I’ll take “Things that may impact Andy Pettitte’s decision” for $100, Alex

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I have no idea what’s taking Andy Pettitte so long to decide if he’s retiring or not. You’d think it would be pretty simple: (a) pitch for Yankees; or (b) stay home in big house with family.  I mean, sure, if there was some option (c) that represented harrowing unknowns I could see the reason for the delay, but it’s not like he’s dealing with some strange and sinister Z-axis here.

Oh well, his life and his decision.  But that won’t stop us from speculating what might complicate it all for him. Bob Klapisch has an intriguing theory:

One theory circulating at Yankee Stadium is that Pettitte is spooked by none other than Roger Clemens. Knowing he’s going to be the government’s star witness this summer might be enough to force Pettitte into hiding – especially if Clemens decides he’s going to take his former buddy down with him.

The trial, which is set to begin in July, figures to be a doozy. Unless The Rocket has a change of heart (or tactics), he’s going to swear he never used HGH or steroids. Those who’ve testified otherwise, including Brian McNamee and Pettitte, will be cast as witnesses with bad memories or are just flat-out lying.

It would certainly be way harder to concentrate on the season if the trial actually starts on time and if Pettitte is in the middle of that firestorm.  And given that he has already implicated Clemens under oath before the grand jury and in closed Congressional sessions back in 2008, he will be antagonistic to Clemens and Clemens’ lawyers will go after him. Query: if you had to deal with that would you rather go home for a couple of days afterward or would you rather have to get on a plane to Boston and face the Sox?

Let’s see, what else could be holding up the decision?  Maybe it’s a stretch, but here’s one:

Dow Jones reports a ruptured storage tank spilled 15,000 gallons of beef fat Tuesday, closing the northern end of the Houston Ship Channel … “Luckily the stuff is easy to clean up,” Brahm said. “It solidifies at room temperature, so as soon as it hit the water it just kind of sat there.”

Pettitte’s hometown of Deer Park, Texas is right next to the Houston Ship Channel. I don’t know if I’d want to be next to a beef-fat-filled waterway in 95 degree weather. Maybe this will make Pettitte decide to spend one more summer in New York instead of back home.

What? You got a better theory?

Rays lose, clinching postseason berth for Athletics

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The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.

Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).

Yay?

John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.

What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.

The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?