« Archive for December, 2007

We’re just over three months into the Neal Huntington/Frank Coonelly administration in Pittsburgh, and they’re taking a pretty gutsy approach to this offseason: they’re doing nothing. Barely a peep.

And it’s hard to say that they’re not on the right track.

Huntington has been quoted as saying that the situation is even worse than he had thought coming in, which shouldn’t be terribly surprising. […]

We’ve covered this before, but here’s a quick note from the current issue of BusinessWeek reaffirming the point:

Former Senator George Mitchell’s report on steroid use hit the Major Leagues with the force of a 99-mph beanball. But somehow, hardly any of the sport’s biggest business backers got clocked. That’s because none of the 80-odd players named are power hitters in terms of endorsement deals. (AT&T (T) featured Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens in one of its ads, but that spot stopped running in November.) Baseball’s No. 1 corporate fan, General Motors (GM), is still in talks to renew a sponsorship deal that expired last season. And State Farm, headed into the second year of a three-year accord, seems equally unfazed. (AdAge.com)

Let’s say it one more time: the steroids issue has not, and will not, hurt baseball’s business. Any thoughts to the contrary are completely media driven.

Score another one for the former used-car salesman from Milwaukee.

Feedback? Write a comment, or e-mail the author at shawn(AT)squawkingbaseball.com

Wednesday night, the NFL officially announced that Saturday night’s game between the Patriots and Giants would be simulcast on both CBS and NBC. The game had been scheduled to air only on the NFL Network, and was seen as a major bargaining chip for the league in its ongoing battle with cable carriers. With this decision, any leverage the NFL had has now been effectively neutralized.

Don’t think that Bud and MLB weren’t paying attention. They very well may have been cracking up. […]

Some quick notes, then you can get back to sleeping/eating/opening late-arriving presents:

  • The Carlos Silva deal doesn’t pass most of our basic litmus tests. In fact, it may not pass any of them. This signing does not make the Mariners significantly better in 2008, and ties up significant amount of resources that could have been utilized better. To say that he can be a league average pitcher, and this is the going rate for league average pitchers, is uncreative at best, irresponsible at worst. You win in business by doing things differently, and better. This is neither.
  • The Phillies apparently had offers out to Geoff Jenkins and Mike Cameron, and Jenkins accepted first. […]

Dan Haren

Billy Beane is baseball’s Warren Buffett. Whenever the A’s make a move, our ears perk up.

But when they shift their organizational strategy, everyone should be taking particularly detailed notes. Toward that end…

For the second time in Beane’s tenure, the A’s have reached a major transition point. The first time, he simply retooled and re-stocked, keeping the team competitive despite losing Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, et al. Now, he’s decided to tear down what’s left of the castle and rebuild, beginning Friday when he shipped Danny Haren to Arizona for six players.

If there’s one thing I’ll take from this trade, it’s that Beane seems to realize that pitchers should be considered short-term holdings. […]

Quick one today. Let’s get to it:

  • The Giants’ youth movement is well under way. After re-upping Omar Vizquel, Sabean and company signed Aaron Rowand for five years and $60 million. The money is not the issue, in this case. Rowand is coming off a season that he will be hard-pressed to ever match. If he reverts to his normal level, he will be a good-but-not-great player on a disorganized (at best) team. And at 30 years old, he is not, as Sabean claims, “coming into his prime.” He is, incredibly enough, the youngest player in their everyday lineup… by three years. […]

George Mitchell

The Mitchell report is due for release tomorrow. I’ve voiced my opinion on this issue before, but I’d like to get some further thoughts out on the investigation specifically.

For starters, this investigation was a sham from the very beginning, never holding any real constructive purpose. It was a political response to a media-driven story. Baseball decided to institute a tougher testing policy, and did so. Their policy is now the toughest in all of sports. If it can be improved, I’m sure it will be, regardless of this report. […]

How should we evaluate star-for-prospect trades?

I’ve been thinking about this lately, since it is all the rage this offseason. In fact, it’s become standard operating procedure ever since free agency came into existence and service time became crucially important. So-called “challenge trades,” where teams exchange players of similar perceived value, are now extremely rare. Why give up existing value when you could just as easily sign a free agent, or, at worst, trade future value (i.e. prospects)? […]

The entertainment industry is stuck on a highway to hell, with no exits or rest stops. Or at least that’s what its higher-ups would have you believe.MLB.com

It is certainly true that the industry is changing, from a business where everything is proprietary to a more open system where content is free. This is only bad if you happen to support an oligopolistic culture of content distribution. With all sorts of barriers to entry falling, we are headed toward a world where anybody can make videos, write articles, or record songs, and the best of each will be consumed the most. And yes, almost all of it will be free, or very nearly so. […]

Serious Issues.

Namely, it is failing as a meritocratic honor society. Marvin Miller

Five men were elected this morning by the Veterans Committee: Walter O’Malley, Barney Dreyfuss, Dick Williams, Billy Southworth, and Bowie Kuhn. O’Malley and Dreyfuss were team owners, and each played large roles in the sport during their eras. Williams and Southworth were World Series-winning field managers. I have trouble making a legitimate case against any of them, except that they seem to be benefiting from the inherent randomness of the who’s in, who’s out culture.

But I can say this with confidence: that Bowie Kuhn was elected and Marvin Miller was not is perhaps the greatest injustice in the history of the Hall of Fame. […]