This is probably not too surprising, but Terry Francona’s upcoming book — excerpts of which were released today on WBZ’s website — have Tito taking shots at the team’s owners, saying that they don’t love baseball and put ratings and gate above all else.
Which, sure. They’re owners. That’s what owners do. But it sounds like the way they would have preferred that be carried out is rather, well, dumb:
The excerpt details a meeting with then-general manager Theo Epstein, Francona, Lucchino, [Tom] Werner and a tardy [John] Henry.
“Werner talked about slumping television ratings and whined, ‘We need to start winning in more exciting fashion,’” the excerpt read … “They told us we didn’t have any marketable players, that we needed some sizzle. We need some sexy guys,” Epstein said. “Talk about the tail wagging the dog. This is like an absurdist comedy. We’d become too big. It was the farthest thing from what we set out to be.”
Al Davis was at times an awful, awful sports owner, but at least “just win baby” makes some sense. I don’t recall any successful sports franchise whose mantra was “just win with sizzle” or “just win in an exciting fashion.” If I was Theo Epstein or Francona I think I would have told those guys that I’d help supply the wins and for them to get their marketing department going on the sizzle.
Should be a fun book. Comes out on January 22.
Phillies outfielder Tyler Goeddel was included in Wednesday’s starting lineup against the Nationals. It’s notable because it’s only his eighth start in August. The Phillies selected Goeddel from the Rays in the Rule 5 draft during the winter, which means the club has had to keep him on its 25-man roster all season. If the club didn’t, it would have had to offer Goddel back to the Rays.
Goeddel is by no means a top prospect, but the Phillies deemed him worthy enough of taking a year-long 25-man roster spot, which are quite valuable. And the rebuilding Phillies aren’t exactly fighting for a playoff spot, so why not play him?
As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, manager Pete Mackanin asked, “What’s the point?” in regards to starting Goeddel. Mackanin said, “I’ve seen enough of Goeddel to know. We’ve kept him this long and we’re going to keep him and we’ll see where we go next year with him. I don’t see a need to play him, especially after he hasn’t played so much.”
That seems like circular logic. You don’t see a need to play him because he hasn’t played much. Well, maybe if you played him more often, you’d see a reason?
In fairness, Goeddel hasn’t exactly torn the cover off the ball, putting up a .191/.250/.296 triple-slash line in 217 plate appearances. But the Phillies have chosen to play utilityman Cody Asche and journeyman Jimmy Paredes (“an extra player,” according to Mackanin), who both don’t figure to be in the Phillies’ future plans. Goeddel is only 23 years old. In May, when he was starting regularly, he posted a .794 OPS.
This isn’t a roster blunder on the Ruben Amaro, Jr. scale, but it’s a very odd way to handle a Rule-5 player for a rebuilding team.
Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller returned to the majors on Wednesday after a stint of about a month and a half in the minor leagues. The right-hander had compiled an ugly 2-9 record and a 7.14 ERA over 14 big league starts along with a finger injury and the minor league demotion.
On Wednesday afternoon against the Giants at AT&T Park, Miller still got the loss, but he gave up only two runs on six hits and a walk with three strikeouts in three innings. It’s the fifth time in 15 starts he gave up two or fewer runs. Opposing starter Matt Moore, who nearly authored a no-hitter his last time out, was just a little bit better, limiting the D-Backs’ offense to a lone run in 5 1/3 innings. The Giants ultimately won 4-2.
You may recall Miller was part of the trade that forced the Diamondbacks to send Ender Inciarte, Aaron Blair, and 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson to the Braves. It’s a trade that chief baseball officer Tony La Russa defended as recently as last week.