ESPN’s T.J. Quinn:
Quinn offered this after reading Ken Rosenthal’s interview with Manfred in which it was revealed that Manfred’s management style is different than Selig’s inasmuch as Manfred does not do, to use Quinn’s phrase, “one-on-one politicking.”
Given how prickly, petty and arrogant a lot of baseball owners happen to be — and given that Manfred does not have the in that Selig had with them as a former owner himself — one wonders if he’s going to have trouble building consensus like Selig did without smoking their “f*****g cigars.”
Les Carpenter of The Guardian knows, and he has an interesting story today about how the seemingly carefree coach of the Seattle Seahawks and the super agent who would sooner die than to let something happen without reading into it, analyzing it and trying to figure out which way it plays for him are longtime friends:
They must have seemed the most random of friends when they first met all those years ago at the University of the Pacific: Carroll destined to become football’s happiest coach and Boras one of baseball’s most hated men. But in the early 1970s they were a couple of kids living in the same college dormitory, chasing athletic dreams against a clock that was running down on both of them.
I wonder if Boras has a binder in which he ranks his friends and compares them to the greatest friends history has ever known.
Back in early July Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was charged with reckless driving for going 105 mph in a 55-mph zone. In early December he was sentenced to 10 days in jail. There was some appealing and things, but today Werth went into court and pleaded guilty to the charge. He will spend five days in jail over it.
My guess is that Werth can’t pick which days he spends in jail, but if I were him I’d totally try to make it for the middle of spring training when all the veterans start to get tired of the grind. I mean, how much worse would a Fairfax, County jail cell be than Viera, Florida?
Mark Armour and Dan Levitt have written a book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. In support of that, they are counting down the top-25 GMs of all time over at their blog. Since it’s slow season, I’m going to continue linking to the countdown as it’s great stuff we rarely read about in the normal course.
Billy Beane gets all of the love (or hate, depending on who’s doing the emoting) when it comes to advanced analytics in baseball. He’s the one who is praised or derided for statistical analysis, computer ball and every other silly descriptor that gets tossed out when the subject comes up. He’s the one who people consider an outsider. A maverick. The guy who changed everything.
Really, though, Sandy Alderson deserves the praise for that or, if you insist on being a jerk about it, deserves your scorn. As Mark and Dan point out, it was Alderson who introduced modern analytics into team decision making (though Branch Rickey was doing a lot of that decades earlier, of course), and he was the first guy in the modern era hired to run a major league team’s baseball operations without coming from a baseball background. Beane played the game, for crying out loud and came up through scouting.
Yes, perhaps Alderson is too old to have Brad Pitt play him in a movie, but maybe Kevin Kline could’ve done it? I dunno. Beane has always had the better press agents.
So I guess I was a day off on the top farm system list from this morning. That came out yesterday. Today is his top-100 prospects list.
As is the case with the farm system rankings, the prospect list on ESPN’s Insider so, sorry, you gotta pay to see it all. But it’s also one of the annual must-reads in all of baseball, so not linking it would be bloggy malpractice.
The top guy: Kris Bryant of the Cubs. After that, it’s between you and your feelings about paid content.