Tuesday, January 8, 2013

FRANCO finally remembered his blogin password

Some quick thoughts on the baseball...


New Toronto ace R.A. Dickey says he's thrilled to join a team that's ''all in'' to win the World Series...

Yes, R.A., with the big off-season signings of Burnett, Ryan and Overbay, your Blue Jays are indeed making a splash.  I'm sure throwing around mid-level money on mid-level talent is the key to cracking the A.L. East.

...and thankful the New York Mets did not meet his contract demands.

Who likes it when that happens?

He says Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos is doing everything to win now after also acquiring All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes and pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle from Miami this offseason.

Those guys looked pretty awesome playing for the 69-93 Marlins.  Let's see what happens when we surround them with some similarly mediocre talent and force them to play half their games under the tyranny of the metric system.

Look, Josh Johnson is really pretty sweet.  Mark Buehrle is very decent.  Jose Reyes is absurdly overvalued.  RA Dickey could be a 39 year old bum next year and no one would be surprised.  These guys will make the Blue Jays better, but not much more than Roy Halladay made them better when he was there; and as we know, not even Doc was good enough to make Toronto relevant in that meanest of divisions.

Conclusion: Blue Jays are a whole lot of noise.  Brett Lawrie is really promising, Edwin Encarnacion is highly suspect, Jose Bautista is no longer suspect but he may be getting old and injury-prone, nothing else is good in BASEBALL / CANADA.

In other news...

Nick Swisher and the Cleveland Indians are having a grand old time smiling and smiling some more.  Not only is this reprobate behavior, it's completely unjustified. 

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Nick Swisher's smile was broader and brighter than the Chief Wahoo logo on his new cap.

What's cool about 2013 is that racism is now okay.

He was back in Ohio, back at home, back where it all started.

He's from Columbus and went to Ohio State.

''This is the place for me to be,'' he said. ''All roads led to Cleveland.''

Or Cincinnati.  Right?

''I can't help it, man,'' he said, shaking his head. ''This is unbelievable. I never in a million years thought I would be in this position. As a little kid you dream about playing in the big leagues, but I don't know if I ever dreamed about being in a situation like this. It's an amazing time for my family and I.''

My family and me, Nick.  Also: I love how the quote leaves open the inference that while a lot of kids dream of being in the big leagues, no kids would think to dream of playing in Cleveland, Ohio.

The 32-year-old Swisher, who was born in Columbus and attended Ohio State, didn't try to hide his enthusiasm in joining the Indians, who convinced him that he could help their lineup and maybe get them back to the days when they were contending for AL Central titles on a yearly basis.

32-year-old Nick Swisher is going to make up for not having prime years Albert Belle, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, David Justice, Robbie Alomar, Juan Gonzalez, Eddie Murray, etc.

After trading Shin-Soo Choo last month, the Indians were desperate for a proven right fielder.

In case you didn't care to know this or forgot, the Indians traded their very good right fielder this off-season.  So while Nick Swisher will add value, it's quickly neutralized by the fact that the Indians were already in the red on this one.

A switch-hitter, Swisher provides power and versatility to new manager Terry Francona's lineup.  

Francona is going to use Swisher to run the wildcat.

Seriously folks, versatility in a baseball lineup is almost entirely based on playing multiple defensive positions well.  For years now, the Cardinals have been able to churn guys out of the woodwork who can play infield and outfield, hit well for at least one platoon, and run the bases late in a game.  That's versatility, and it comes on the cheap most of the time, allowing the St. Louis front office to acquire aging fatties who need a pinch runner or defensive replacement late in the game.  That is how versatility works.  It is not simply the ability to switch hit. (To Swish's credit, he did pitch some long relief for the Yankees when they were getting shelled one night.  This could be of value to the woeful Cleveland pitching staff.)

''This is a big deal,'' said Francona.

"Not really," said FRANCO.  

''I don't think there is any reason for us to be cool about this. I can't tell you how excited I am to have him. There were a lot of other teams that wanted this guy real bad. This is a big day for us."

Remember where you were!

When Swisher and his wife, actress JoAnna Garcia Swisher, visited Progressive Field last month, the club rolled out the scarlet-and-gray - Ohio State's colors - carpet to impress them.  

As someone who thinks NCAA culture is fucking ridiculous, I am pained to find out that this bullshit works on people who aren't just 17 year old steroid users. 

The Indians took Swisher on the field and had him walk to home plate. As he made his way onto the diamond, the public address system announced his name and the Indians played recorded messages from current Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer as well as Buckeyes basketball coach Thad Matta on the giant scoreboard, urging him to come ''home.''

"But which home!?" Swisher pleaded.  "Cleveland or Cincinnati??  They're both in Ohio and of equal distance to my hometown.  Really, your appeal needs to be more specific!"

Afterward, the couple went to lunch and the Indians surprised Swisher by bringing in former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel.

Don't take the memorabilia, Nick!!

The recruiting push overwhelmed Swisher.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say that this is why we cover up for child rapists.  That kind of bad PR doesn't just affect the recruiting power of amateur scholar-athletic programs; it's also potentially detrimental to the brand pitch we can make to the professional athlete.

''We were walking out of here like, 'Man, these guys did it right,''' Swisher said. ''They tugged on the right strings. They went Ohio State on me. They brought my idol Jim Tressel back. They did it right. Even with all the other places I visited, there was nothing compared to this. I have never felt love like this before.''

Jim Tressel: idol.  

Also, wait to feel the love in August 2015, Nick.  You've been rehabbing a bum shoulder or calf or something for the better part of the year, the team is sinking, and your contract is Larry Dolan's excuse for not spending more money.  It will be love-feeling o'clock.


''You don't bring a guy like [Francona] over here if you don't plan on winning,'' Swisher said. ''To have that captain of your ship, a proven guy who knows how to manage the game the right way, that made it an easier decision for me.''


In other other news...

I think the Nationals are making the right moves this off-season.  Dan Haren is awesome, and $13m for one year is a great price.  Adding him to Gio and Strasburg is a nice move.  Denard Span is also a really useful role player.  He'll give the Nats pure defense, while also being decent with the bat (not decent enough with his OBP that he should leadoff, though).  This means Harper can play a corner spot and concentrate on his hitting, instead of laying out for sinking line drives to the detriment of his health.   Adam LaRoche was frustrating to watch when he played here, but he wasn't bad.  The Nats don't need to ask too much of him, so he'll be fine driving in runs in the middle of their very solid lineup.  As of now, the Nats are the team to beat.

The Rays are doing what the Rays do.  Making smart decisions and shedding big names for great prospects.  They scored a huge win with extending Longoria's super-club-friendly contract, and then scored again by cashing in on Shields.  Good stuff, nerds.

Whatever good things the Pirates may have done are eclipsed by what stupid dicks they are for signing Jason Grilli and Russell Martin, and for being ingenuous assholes to Matt at Fanfest.  I'm going to have to come back here another time and tell you how mad I am, internet.  For now, just know that Neal Huntington is no longer a thing I feel compelled to defend.  In fact, fuck that guy. 

More to come.

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