The Most Important Player on the Hot Stove Debate – The Man of the Year is the Man of the Offseason!

November 19, 2009

Read Sports Geek’s argument and Loyal Homer’s arguments about who will be the most important player on the hot stove during this MLB offseason.

Following the historic collapse of the Detroit Tigers during the final weeks of the 2009 baseball season, change is inevitable for the Motor City. For a team to be THAT close to playing October baseball – only to have the opportunity snatched away in extra innings of an extra game – it is foolish to assume that the Tigers’ front offices will be content to just leave things alone. Instead, general manager David Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland will be spending the next few months trying to determine exactly what went wrong, and who are the best people to help fix those problems.

Additionally, there are several key players from the Tigers who become free agents this offseason. With several very expensive contracts already on their books (such as $10M in 2009 for the disappointing Dontrelle Willis and $19M for Magglio Ordonez), the Tigers are facing the prospect of a very costly next few seasons.

With the inevitable winds of change blowing on the horizon, the Tigers must look for any way possible to add talent to the team without adding to the payroll. One option considered, an option that could have a very large impact on the league, is to shop around All-Star centerfielder Curtis Granderson. After publicly acknowledging that Dombrowski was willing to make a trade with Granderson, several teams immediately began to express an interest in dealing for the 2009 Man of the Year.

Granderson is a rare talent in baseball. Although his 2009 batting average of .249 was low by his standards, he has been one of the top leadoff hitters in the American League over the past four seasons. Despite the lower than normal batting average last season, Granderson still managed to hit a career-high 30 home runs along with eight triples and 23 doubles. On the base paths Granderson also accounted for 20 stolen bases last season.

It is his unique combination of speed and power that make Granderson so appealing. Helping to sweeten the deal is the fact that the Tigers seem desperate to reload the roster on the cheap. Because the relative cost in order to get Granderson into their lineup is low (he will likely be dealt for a handful of prospects), Granderson could become the steal of the offseason.

One such team that has seemed very excited about the possibility of bringing Granderson on board is the Chicago Cubs, who are currently paying more than $12M a year to Kosuke Fukudome to play center field. Fukudome was a very highly sought after free agent from Japan, and the Cubs were quick to sign him to their roster for a $48M deal over a four year period. Halfway through that contract, however, Fukudome has not performed nearly as well as Granderson, but makes nearly four times the salary. Granderson would bring better hitting and fielding to the Cubs in the center field position at a fraction of the cost.

Two other teams that could be in the market for Granderson are the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels. The Yankees face the likelihood of losing Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon to free agency during the offseason, and will be in need of an outfielder. Because the World Series champs are ALWAYS interested in making a deal, it would not be a surprise at all to see Granderson in pinstripes by the time April rolls around. As for the Angels, there is some question as to where he would fit in because they already have a marquis centerfielder in Torii Hunter. Nevertheless, the Angels organization has expressed an immediate interest in dealing for Granderson.

No matter where he ends up, Curtis Granderson is a difference maker both on and off the field. With so many teams seemingly interested in him, the Tigers will have plenty of offers to chew on over the next few months. Whether the Tigers ultimately deal him away or not, his reported availability should have a huge impact on the league. With so many big-market teams apparently interested in him, Curtis Granderson could make for the blockbuster trade of the year!

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The Speaking the Unspoken Rules Debate – Ozzie is Out of Line

August 13, 2009

Read the debate intro, Sports Geek’s argument that it is okay to speak about the unspoken rules, and Bleacher Fan’s argument to keep the unspoken rules unspoken.

I guess it is time for me to speak about the unspoken rules of baseball, right?

Ozzie Guillen is a respected (in some circles) baseball man. He played from 1985-2000, and has been a manager for the White Sox since 2003. He even won a World Series as a skipper in 2005, so I guess that lends him some credibility when he speaks up. But, we cannot forget how many times he shoots his mouth off. If you have forgotten, the first person you might want to call is writer Jay Mariotti after their little run-in.

Gulllen has threatened to hit TWO batters the next time he feels one of his players is hit intentionally. There lies the body of this debate. I am just going to cut right to the chase and say that I am declaring Bleacher Fan the winner! Here’s why.

Bleacher Fan argued that Guillen often has “diarrhea of the mouth” and that these most recent statements may backfire on his team while Sports Geek argued that this is a new era in baseball and he commended Guillen for sticking up for his players and being honest.

In one sense, I commend Guillen for the same thing. In the past, he has not taken up for his players in public. This time he seems to have their backs. While his intentions may be honorable, he is doing more harm than good this time. He is indirectly putting pressure on his pitching staff, as if the staff needs more in the midst of a pennant race. In theory, if fans accept what Ozzie is saying, here is what could happen. Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander could come inside and hit White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko. If Guillen thinks it is intentional, he is going to immediately tell his pitcher Mark Buerhle, “Hey Buerhle, come inside and hit both Miggy Cabrera and Curtis Granderson in the ribs.” After that it will turn into a brawl and players from both teams get ejected and suspended. Personally, I would love to see this on Sportscenter, as I love watching baseball brawls. But, this would not be in the best interest of the team.
Without the threat from Guillen, if Verlander hits Konerko, Guillen may Buerhle to hit Cabrera. Warnings would have been issued, and then everyone would move on. That is part of the game. But, Guillen and the White Sox have already received their warning now. Major League Baseball VP of Discipline, Bob Watson, issued a warning yesterday.

I’m sure your pitching staff thanks you, Ozzie! I’m sure the Detroit Tigers thank you, Ozzie! And, Bleacher Fan thanks you, Ozzie! You would be better off just letting this play out and not airing it out in public. Be honest… behind closed doors!!!

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