The Question

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


Q: Craig, what’s your favorite baseball site to read?

Until Manny Ramirez launches his own blog, that would be HardballTalk. Non biased answer:, though that’s less “read” than used. But I get more enjoyment using it than I get out of reading almost anything else.

Q: Does anyone in the AL West have a legitimate shot at winning the division besides the Rangers?

No. But if you can persuade me otherwise my ears and mind are open.

Q: More awkward: Ortiz playing first base, Randy Johnson batting, or seeing Picard in his sequin pajamas?

Johnson batting, by a long shot. Ortiz has some vestigial first base skills. Picard looks good in anything.

Q: Bigger letdown: Fukudome in Chi, Dice-K in Bos, or Borg plans for world domination?

The Borg. They can annihilate all of Starfleet, but “putting them to sleep” defeats them? This is the biggest design flaw since those engineers put fighter ship-sized trenches leading to the main reactor on the Death Star.

Q: Cliff Lee is to baseball what Rick Flair is to professional wrestling. Discuss. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

This is so false I can’t even begin to explain it. So I’ll let this man do it:

Tell Cliff Lee to call us back when he has 600 suits, a Cadillac, a Rolls-Royce and the biggest house on the big side of town, Jack! Wooo!

Q: Where did all the cowboys go?

Right here, buckaroo.

Q: Have you ever tried to name months after players? I’ve been calling this month “Swisher Sweet Month of June.”

It all breaks down in Rocktober, doesn’t it?

Q: Heavier first baseman: Ortiz, Cecil Fielder, Prince Fielder, or Richie Sexson?

Boog Powell

Q: Best song about lawyers: Lawyers, Guns and Money or Lawyers in Love?

Warren Zevon > Jackson Browne, 100% of the time.

Q: Very curious…what are your top 3 (relatively serious) reasons baseball beats football?

Obviously most of this is just personal taste, but the basis for my tastes have more to do with tone and mood than anything else.  My current job notwithstanding, I consider sports to be a pastime and a leisure activity, not some Deadly Serious Pursuit. Football basically requires that people ramp-up from their normal routine. To get psyched. To place importance on this one game — because there are so few — and to cast it all in stark and desperate terms. Baseball is the opposite. No one game really matters. It’s a comedown thing at the end of the day as opposed to that ramp-up. You can have a casual conversation while watching the game, sip a beer and unwind. It’s all about temperament.

Q: Greater threat to sabermetrics: Grantland or our schools’ inability to teach math anymore?

Actually, the answer is Jose Reyes.

Q: Strangest movie: “Blue Velvet,” “Nashville,” “Fight Club” or “To Live and Die in LA”?

I’m sorry, the answer is “Freaks.”

Q: Do we belong to the light? The thunder? The sound of the words we’ve both fallen under? 

This is what happens when, while asking for Twitter questions, you say “hit me with your best shot.”  But I’ll admit it: if I ever hear the song “We Belong” on the radio, I listen to it until the end. I’m not made of stone, here.

Q: You have 99 problems, but a ________ aint one.

Morning commute.

Q: What happened when you fought the law?

I won.

Q:  If you could have dinner with four famous people, but then four of you would have to eat the fifth for dessert, who would you choose?

I’m going to assume we can go with people living or dead, so: Socrates, Kurt Vonnegut, Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker. We probably eat Socrates at the end. I get the sense he’d be fine with that.

Q: If you had a rap career, what would your rap name be? What if you were a country singer? A stripper?

2Bald, Buck Abilene and Chester Drawers.

Q: How could Captain Malcolm Reynolds perform as a baseball manager?

He’d be like Billy Martin. He’d get results, but he’d breed so much dissension in the meantime that he would always wear out his welcome quickly.

Q: If you could give some law students studying for the bar one bit of awesome, life-changing advice, what would it be?

Don’t be evil. Really. You think it will be easy to keep your moral gravity in place — and you’ll believe that by adhering to legal ethics and following the orders of clients and superiors that you’re doing so — but those are very different things. Do a self-assessment once a year to make sure that you haven’t become something you despise.

Q: Did you read all of the Harry Potter books? See all the movies? Dress up as Hermione when no one is around?

I have read none of the Harry Potter books and I have seen none of the movies. As for that last question, I don’t have to answer that and you can’t make me.

Q: Next time you do a Dodgers chapter 11 roundup, can you explain why it’s in Delaware rather than California?

I’ll do it here. The reason is that it’s in Delaware is because the Los Angeles Dodgers are registered as a corporation in the State of Delaware (all U.S. corporations register in a specific state).  The reason for Delaware: it’s a well-known corporate haven. Over 50% of U.S. publicly-traded corporations and 60% of the Fortune 500 companies are incorporated there. Why? Lots of reasons. Initially because they adopted a bunch of corporate-friendly laws in the late 19th century with the sole intent of drawing business away from places like New York and Philadelphia. Since then it’s been a matter of inertia: with so many corporations there, the corporate law has developed to a far more sophisticated degree in Delaware than anywhere else, with a separate court charged with handling corporate disputes and far more certainty with respect to outcomes for corporations than they would face in other states.

Q: Match the manager with a drink: Makers Mark, Macallan, Captain Morgan, Jack Daniels:  Jim Leyland, Art Howe, Ned Yost, Davey Johnson.

I got the impression that both Yost and Howe drank milk or — when they were feeling sinister — root beer.  I’d say that Leyland is Jack Daniels guy. Davey goes for the scotch.

Q: Is Morrisey better solo or with The Smiths? 

If you’re talking about musical quality: The Smiths. If you’re talking about as a persona who is absolutely ridiculous and therefore great fun to mock even if we still admire on some level, it’s solo Morrisey.

Q: General bat and ball question: Which is more impressive, Nolan Ryan’s 5714 Ks or Muralitharan’s 600 career test wickets?

I was gonna leave this one for the video, but I didn’t have the heart to make Tiffany try to pronounce “Muralitharan.”  I’m going to go with the test wickets record, however, because it’s much harder to do something impressive while playing a ridiculous sport like cricket than a thing of fundamental beauty and truth like baseball.

Q: What do you think of Grantland so far.

Hit and miss. For all of the hype — and Bill Simmons has a way of attracting hype, be it intentionally or through no fault of his own — it’s a magazine. And like every magazine, there are good articles and bad ones. There are good editorial decisions and bad ones.  And of course, like every magazine in the history of magazines, it will take time for it to hit its stride.  I find most of the early general criticism to be imbued with no small amount of Bill Simmons bashing. Which, while great fun and often warranted, says more about the critic than it does about Grantland as a product.

That’s all I got, kiddos. Watch for HBT Daily later, where I actually answer some baseball questions. And let’s do it again next week.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
AP Photo/Paul Beaty
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ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.

The Diamondbacks met with Johnny Cueto’s agent

AP Photo/David Goldman

Update (7:58 PM EST): Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart met with Cueto earlier this month in the Dominican Republic and made a contract offer that the right-hander turned down. The Diamondbacks maintain interest in the free agent.


Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Diamondbacks spoke with Bryce Dixon, the agent of free agent starter Johnny Cueto. However, Rosenthal notes that Cueto’s price tag is expected to exceed the Diamondbacks’ comfort level.

Cueto, 29, is one of a handful of highly touted starting pitchers in this offseason’s free agent class. He is joined by David Price and Zack Greinke, among others. Jordan Zimmermann inked a deal in the neighborhood of $110 million over five years with the Tigers on Sunday morning, which will serve as a barometer for Cueto.

Cueto finished the 2015 regular season, between the Reds and the Royals, with a 3.44 ERA and a 176/46 K/BB ratio over 212 innings. He made 13 shaky starts with the Royals, but outside of a shellacking in Game 3 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, pitched well in the post-season. Cueto pitched a complete game in Game 2 of the World Series against the Mets, helping put the Royals up two games to none at the time.

As a result of switching teams during the season, Cueto was not eligible to receive a $15.8 million qualifying offer. This means that Cueto, unlike Zimmermann for example, does not come attached with draft pick compensation.