Craig Calcaterra

sabathia getty

No, I am not better than this

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Sometimes, when I make easy jokes or offer some cheap shot, people say “you’re better than this, Craig.”

I want to assure you: no matter what I have done in the past, no matter how often I have made actually good jokes or offered some actual useful analysis, I am not better than this. To paraphrase the great Hans Gruber, I am not some common hack or cheap-shot artist. I am an exceptional hack and cheap-shot artist. To wit:

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Why yes, given all of Sabathia’s knee problems I do think that HGH could extend his career. Thanks for the suggestion, guys!

The Jeff Francoeur campaign is progressing nicely

Atlanta Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur catches a fly ball while carrying a football in a drill during a spring training baseball workout, Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Associated Press
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I saw this coming while I was at the paddock before the second race, outside the men’s room when I placed my bet. I saw this coming before it even got up this morning.

It’s the inevitable “you know, Jeff Francoeur is the best fit for the Braves team” campaign from the Atlanta media. Complete with the brushing aside of a player who is a better fit as a backup outfielder than Francoeur (Emilio Bonifacio, who can play center field) and a guy making $15 million in Nick Swisher, who the writer says could simply be cut, no-muss, no-fuss. And maybe it happens, I don’t know. Emilio Bonifacio is not someone you build plans around. Swisher’s money is a sunk cost.

But I do know that, whatever the circumstances, it was a 100% certainty — a bet-the-lives-of-your-children mortal lock — that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution people were going to start launching “Francoeur is turning heads” or “Francoeur will make the team” stories come mid-March. I don’t know if it’s club sources or the paper driving it or some combination of both, but there was never going to be a world in which Jeff Francoeur was not going to be portrayed as some sort of inevitability to make the team.

Now, where is my wallet? For the second straight spring I’m going to have to buy a Jeff Francoeur shirsey.

The White Sox considered boycotting yesterday’s game over the Adam LaRoche situation

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More details are emerging about the events leading up to Adam LaRoche’s retirement following Ken Williams’ request that he bring his son Drake to the clubhouse less often. The highlights:

As I said this morning, this whole situation doesn’t add up and none of these updates makes the math work any better. If Drake’s presence was part of the deal, Williams need not have worried about setting a precedent. He could simply tell future players “nope.” If every single person who actually works in the clubhouse — including manager Robin Ventura — was on board with this, there is no other reason for Williams to have intervened.

There are a couple of things which would explain all of this better:

  1. Ken Williams simply being on a power trip in which he decided, for no reason that affected him personally, to ask LaRoche to give up something he negotiated for in his contract and which Williams would have to know would lead to an emotional reaction from LaRoche; or
  2. A player or a few players complained to Williams anonymously about Drake LaRoche’s presence and Williams, in an effort to not have the clubhouse torn apart, decided to appease those players while taking all of the heat for the decision himself. Yes, there are reports that the “entire clubhouse” is on LaRoche’s side here, but no one is taking a poll of 25 guys. It’s possible that someone complained and then sat quietly in the meeting, not wanting to be responsible for the strife.

Another theory some of you have offered in comments is, I think, a pretty far-fetched one: that the White Sox were just trying to antagonize LaRoche into retiring to save $13 million. Sorry, can’t buy that one. There is no way they could be sure ANY course of action, up to and including treating him like George Costanza when he worked for Play Now, could be reasonably certain to make LaRoche retire. This isn’t sitcom or a some melodrama where the White Sox are scheming and sinister actors. I can’t really feature that one at all.

What I can feature are the very human motivations possessed by players not liking their clubhouse vibe but not wanting to create waves. I can feature the motivation of a senior executive with unassailable job security deciding to take the heat for something which other players or maybe a manager couldn’t take. While less likely, I could see that same executive acting unilaterally to feed a power trip, but that doesn’t square with what he should’ve known to be Adam LaRoche‘s contractual rights.

I said this morning that this all seems fishy. It seems even more fishy now.