Lupica

If you’re so sick of A-Rod, why are you writing about him, Mike Lupica?

41 Comments

It’s one thing to be a sports fan who is sick of Alex Rodriguez to lament how much coverage he’s getting. I mean, yes, you can avoid that coverage if you want, but I do appreciate that that can be difficult at times and it can seem like such things are impossible to escape. For reasons I gave on Saturday I think people overstate the severity of “A-Rod fatigue,” but I do sympathize to some degree.

It’s another thing altogether if you’re Mike Lupica and you lament how much coverage A-Rod is getting. Like he does in his latest column:

[Mariano Rivera] will bounce back because he always does and always has. But what was just as striking over the past week wasn’t the single that Adam Dunn got off him in Chicago or the ball that Cabrera tried to hit out of sight late Friday night.

It was this:

His last baseball summer has been hijacked by Rodriguez.

If the Yankees don’t make the playoffs, and Rodriguez doesn’t get hurt again before game No. 162, it means that so much of the precious little time that Mo has left — and even with all the ways teams around baseball have found ways to honor him — will involve the drama and controversy and the under-the-big-top circus that that might be the end of Rodriguez’s career as well.

If you’re Mike Lupica you have the biggest column in one of America’s largest circulation newspapers, you host a prestige show on ESPN each week and you have, presumably, free reign to talk about whatever you want to talk about in sports. Yet, here you are, choosing to talk about Alex Rodriguez in a column that is ostensibly about Mariano Rivera. You don’t have to do it. You can write a thousand words on Mariano Rivera if you want to. You really can.

That aside, he’s dead wrong too. Mariano Rivera’s summer has not been hijacked by Rodriguez. Neither has the Pittsburgh Pirates’ great season, Miguel Cabrera’s drive for a second straight MVP, Clayton Kershaw’s crazy-good pitching, the Phillies’ time at the crossroads, the races in the AL East and AL West, the Braves gigantic division lead and any number of other fantastic stories about the quite enjoyable 2013 baseball season. 

It may be hard for people to find as much coverage of that stuff as they’d like because of A-Rod news, but Mike friggin’ Lupica has no excuse. He is — or at least was — an agenda-setter in the sports writing world. For him to to sit back now and cynically milk A-Rod outrage to fill column inches while simultaneously lamenting the column inches such outrage fills is both a joke and an abdication of his responsibilities.

Want people talking about Mariano Rivera? Write about Mariano Rivera. It’s not that hard.

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
15 Comments

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
4 Comments

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
16 Comments

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
4 Comments

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.