Friday, August 27, 2010

Dodgers Should Keep Manny


            By Ross Newhan             

     --I don't see the sense in trading Manny Ramirez to the Chicago White Sox or anyone else before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline. I'm not dismissing the savings of $4 million, which might, at least, pay one of the lawyers in the McCourt's divorce case, and I'm not dismissing the possibility of the Dodgers acquiring a legitimate prospect or two in a deal. It's just that the Dodgers entered a weekend series with Colorado only five games back in the wild card race and they are a stronger team with Ramirez in the lineup, even if he doesn't hit home runs anymore. He makes Andre Eithier and Matt Kemp better, and a five game deficit can be wiped out in a week. Manny and the Dodgers will have their own divorce when the season ends, and isn't tolerating him for another month worth the shot at a post-season berth?

   --The general consensus is that no one is to blame for Stephen Strasburg's need for Tommy John surgery. The Nationals handled him well, and the only question I have heard baseball executives and scouts raise involves the decision to let him throw so many changeups. The Strasburg changeup isn't the normal low 80s or high 70s changeup. It's the difference between his 99/100 mph fastball and 92 mph changeup. which is most pitcher's fastball. It takes a grip that can put strain on the arm, and as one executive said, "He doesn't need it. He has three other pitches with which to get hitters out, and all are far above average." It's a shame. Strasburg's development enlivened the industry, but dozens of pitchers have come back from Tommy John, including nine in this year's All-Star game alone, and some more effective than they were before the surgery.

   --Angel insiders remain irritated that Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee rejected a deal to Anaheim in July but accepted a deal to Atlanta in August. One big factor, of course, is that the Braves lead their division while the Angels were falling out of the race in July, unable to sustain a streak. Two other bigger factors: Lee did not want to move his family in mid-summer and he still had hopes that the Cubs could become a post-season threat in the National League Central. However, between July 24 and Aug. 18, when he accepted the trade to Atlana, the Cubs went 5-18, and that was enough to convice Lee they were dead (and he had a chance to join a team leading its division).

  --Lou Piniella deserved to go out on a bigger high than the low of another disspirited Cubs season that was another lesson in wasted free agent money. However, Piniella can take pride in his long service as one of the best professional hitters I ever saw, his tolerance (as player and manager) of George Steinbrenner, his World Series title with Cincinnati and the role he played as manager of the Mariners in helping save baseball in the Pacific Northwest, getting both Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. off to mature starts as young superstars. 

   --The revelation by of the accurate financial records of an array of major league teams was also a revelation to many owners, who were stunned to learn that the total amount of revenue being shared by the richer clubs (and going into the pockets of their poorer brethren rather than being spent on players and club improvement) is close to $450 million. Major League Baseball stopped circulating the financial data of each of the 30 clubs among all 30 several years ago. The revenue sharing total and the apparent fact that some clubs weren't using it for the purpose it was designed is expected to create a major internal debate during the next labor negotiations.              

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