Craig Calcaterra

Barry Bonds

The early leaders in MLB’s “Franchise Four” thing have been announced


You’ll recall Major League Baseball’s “Franchise Four” thing, in which fans vote for “the most impactful players who best represent each Major League franchise” and some overall categories as well. It’s clickbait and debate fodder, but what are we about here other than clicks and debates, so we’re all for it.

Anyway, interim results are out. The highlights include Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver currently leading in the “Greatest Living Players” category. Which is sad. I mean, it must mean Barry Bonds has died in a tragic cycling and/or Google Glass accident and no one thought to tell me.

Also interesting: Nolan Ryan (Angels, Astros and Rangers) and Randy Johnson (Mariners and Dbacks) are on multiple teams’ Franchise Four. Notably, Greg Maddux — who is probably one of the best four Braves and Cubs — likely doesn’t have as good an argument to be on either of those teams’ “Franchise Four” lists given how his career was divided, but has a better argument for being on the Greatest Living Players list than Koufax does. But that’s democracy for you. He is on the Braves’ list, but I think Dale Murphy should be there, given that Maddux was a hired gun.

Anyway, here are the results thus far:






Bernie Williams to finally sign his retirement papers


Bernie Williams turns 47 in September. He last played in 2006. He was eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2011. He is now, finally, formally retiring:

I guess it’s good that it’s formal. It’ll make his number-retiring ceremony this summer less awkward, maybe, as he’ll be less-inclined to ask if he can play a couple of games in center in order to give Jacoby Ellsbury a blow.

Williams, of course, played 16 seasons with the Yankees and was the team’s starting center fielder during their incredible run of four World Series titles in five seasons from 1996-2000. The man is owed and allowed a ceremony, I figure.

Scott Boras wants panels of experts to determine what rookies are ready to be called up

Scott Boras AP

Scott Boras is a smart guy. But even smart guys have dumb ideas sometimes. This, my friends, is a dumb idea. From Patrick Mooney of, who was at the Cubs-Pirates game yesterday when baseball’s most famous agent offered this suggestion about how to avoid Kris Bryant-style callup controversies:

“For example, I would say that the union or somebody may come in and say that they’ve made a claim that this player is major-league ready,” Boras said. “And that to place him in the minor leagues would not be appropriate from a skills standpoint. And then all of a sudden, it’s subject to review by a panel of former managers or baseball experts . . .  It’s objective in the sense that they’re neutral,” Boras said. “The only way subjective turns objective is that you’ve got the best-known experts who are going to make an evaluation of what they do.”

Because, obviously, panels of experts such as former players and managers always make sound, objective decisions.

Really, though, I don’t think this goes far enough. I think a panel of experts should — objectively, mind you — decided which players should start and how often. Which ones should be called in for save situations and the like. In the name of objectivity, you see, since managers, scouts and general managers can’t be trusted to make the wise decisions about their baseball players, as Boras says.

But we could go further! We could take the subjectivity out of player contracts too! Instead of having an agent cause teams to bid against one another for free agents — a process that can get emotional! — let’s have a panel of experts decide what the player should make.

Such a system would be eminently fair. And it might make Scott Boras’ life a lot easier, no?

Hunter Pence is unlikely to make it back by May 1

hunter pence getty
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The prevailing wisdom was that Hunter Pence was likely to miss all of April due to his fractured forearm, but that he’d be back by around the first of May.

Well, nope: Bruce Bochy talked about his return schedule yesterday, and that schedule makes it appear unlikely that he’ll be back by then. He still has yet to hit off a tee and take soft-toss batting practice and stuff, and he must do that before seeing live pitching. That’s not the sort of thing you can do in a week or so.

The wisdom of Fredi Gonzalez

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals

No, that’s not a snarky headline. I am legit impressed with Fredi Gonzalez’s response to Andy Martino of the Daily News when asked about the Bryan Price nonsense.

He talked a lot about how, sure, you don’t want the other team knowing that you don’t have a guy available. He also talked about how one can find out if the other team doesn’t have a guy available (hint: make friends with the clubhouse attendants). But he said that, even if you’re best-served to be careful about letting people know everything about your club, there’s no sense getting worked up over it being reported:

You know why I don’t get mad? Because I don’t read it. I’ll read the other team’s stuff, because you want to know if a guy is hurt.

There’s so much stuff in this game that can piss you off, why look at the paper? Something will piss you off every day….There’s plenty of time to get upset without reading these guys.

There was a time when baseball managers could be yelling and screaming maniacs, but red-ass managers tend not to last too long these days. Mostly because there is so much to set you off if you let it that you’ll probably just explode if you do.

Fredi isn’t my favorite tactician in the world, but I never worry about him becoming unhinged. He seems to have a pretty healthy approach to a pretty stressful job.