Is there room for Wade Miley under that bus?

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Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers is a dinosaur, no doubt, but he’s also in charge of a major league baseball team, so we have little choice but to take him somewhat seriously, even when he goes on to a radio show (Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo show, to be specific) says stuff like this:

“I was sitting behind home plate that game and when it showed up on the Diamondvision of stuffing bananas down their throats, I felt like we were a punching bag,”

“Literally, if I would have had a carton of baseballs I would have fired them into the dugout from where I was sitting behind home plate.”

“You’d think the GM comes down and makes it a point to talk to the staff about it that at we need to start protecting our own and doing things differently. Probably a week later Goldy gets dinged, and no retaliation. It’s like ‘wait a minute.”

“Some of [the pitchers], contractually, it’s tough to move. But I think come spring training, it will be duly noted that it’s going to be an eye for an eye and we’re going to protect one another.”

Well, with quotes like that, one would think the Diamondbacks must have been plunked, what, twice as often as they hit batters? At least significantly more often, right?

No, of course not. Diamondbacks pitchers hit 60 batters this year. Their hitters were plunked 43 times.

But not all hit by pitches are created equal. What about the Diamondbacks’ big star, the aforementioned Goldy. The guy opposing teams were throwing at weekly. Or monthly. Or every other month.

Paul Goldschmidt was hit three times all year, on April 22 by the Giants, on July 31 by the Rays and on Sept. 19 by the Dodgers.

Interesting enough, Wade Miley was the pitcher all three times Goldschmidt was hit. And he was the one who never retaliated. The sophomore left-hander hit just four batters all season.

So, get rid of him, obviously. He’s making practically the minimum, so he’s not one of those guys who would be “contractually tough to move.” That was kind of an odd comment, too. The Diamondbacks’ only pitchers who would be tough to move without eating cash are Brandon McCarthy and relievers J.J. Putz and Heath Bell. And McCarthy would only be tough to move because the Diamondbacks backloaded his two-year deal so that he’ll make $9 million next year. Even so, there might be interested teams. Trevor Cahill isn’t exactly a bargain at $20 million for the next two years, but there are teams that would take that on.

So, get the Padres back on the phone. Ian Kennedy was the closest thing the Diamondbacks had to an enforcer this year, setting off a brawl with the Dodgers and hitting 10 batters in all. Which didn’t stop Towers from giving him away at the trade deadline. But if Towers asks nicely enough, surely the Padres will send him back to Arizona for that softy Miley.

Anyway, a lot of this is Towers diverting attention after his remade roster did no better than his old one. Not only is it a pathetic way to do so, but it should really get him fined by the league. Baseball doesn’t need its general managers publicly advocating throwing at and hitting batters.

The day Giancarlo Stanton became a “True Yankee”

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Personally, I would’ve assumed that the day Giancarlo Stanton became a “True Yankee” was when the Yankees traded for him, thereby willingly incurring a legal obligation to pay him hundreds of millions of dollars and pencil him in the lineup until his knees fell off and, probably, for some time after. That, however, is not how things go with the New York Yankees.

The Yankees can trade for you, but that does not make you a “True Yankee.” They can sign you to a nine-figure deal in free agency, but your signature on the contract is not your “signature Yankee moment.” They can draft you, develop you for six years and play you for another three and you still may not have enough time and accomplishments under your belt to be anything other than, more or less, a probationary employee.

No, to be a “True Yankee” you have to be declared so by the media after doing something neat like hitting a big home run like Stanton did last night to lead the Yankees to victory over the Mariners. Until then — until you become the hero of a Wednesday night game in June, I guess — you’re suspect. After that, well . . .

And:


And:

Seeing these headlines and the many other stories and tweets with references to Stanton’s newfound “True Yankee”-dom makes me wonder when, say, Jonathan Villar, became a “True Brewer” or when Daniel Descalso will deliver his “Signature Diamondback Moment.” I’m sure someone will tell us.

Haha, just kidding. No other team does that. Probably because no other team likes to stoke its own mystique like the Yankees do. They have always done this to some degree — and given the franchise’s success, they are allowed a bit more leeway to boast than other ones are — but I blame George Steinbrenner for taking this to silly levels.

Big Stein was the first owner to really take advantage of free agency, but that also made him the first owner to stigmatize the players he signed as somehow owing the team more than any other player for their having accepted a big paycheck. For having to prove themselves in ways other players didn’t. He famously did this with Dave Winfield, contrasting him poorly with Reggie Jackson, who had proven himself in ways that made Steinbrenner happy. He never really did this with homegrown Yankees players. It was like a parent being partial to their natural child and cold to the adopted one.

Steinbrenner also built up the level of expectations for Yankees players — all of them — beyond reason. I think it was in the late 90s that he started up with that “anything less than a World Series title is failure” jazz. I question whether that was motivational to highly-trained and already motivated baseball players, but it was certainly good for building the Yankees brand. The idea that you’re not a “True Yankee” — which I seem to first remember being a sticking point with Jason Giambi — is a logical extension of that. While it may not be the best way to run an organization it is, as a matter of brand-building, pretty effective to portray your team as having higher expectations and something of an initiation period for its players. It’s a way of making fans feel like the club and the players they root for are a level above everyone else.

Of course, George Steinbrenner was George Steinbrenner, and being sorta crazy and sorta unfair and working overtime to build the Yankees brand was what made him The Boss. It was literally his job to do that kind of thing, so let’s not be too hard on him. I get why he did it that way.

I do wonder why, however, the media tasked with covering the Yankees has so eagerly taken up the job of Yankees brand-building like that. Wherever Big Stein is today, he’s likely beyond caring about things like money, but I bet he’s still probably pretty happy with all of the free P.R. work his team continues to get, long after he shuffled off this planet and became an immortal Yankee.

Wait. I’ve gotta talk to a trademark lawyer, stat.