Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Theo Compensation Settled? Results very unsettling

When it was made known that the Cubs and Red Sox had to settle what the compensation would be for the Red Sox to allow Theo Epstein to scoot out of Boston after their incredible collapse, it was quite apparent that Boston didn't want to just give Theo away for anything.

Rumors swirled, outlandish ideas of Castro or Garza going to Boston were made. However, it was known that Boston's upper-management believed Theo was worth far more than even Theo believed he was worth. Was it "sour grapes" on Larry or John's behalf that their boy-genius savior left town after too much turmoil on what was the cause of Boston's historic September collapse?

Theo joined the Cubs, without compensation being settled.

A full month went on, no settlement.

Bud Selig gave both teams a deadline before he'd step in and settle the compensation himself....again, no settlement. However, both teams were given an extension of a undetermined length.

Time passed, both teams went on with their off-seasons without even a whisper of compensation. Finally both sides raised their hands and sent the order to Selig to let the MLB offices settle the compensation dispute.

A month passed, since then, and Pitchers & Catchers reported.....Compensation Settled....

Now, I'm just a fan of baseball who dabbles in prospects but knows generally about most major leaguers to some extent. However, why did it take almost 4 months to figure out that pitching prospect Chris Carpenter and an exchanging of PTBNLs of little-to-no-consequence would be the overall compensation?

Also, why is Boston forced to send a PTBNL to the Cubs when they were hornswaggled by the Cubs in allowing Epstein to be hired before they were compensated for letting him go before his contract expired?

Some Cub fans will point out that they think it's unjust that Carpenter was the player dealt and not a lower-level prospect(Junior Lake or Josh Vitters) and how the PTBNLs on both sides will be "organizational" filler. However, Organizational filler for a winning team with a strong farm system is vastly different than a team who's farm is "okay" and the franchise is being totally re-done. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shock The World: 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates

Not until I started thinking about it today, but if there's any division in baseball where a surprise could occur....The NL Central is where it could be located. The Cubs and Astros are being rebuilt from scratch by sabermetrically-inclined front offices. The Cards and Brewers are licking wounds from huge losses to their offenses with the AL-bound Prince Fielder & Albert Pujols and the possibility of NL MVP Ryan Braun starting the 2012 season on the suspended list for a PED suspension. Cincinatti seems comfortable to mortgage some of their future in hopes that they finally have a "real" ace-level pitcher in Mat Latos.

That leaves the Pittsburgh Pirates....the team that always seems like they're on the right track in ending their near-20 yr Losing Season drought, but end up having something happen and it only continues. Neal Huntington is the NL-version of Kansas City's Dayton Moore. The "process" doesn't always give the results that you imagined. They try very hard to sway free agent talent into wanting to go to Pittsburgh and play in beautiful PNC park, yet it always seems that they're more likely to sign a player that  is trying to redeem themselves and getting another big-money contract in the future. Erik Bedard, Clint Barmes, Jose Mijares and Casey McGeehee are their top acquisitions this offseason, thus far, and they even made a push for Free Agency's #3 SP Edwin Jackson(only to lose out to Washington).

Yet, for some odd reason, 2011's surprising push that led to ultimate disappointment for the Pirates may be the start of something for the franchise. It could be a lesson that their younger core of players needed to learn before they could make the move from "pretenders" to "contenders". Lesson is "Don't rest on your laurels, while you have success now...it could always go up in smoke in an instant".

Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchenson are very good players and the core of the Pittsburgh offense. They tasted what it was like to be a winner....for a half season. I'm sure that they'd likely trade anything to achieve that feeling again. To go from one of baseball's biggest underdogs to become one of baseball's "surprise stories" and "SHOCK THE WORLD" like the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays did.

Worst to first, worst to first....Ingredients: A somewhat young core of players who want to win...CHECK. Add a few key veterans...CHECK. Hope for a "perfect storm" within the division(Losses to perennial contenders that open playoff window just enough for other teams who are unlikely to ever get shot to contend)....CHECK

If the 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates make their big playoff run, I will not be at all surprised. SHOCK THE WORLD, BUCCOS!