Right Field

Reveille 9/3/13

Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make this post–Labor Day Tuesday a bit more bearable:

  • Arguably, the most significant waiver-wire trades of the past week featured the Piratesacquisitions of Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau.
  • Thanks to a partially torn right ulnar collateral ligament, Matt Harvey’s 2013 season is over and, should Tommy John surgery be necessary, he will miss the entire 2014 campaign as well. In response, Hall of Famer Tom Seaver complained to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News that young pitchers today are too babied (Seaver cited only those pitchers of his generation whose arms were not as elastic as his),  while Joe Sheehan, writing in Gammons Daily, said that the Harvey injury was “the latest evidence that pitcher injuries are functionally random.”
  • Brandon Phillips did not appreciate a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter’s tweet about his mediocre on-base percentage. In reponse, the second baseman made very sure that the scribe knew what he thought about him and his body-fat index. Baseball Nation’s Rob Neyer explains why the incident should not be blown out of proportion.
  • Even though the Royals’ playoff hopes are nearly extinguished, Dayton Moore told Jeffrey Flanagan of Fox Sports Kansas City that the team he’s presided over as general manager for more than six years is “ahead of schedule.” In analyzing the GM’s remarks, the staff at Royals Review appear to be at wit’s end:

The month of August saw our Royals exit the playoff picture stage left, and all that’s seemingly left to play for now is to see whether the Royals will have their first winning season in a decade. It is disappointing that the “all in” off-season that saw us trade the best hitting prospect in baseball for two years of James Shields has resulted in one of those years being a mediocre .500 or so season. . . .

We are ahead of schedule! It makes me wonder what the schedule was. Was it a 75 win season? That makes sense. If you have a chance to trade your best prospect for a pitcher that can help lead you to 75 wins, you HAVE to take it. And we’re ahead of schedule! We may win 77, 79, dare we dream? EIGHTY-ONE victories. Dayton Moore, you sly fox!

  • Via D. J. Short of NBC Sport’s Hardball Talk, Bryce Harper failed to run out a ground ball to second base in the midst of a close game and heard about it from bench coach Randy Knorr. (One night later, Harper got thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple with the Nats down nine runs.)
  • Speaking of the 2013 NL Rookie of the Year, the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore relays a conversation Scott Boras had with reporters where the super-agent suggested that teams should consider locking up young superstars with contracts lasting twelve years. Yup, Harper is a Boras client.
  • And speaking of commitments to players, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports explores whether “MLB teams are trying to make contracts more like the NFL’s.” 

Perhaps the best way to view guarantee language is through a legislative lens. As much as teams want to look authoritative with it, a club’s guarantee language is like state law while the league’s CBA and JDA are federal law. And a football-type contract right now is illegal in baseball. Even if an arbitrator were to embolden teams that try to wiggle out of long-term deals, doing so because a player stinks, which is perfectly acceptable in the NFL, never, ever will happen in baseball.

Still, guarantee language is of enough concern that teams unleash some of their brightest front-office and legal minds on it, trying to insure themselves in case of any kind of malfeasance.

  • Former umpire Frank Pulli, 78, passed away. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reminds us that Pulli, a 28-year veteran of the bigs, will best be remembered for improperly utilizing instant replay to review a home-run call nine years before Commissioner Selig would authorize its use.
  • Josh Levin of Slate maintains that this is the worst professional baseball card ever made.

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  • Few fans east of the Mountain Time Zone know anything about the most prolific defensive third baseman in the National League, Nolan Arenado. Here’s some info from Doug of High Heat Stats, outlining what a spectacular season the Rockies defender is enjoying.

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.


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