapman in the future.

As you no doubt remember, the Yankees had Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller for the first half of 2016. Such an imposing back end of a bullpen has rarely been seen in recent history. All of them, however, were used, more or less, as one-inning-a-piece guys and no real effort was ever made to break any bullpen usage paradigms or to shorten games the way many applauded Terry Francona for doing in the playoffs.

Miller pitched 44 games for the Yankees, totaling 45.1 innings. He pitched more than a single inning on only three occasions. Chapman pitched 31 games for the Yankees, amassing 31.1 innings. He was used for more than one inning only twice. Betances worked in 73 games, totaling 73 innings. On 11 occasions he pitched more than one inning.  It was unconventional for a team to have three relievers that good, but they were not, in any way, used unconventionally. Nor is there any reason to expect Chapman to be used unconventionally in 2017, especially given that Miller is not around and Chapman has shown no real ability to be stretched for multiple innings for a sustained period.

None of which is to say that having Chapman around is a bad thing or that he is any less of a closer than his reputation suggests. It’s merely to say that the Yankees paying Chapman unprecedented money for a closer should not be justified by the alleged new importance of relief pitchers or that changing role for them we heard so much about in the playoffs. Indeed, I suspect that that changing role applies only to pitcher use in the playoffs. And I do not suspect that this transaction alone pushes the Yankees into serious playoff contention, making that temporary unconventionality something of a moot point in New York for the foreseeable future.

It is almost certain that the Yankees are paying $86 million for the same one-inning closer Aroldis Chapman has been for his entire seven-year career. His contract may or may not prove to be a good one for New York based on how he performs, but don’t let anyone tell you now, in Decemeber 2016, that it’s better than you think because Chapman will somehow transform into a 1970s-style relief ace or something.

Report: Yankees sign Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million deal

gettyimages-577291896
Getty Images
12 Comments

Update (12:02 AM EST): Rosenthal adds that Chapman’s contract includes an opt-out clause after three seasons, a full no-trade clause for the first three years of the contract, and a limited no-trade clause for the final two years.

*

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees have signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million contract. Mark Melancon recently set the record for a contract earned by a reliever at $62 million over four years. Chapman blew that out of the water and many are surprised he didn’t fetch more.

Chapman, 28, began the 2016 season with the Yankees but he was traded to the Cubs near the end of July in exchange for four prospects. The Cubs, of course, would go on to win the World Series in large part due to Chapman. The lefty finished the regular season with a 1.55 ERA, 36 saves, and a 90/18 K/BB ratio in 58 innings between the two teams.

Chapman was the best reliever on the free agent market and, because he was traded midseason, he didn’t have draft pick compensation attached to him.

The Yankees don’t seem to be deterred by Chapman’s domestic violence issue from last offseason, resulting in a 30-game suspension to begin the 2016 regular season.