Bar

Deep Thoughts: the Quad-A Cafe

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Someone mentioned “quad-A” players earlier. I tend to call them AAAA-guys, but you know who I mean. Players who are too good for Triple-A but can’t seem to cut it in the bigs. Mat Gamel was the one mentioned in the comment, but there are a bunch of them floating around.

Extremely bored, I started daydreaming and imagined the Quad-A guys all meeting for a convention. An annual get-together or something where they talk about the challenges of having no place. Maybe it’s more of a support group thing, during which these guys deal with the unique problem of sometimes being so much better than those around them, sometimes being worse, and never having peace and comfort because of it.

But then I just thought, nah, they need a bar. The Quad-A Cafe, maybe.  I mused to Twitter what it might be like.  I then got a bunch of great responses:

@suss2hyphens: It would have a low ceiling and go on for years.

@SouthSideSox: The menu consists of a few cups of coffee.

@SSS_UGod:  And some pop, but not as much as you’d like.

@guyd10: Clearly would have a coffee maker, but the coffee would only be available in September…

@DangerousMabry: It would boast a list of 135 whiskys. But they’d all be Canadian.

@stevesimas: They’d have a “B” grade from the Dept. of Health in the window.

@EvansiPhone4s: servers would always be missing 1 tool

@SteveGlauber: TVs always set to ESPN2

@RDansky: The BPro guys would constantly be clamoring for it to get a shot at a better location.

@EnnHaitch: Might just be really inconsistent.

@matthiasbostick: after a bad zagat review, people on the internet would argue about whether it had been given a fair chance

Pull up a chair and let the bartender of the Quad-A Cafe, Roberto Petagine, pour you an OK, but not spectacular drink.  Then, if you’re hungry, allow our cook, Ken Phelps, to make you a totally adequate burger that does not quite meet your expectations.  But make sure you behave yourself or else our bouncer, Jeff Clement, will throw you out.

Wait, who am I kidding? If Jeff Clement could throw anyone out he wouldn’t be at the Quad-A in the first place.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.