Criticism of Joe Girardi has reached PalinFey levels of ridiculousness

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Don’t know what “PalinFey” is?  Read on, my friends, read on.

It’s always been strange to see the New York media go after Joe Girardi for use of actual information to inform his decisions. Things like scouting reports, statistics and stuff. You know, the things smart managers have always done. Except Girardi dared organize his information into a binder, so that apparently makes him weird.  Never mind that he has a World Series ring and has won the manager of the year award. He’s a crazy, pencil neck geek! Binderboy!

That line has now gone beyond self-parody thanks to Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, who just loved the fact that Girardi got angry and argued a call yesterday, leading to his ejection.  Here’s Matthews’ lead-in:

For once, he wasn’t “G.I. Joe” or “Joey Looseleafs” or “Binder Boy,” the guy who is on autopilot in front of a reporter, and at the mercy of his splits, his spray charts and his heat maps in the privacy of the manager’s office.

For the five minutes or so that he shouted at, gestured at and lectured the umpires on the field at Comerica Park, culminated by a stage exit complete with waving arms and rolling eyeballs, he was a living, passionate, fire-breathing human being.

King Kaufman has coined a term called “PalinFey.” It refers to Tina Fey’s impression of Sarah Palin, and it describes a parody that is essentially indistinguishable from the real thing. It sort of renders the parody superfluous, because you really can’t outdo the reality for pure silliness.

When it comes to Boston reporters describing the Red Sox disarray and New York reporters going after Girardi’s binder, I think we’ve reached a perfect state of PalinFey.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.