Some small bits

I probably should get around to posting at earlier times. And more often. That tends to make a blog like have readable material. But between feeling pretty awful Monday night after playing poker, and being out of my apartment much of Tuesday, I’ve been on the computer less this week than I have expected. Anyway, onto the more interesting stuff.

  • I am working on a logo for this blog so that the bland solid blue background at the top won’t be the first thing you see upon arrival at the blog. I have an idea of what I want it to look like. Now to use my rusty Photoshop and Illustrator skills.
  • Thanks to a friend of mine, I have found one of the greatest videos ever to grace the internet (NSFW unless you have headphones)
  • The 37th Annual World Series of Poker started last week and is proof that poker’s popularity is not fading. All of the hold’em events have larger prize pools than their counterparts from last year. I’m not sure if all of the non-hold’em events have had this distinction thus far, but I know they’re generating a sizable amount of buy-ins.
  • The World Series of Poker is also great for quotes like these: “Watching Phil Ivey play Omaha Hi/Low is like watching God print money.” -Steve Badger
  • One of the amazing things for me is that there are so many awful baseball announcers who still are in the mainstream. Between Joe Morgan, Jon Miller, Tim McCarver, John Kruk, Michael Kay and Bobby Murcer, I rarely get a chance to actually enjoy listening to a baseball game. At this point I’ve gotten pretty good at just tuning out the announcers voices. This past Saturday’s Yankees-Mets game on Fox had an amazing example of McCarver’s inability to actually understand what is going on around baseball. During a discussion Buck and McCarver were having with Ken Rosenthal about possible trade targets at the trading deadline, after a silence due to Rosenthal having mentioned the pretty obvious, Tim McCarver decides to ask about a player whose name has gone unmentioned. And that player happens to be Johan Santana. The same Johan Santan who has put up the following line: 18 GS, 124 IP, 100 H, 41 R, 38 ER, 12 HR, 23 BB, 131K, which works out to a nice 2.76 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and .219 BAA. Amongst Starting Pitchers who qualify for the league leader lists, he ranks 3rd in MLB and 1st in the AL in ERA, 1st in MLB in WHIP, and 1st in MLB in Ks. If I haven’t hammered in the idea far enough, I’m saying that Johan is an ace. And at 27 years old, he’s essentially in the prime of his career. Considering the going rate for pitching, Johan Santana’s salary under his current contract ($8.75 million this year, $13 million in 2007 and $13.25 million in 2008) is very reasonable. Now McCarver never explained why he thinks the Twins would trade Johan. So I’ll explore all possible reasons that McCarver could think of (the few that there are).
    • The Twins are a small market team. Well, yes they are, but they have a lot of young players under their rookie contracts or reasonable deals, like Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Francisco Liriano, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan, Nick Punto, and Juan Rincon. Yes, Nathan is making a combined $9 million over the next two years, but he’s an above average closer, and once again looking at the price of pitching, his contract is very reasonable. Also, it’s very likely that either Torii Hunter will be off the books next year or back for a hometown discount. And the Twins will receive a nice amount of revenue sharing that will be increased by them being able to count their $130 million share towards their new stadium towards their yearly expenses over the next few years. This all amounts to the Twins not being in anywhere near a bad financial situation. Plus they do have the richest owner in baseball in Carl Pohlad.
    • The Twins are not in contention this year. Well they were not before interleague play. But after going 16-2 beating up on the NL, the Twins are now in 3rd place in the AL central and even somewhat in the wild card run. So there’s no reason to give up on this year, yet.
    • The Twins, like any small market team, need to trade veterans and get cheap talent for them. Well this is a good idea if you’re looking to rebuild. However, the Twins have the talent to make a run at winning the AL Central for at least the next few years. If you trade your ace, the chances of that run happening go down quite a bit unless you know you’re getting an equal level of talent back. Which just is not guaranteed due to things like injury and player comfort. Also, are there even more than 2 or 3 team with enough talent at their farm system’s upper level to trade for Johan? The Yankees certainly don’t have that amount of talent. Boston doesn’t. Toronto doesn’t. The Mets don’t. The Cardinals don’t. The Astros don’t. The Reds don’t. The Brewers probably not. The Dodgers probably do, but despite the trade of Navarro, GM Ned Colletti says he’s committed to keeping much of the farm system in place to make a long run. The Rockies likely don’t have the talent for a trade. The Diamondbacks have enough hitting talent, but not pitching talent. The Giants don’t have enough talent thanks to bad drafting and previous trades like the Pierzynski one (which sent Liriano and Nathan to the Twins). The Padres don’t have enough talent either. The A’s have somewhat close to enough talent, enough if they throw in Dan Haren, but then they lose the amount of service years available to them before the current contract allows for free agency. The Angels have enough talent, especially if they throw in Jered Weaver. But they’re probably ready to let their minor leaguers begin to take over for their aging major leaguers and bring some much needed offense to Anaheim. Seattle does not have enough talent. Texas doesn’t either. And you certainly don’t trade an ace in your own division.
  • Another tidbit proving why McCarver is widely mocked: One of his favorite players was Hideki Irabu. Enough said.
  • Michael Kay’s stupidity came in trying to address trades as well. During Wednesday night’s game between the Yankees and Cleveland, Kay said Paul Byrd is the type of pitcher the Yankeees need, since he gives his team innings and keeps them in games. Byrd of course went on to pitch 3 and 2/3rds and give up 9 runs (4 earned). Byrd on the season has a 4.31 ERA is averaging essentially 6 innings per start. Seems pretty much like Jared Wright doesn’t it? Not exactly the image of an innings eater.
  • My friend Gary has great criticism of Willie Randolph’s tendencies to be Joe Torre Jr.

Okay, that turned out longer than expected. But I’ll be doing shorter bits more frequently as I settle in.

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