Craig Calcaterra

Victor Martinez

Victor Martinez tore a meniscus in his knee last week, needs surgery

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Bad news for the Tigers:

The Tigers just signed Martinez to a four-year, $68 million deal. Now he’s going under the knife.

In the past, players who have had surgery to repair similar injuries have missed 4-6 weeks. That would blow a big hole in Martinez’s spring training, but would still mean that he’d be available for the great majority of the season.

UPDATE: Or, maybe not. Depends what the doctors find when they operate:

Ruben Amaro apparently has “a year or two” before a decision is made on his future

Ruben Amaro
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David Montgomery, Chairman of the Phillies, said this today on MLB Network Radio about the future of GM Ruben Amaro:

“We think we have a pretty quality guy in that role. At the same time, I have a partnership group where they are looking at this closely as well. And the reality is we have a GM that we think is effective and we have a Hall Of Fame GM in our midst as well. And if Pat [Gillick] spends an entire year or two close with Ruben [Amaro], I think he’ll have a very good idea as to how effective Ruben is and collectively a decision will be made.”

Not terribly surprising. The tear-down and rebuild is already underway. If the Phillies were gonna can Amaro, you think they would’ve done it and allowed someone else to mount the rebuilding effort.

(Thanks to John M. for the heads up)

Avisail Garcia is in The Best Shape of His Life

Avisail Garcia
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No one used the magic words in this article, but a year after a season lost to injury + lots of talk about being slimmer, trimmer and faster = BSOHL stuff:

Williams added that Garcia looks slim and trim, a fact confirmed by anybody who ran into him this past weekend at SoxFest. Garcia smiled and guessed that he dropped about 15 pounds but wasn’t as worried about the total as much as how getting prepared will help him.

“I’ve been eating healthy, working real hard at the gym. I have to be ready for Spring Training,” Garcia said. “I can’t go there and be fat. So that’s what happens. I know I’m skinny.”

Garcia is a talent, to be sure. The sort of talent that had many people comparing him to Miguel Cabrera when he was in Detroit. And now, like Cabrera, Garcia is a BSOHL All-Star.

(Thanks to Scott S. for the heads up)

The seventh greatest general manager of all time won eight pennants and four World Series titles

Buzzie
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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.

Buzzie Bavasi learned baseball from Larry MacPhail and Branch Rickey. Then went on to win more championships and pennants than they did. I feel like that counts for an awful lot. As does taking the 1940s/50s Dodgers and rebuilding them into the 1960s Dodgers on the fly with not much of a fallow period between peaks.

Later he ran the Padres where he did about as well as anyone could given the severe financial constraints he faced early on. And then on to the Angels, who won a lot more games after Bavasi got there than they did before.

Go read about Bavasi from Mark and Dan.

Willie Randolph was way better than you probably think

Willie Randolph Getty
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A slow news day so let’s link something good. This from Mike Axisa at River Ave. Blues, going over the career of Willie Randolph, who was way better than history remembers. And better than the guy an awful lot of people call the best second baseman in Yankees history, Robinson Cano:

You needn’t take WAR at face value to argue Willie Randolph, not Cano or Hall of Famers Joe Gordon and Tony Lazzeri, is the best second baseman in franchise history. Randolph is just behind Lazzeri on the all-time hits (1,784 to 1,731) and on-base percentage (.379 to .374) leaderboards at the position while ranking first in walks (1,005) and steals (251). The gap between Willie and second place is 175 walks and 100 steals, so it’s not close either.

It’s not just a numbers case, of course. And the biggest takeaway, I think, is the notion that skills valued and recognized in one era are not always valued and recognized in another, which makes looking back and reassessing players a really useful enterprise. Randolph got on base at a great clip, was a smart base runner and played excellent but not necessarily flashy defense. In the 70s and 80s that sort of mix was often overlooked.

And, really, it makes Randolph awfully overlooked. Go read Axisa’s article and take a new look at Willie Randolph.