Luke Leia

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


The more basebally ones will be saved for tomorrow’s HBT Daily. Here are the ones that don’t lend themselves as well to video:

Q: Better BlueJays manager? John Gibbons #1 or John Gibbons #2?

Which one was played by Dick York? I liked that one better.

Q: Why do you hate kittens?

This is inspired by the fact that I got my new cat declawed earlier this week. Yes, I know people have very strong feelings about this. One person on Twitter the other day basically said that I can’t judge people who get DUIs because I got my cat declawed. I guess it makes sense to him, but if that’s the moral equivalence at play here you can have it.  Anyway: I’ve had cats my entire life, often multiple cats at once. All rescued from shelters and things. And the fact is that I would not be willing to rescue cats like I have if every time I did so it meant half my stuff got destroyed. My vet did not have reservations about this. My cat, three days later, is her usual rambunctious self, exhibiting no ill effects. She doesn’t go outside so defense is not an issue. If this makes me a monster, well, rowr.

Q: Thoughts on “Death of a Family.”

Because a high percentage of my Twitter questions are about Batman, I presume this means the Batman-Joker comic series from last year, “Death of the Family.” Answer: I haven’t read it. I mean to. I love Batman, but like most things in life, technology and comics, I tend to be a late-adopter. I’ll be one of those old jerks who find the handsome bound edition later and then talk about it like it’s brand new.

Q: How much longer can the Braves stick with Uggla. Do we have no choice based on his contract?

It’s not like they have alternatives. At this point you just gotta hope he has his occasional hot streaks at times when the team needs them the most. He isn’t going anywhere.

Q: Game show you’d most like to be on, game show you’d be best at?

I’d most like to be on “Match Game” back in the Richard Dawson/Charles Nelson Reilly era, because everyone on there was loaded and looked like they were having the time of their freaking lives. Or possibly paired up with Markie Post on “Pyramid” because she was a stone-cold assassin on that show and, well, I was in love with her for most of the 1980s. And 90s. And some days still today. I’d probably be best at “Jeopardy,” however.

Q: If you could create a baseball player using body parts of different active players, who do you choose? Can’t go all-Trout.

Arm of Rick Ankiel, legs of Billy Hamilton, eye of Joey Votto, upper body strength of Giancarlo Stanton, swag of Harper and at some point Andrelton Simmons has to enter the equation.

Q: Who finishes with the worst record: Marlins, Astros, or Aquaman?

Marlins: 56-106, Astros: 60-102, Aquaman: 0-162, because he has zero useful on-land skills.

Q: Why won’t you come clean about Benghazi?

Because I’m busy trying to mount multiple false-flag operations, as one does.

Q: Did Stevie nicks die?

Q: And what’s with the Stevie Nicks nonsense?

Last year there was a headline about “The Cocaine Queen” dying. My kneejerk joke on Twitter was “RIP Stevie Nicks.” Which I thought was kinda clever in an “I’m old and I remember the 70s” kind of way. Apparently there are a lot of young women — painfully young — who are a bit more into Stevie Nicks than anyone should be into another person, and none of them have a sense of humor. A few thought I was breaking news and when they figured it out, these would-be witchy women decided that I was the worst person in the world. Please don’t tell any of them about my cat. I may get death threats.

Q: Ever get into cricket? It’s like baseball’s weird older cousin.

So cricket has to register with the sheriff’s department wherever it lives too? Or … did I just reveal too much?

Q: “Gattitude” is some top notch trolling of Nats fans. What’s the greatest troll in baseball history?

Basically every player quoted after a victory over a crappy team who talks about how “you gotta be careful with these guys, they have a lot of players who can hurt you, so no lead ever feels safe.” Either that or the entire existence of the Chicago Cubs.

Q: Should teams with aging, overweight veterans revive pullover jerseys/beltless pants to look more softball league?

Only if they can rock at sexy as The Bull did.

Q: In his podcast last month, Joe Sheehan compared recent Bill James to recent Gary Busey. Fair or foul, or just funny?

I didn’t hear it, but I’m gonna assume that it was in the “someone who was taken seriously once back when they were at the top of their game and now is, well, a bit on the eccentric side.” Can’t say that I read enough modern Bill James to say. But I think it’s also fair to say that anyone who ever does anything at the highest level has an inevitable fallow/unfortunate period. Lou Reed and Metallica: two of the best ever. Lou Reed + Metallica: maybe the worst thing ever recorded. But they got nothin’ to prove to anyone, so haters can hate all they want.

Q: Who wins in a snarkoff: you or Keith Law?

Law. One of the best pure snarkers in the game. I’m more of a utility snarker.

Q: There’s a new video game called Injustice with DC heroes. In it, Aquaman is considered the best character. Thoughts?

Is the object of the game to have all of the innocent citizens killed by super villains? If so, I could see why Aquaman would be the best character. Otherwise I’m confused.

Q: Favorite c-list actor? I have to go with Clint Howard who obviously only gets work on his brothers films.

I think we all have to admit that Nicolas Cage is now a C-list actor at best. But I have an irrational love for Nicholas Cage. Yes I know he has made scores of nearly-unwatchable movies, but I don’t care. He’s usually interesting. Not good, mind you, but interesting. One of the things I’m most looking forward to this summer is seeing if he gets a flashback or, better yet, voice-from-beyond-the-grave cameo in “Kick-Ass 2.” It’s not listed on his IMDb page, but I’m still holding out hope.

Q: You’re a Braves fan, right? Can you take Jeff Francoeur back now, please?

Sorry. We said “no backsies” when he left town. I figure the likelihood of him ending his career in Atlanta is dangerously high, however.

Q: What’s the standard of proof in replay review?

I would like it to be “arbitrary and capricious,” mostly so I could hear Jerry Remy say “arbitrary and capricious.”

Q: Geddy Lee and his baseball fandom?

Good for him! Whenever I slag on Rush, people remind me that Lee is a huge baseball fan who follows the Jays closely and donated a lot of memorabilia to the Negro Leagues Museum and all of that. And that’s wonderful But it doesn’t change the fact that he sang this once:

I lie awake, staring out at the bleakness of Megadon. City and sky become one, merging
Into a single plane, a vast sea of unbroken grey. The Twin Moons, just two pale orbs as
They trace their way across the steely sky. I used to think I had a pretty good life here,
Just plugging into my machine for the day, then watching Templevision or reading a Temple
Paper in the evening.

Rock and roll is about getting girls and having fun and stuff, first and foremost. You can obviously stray pretty far from that if you want, or else I wouldn’t have a love for guys like Dylan and Neil Young. But even guys like that know that you gotta get back to basics often in order to not lose your way.  I feel like once you’ve strayed to Megadon, you’ve strayed too far.

Q: As a fellow central Ohioan I’d love your take on the urban legend about Fred Ricart and his wife’s curling iron.

I choose to believe it in its entirety, even if Snopes said it’s an old, made up tale.

Q: How’s the diet going? Saw the grilled zucchini, that’s a good place to be.

For those unaware, back in February I went on a pretty restricted low/no-carb diet after getting a cholesterol count that could only be described as “assy.” It was kind of hard at first as lower serotonin levels brought on by less sugar/carbs can lead to temporary depression, but that seems to be under control. I’ve mostly gotten past cravings and will power issues and now veggies, fruits, lean meats and as few carbohydrates as possible are just part of the routine. I’ve lost 18 pounds with zero exercise since mid-February and weigh less than I did in high school, so that’s something. I should probably get back on the treadmill, though, as I’m way behind on TV watching.

Q: Have you ever replaced your regular coffee with Folgers crystals?

No, because I’m not clinically insane. My mother tried to give me Folgers crystals once. Once.

Q: Jarvis or Alfred?

Everyone knows who Alfred is. His “Iron Man” counterpart is Jarvis (replaced in the movies with J.A.R.V.I.S.). Lot of discussion the past two days on whether Batman or Iron Man is better. You know where my sympathies lie. And really, there would be no contest if the two of them had to fight. All of Iron Man’s power comes from a single little machine in his chest that, oh, by the way, is also keeping him from DYING. I’m guessing Batman has created and used so many EMP devices in his life that he’s lost count. One pulse from one of those + a couple minutes to chuckle + a few kicks to head and Iron Man is as dead as vaudeville. Except Bats is too cool to let him die, so he’d have Alfred improvise some quickie battlefield medical fix to keep that shrapnel from entering Tony Stark’s heart in such a way that his Iron Man suit couldn’t simultaneously be re-powered.  Which probably means Alfred is better, naturally.

Q: Is Ricketts “threat” that the Cubs may leave Wrigley the most empty threat ever?

Nah. That would be Obi-Wan Kenobi telling Darth Vader that if he was struck down he’d become more powerful than Vader could ever imagine. Sure, he went all immortal on him, but what did he really do? He told Luke to run, which Luke probably would have anyway. He told him to turn off his targeting computer which, sure, worked out fine, but was highly irresponsible. Told him to go to Dagobah, yes, I’ll grant that was a big one and Luke wouldn’t have otherwise. But Luke did all the hard work. And let’s be honest: Luke could have died on Hoth and it wouldn’t have made a lick of difference. He helped no one in “Empire” and actually put people at risk.

I suppose Han doesn’t get freed from Jaba without Luke and the second Death Star doesn’t get destroyed without Han on the ground on Endor, but that just leads to another problem: why all the cloak and dagger crap to free Han from Jabba? I know it’s a scrappy band of Rebels and all, but they have an army and a fleet and crap. Why could they not have just dispatched a platoon of soldiers to Jabba’s palace, marched right in and taken Han by force? Those pig guards wouldn’t last ten seconds.  That always bugged me.

Not as much as the fact that he never told Luke to, you know, not make out with HIS OWN SISTER. That woulda been kinda helpful, all-powerful Obi-Wan. Sheesh.

Anyway. That’s all I got this week.

Wait, what is the non-tender deadline again?

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For the next day and a half you’ll hear a lot about the non-tender deadline and/or players being tendered or not tendered a contract. Here, in case you’re unaware, is what that means.

By midnight on Wednesday teams have to decide whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. If they do, the team retains control over the player. Now, to be clear, the team is not simply “tendering” the player the actual contract specifying what he’ll be paid. Think of it as more of a token gesture — a placeholder contract — at that point the team and the player can negotiate salary for 2016 and, if they can’t come to an agreement over that (i.e. an agreement avoiding arbitration) they will proceed to submit proposed salaries to one another and have a salary arbitration early in the spring.

If the team non-tenders a player, however, that player immediately becomes a free agent, eligible to sign anywhere with no strings attached.

Basically, the calculus is whether or not the team thinks the player in question is worth the low end of what he might receive in arbitration. Or, put differently, if the guy isn’t worth what he made in 2015, he’s probably going to be non-tendered.

MLB Trade Rumors has a handy “Non-Tender Tracker” which lists the status of the couple hundred arbitration eligible players and whether or not they’ve been tendered a contract. We’ll, of course, make mention of notable non-tender guys as their status for 2016 becomes known over the next day or two.

Mariners interested in free agent outfielder Nori Aoki

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New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has kept pretty busy in his short time on the job and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that free agent outfielder Nori Aoki could be his next target. The club recently pursued a trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but the asking price has them looking at alternatives.

Aoki, who turns 34 in January, has hit .287 with a .353 on-base percentage over four seasons since coming over from Japan. He was having a fine season with the Giants this year prior to being shut down in September with lingering concussion symptoms.

The Giants decided against picking up Aoki’s $5.5 million club option for 2016 earlier this month, but he should still do pretty well for himself this winter assuming he’s feeling good.

Report: Johnny Cueto is believed to be looking for a $140-160 million deal

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It was reported Sunday that free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto had turned down a six-year, $120 million contract from the Diamondbacks. He’s hoping to land a bigger deal this winter and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has heard some chatter about what he’s looking for.

Jordan Zimmermann finalized a five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers today, which works out to $22 million per season. Arizona’s offer to Cueto checked in at $20 million per season. A six-year offer to Cueto at the same AAV (average annual value) as Zimmermann would put him at $132 million, which is still a little shy of the figure stated by Crasnick. Of course, Cueto owns a 2.71 ERA (145 ERA+) over the last five seasons compared to a 3.14 ERA (123 ERA+) by Zimmermann during that same timespan, so there’s a case to be made that he should get more. Still, he’s the clear No. 3 starter on the market behind David Price and Zack Greinke.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs are among the other teams who have interest in Cueto. One variable in his favor is that he is not attached to draft pick compensation, as he was traded from the Reds to the Royals during the 2015 season.

Report: Around 20 teams have contacted the Braves about Shelby Miller

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The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.

Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.

Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.