Reveille 12/9/13

by Jason Epstein

Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your offseason Monday a bit more bearable:

  • I’m guessing it’s a good thing Jay-Z and his No. 1 client didn’t read this piece from Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times about turmoil within the Mariners management before agreeing to sign with the club? 

[Manager Eric] Wedge left at season’s end, fleeing what he describes as “total dysfunction and a lack of leadership.”

The sentiment is echoed by current and past Mariners baseball operations employees beyond Wedge, who has remained silent since leaving and only reluctantly agreed to talk. More than two dozen people who spoke to The Times say any manager — and the players under him — will fall short of success without a halt to ongoing interference from Lincoln and whomever succeeds Armstrong, who will retire Jan. 31.

The sources also raised serious doubts about the GM tasked with reversing years of futility in one offseason, saying Zduriencik has kept his job only because Lincoln and Armstrong won’t admit another critical hiring mistake. The sources question Zduriencik’s credentials to properly build a roster, saying he sold Lincoln and Armstrong on hiring him five years ago with a job application package prepared not by him, but by recently dismissed Mariners special assistant Tony Blengino.

Because of new rules that will be implemented, the most the Golden Eagles could receive in exchange for Tanaka’s rights is $20 million. Before Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball started to discuss setting limits on how much MLB teams could bid for Japanese players, there was speculation the Golden Eagles could receive more than the $51.7 million the Nippon Ham Fighters received for the rights to Yu Darvish two years ago.

“We have an obligation to explain to our stakeholders whether it’s fair,” Golden Eagles President Yozo Tachibana said to Sponichi.

Carl Yastrzemski was recently fined $500 for loafing and I’ve been keeping an eye on him. Sure enough, he hit a ball to second base today and loafed all the way to first. I’m afraid Yastrzemski has a bit of dog in him. Always did, and people around baseball knew it all the time. When things are going good Yastrzemski will go all out. When things aren’t going so well he’ll give a half-ass effort. But he’s got so much ability that the only thing you can do is put up with him.

I asked a few of the Red Sox if they thought he deserved the fine and thought they would defend him. But they said, “He deserved it all the way.”

  • Perhaps the most overlooked transaction last week was the trade between the Brewers and Royals that sent right fielder Norichika Aoki to Kansas City in exchange for emerging reliever Will Smith. Craig Brown of Royals Review endorses the move, noting both that the Royals had a surplus of bullpen talent and that Aoki’s ability to get on base is likely to give a badly needed boost to the leadoff spot.   

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Right Field

Brief chronicles of our sporting times.