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That’s Just Wrong: The Filthiest Major League Pitches of 2010

With 2010 being “The Year of the Pitcher” it seemed high time someone threw together a list of the nastiest pitches from the season. 

This list isn’t based on any statistical evidence, merely on my opinion and observations. 

Credit for my inspiration for this list goes to Joel Reuter who compiled a similar list in 2009.

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San Francisco Giants: The Gross Overvaluation of Matt Cain By Fans

    As I was getting ready for bed last night, I headed over to B/R to see what type of articles I could come up with for my nightly reading. I browsed through the NFL section and found nothing so I headed over to the MLB section and found a gem of sarcasm that I couldn’t help but scoff at. 

It appears that after the San Francisco Giants won the World Series by what most sports fans would say was a miracle run of good luck (and it was, make no mistake about it), Giants fans began to overvalue Matt Cain, and indeed, the entire rotation that pitched them through that World Series vs. Texas. 

Now, most fans rarely, if ever, will so openly discuss their blatant over-valuations of any one player. However, one Giants fan did just that by writing this article about what he thinks the Giants should receive if they decided to trade Matt Cain in the coming months. That fan’s name: Andrew Brining.

It has come to my attention that most San Francisco Giants fans have become disillusioned following the dream run through the postseason, but I had never thought that any of them had fallen this far, this fast. 

Now, I don’t want to be taken the wrong way. Matt Cain is a good pitcher, possibly even a great pitcher, but he is by no means worth what the majority of Giants fans seem to think. As I read over this article (and it’s rather well written) I couldn’t help thinking to myself “What are they drinking over there in San Francisco?” 

Let me begin by saying that if you haven’t read the article, you should. You’ll see what I’m talking about when you get to the first slide proposing a trade with the Orioles. Throughout the comment section, the author was kind enough to explain his position repeatedly to many people who were also kind enough to inform him that he was out of his mind. The problem with him repeating his position is that his position is incorrect. 

Mr. Brining repeatedly states that because the Giants won the World Series, they are the top team in the league. I don’t think that after the offseason they’ve had, or lack thereof, that the Giants (or their fans) should be touting themselves as top dog. Their offense is bad, their pitching is good. Problem is, several teams have tried the “Pitching Wins Championships” approach, and most of them fail. 

It’s true. Pitching does win championships. Pitching is top dog in the playoffs. If you have two pitchers who could be aces on most of the staffs in the league, and a serviceable 3rd starter, you can probably pitch your way through the postseason and through the world series. But make no mistake, offense (and defense) scoring, (and holding your opponent to fewer runs) are what get you to the postseason. 

Take a look at the 2009 Seattle Mariners. Their pitching was FANTASTIC. Felix Hernandez would have been the AL Cy Young winner in ’09 had there not been a masterpiece of a season by Zack Grienke. Their defense was the best in the league by every measurable statistic. Where were they in October? Sitting at home with the regular folk watching the playoffs on tv. Why? because their offense couldn’t get more runs over the plate than the opponent. Had they reached the playoffs, they probably could have won a series or two, possibly even made it to the World Series. 

Now take a look at the 2011 San Francisco Giants. They’ve got the pitching. They don’t have the offense or the defense. It’s going to be very tough for them to repeat. 

Which brings me back to the aforementioned article. Mr. Brining would like you to believe that, should the Giants get an offer on Matt Cain, and should they need to trade him (which they don’t…he’s young, he’s cheap, and he’s good), they can hold out until they get a trade that is absolutely lopsided in their favor. He’s thinking Cain for Hanley Ramirez or Miguel Cabrera here folks. 

Any rational baseball fan would look at these proposed “trades” and tell you they’re all fantasy. There’s absolutely no way any of the teams mentioned would trade the stars mentioned straight across for Matt Cain. Brining has an answer for that too: look at Cain’s body of work in the playoffs. 20 innings of scoreless baseball. That’s fantastic. That’s two and 2/9ths of a game. When you factor in the fact that the Giants had to play 15 games to win the world series, that’s not even 1/5th of the team’s games in the playoffs. 

Giants fans have become so disillusioned that they believe Matt Cain is worth more in a trade than 2010 Cy Young winners Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez, more than 2008 Cy Young winner Cliff Lee was (in both 2010 trades combined) and Lee’s body of work in the 2009 postseason was even more impressive than Cain’s. 

If Texas were to offer the Seattle Mariners Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler in a trade for Felix Hernandez, I think the Mariners would think about it. If they threw in Neftali Feliz to sweeten the deal, Jack Zduriencek would pick King Felix up, twirl him around his head and throw him in the general direction of Texas. 

Brining says that the Giants wouldn’t even consider trading Cain for Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler. I hate to break it to you bud, but Felix Hernandez has been the most dominant pitcher in baseball for the last two years, and even he could be had for that type of deal. Cain isn’t as valuable as King Felix, not by a long shot. Felix Hernandez is arguably the best pitcher in baseball. Cain isn’t even top 10, probably not even top 15. 

The whole point of this article was to say this: Stop thinking a player is God simply because he played well during short run in the Playoffs. If San Fran was to be offered any of the deals mentioned in Mr. Brining’s article, they’d jump on those deals in a heartbeat. 

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Fixing The 2011 Seattle Mariners: Paul Allen Makes Successful Bid To Buy Team

The Mariners‘ biggest problem in recent years has been management’s inability to let the baseball people make the baseball decisions. The signing of Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre after the 2004 season for instance. Howard Lincoln and the other Mariners’ owners have sometimes shown the willingness to spend, but always at the wrong time. 

2000- Alex Rodriguez hits free agency. Management offers him $100 million to stay in an M’s uniform. He says he wants the richest contract in baseball history, and declines to sign with the Mariners unless they up their offer. Howard Lincoln, et al, refuse to do so, and A-Rod proceeds to sign with the Texas Rangers for 10 years, $254 million. 

I’m not saying that the owners should have opened their wallets that wide, but at the time, the largest contract in baseball history wasn’t really much more than the $100 million that they were offering. ($100 million over 8 years, roughly $12 million per year). At that time, the largest contract in baseball history belonged to Ken Griffey, Jr, coming in at $116 million over nine years. If management ups their offer to ten years, $130 million, Alex Rodriguez is a Mariner until 2011. Say what you want about him, but at the time, Rodriguez was the best player in baseball period. 

1998- Randy Johnson wants a contract extension and he wants the Mariners to show that they are willing to spend the money it takes to build a contender. Management offered Johnson a well below market offer, he tanked the season and was traded at the deadline to the Astros. If Johnson is given his extension, he finishes his career with the Mariners, acquiring win #300 along the way. 

1999- Ken Griffey, Jr. wants a large contract, wants the team to show they want to win, or he wants to be traded to his hometown Cincinnati Reds, (because of his full no trade protection, he has the ability to stop a trade to any team he doesn’t like, and with his contract expiring at the end of the 1999 season, he could walk, leaving the Mariners with nothing). Management is unwilling to spend the dough, and the House that Griffey Built would not see its namesake play within her walls for 9 years. 

2004- Management is desperate for sluggers. The best sluggers available are Richie Sexson (right-handed) and Adrian Beltre (also right-handed). Unfortunately, right handed sluggers never fare well within the friendly (or hostile, depending on the perspective) confines of SafeCo Field. As many fans predicted, Beltre and Sexson both disappointed at the plate. That’s not to say that Beltre wasn’t worth every penny. His defense brought his value sky high, but if he had been able to live up to expectations at the plate, he would have been a bargain. 

2007- Management signs Ichiro to a $90 million extension, and then keeps him, instead of trading him for a boatload of prospects, saving cash in the process. I’m not saying that I don’t like Ichiro. On the contrary he happens to be one of my favorite players ever. However, the first mistake that the Mariners made was not trading Ichiro immediately after the 2004 season, when he broke George Sisler’s single-season hits record. At that point, his value was higher than it has been at any point since. The prospects the Mariners could have gotten from trading Ichiro alone would have been enough to jump start the rebuilding process that it took until the end of 2008 for the owners to realize was necessary.

All of the examples above are used to highlight the recent times when the owners opened (or shut) their wallets at a bad time. Unfortunately, most of the times that management was willing to spend money was for one reason and one reason alone: to make more.

Take the Ichiro extension for instance: the revenue that the Mariners earn from Ichiro’s celebrity status in Japan alone pays for his contract and then some.

The Beltre/Sexson signings were intended to boost attendance, and they did, for a while, until fans were once again sent home shaking their heads in disgust.

All of the problems that the Mariners are facing right now (having to try to lure players up to the Northwest, but being unable to compete with the Yankees and other teams as far as money/respectability is concerned) could be wiped away with one simple, logical move: Paul Allen must successfully make a bid to purchase the team from the current owners.

If you haven’t heard of Paul Allen, you might want to get your head examined, or crawl out of the box you’ve been living in for the last 25 years.

Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, Inc., is the 37th richest man in the world, with a net worth of around $14 billion (personal net worth, his companies are worth much, much more).

To the average person, looking at a 37th wealthiest ranking isn’t that impressive, especially when you take into consideration that Bill Gates also lives in Seattle, and is always ranked in the top 5.

What IS impressive, however, is the fact that Allen is the #1 wealthiest sports franchise owner in the U.S.

His personal wealth makes Hank Steinbrenner look like a pauper. He could, with no assistance from any other investors, buy the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, and L.A. Lakers (three most valuable franchises in their respective sports) three times each and still have a couple billion left over. 

The Seattle Mariners are valued at around $439 million. Paul Allen probably has that much tucked underneath the mattress in the master bedroom aboard his $250 million yacht, Octopus

If he were to make an offer of around $500 million to purchase the team, Howard Lincoln and the other owners would be hard pressed to turn the offer down, as it would be a 500% profit from what they spent when they purchased the team in 1992. 

Allen could then buy any player he wanted, turning the Mariners into the Yankees. I’m not saying that he should do that, just that he could. What I actually think he should do is open the wallet to keep the talent we have, and open it as wide as is necessary to bring in the best players available via free agency. 

Imagine A-Rod, Teixera, and Beltre in the infield and Ichiro, Holliday, and Guttierrez in the outfield. 

How about Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, C.C. Sabathia, and John Lackey taking up the top 4 slots in the M’s rotation? 

The days of being bargain shoppers would be over. Jack Zduriencek would be able to pick which players he thought would best serve the team’s needs and go after them. Gone would be the days of picking players up off the scrap heap and hoping they would be able to resurrect their careers in the spacious confines of SafeCo Field. Instead, the M’s would be able to choose the cream of the crop, leaving the hated Yankees with whatever is left. 

Sure, there would be some bad contracts, some bad trades, and some bad seasons. But that’s baseball. In the end, Paul Allen has shown he’ll spend whatever money it takes to keep the teams he owns competitive. Look at the Seattle Seahawks. Look at the Seattle Sounders. Look at the Portland Trail Blazers. In the end, Mr. Allen would spend whatever money was necessary and he wouldn’t stop until he was holding the World Series Trophy in his hands. 


Credit to Casey McClain for the inspiration for this story, as well as the headline. 

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