Plant City, FL—On the heels of yesterday’s brilliant piece by colleague and Words With Friends tormentor, West Coast Craig, I will try to practice my juris prudently here today. After all, Elmhurst’s Nino Scalia would have wanted it that way. And in the words of Cecil the Turtle, aka Sen. Mitch McConnell, “Let them eat GMO infused cake!”
1 Day till Pitchers and Catchers! I’ve been counting down the days until P & C ever since Lucas Duda‘s neck bolt short-circuited and he airmailed that throw to the plate in the World Series. And we’re finally here. Unfortunately, so is Duda, but that’s a column for another day.
In the winter following the 1986 season, the MLB owners got together and decided not to offer any of that year’s free agents market rate for their services. I guess they thought no one would notice. The owners were going to save themselves from themselves and wait it out.
Possibly the two biggest name free agents that Winter were Jack Morris and Andre Dawson. Morris should be in the Baseball Hall of fame today but isn’t because today’s SABR nerds who don’t watch baseball have decided that his “advanced stats” don’t make the cut. All Morris did was WIN baseball games, the way all Cris Carter did according to Buddy Ryan, was “catch touchdowns!”
Morris famously was interviewed that Winter while wearing a Clyde Frazier inspired full length fur coat. Morris, exasperated that his winning pedigree was being ignored told his interviewer that “now, I understand what Jackie Robinson went through.”
Andre Dawson, who is in the HOF had it right that Winter. Dawson’s knee problems had limited his production for years and much of it could be attributed to the rock hard turf he endured at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. So Dawson felt like he needed to play his home games on natural grass. He decided that he was best served by playing for the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
So Dawson went to Cubs Management and handed them a blank contract. “Fill in a number you think is fair,” Dawson told Cubs GM Dallas Green. And Green did just that, offering Dawson-then one of baseball’s best all around players, a contract for one year at $500K. Dawson wound up signing for one quarter of what top players were making that season.
Why do I bring this up on Erev Pitchers and Catchers? Well, there remains nearly 2 teams’ worth of decent, serviceable MLB players and pitchers unsigned. They all have their flaws, but how on Earth is Ian Desmond, Dexter Fowler, Yovanni Gallardo still unsigned in Mid-February. Some may point out that those 3 players have draft pick compensation attached to them so that’s depressed their markets.
But there remains a large group of MLB players who are not tied to loss of a draft pick if signed. Is Major League Baseball at it again? Have the owners behind new Commissioner Rob Manfred decided that the only way to trim player salaries would be to cut at the peripheries of rosters? So rather than offering a great bench player like Ryan Raburn a deal equal to his accomplishments, they offer him nothing but a minor league deal?
Something smells rotten here. And we’re not even in Philly yet. Could the MLB owners be up to their old collusion tricks? Can’t rule it out. This has the potential to go all the way to the Nino-less US Supreme Court!
Come back tomorrow for a man beholden to no court, Angry Ward.