Al's Ramblings

Saturday, January 31, 2009

(1/31/2009 11:28:00 PM) - Al

Oof. Stop the world, I need to take a break from the wimpization of our country.

Sometimes, I'm surprised those wagon trains didn't just get to the Mississippi, weep uncontrollably, and buy a ticket for the next boat back to the old country.

1/31/2009 11:28:00 PM

(1/31/2009 07:30:00 PM) - Al

Taylor Green had wrist surgery, and will miss part of the early season.

Note the cliched "tough guy" response from his agent. If he's so tough, why's he hurt?

1/31/2009 07:30:00 PM

(1/31/2009 04:31:00 PM) - Al

Per Olney, Shouse and the Rays sign a 2y deal, I'd guess for about $4M total.

Good luck to Brian, who turned his career around in MIL. I have friends that are close to Shouse, and they had nothing but nice things about him as a person. Hopefully, Stetter and Swindle will be able to match or better his production, at a lesser cost and without the '10 commitment.

1/31/2009 04:31:00 PM

(1/31/2009 04:28:00 PM) - Al

If it would have got down to $2.2M for 30 seconds, my people were going to swoop in and grab what remained...ah, it was not meant to be.

1/31/2009 04:28:00 PM

(1/31/2009 03:47:00 PM) - Al

Now, this is "change" I can get used to!

Glenn also wonders where the outrage is at FEMA's slow response to an ice storm I have heard nothing about in the media at all. I guess Kentucky ice storms do not garner the ratings of Nawlins levees failing. All this needs to be a hotbed of controversy is a few bold faced lies from Anderson Cooper and whoever else is on CNN this week.

1/31/2009 03:47:00 PM

(1/31/2009 03:37:00 PM) - Al

Want to be the hit of your Super Bowl party?

Build this thing and call it an appetizer.

Sadly, the Rambling son and I went out to eat for lunch, and then I pushed the melting snow off my deck when I got home, so I don't have the energy for construction, but I wish all of you the best of luck.

1/31/2009 03:37:00 PM

(1/31/2009 03:27:00 PM) - Al

Mark A talks salary cap and MLB finances.

1/31/2009 03:27:00 PM

(1/31/2009 02:41:00 PM) - Al

Thank you to Ramblings' readers, who have made this the most visited month in history. The numbers I tend to look at, year-to-year, show the hits up about 32% from 12 months ago.

Thank you for your continued patronage, and a special thanks to Robert for his contributions as well.

1/31/2009 02:41:00 PM

(1/31/2009 02:21:00 PM) - Al

Obama did not offer specifics about the plan.

Imagine that.:) Thus far, the "plan" would appear to be to talk negatively about the economy, which, for those old enough to remember, is the bizarro world of what Reagan did. Of course, Reagan actually inherited a miserably bad economy.

I know that this is the Lou Holtz theory, but while Holtz could coach football, he didn't know a thing about economics, as far as I know.

1/31/2009 02:21:00 PM

(1/31/2009 12:09:00 PM) - Al


I was reading my Baseball America this morning and was surprised not to see Wil Inman in the Padres' top 10 prospects. Is it possible that the angst many felt at the time of the Linebrink trade was a wee bit overblown?

Love the blog, keep ramblin'.

Tongue firmly in cheek,


I liked Inman then and now as a reliever prospect, but if you've ever seen him pitch, he's an injury waiting to happen. The thing is, when I say "reliever prospect", it's a snub, as every failed SP is a relief prospect (for instance, I still wonder if some team will put Ben Hendrickson and his plus curveball in the 'pen, so he can use it 75% of the time, instead of letting him go out and give you a 4.50ish AAA ERA as a SP). There are really only 3 types of pitching prospects...SP's, closers, and can count on one hand the amount of non-closers and non-starters that are looked at as anything but roster filler. Tell you what, giving up a 1.4 WHIP at AA will make him a middle relief guy quickly.

The old saying holds true, TINSTAAPP (there is no such thing as a pitching prospect). The only way to go about acquiring them is through sheer quantity, as even the best form guys go down with injuries often. With Inman, his herky-jerky form and pedestrian stuff, albeit with great control, simply does not project well to the next level. At A ball, and even AA to a point, 50-75% of the batting order will never see the majors without a ticket, and even the best hitters are not developed, they are still learning their craft. Well placed fastballs and breaking stuff thrown for strikes will win you a lot of games, but not put you on the radar of MLB. Those guys have to prove themselves over and over, and while it may not be fair, there's a reason guys who throw 95 are pushed to the next level...they have a better chance of getting big league hitters out someday.

Joe Thatcher had a great run that season he was traded, but relief guys are all about small samples, and his has evened out quickly. Even out his good year and his bad year, you're probably pretty close to his real value, a decent loogy option while he's cheap. I don't know anything about the other guy, Steve Garrison, but he too is not highly thought of. His stats look a lot like Inman's, and he likely profiles as a reliever as well, though as a southpaw, he might sneak in as a 4th/5th starter.

I'm on record as saying I would have signed Linebrink last offseason and gave him the closer's spot, and he made me look good last year, but was felled by injury late in the campaign. Proven relief help has value, and Scott has showed over the years he's as good as anyone who has never been handed the 9th inning (of course, he pitched for ages with Trevor Hoffman). Giving up maybes for a guy like that is exactly what you do with a team on the borderline of contention. It should also be noted that with the 2 draft picks they got, the Crew took Cutter Dykstra with one of them, and he profiles to be the best unproven guy I've mentioned in this post. Doug said at the time it would have been tough to do that deal without the comp picks, and he was right.

1/31/2009 12:09:00 PM

(1/31/2009 11:54:00 AM) - Al

The Tigers could trade a starting pitcher. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski listed off seven Tigers starters and said "trade possibilities come up" involving the team's pitching.

This doesn't mean Dombrowski seriously considered dealing pitching. The Tigers go to Spring Training with Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga, Edwin Jackson, Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis and Zach Miner. They have more arms than rotation spots, but this is by no means a deep rotation.---MLBTR

What is ironic is, while I still want to see some depth added to the 6th and 7th spots in the rotation, there will be better SP's available, either in trade or on waivers, at the end of March, than there is now. I have seen similar lists on many teams previews as the one above, and while some of the names will end up in the bullpen or on the DL, they'll be some who are out of options (or like Claudio Vargas last year, have a non-guaranteed deal, and be released to save 5/6th's of their 2009 salary).

I just saw a day or two ago that Jorge de la Rosa will be fighting for a spot on the Rockies' roster, for example. DLR is far from ever hitting the potential he had when he was really the centerpiece of the Sexson trade, but he's had a long run in the majors. Guys like that, who can give you a 5ish ERA while usually going 5-6 frames is all you're really looking for...if they can do more than that, they're making $5M+ a season.

1/31/2009 11:54:00 AM

(1/31/2009 11:49:00 AM) - Al

Shouse may end up in TB, and his agent says the Crew never were comfy giving him two years, but someone else will.

1/31/2009 11:49:00 AM

Friday, January 30, 2009

(1/30/2009 10:50:00 PM) - Al

"The difference between Kevin Brown and David Wells is that both make your life miserable," Torre says in the book, "but David Wells meant to."

The outspoken former pitcher said in a radio interview Thursday that Torre broke a "code" by discussing what happened in the clubhouse, and that "when you break the code, you’re a punk."

Wells is a good pitcher, but he's also proof you do not need to be intelligent or in shape to be a good MLB player, especially a pitcher. He is the type of guy I think Doug would just as soon lose without than win with.

1/30/2009 10:50:00 PM

(1/30/2009 10:19:00 PM) - Al

Anyone who has argued Andrew Bogut is not an elite NBA player, after tonight's game, you don't have a leg to stand on. If Redd and Bogut would have both stayed healthy, this might have been a 45 win team. Without Redd, they'll be fortunate to remain in the playoff hunt...especially if trades for the future are made.

1/30/2009 10:19:00 PM

(1/30/2009 09:00:00 PM) - Al

Ann wonders if the rain forest worries were all just made up.

One trend I've noticed is how all these "concerns" (rain forest, polar icecaps, temp is warmer than it was 100 years ago and so on) is they resemble how UFO's always land behind a trailer park in Kansas rather than a city street in Pittsburgh. No one can easily check on the reality there, so, we're left with the choice of either believing them without proof (or a chart an MIT engineer couldn't made heads or tails of) or questioning their validity, and risk being made fun of by the masses.

1/30/2009 09:00:00 PM

(1/30/2009 07:45:00 PM) - Al

I'm seen two people say that the plan is $80B of '09 stimulus, and $720B of pure pork, and admittedly, the media seems to have no desire to find out the truth.

1/30/2009 07:45:00 PM

(1/30/2009 07:39:00 PM) - Al

The radio search is down to two.

Never heard of either, and I doubt even those who watch Extra Innings have, as both have worked on the radio side.

UPDATE: Adam reports it may be down to one.

1/30/2009 07:39:00 PM

(1/30/2009 02:47:00 PM) - Al

Craig e-mails and wonders how close I think MMA is to the mainstream.

I'd have to say it's about as close as the NHL is. It has well surpassed boxing and wrestling. I'm not sure how much more room it has to grow, however. It is both extremely violent and rather slow moving, so its appeal seems rather limited to me.

1/30/2009 02:47:00 PM

(1/30/2009 12:41:00 PM) - Al

Mike Hunt's short-term thinking is exactly why the Bucks' long-term future in MIL is a heartbeat away from being in doubt.

They are one foolish owner and a promise of building a 21st century arena away from leaving. It is impossible to believe that less than a year after Seattle lost the Sonics, we're seeing drivel like this.

1/30/2009 12:41:00 PM

(1/30/2009 12:25:00 PM) - Al

According to Stark, the Red Sox told agent Scott Boras that they would like an answer Friday, but a source told him that a specific deadline is "kind of a media creation." Never before has a 37-year-old coming off a .220/.313/.359 season received this much attention.--Rotoworld

Heh. Of course, when you factor in heart, grit, and all-around scrappiness, Varitek was worth about a dozen wins, 2nd only to Derek Jeter, who led MLB with 72.

I'm the first to say it is quite likely Varitek calls a fine game and the like, much like Kendall, but he's now below average offensively...even for a catcher. If Varitek had played the last decade in Kansas City, he'd be offered a 1y/$3M deal...which is probably just about what Theo is willing to give him.

1/30/2009 12:25:00 PM

(1/30/2009 12:07:00 PM) - Al

The cost of going green...7 cents a gallon and less competition.

That's good to see.

UPDATE: Nick e-mails to say it was 0.7 cents a gallon. I must have misread it.

1/30/2009 12:07:00 PM

(1/30/2009 12:07:00 PM) - Al

The Yankees have hit their limit of type A&B free agents.

I'm surprised no one mentioned this until now, as I discussed it way back when.

UPDATE: Because of the high number of guys who filed, it is now believed the Yankees can sign 8, if they so desire. Surprised an fella ran with an incorrect story, but he did confirm it with someone who should have known.

1/30/2009 12:07:00 PM

(1/30/2009 11:22:00 AM) - Al

I agree with about 90% of what Ben Stein says. I'll let you figure out what 10% I don't.

Note another mention of how little will be spent in 2009. That's the 2nd time I've heard it, and both times from respected economists.

1/30/2009 11:22:00 AM

(1/30/2009 11:09:00 AM) - Al

Should some players hold out? Needless to say, there's a hole in that plan, the main one being you only get paid for the games you play. That said, the market might open up for a few of the Type A's if they wait until after the June draft, as compensation goes away...but not enough to make it financially worthwhile.

The best answer here is probably to simply start over. Decide on a day you need to be in camp to be ready...I would say that's probably only a couple weeks for hitters. Forget about what you could have had if you accepted arby...find your market value, and sign a 1-2 year deal. To hear Sheets asking for 3 years, or Abreu 3y/$30M shows these guys are being spoon fed Fantasy Flakes for breakfast.

1/30/2009 11:09:00 AM

(1/30/2009 10:41:00 AM) - Al

Villanueva is in his contract year - he will be a restricted free agent after this season and the Bucks would have a chance to match any offer to him. He was drafted in the same year as Bogut - 2005 - as the seventh overall pick by the Raptors. The Bucks targeted Bogut and signed him to a five-year, $60 million deal last summer, so he would not become a restricted free agent this summer. But they didn't have the money, or the inclination, to do a similar deal with Villanueva last year. So Charlie could be in line for a multiyear deal at fairly big numbers, and the Bucks simply will be unable to afford to match it. I'm sure the Bucks would like to keep Charlie, if they had the financial flexibility to do it.--JS chat

The Bucks have about $5M to spend or they'll be over the luxury tax next year...the above paragraph tells me Charlie V is gone by the deadline, as he is far too good to lose for nothing and far too spendy for the Bucks to consider keeping next year.

1/30/2009 10:41:00 AM

(1/30/2009 02:44:00 AM) - Al

The Rambling wife sent me this link, to inform me our county pays the 138th highest property tax as a percent of income in the entire USA.

I'm proud to say that apparently, we're above average, as we pay more than the median.

Whoo hoo.

1/30/2009 02:44:00 AM

(1/30/2009 02:19:00 AM) - Al

Jason Kubel's contract extension finally became official more than a week after first being reported, so we now know that he'll make $2.75 million this year and $4.1 million in 2010, with the Twins holding a $5.1 million option or $350,000 buyout for 2011. This offseason the market for corner outfielders and designated hitters has seemingly dried up quite a bit as teams perhaps realize that the combination of a non-elite bat and limited glove can be fairly easily replaced.

With that in mind two of my favorite analysts, Rob Neyer and David Cameron, have suggested that the Twins are making a mistake by locking up Kubel. Neyer and Cameron are correct that it isn't especially tough for most teams to find a reasonably priced corner outfielder or designated hitter who can post an .800 OPS in a semi-platoon role, but finding Kubel-caliber hitters has been tougher for the Twins than most teams and there's also a very real possibility that he still has plenty of room left to grow.

A two-season, $7 million commitment to a 27-year-old who's emerged as the team's third-best hitter is hardly a big risk. Plus, having the option to keep Kubel around for his age-29 season will come in very handy if he bumps up his production, and even if he stays in the .800 OPS range a $5 million price tag will be reasonable (and tradable) in 2011. He's bounced back from a major knee injury to become an asset in a power-starved lineup and the Twins did well to cheaply extend his time under their control.--Gleeman

I can't believe we're discussing this. Kubel is entering his prime, and was signed cheaply for his years of 27 and 28. Hinske is a nice role player, but certainly is what he is at 31, and we've seen how many players fall off a cliff, especially corner OF types, in their early 30's. Kubel is a bit of a risk as he has bad knees, but that's minimized by his DHing.

I'd say Kubel is a breakout candidate that may go lower than he should if you play fantasy baseball. Meanwhile, I'd say Hinske might platoon in LF for the Pirates...that's worth something, but his potential is sadly lacking compared to Jason.

1/30/2009 02:19:00 AM

Thursday, January 29, 2009

(1/29/2009 09:52:00 PM) - Al

Remember how we can't keep our houses at 72?

But, 75 or so, no problem.

I think it's been a very entertaining week. Since actual policy is now being decided, with no facade of well timed phrases to hide behind, the road has been far from smooth. Time will tell if this is indicative of the future.

1/29/2009 09:52:00 PM

(1/29/2009 08:38:00 PM) - Al

I like every move the O's have made this offseason...and Rich Hill would be a perfect case of buying when the price is low.

1/29/2009 08:38:00 PM

(1/29/2009 08:11:00 PM) - Al

This is so funny, it needs to happen.

1/29/2009 08:11:00 PM

(1/29/2009 07:13:00 PM) - Al

Doug discusses his young nucleus. Very nice things to say about Weeks...note he scored 23 of 24 times from 2B on a single...Johnny Damon was 9-22.

1/29/2009 07:13:00 PM

(1/29/2009 04:53:00 PM) - Al

Facing a Friday deadline to accept the Red Sox's contract offer, Jason Varitek is considering sitting out the 2009 season or even retiring, according to the Boston Globe.

Varitek is no doubt unhappy about the fact that he'll have to take a big paycut to stay in Boston, but he's not going to be any more desirable next offseason and retirement seems like an empty threat.--Rotoworld

The line of unhappy Boras clients is going to be a long one. Of course, Tek has admitted he had no idea a team would have to give up their 1st or 2nd round draft pick to sign him, so you can spread the blame around.

1/29/2009 04:53:00 PM

(1/29/2009 04:47:00 PM) - Al

Texas remains a solid red state, at least everywhere outside of Austin, I s'pose.

1/29/2009 04:47:00 PM

(1/29/2009 04:40:00 PM) - Al

Trenni gets a mention on Anchor Babes...of course, I'm offended such a site exists, but feel obliged to link to it as it mildly pertains to the Crew.

1/29/2009 04:40:00 PM

(1/29/2009 10:47:00 AM) - Al

Escobar's defense in winter ball and last year in AA is gushed about by scouts. He'll be the SS by '10 even if he can't hit a lick.

Hat tip to BCB.

1/29/2009 10:47:00 AM

(1/29/2009 09:44:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers are not interested in projects such as Kris Benson, Jason Jennings, Mark Redman, and Victor Zambrano. They're just lukewarm on Mark Mulder. Benson is drawing interest from the Dodgers, Rangers, and Cardinals; one exec reviewed his audition as "so-so."--Rosenthal

It would seem as if all of those listed would require no more than a minor league contract, which is what many of us have been guessing for a while.

1/29/2009 09:44:00 AM

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

(1/28/2009 10:18:00 PM) - Al

Peanut butter recall expanded to include all products made since 1/1/07....I shudder to think of where they're going to have to go to find the stuff made 2 years ago.

The article states 500 people have been reported ill...let's see, in a nation of 300M, that means 299,999,500 have not. Also, despite the fact not a single jar of pb on the grocery shelves have been affected, as well as cookies and the like, you know many are afraid to purchase it.

It's just painful to see the CDC and FDA in action. Millions of tax dollars just blowing in the wind.

1/28/2009 10:18:00 PM

(1/28/2009 09:43:00 PM) - Al

Bill Ayers has mastered the art of double speak...but, of course, he's still a terrorist.

1/28/2009 09:43:00 PM

(1/28/2009 07:30:00 PM) - Al

Real people who have jobs and pay taxes are too busy to go to Washington.


1/28/2009 07:30:00 PM

(1/28/2009 07:22:00 PM) - Al

Sheets has not said he will entertain an offer of one year with incentives, as of yet at least. Allow me to add his agent looks to be as ignorant as Scott Boras...and that's saying something. It boggles my mind how these players pay a high percentage for horrible advice when they could just negotiate themselves and have a lawyer review the finished deal.

1/28/2009 07:22:00 PM

(1/28/2009 01:53:00 PM) - Al

Mariners acquired LHP Garrett Olson and infielder Ronny Cedeno from the Cubs for RHP Aaron Heilman.

Olson, who was traded from the Orioles to the Cubs for Pie last week, brings a 10-13 record and a 6.87 ERA with him to Seattle. He's still a decent bet to make it as a fourth or fifth starter, but he belongs in Triple-A right now. The Mariners have enough rotation candidates to send him down for the start of the year.--Rotoworld

Excellent trade from the M's perspective, as they are in the rebuilding cycle, as they add bodies who have talent, but as of yet have not panned out as hoped. I can't say I'm as enamored by their no hit/good field proposed OF, but if you're going to have some holes, corner OF is a good place to have them, as upgrades will be plentiful at the deadline and in free agency next year.

1/28/2009 01:53:00 PM

(1/28/2009 11:03:00 AM) - Al

Al- Maybe I’m missing something here, but why are the Cubs using Hill and Marshall as trade bait to make room for Heilman and possibly Peavy? Isn’t young pitching at a premium? Both are young, cheap, and have had success early in their careers as starters. I would love the Brewers to acquire either of these guys.


Hill is not a good fit for a team expected to win a division, and he's out of options.

I don't understand their desire to rid themselves of Marshall either. He's young, durable, and effective.

At this point, I would think the Cubs are done until the deadline.

1/28/2009 11:03:00 AM

(1/28/2009 10:38:00 AM) - Al

Jack Z sees hidden value in Ronny Cedeno much like myself, as he is set to acquire him from the Cubs.

I'm still surprised the Orioles did not work out a deal to get Cedeno along with Pie earlier in the offseason, as his ceiling is oodles higher than Cesar Izturis' projection.

Heilman adds yet another quality arm to the Cubs' staff. If not for the wildcard, other NL Central teams would be mighty depressed.

1/28/2009 10:38:00 AM

(1/28/2009 10:32:00 AM) - Al

Opening Day lottery, as well as a first time lottery to other marquee games.

I can't say I'm a big fan of either concept, as I'd reward season ticket holders with any opener tiks that went unsold. And, while I suppose it is nice if you want prime seats, the marquee games don't sell out fast enough to justify a special lottery. I realize this is probably used to create excitement and the like, as much as sell tickets, but I'm a fan of a level playing field.

1/28/2009 10:32:00 AM

(1/28/2009 08:35:00 AM) - Al

Less than 10% of the stimulus will be spent this year. I'd say it looks to be a reelection plan for '10 rather than an economic even the most pessimistic do not see the current downturn lasting until 2011.

Also on a related note, Glenn asks what happened to the $300B they spent on infrastructure less than 48 months ago? I'd say much of the problem was probably that the government has to spend $3 to get $1 worth of work done.

You know, a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking about real money...

1/28/2009 08:35:00 AM

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

(1/27/2009 10:26:00 PM) - Al

The Badgers sure have been unfortunate in addition to probably just being a notch below the top teams in the Big Ten. Taylor's shot with 10 seconds or so left was about as far down as a ball can go without falling in.

Allow me to say, that was one of the best refereed games I've seen in years. They got a little "touchy" early in the 2nd half, but overall, very consistent.

1/27/2009 10:26:00 PM

(1/27/2009 09:18:00 PM) - Al

Ann hits the nail on the head on this's the nanny state "saving us" once again.

1/27/2009 09:18:00 PM

(1/27/2009 07:20:00 PM) - Al

Adam sees the roster building as almost done. I still see a SP being added, though it could be of the minor league variety.

Barring injury, I don't think Pera or Aguilar have a prayer of making the team to go north either.

1/27/2009 07:20:00 PM

(1/27/2009 07:10:00 PM) - Al

Playing their first game since guard Michael Redd was declared out for the season with a knee injury, the Bucks played hard and well only in spurts and fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 90-83, Monday night at the Bradley Center.--JS

Heh. I suppose it's in vogue to say such things, but in truth, the Bucks went from easily scoring 100+ of late to 83 without Redd. You can blame that on a lack of intensity if you wish, but it seems to me they're going to have trouble scoring points for a while.

Redd is a very good player who was having an all-star year. Add in the fact that the team's 2nd best player, Andrew Bogut, remains out, it might be a tough adjustment period.

1/27/2009 07:10:00 PM

(1/27/2009 06:45:00 PM) - Al

JD tells me that Mrs. Escobar left the same message in the comments at his blog as was printed elsewhere. Apparently, she is rather unhappy with her hubby at present.

As I said, I felt dirty just linking to it, but, to be honest, much of the offseason stuff is no more than idle gossip. It's one of those "watch out if you are in the public eye" type of things, I guess.

1/27/2009 06:45:00 PM

(1/27/2009 06:40:00 PM) - Al

Ed e-mails this link stating Sheets is looking for a 3 year contract.

I truly don't know how these agents keep their jobs.

1/27/2009 06:40:00 PM

(1/27/2009 06:26:00 PM) - Al

I love Netflix as well. They used to be kind of slow delivery wise, but now, we sent two in Monday, and two shipped today, so we'll get 'em tomorrow. Tough to beat that.

The best part is, since you only pay one price per month, you're willing to take some chances, and often see some great films it is unlikely you would have paid for. I'm always busy playing poker online, so I have yet to use that feature, but I agree with Robert, in 10 years, it seems very likely that's how we'll watch most all rentals.

1/27/2009 06:26:00 PM

(1/27/2009 06:13:00 PM) - Al

Yankees designated LHP Chase Wright for assignment.

Wright, who made a couple of starts for the Yankees in 2007...never appeared in the majors last year and was pretty much off the depth chart for 2009. He should be hoping he's claimed off waivers.--Rotoworld

I'd love to see the Crew pick him up and then DFA him again if they need that 40th spot on the 40 man. He may never be more than a loogy in the bigs, but he's got nice minor league numbers.

If nothing else, he made 22 effective starts in AA and AAA last year...the Crew needs to add some depth for Nashville. Both his BB/K ratio and his K/9 would indicate he is not major league quality, but he had a very nice '07. As of this second, the only real backup for the rotation is Mike DiFelice, who is proven to be weak versus LH hitters, and thus, would seem to be a stretch at being a decent SP in MLB. When you don't have quality, you add quantity and hope for someone to break out.

1/27/2009 06:13:00 PM

(1/27/2009 09:29:00 AM) - Robert R.

Netflix profits up 45% in 4th quarter.

Netflix is just a well run business. And someone with a plan that saw where things were headed in regards to the internet. On demand streaming is obviously the way of the future for delivery of movies and Netflix got ahead of the game. An easy to use website, using warehouses instead of brick and mortar stores, a website that's more competent for recommending movies than some minimum wage teenager, an easy to use system, making available movies that you won't find in the average store, and even adding streaming content. Other than spur of the moment renting, it's hard to find a single way that Netflix isn't superior to the old fashioned video rental experience.

1/27/2009 09:29:00 AM

Monday, January 26, 2009

(1/26/2009 10:22:00 PM) - Al

Garry Howard is spot on...Herb Kohl is the only reason the Bucks and Sonics are not swapped in terms of who has moved.

With Milwaukee's apathy, I see little reason for optimism either...after all, Bud Selig is not going to do what it takes this time.

1/26/2009 10:22:00 PM

(1/26/2009 09:10:00 PM) - Al

If only we trust the government with our health they can't quite get the DTV thing done in the 11 years they had.

Oof. This is why money in the hands of government is money wasted. Absolutely no clue whatsoever.

1/26/2009 09:10:00 PM

(1/26/2009 07:58:00 PM) - Al

Ben picked a bad year to turn down arby...TEX is the only team who has declared interest, and they do not want to go more than one year either.

1/26/2009 07:58:00 PM

(1/26/2009 05:32:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers have narrowed Powell's replacement down to 4, all with MLB experience.

1/26/2009 05:32:00 PM

(1/26/2009 05:02:00 PM) - Al

Home sales up 6.5%.

I suppose it has something to do with prices falling and low interest rates. That supply and demand fad seems to have something behind it.

1/26/2009 05:02:00 PM

Sunday, January 25, 2009

(1/25/2009 07:44:00 PM) - Al

Should I have linked to the Escobar hearsay?
You bet, let the readers decide.
It's hard to imagine a Brewers' blog not linking to it.
No, it may not even be true.
No, it's gossip, not news.
Hey, I'm just here for stories about the Rambling son and dog. free polls

1/25/2009 07:44:00 PM

(1/25/2009 07:31:00 PM) - Al

BCB links to a report that I can only call "one-sided", supposedly Alcides Escobar's wife saying he has left her.

I'd much prefer AE be talented than a gentleman, but I have to question the original blog posting such hearsay without an iota of an idea if it's truthful or not. It all seems rather high school to me...but then again, I'm linking it, so I suppose I'm as much a part of the problem as anyone else.

1/25/2009 07:31:00 PM

(1/25/2009 03:16:00 PM) - Al

Comparing Palin to Reagan...both were called simple and laughed at for the way they spoke at the time...but history recalls the President much more fondly.

The irony to me is, Palin is exactly what the left yearns for in a woman...self-made, paid for her own education, is not successful because of who she married...but were too busy mocking her small-town heritage (and heaven forbid, non-Eastern upbringing that did not include an Ivy League resume) to realize it.

Time will tell with the Alaskan governor, but allow me to say, her state of the state address is exactly what I would like to hear on a national level...shut up and keep working toward your goals.

I always think of the wagon trains to the West, having to go thousands of miles, and wondering how many times you heard people say they could go no further due to "chronic fatigue" or "having to be treated for exhaustion" (which we all know has become a euphemism for rehab). No one wants to hear that we've become a nation of whiners, but it's tough to see it any other way. I still think of that old Bon Jovi lyric "You can't help but prosper, when the streets are paved with gold".

It seems to me everyone is wondering why they aren't...and how we can fix that nasty little problem.

1/25/2009 03:16:00 PM

(1/25/2009 02:19:00 PM) - Al

Redd out for the rest of the year (I would say he may not make it back by he start of next season) with a torn ACL and MCL.

With the Bucks currently in the mix for a low seed in the playoffs, and an inevitable quick exit versus CLE, BOS, or ORL, they will have to decide now what path to take. It does not take a genius to figure out that if they stand a good chance of losing Charlie V and/or Ramon Sessions for nothing in the offseason, they may well need to look at making a deal before the deadline...especially if it adds young talent, and preferably, more than a single body in return.

Of course, if Bogut can return soon, he may make up for most of Redd's Sessions/Bell can make up for Redd's loss far more than Dan G/Elson can replace Andrew's production.

On a related note, am I the only one who finds it unsurprising that Mo Williams will be an all-star now that he's in CLE? The great thing about Mo was he could pick up the pace scoring wise if needed. Say what you will, but by far the hardest thing to find in the NBA are guys who can score. Ridenour is a decent enough point guard, but he's not going to average 20-25 now that Redd is out.

1/25/2009 02:19:00 PM

(1/25/2009 02:06:00 PM) - Al

I love John Stossel's stuff, and this is one of his best, as he uses numbers to show this is, as I have been saying for ages, a recession, just like many before it, and just like many more to come.

The economy goes up and down, it's what keeps us from entering an era of flat, steady decline.

1/25/2009 02:06:00 PM

(1/25/2009 02:02:00 PM) - Al

Joe Torre decides a book deal is worth a lot more than taking the high road.

1/25/2009 02:02:00 PM

(1/25/2009 01:03:00 PM) - Al

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, concerns over Ben Sheets' right elbow could ultimately prevent the Rangers from offering the All-Star pitcher a contract.

The Rangers are currently seeking more information on Sheets' torn flexor tendon. Jason Jennings had a similar problem in 2007 and early 2008. In both instances he eventually needed surgery. According to the Star-Telegram, "the likelihood that an agreement will be reached by Monday, if at all this week, is waning."--Rotoworld

An eventually Sheets signing may have to wait until he is able to throw off a mound in front of interested parties. His "minor problem" is scaring away teams, though it seems likely teams would be willing to make a one year gamble, but he's looking for at least two.

1/25/2009 01:03:00 PM

(1/25/2009 12:10:00 AM) - Al

Mark Stewart reports the Badgers will look to play more with 3 very small guards, leaving them lacking in size, which would seemingly hurt them both on D and on the boards. Of course, when you're not winning, doing the same thing and expecting different results is tough to do as well.

If they do not win at home like they have in past campaigns, this could be a tough year. However, with Bo's record, he deserves the benefit of the doubt until said losses occur.

1/25/2009 12:10:00 AM

Saturday, January 24, 2009

(1/24/2009 11:56:00 PM) - Al

It's difficult to ascertain what exactly is truth and what is fiction, but allow me to say, India is an absolute disaster on many levels. I still recall that Stefan Edberg, one of the nicest guys in tennis for decades, refused to go there for a weekend to play Davis Cup, due to the health concerns...which no one really ever even tried to say was an exaggeration on his part.

Those that try and compare the US to such dumps economically need look no further than the slums pictured in that piece...millions living with no electricity or toilets...find me a single example of that in the US, where the "poor" have AC, cable TV, and in many cases, a pair of cars...

1/24/2009 11:56:00 PM

(1/24/2009 11:33:00 PM) - Al

I would agree that kids should be off limits, but to be honest, I did not see a whole lot of concern as the media ripped on W for the past 5-6 years, called McCain's very attractive daughter fat, and treated Palin's daughter like the lead in a Hawthorne novel.

Of course, some would argue that when you parade them on stage at the convention, and speak of them in speeches, they have been introduced into the public domain. I would disagree, but you could make the argument.

To be honest, you gotta kind of admire the gall of the Ty spokesperson, basically saying that a likeness cannot be trademarked. I'd say unless the Secret Service can find a reason that it somehow endangers the family, Ty is fine. Sadly, many of the people buying them are the same folks who should be boycotting them...ah, the sweet smell of irony.

On a related note, Glenn links to this actual analysis of what he said versus what he now proposes...I see more of these in the coming weeks, and I see a lot of backtracking and attempted rewrites of history from the administration.

1/24/2009 11:33:00 PM

(1/24/2009 11:26:00 PM) - Al

You can always count on the Wall Street Journal to use numbers to back up their facts, as well as simply destroy the selfish oafs that are the Kennedys.

Actually, WSJ takes on nimbyism. Given recent findings that wind farms do cause some minor health issues, I can think of no better place for one than several miles offshore...even if it does affect the sight line of a famous Cape Cod family as they sip their 14th cocktail of the day.

1/24/2009 11:26:00 PM

(1/24/2009 08:58:00 PM) - Al

A brief recap of the Brewers' On Deck event today, 9K tickets sold, and Jeff Suppan bought 1K more to give away.

1/24/2009 08:58:00 PM

(1/24/2009 08:36:00 PM) - Al

Doug and Mark A seem to understand that they need to have another SP or two, but they will not spend a lot to do it, it seems. They seem to be hoping a decent option or two are willing to sign a minor league deal, or maybe a 1y/$1.5-2M deal late in the offseason.

1/24/2009 08:36:00 PM

(1/24/2009 05:13:00 PM) - Al

As a longtime retail manager, who watched one company slowly lose market share for most of a decade, and then another go bankrupt (as every person I'd call at corporate was not only of no help, but was related to the company president), reading how Starbucks has made things a "high priority" one day...and then eliminate them the next, sounds very, very familiar.

I still recall reading an article that quoted longtime KMart store managers who said, "Up until the day we filed bankruptcy, the corporate office maintained their holier than thou attitude". I think of that every time I read of a sinking business.

Of course, the idea they are struggling financially despite a 90% margin on their main product tells you all you really need to know. I'm embarrassed for them, and I don't even drink coffee.

1/24/2009 05:13:00 PM

(1/24/2009 04:41:00 PM) - Al

Jim Powell was introduced as the Braves' #1 guy yesterday. One name I was surprised to see to replace him is Kent Summerfeld, longtime radio producer. I believe he has done radio for the Warriors or Panthers, and people have said he is very good.

1/24/2009 04:41:00 PM

(1/24/2009 10:56:00 AM) - Al

Glenn has been focusing on how many things the new President is leaving the same. That was my thought when I saw the buildup of troops expected for Afghanistan.

I agree it is needed and fully support it, but considering how many times "ending the war" was talked about during the campaign, the base must be getting restless.

1/24/2009 10:56:00 AM

(1/24/2009 10:48:00 AM) - Al

Olney thinks whoever gets Ben will get a bargain. I've said that for quite a while, especially when you compare his numbers to AJ Burnett, who has also missed significant time due to injury.

1/24/2009 10:48:00 AM

(1/24/2009 10:42:00 AM) - Al

I agree with Don, Gillibrand is an attractive lass. Of course, the fact she's a moderate (and the reaction a pro-gun Dem has drawn from the far-left is hilarious) helps.

There's a feeling among some that she may not be liberal enough to play in NY, but once you leave the Big Apple, NY is rural and likely pretty close to split evenly.

1/24/2009 10:42:00 AM

Friday, January 23, 2009

(1/23/2009 11:27:00 PM) - Al

One of the best films to premiere thus far in the festival's dramatic competition will go straight from Sundance to HBO on February 21st. The movie is called Taking Chance and it would, admittedly, be a tough sell to moviegoers even in a boom market.

Based on the journal kept by now-retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Michael R. Strobl as he escorted the body of a decorated PFC killed in Iraq back to his family, Taking Chance is an Iraq movie that consistently defies your expectations, and then exceeds them. The directorial debut of the veteran indie producer Ross Katz (whose credits include In the Bedroom and Lost in Translation), Taking Chance documents the preparation and transportation of Phelps' body and finally prepared for burial.

It speaks to the tact, simplicity and intelligence of Katz's approach that he elects to keep Phelps a largely abstract, representative figure. He has also created an extraordinary showcase for Kevin Bacon, who plays Strobl.--Hollywood Daily

I would have loved to have seen this film in wide release with heavy marketing, just to see what a, gasp, pro-US military film would do at the box office.

I think there's profit to be made in films like this...simple story-based, little special effects, inexpensive to make (My Dog Skip and October Sky are two past examples of what I mean).

1/23/2009 11:27:00 PM

(1/23/2009 06:39:00 PM) - Al

I loved Forrest Gump, and still watch it a couple times a year on TNT. I thought The Curious Case of Benjamin Button looked really good, and I look forward to seeing it.

Apparently, those two feelings are shared by many.

Hat tip to Gleeman.

1/23/2009 06:39:00 PM

(1/23/2009 06:24:00 PM) - Al

Ben Sheets met with TEX yesterday and apparently unveiled a new medical report designed to put teams a bit more at ease.

1/23/2009 06:24:00 PM

(1/23/2009 04:38:00 PM) - Al

Counsell will return for $1M. Other than perhaps a SP being brought in on a minor league deal, I'd say the current roster is pretty close to being complete.

1/23/2009 04:38:00 PM

(1/23/2009 01:17:00 PM) - Al

Thanks to Friend of Ramblings JB for this video about the switch to digital TV.

Very funny.

1/23/2009 01:17:00 PM

(1/23/2009 10:37:00 AM) - Al

If 650 climatologists don't believe in man made global warming...golly, how many do?

Reading the article, they can't even decide if it's getting warmer or colder, or how much ice is in the Arctic. Talk about not knowing much more than will fit on the head of a pin...

1/23/2009 10:37:00 AM

(1/23/2009 10:12:00 AM) - Al

Eric sends along this link that helps veterans with bills, purchases, and so on.

Nice to see so many have already been taken care of.

1/23/2009 10:12:00 AM

(1/23/2009 10:05:00 AM) - Al

The military colorguard will be escorted out of the stadium after the Super Bowl national anthem.


1/23/2009 10:05:00 AM

(1/23/2009 09:56:00 AM) - Al

The Prince's contract details.

$18M guaranteed, and easy to reach incentives make it worth $18.5M if he stays healthy.

1/23/2009 09:56:00 AM

(1/23/2009 09:47:00 AM) - Al

Rosenthal thinks Elias is stupid, and the CBA should be adjusted.

He's right that Elias rankings are a joke, but Juan Cruz and his reps simple screwed up by misjudging the market. Teams value high draft picks, but teams would sign Cruz for $1-2M in a second. If he would have taken arby, he'd be fine.

1/23/2009 09:47:00 AM

(1/23/2009 08:30:00 AM) - Al

Every year, in the winter months, our patio door that slides open starts giving us trouble. This is the way we let the Rambling dog out to do his "job", so we open it 4-6 times a day. It works fine until it gets cold, and then it starts to struggle, stick, and in general, just irritate us. This year, in a seemingly new trend, the top of the door has "buckled", looking like it's going to come out of its track. Of course, several days below zero would make me buckle too.

I've tried spraying the track with WD-40 before, and it didn't do a thing. Sunday, I gave in and brought the hair dryer out, and for an hour, melted the snow and ice in the track, sopping up the water with paper towels. True to my handyman skills, it actually worked worse after that. Today, when I got home from work, I went to open the door, and the Rambling wife said, "Watch out for the door". Wondering how it could have got worse, I opened slid easily, just like summer. All it had taken to "fix" the door were two consecutive days in the 20's.

Nothing is designed to work in cold weather. Every year, we are reminded of this, but we still tend to forget it until we witness it for ourselves.

1/23/2009 08:30:00 AM

Thursday, January 22, 2009

(1/22/2009 09:29:00 PM) - Al

On other topics, Macha, who gathered his coaching staff for the first time Thursday to go over the roster, said that Bill Hall is the front-runner to start at third base in 2009 and he identified Carlos Villanueva as closer Trevor Hoffman's probable setup

Doug has suggested a platoon at 3B, so as of now, Macha looks to hope Hall returns to his 2006 form, and then go to a platoon if that fails.

1/22/2009 09:29:00 PM

(1/22/2009 09:09:00 PM) - Al

The press asking questions? What's that you say?

Of course, when it didn't happen during the entire campaign, I s'pose it is a bit of a surprise.

1/22/2009 09:09:00 PM

(1/22/2009 08:55:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers are negotiating with Counsell to return as a veteran backup infielder. Counsell is a free agent on this market and there had been no indication until now that the Brewers were considering bringing him back.--Tom H, JS

Heh. No indication...other than this...and this.

Oh, and this...from the JS blog itself. Like myself, Tom's memory is good, but mighty short.

1/22/2009 08:55:00 PM

(1/22/2009 08:32:00 PM) - Al

The person close to the governor said Mr. Paterson "never had any intention of picking Kennedy" because he had come to consider her unready for the job. The person did not describe the exact nature or seriousness of the tax and household employee issues.

A scandal involving a Kennedy? Shocked, I tell ya, shocked. Of course, I'm just thankful it did not involve heavy drinking, a dead or assaulted co-ed, or a story of leaving the scene of the crime to "go get help".

I concluded a few weeks ago that appointing the princess would be a wonderful thing, especially since it meant a weak candidate in a very blue state in '10, possibly leaving the door open to a moderate Rudy-like candidate. However, it was not meant to be.

As Glenn pointed out, there's no room in politics for family connections and the now it looks like the seat goes to Mario Cuomo's son! You just can't make this stuff up.

1/22/2009 08:32:00 PM

(1/22/2009 05:53:00 PM) - Al

Prince signs for 2 years, $7M and $11M.

Craig Counsell may well be back as the utility INF.

No room in the budget for another SP. Mark A says they would not have room to add payroll later if they added a spendy arm, so that would seem to rule out Braden Looper and the like. Looks like the depth to be added will be of the minor league contract variety, much like Jeff Weaver last year, and how they tried to sign RA Dickey this year.

Details on this are at the JS blog. I'll add some thoughts on this and other stuff later tonight.

1/22/2009 05:53:00 PM

(1/22/2009 02:49:00 PM) - Al

I've been suggesting they make hockey and soccer goals bigger for about the last two decades. Finally, someone else is paying attention.

1/22/2009 02:49:00 PM

(1/22/2009 01:50:00 PM) - Al

I look at this like I do when they announce the pope using puffs of smoke.

Then again, I'm not much for tradition...if the only reason you can come up with for doing something is because you've always done it that way, odds are, I'd just quit doing it.

1/22/2009 01:50:00 PM

(1/22/2009 11:44:00 AM) - Al

HT looks at Hoffman's future effectiveness.

1/22/2009 11:44:00 AM

(1/22/2009 10:34:00 AM) - Al

Some folks are unhappy about MLB's new bat regulations.

1/22/2009 10:34:00 AM

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

(1/21/2009 09:19:00 PM) - Al

That no-call on Taylor's layup...the one in which he got knocked into next week, may be the single worst call I've ever seen. How they can call a touch foul here and there and then miss body contact like that is a mystery of mammoth proportion.

And of course, blowing the call and then calling the T...that crew should never work another game. I'd lock their locker room door and UPS 'em their crap.

1/21/2009 09:19:00 PM

(1/21/2009 08:10:00 PM) - Al

Reagan's inaugural speech actually more watched...which is funny, because last night, one of the news networks said it was estimated 75% of the population watched at least part of it...meaning that if there's 300M people in the US, that little nugget of info was only off by, oh, 185M or thereabouts.

Heh. Good one.

MTV, actually voted against holding a ball...before they voted for it, first time since 1996...I wonder if anyone can find any sort of correlation there...

1/21/2009 08:10:00 PM

(1/21/2009 07:58:00 PM) - Al

The JS reports Prince and the Crew is working on a 2 year deal, which likely means they have an agreement on 2009.

Also, Jim Powell has announced he will be heading back home and working for the Braves. Many fans will certainly miss him, to say the least.

1/21/2009 07:58:00 PM

(1/21/2009 07:48:00 PM) - Al

Heard in the Rambling household tonight:

Al: This meatloaf you made isn't quite done.

Rambling Wife: That's funny, the thermometer said 140 in the middle.

Al: Ground beef should be 160.

RW: Oh.

Since the beef was from the Rambling wife family's sprawling ranch/dairy operation, I was far from worried about it...and as most of you are well aware, I'm far from a picky eater.

It has occurred to me that many around these parts eat raw beef in steak tartare, especially around the holidays, and I never hear anyone dying from that, so it's unlikely I'd care anyway.

1/21/2009 07:48:00 PM

(1/21/2009 02:13:00 PM) - Al

DePo sums up the arby process. I can't believe this guy isn't a GM somewhere.

1/21/2009 02:13:00 PM

(1/21/2009 01:50:00 PM) - Al

I may be a ho, but I ain't no crack ho.--prostitute on Cops

How Cops has been overlooked for an Emmy with dialogue like that is beyond belief.

1/21/2009 01:50:00 PM

(1/21/2009 01:07:00 PM) - Al


Yes, it is illegal to sell wild game meat in Wisconsin. Or at least, game harvested in Wisconsin. Most packages of venison will have a a tag in it saying that it's explicitly not for resale. There are wild game feeds, although I think the meat originates either from donations, from "farm bred" animals like bison, or from out of state sources.

Other states have different rules, though. I'm kind of surprised that the FDA looks the other way, but it's probably impossible to regulate based on how unorganized and small scale the sellers are likely to be.

I've had raccoon. It's been a long time, but I recall that it wasn't bad. Of course, you slow cook any meat long enough and apply a sauce to it, it's hard for any meat to taste bad.


1/21/2009 01:07:00 PM

(1/21/2009 11:58:00 AM) - Al


The Food & Drug Administration has had several slip ups lately that make you scratch
your head. My brother-in-law just retired on Jan.1 from there. I doubt he'd have retired early if things were going better. Maybe things will get turned around by the new administration, but I doubt that will be very high on the priority list.


The idea of pulling every peanut butter snack off the market...made in factories all over the world, because a single pack (probably made months ago) was found to be tainted...the end just doesn't justify the means. It just seems to be fear-mongering...the FDA clumsily spills the beans that some people with weak immune systems got sick from something, and suddenly, to be "responsible", Little Debbie and Keebler throw away perfectly good, nothing wrong with it food.

Needless to say, there has to be a better way. I don't want kids getting sick or worse from the food supply either, but as currently set up, the system is painfully broken.

1/21/2009 11:58:00 AM

(1/21/2009 10:55:00 AM) - Al

I've never seen Goodwill low on merch, never mind out...when you price calculators at $3.99 (new ones are $1), the risk of empty shelves seems slim.

I did not know they had warehouses and moved stuff between stores, however.

1/21/2009 10:55:00 AM

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

(1/20/2009 09:33:00 PM) - Al

Considering Badgers' basketball tickets sell out within minutes and for the most part, football games do too, I cannot imagine why they would not raise the ticket prices of at least those two sports.

1/20/2009 09:33:00 PM

(1/20/2009 09:31:00 PM) - Al

The Cap Times says Fielder is staying, and has lots of other tidbits as well, as Doug visited Madison last night.

1/20/2009 09:31:00 PM

(1/20/2009 07:16:00 PM) - Al

Arby figures for Prince and Rickie look easy to settle, but Hart, in my opinion, asked for a ton. I don't see any way an arbitration judge awards him his $3.8M figure, so it may be difficult to meet, as I assume the Crew will not settle at the midway point with Corey.

1/20/2009 07:16:00 PM

(1/20/2009 06:51:00 PM) - Al

I have often stated that I have never seen a man look anything but ridiculous in a hat, and I'm shocked any fella of intelligence stills tries to wear one.

I just saw Aretha Franklin's hat...oof. Maybe the ladies should just stop wearing them too.

1/20/2009 06:51:00 PM

Monday, January 19, 2009

(1/19/2009 09:42:00 PM) - Al

Gagne close to a deal with the Twins.

If he's healthy, as he was in the 2nd half in MIL, he should be fine, and probably at a bargain rate.

1/19/2009 09:42:00 PM

(1/19/2009 08:06:00 PM) - Al

Brewers two weeks ahead of last year's ticket pace, one million sold as of now.

1/19/2009 08:06:00 PM

(1/19/2009 05:13:00 PM) - Al

Billions spent on getting peanut butter products off the shelf...even though only a single pack of crackers have been found that contains salmonella.

Most of the companies are doing this voluntarily, but it's all due to the FDA's clumsy and public methods of reporting rumors and maybes as facts.

It's just such a shame that it costs companies so much and accomplishes nothing, not to mention tons of food, as high in quality as any other on the open market, going to waste. What needs to be recalled is the FDA and how badly they do this.

1/19/2009 05:13:00 PM

(1/19/2009 04:49:00 PM) - Al

Team president Andy MacPhail said Sunday that the Orioles are "going to be patient with" Felix Pie and plan to make him their starting left fielder against right-handed pitching.

He's slated to platoon with Ryan Freel in left field, with Luke Scott moving to designated hitter and Aubrey Huff manning first base. The spin from Cubs camp is that Pie is a certified bust because he struggled in fewer than 300 at-bats through the age of 23, but in reality he remains a very promising young player and has a chance to thrive in Baltimore. A Pie-Adam Jones-Nick Markakis outfield will be arguably the best in baseball defensively, which is good news for Jeremy Guthrie and the rest of the Orioles' pitching staff.--Rotoworld

With Izturis at SS, BAL's defense is obviously much improved, and perhaps top 5 in MLB. We'll have to see if it helps the woeful Orioles' pitching staff.

1/19/2009 04:49:00 PM

(1/19/2009 04:20:00 PM) - Al

The Mariners and Brewers are eyeing Craig Counsell.--MLBTR, summing up Rosenthal

I've been hoping he returns to the Crew, but if not, it looks like he'll go join Jack Z in the Pacific Northwest (or retire).

1/19/2009 04:20:00 PM

Sunday, January 18, 2009

(1/18/2009 09:19:00 PM) - Al

I just hope the Super Bowl isn't a 38-6 shellacking...the ads will be the reason I watch, but it's hard to pay attention if the game is out of hand.

1/18/2009 09:19:00 PM

(1/18/2009 08:42:00 PM) - Al

Yeah, I've never hesitated to wave the flag.

Of course, I've always been proud of my country too.

1/18/2009 08:42:00 PM

(1/18/2009 02:54:00 PM) - Al

I admit, other than his constant negativism, almost everything he's said is very close to what W is already doing. The "change" has yet to make an appearance.

1/18/2009 02:54:00 PM

(1/18/2009 02:37:00 PM) - Al

Felix Pie gets out of small sample armageddon, going to BAL, in yet another move that makes the Orioles stronger, younger, and loaded with potential.

Pie will either play LF or be the 4th OF. Pie, Adam Jones, and the newly signed to an extension Nick Markakis are likely to form the best defensive OF in MLB, and Pie and Jones will only improve at the plate. Once again, BAL makes a good move aimed for the future. They've had an outstanding offseason.

I find it hard to believe ay pitcher the O's could spare could help the loaded Cubs' staff, but he may be a better fit as a reliever.

1/18/2009 02:37:00 PM

(1/18/2009 11:01:00 AM) - Al

Here, here.

Snow in Connecticut is an emergency? Tell the state government to figure it out.It seems most states will talk about state rights, but do not want any state responsibilities. But as long as the federal money is handed out like late October candy...

9/11 was an emergency. All the rest is for the whiners.

This is perpetuated by the press, who views a Midwestern snow storm as an "emergency" because a few thousand people are stranded at O'Hare. Trust me, spending some vacation time in a large airport is not an emergency, it's a minor inconvenience.

1/18/2009 11:01:00 AM

(1/18/2009 10:44:00 AM) - Al

Assistant general manager Gord Ash said Saturday that the Brewers are considering making an offer to free agent Chad Cordero after watching him throw for interested teams last week.

Cordero is coming back from shoulder surgery and may not be ready until midseason. "It's a risk decision," Ash said. "It's a matter of how much risk you want to take. His agent has let it be known he's going to sign somewhere."--Rotoworld

Doesn't sound like Cordero is willing to take a minor league deal, as that would be extremely low risk. Chad's track record is probably worth some risk, but how much is debatable...especially when he may just be at 90% this season.

1/18/2009 10:44:00 AM

(1/18/2009 10:19:00 AM) - Al

Watney notes that Varitek was not aware when he turned down arbitration that any signing team would have to give up a draft pick. Tek does not blame Boras for this.--MLBTR

Heh. I've always imagined a good agent sitting down with his client, explaining the pros and cons of their options, and making his recommendation. Instead, it would appear Boras spends most of his time in his money vault, ala Scrooge McDuck, with burlap bags of cash with an "$" on the side, coming out once in a while to make an untrue statement to the gullible old media.

With all these facts of his complete ignorance coming out on a near daily basis, I can't believe anyone would even consider using him.

1/18/2009 10:19:00 AM

Saturday, January 17, 2009

(1/17/2009 11:06:00 PM) - Al

Devin Harris' girlfriend featured on Howard Stern.

Why do I get the feeling she's quite a looker?

UPDATE: Yep. (link is from Playboy, no nudity, but still may be questionable for work)

1/17/2009 11:06:00 PM

(1/17/2009 10:46:00 PM) - Al

A $50B bill introduced in Zimbabwe...and what does it buy?

Two loaves of bread.

US network news has no idea what a bad economy is.

On a related note, the Rambling in-laws and the Rambling wife's aunt and uncle have been visiting this weekend, putting in a new floor in the Rambling living room. We had my company holiday party today, so late this afternoon, they all took the Rambling son out to eat at Texas Roadhouse, which they enjoyed immensely...after a 90 minute wait. Tongue placed firmly in cheek, my wife's uncle commented he found it amazing that in this terrible depression, so many people had the money to go out and eat at a single restaurant. We took them out for a fish fry last evening, and also had to wait 30-45 minutes (of course, if you've had the fish at Wiggly Field, you'd understand why).

1/17/2009 10:46:00 PM

(1/17/2009 10:40:00 PM) - Al's what's for dinner.

I'd love to try all kinds of wild game like this...correct me if I'm wrong, but I did not think you could legally sell animals you hunt in WI...true, or not?

1/17/2009 10:40:00 PM

(1/17/2009 09:40:00 PM) - Al

Scott Boras says 8 teams have called about Andruw Jones already.

1. I wouldn't believe Boras if he told me it was cold out.

2. If 8 teams called, my guess is 5 of them called to say "We have no interest in Jones, because he sucks".

And let's not forget, I think Jones could be mildly effective as a role player. That said, to pretend he has a lot of suitors is hilarious.

1/17/2009 09:40:00 PM

(1/17/2009 09:30:00 PM) - Al

Tom H talks arby and how Sheets and Varitek lost millions.

Makes you wonder why these guys give their agents 5-7% of their salary to get such terrible advice. Many players have gone from an agent to a "marketing manager", who works to get them endorsements and such, but negotiate their contracts themselves and just hire a lawyer to review the paperwork. I believe Grant Hill was one of the first to do so, and Ray Allen and others soon followed. I think Curt Schilling did the same, commenting (paraphrasing here) "Even if I cost myself $1M, I don't lose a penny, since I keep 100% of it".

Sheets would have got $12M minimum in arby, and will now get well less than that...I would guess $7-8M, and possibly even less. Agents that cost clients millions seem unlikely to be retained.

1/17/2009 09:30:00 PM

(1/17/2009 11:00:00 AM) - Al

If Global Warming Is Real, Why Is It So Cold?

Hat tip to Ann.

1/17/2009 11:00:00 AM

(1/17/2009 10:32:00 AM) - Al

Madison will host cycling if Chicago gets the '16 Summer Olympics.

I know they have discussed using Miller Park as well if the windy city gets the bid.

1/17/2009 10:32:00 AM

(1/17/2009 10:18:00 AM) - Al

Twins' fans are so excited about outdoor baseball, they're willing to buy tickets for this year as well.

1/17/2009 10:18:00 AM

(1/17/2009 09:55:00 AM) - Al

I watched the Bucks game last night, and golly, what a whistle fest. Skiles did not seem to upset, complaining about his team's reaching and cheap fouls, but I don't think I recall high school games being that tightly called.

The Bucks continued their win, lose one streak, which I think is at 12 or 13, simply astounding when you consider how often the home team wins in the NBA. They have a winnable game tonight as well versus the Clippers, who are only dressing 8-9 players last I looked, due to injuries.

1/17/2009 09:55:00 AM

Friday, January 16, 2009

(1/16/2009 04:59:00 PM) - Al

The JS looks at the proposed Bucks' deal involving Sessions and Alexander.

Conley has potential, but so do the 2 players the Bucks currently have...though as pointed out, Sessions is going to be tough to keep.

1/16/2009 04:59:00 PM

(1/16/2009 04:03:00 PM) - Al

I've already heard a lot of how "Bush will be remembered this way" thoughts, but I agree with the President that much of his legacy will be determined by how Iraq looks in 10-20 years. More complexity about how suddenly tricky the whole prison for suspected terrorists is as well.

1/16/2009 04:03:00 PM

(1/16/2009 02:46:00 PM) - Al

Brewers announce schedule for On Deck event.

1/16/2009 02:46:00 PM

(1/16/2009 02:37:00 PM) - Al

No doubt, Obama has truly sparked at least one part of the economy.

1/16/2009 02:37:00 PM

(1/16/2009 02:25:00 PM) - Al

A record plunge in gasoline prices pushed overall consumer prices down for the third straight month in December, closing out a year in which inflation rose at the slowest rate in more than a half-century.--AP

Larry Kudlow keeps pointing out that people are getting a pay raise every month, and to a point, that's true. A truly bad economy would entail high unemployment and high inflation...that's why the misery index exists. Those that try and say this is the worst economy in 50+ years either have an agenda or slept through 1980.

I've said a few times one of the main factors against inflation is a terror free world. You can't really control much of the globe, but those areas we can helps keep fuel and food prices low, which is good for all (except the oil and food producers, I s'pose). I sure wish I'd see more money being funneled to the military and defense spectrum. There's a lot of value in that investment, you just have to look a little harder to see it.

1/16/2009 02:25:00 PM

(1/16/2009 02:13:00 PM) - Al

Possible milk program to soon be a part of stimulus program.

1/16/2009 02:13:00 PM

(1/16/2009 01:24:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling son is home from school for the 2nd day in a row, as DCE schools (often nicknamed "Don't Close Ever") canceled for cold again. In his 2 years, he has had 0 snow days and 3 cold days thus far. I don't think we ever had a cold day back when I went (back then, my friend Og had just invented fire, but hence, I digress), and yesterday, as I drove in Mosinee and Wausau, if I had a nickel for every child I saw outside playing...I'm pretty sure I could have bought a couple value meals. The Rambling wife offered a similar commentary, as she had to venture out to a previously made dental appointment for the child.

I don't have much of an issue with bitter cold canceling classes, but I'm sure many parents do.

1/16/2009 01:24:00 PM

(1/16/2009 01:05:00 PM) - Al

I've been informed, quite forcefully, that "climate change" can induce weather to warm, make it colder and, miraculously, produce whatever climate condition we happen to be experiencing at that very moment. So I wholeheartedly concur with my environmentalist friends: Climate does indeed make weather fluctuate.

The carbon footprint of Barack Obama's inauguration could exceed 575 million pounds of CO2. According to the Institute for Liberty, it would take the average U.S. household nearly 60,000 years of naughty ecological behavior to produce a carbon footprint equal to the largest self-congratulatory event in the history of humankind.

Read the whole thing. Remember back in the old days when it was getting hotter? Now, it's the cause for cold.

I spent half my morning out on the deck, spraying aerosol cans for no reason, and it worked, as it was -18, and now, it's -5. But Al, you're saying, that doesn't mean anything, it's a tiny sample over a small amount of time.

So says someone comparing today's weather to 100 years ago...without the foggiest idea of what the situation was a million years ago. Actually, that's not true, as we know there was an Ice Age caused by unknown sources before engines were invented.

1/16/2009 01:05:00 PM

(1/16/2009 12:27:00 PM) - Al

Doug says his current OF is his 2009 OF, and they are no longer considering Adam Dunn.

1/16/2009 12:27:00 PM

(1/16/2009 12:21:00 PM) - Al

Charles sends in this link to how a team made up of remaining free agents would do...79 wins for $140M. That's why developing your own talent is so important, as mediocre talent is pricey on the open market.

1/16/2009 12:21:00 PM

(1/16/2009 10:11:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers and other teams are in on Braden Looper, while the Orioles and Dodgers have backed off.--MLBTR, summing up Rosenthal

BA also mentioned Looper, so you get the feeling he's the Crew's top choice.

1/16/2009 10:11:00 AM

Thursday, January 15, 2009

(1/15/2009 11:42:00 PM) - Al

Brian Anderson puts out a post that, among other things, seems to indicate Braden Looper is still Doug's top choice, and that Sheets has told the Crew he's signing elsewhere.

I would guess, reading between the lines, that Ben may be unhappy that the Crew has only offered a one-year contract (that's what arby is, after all), and has told him they do not plan to go longer. Of course, not a lot of other teams are going two either, but I would hypothesize that he may feel the Crew "owes" him that for his years of service.

Hat tip BCB.

EDIT/UPDATE: BA's blog seems to have been edited, as now the Sheets language has softened and has a "you never know until he signs elsewhere" disclaimer.

1/15/2009 11:42:00 PM

(1/15/2009 11:41:00 PM) - Al

Free agent Craig Counsell, a lefty, is a versatile backup and is still unsigned. He's highly regarded and has an open door if he chooses to stay in Milwaukee.--BA blog

First time I've seen that. I assume Counsell is seeing if a better job opens up playing time wise...or possibly, deciding whether he wants to play at all in '09. I'd be thrilled to see the OBP strong Counsell return, especially at a bargain price.

1/15/2009 11:41:00 PM

(1/15/2009 10:56:00 PM) - Al

Mike Hunt suggests the Bucks punt common sense and keep their restricted free agents, and lose them for nothing after the season...because they have a chance at a low playoff seed.

I'm used to a lack of long-term planning from casual fans, but if that is indeed the Hammonds/Skiles plan, I'm offended.

1/15/2009 10:56:00 PM

(1/15/2009 07:37:00 PM) - Al

Domino's sandwiches may taste better, but Subway's are better for you. And, some hilarious digs at Paris Hilton.

1/15/2009 07:37:00 PM

(1/15/2009 07:30:00 PM) - Al

Dave Bush avoids arby, 1y/$4M. His contract is guaranteed if any of the team's other arby eligible players signs a fully guaranteed deal. Never seen that in a deal before.

1/15/2009 07:30:00 PM

(1/15/2009 05:36:00 PM) - Al

Sources told ESPN's Peter Gammons that the Red Sox and Kevin Youkilis have agreed to terms on a four-year deal worth in excess of $40 million.

There's also an option for a fifth year. The Red Sox previously signed Dustin Pedroia to a six-year, $40.5 million contract this winter. The deal for Youkilis includes his final two years of arbitration and first two of free agency.--Rotoworld

Youkilis became so famous so young, as he was a featured player in Moneyball (Billy Beane adored him, but he was not a big-time prospect because he lacked "tools". He would have went to the A's as compensation if Beane had accepted the Red Sox GM job he eventually turned down.) I would have thought he was already in his free agent years, but I guess not.

1/15/2009 05:36:00 PM

(1/15/2009 05:30:00 PM) - Al reports that Michael Young has agreed to play third base this season and is no longer requesting a trade from the Rangers.

Quite a turnaround compared to his stance on the issue just a few days ago. Young moving to third base clears shortstop for prospect Elvis Andrus, although he's not a sure thing to begin this year in the majors anyway.--Rotoworld

I wonder if Young has been reading on the internet how overpaid he is, and how terrible a SS he is. Nothing else makes any sense, unless he or his family want to remain in Arlington.

1/15/2009 05:30:00 PM

(1/15/2009 05:10:00 PM) - Al

Andrew Bogut will not make the 3 game road trip, which is unfortunate, because the Bucks are playing 2 very beatable teams out west, teams with half the wins of even MIL. Bogut, who was really struggling last night running up and down the floor, is suffering with back spasms, and the team struggles horribly without him, especially with inside defense and rebounding.

The team has been playing small often of late, often going with Charlie V at C, Jefferson at the 4, and Redd at the 3. One gander at that, it leaves little doubt why the defense and rebounding are weak without Bogut in there. Alexander and M&M will help out as well, of course. Things will look slightly better if Bell is able to return, as he is a defensive presence as well.

1/15/2009 05:10:00 PM

(1/15/2009 09:02:00 AM) - Al

Mark A still talking about a salary cap. Considering it has zero chance of going through in the near future, I'd focus more on improving revenue sharing and the like, but MA can do what he wants.

1/15/2009 09:02:00 AM

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

(1/14/2009 10:43:00 PM) - Al

I loved that McCain despised Osama. I can't say the same for yawning about him.

1/14/2009 10:43:00 PM

(1/14/2009 09:20:00 PM) - Al

A bit of a coming out party for Joe Alexander tonight, 13 pints, 5 rebounds, 4 assists in a very nice effort. He's sure got the athletic ability to be a solid player, and he flowed nicely, I only noticed him forcing one shot.

1/14/2009 09:20:00 PM

(1/14/2009 08:08:00 PM) - Al

Mota must have had a few teams interested in him, as $2.3M seems like a lot for as solid, if unspectacular reliever this offseason. That said, he was outstanding except for a few weeks in the middle of the season.

1/14/2009 08:08:00 PM

(1/14/2009 06:54:00 PM) - Al

Several people sent me this link today, many wondering how Mike Hunt missed this little nugget of fact MLBTR pointed out...Prince's trade value, with Adam Dunn unsigned, is minimal. Not to mention, he doesn't even pretend to know who will replace him...nor does that seem to bother him.

Thank goodness Hunt isn't the GM, he seems to have no idea. Next offseason, there will hopefully be many graduates of the Nashville squad ready for the big show, and also not nearly as many quality 1B available on the FA market.

1/14/2009 06:54:00 PM

(1/14/2009 05:58:00 PM) - Al

Like pitcher Rich Hill and infielder Ronny Cedeno, center fielder Felix Pie is out of minor-league options. Things don’t look good for either Hill or Pie. Hill pitched himself into the minor leagues last year and had a spotty winter-ball season, and Pie looks like a candidate to be traded.--Daily

I think Cedeno and Pie would be at least average if they ever got some AB's...both have considerable ceilings that the Cubs have never saw fit to utilize. A team looking for a SS and CF would be very wise to talk to the Cubs...I'm surprised the Orioles did not go after Cedeno rather than sign Cesar Izturis.

1/14/2009 05:58:00 PM

(1/14/2009 05:47:00 PM) - Al

Robert writes to say I was inaccurate in my description of Roman Polanski...he did not flee the country until after he was convicted (he did plead guilty) of a sex crime involving a minor.

Robert guesses Polanski likely thought his guilty plea would lead to a reduced sentence, but when that looked unlikely, he fled.

That's not the way I remembered it, but a quick glance at Wikipedia seems to confirm my memory was fuzzy...of course, it's tough to really do much damage to the character of a convicted child molester, but Ramblings regrets the error.

1/14/2009 05:47:00 PM

(1/14/2009 05:21:00 PM) - Al

Glenn wonders about the inauguration costs, and Drudge has links up about the media complaints that the cost was $40-70M in 2004...far below the '08 version.

I was under the illusion that donations took care of this, and it sounds like they at least took care of everything except security for 2004. Of course, I'm not sure if the $110M estimate includes security or not, and also how much of the cost is because more people are expected. I'm the first to admit they can spend all they want if they raise the money, but I would have no interest in going to such an event if it was held on my street...then again, I'm far from a party person.

1/14/2009 05:21:00 PM

(1/14/2009 04:51:00 PM) - Al

Parents who named child "Adolf Hitler" have child removed from home.

I can't say I'm upset, though I'm not certain of the precedent being set. Under the picture is worth a thousand words file, one look at those two would seemingly tell me they are not fit parental units...I wouldn't trust them to feed my dog if I was gone for the weekend.

1/14/2009 04:51:00 PM

(1/14/2009 04:21:00 PM) - Al

I did not know they changed the way they made Old Style, or that it was now sold as a "bargain beer".

1/14/2009 04:21:00 PM

(1/14/2009 04:06:00 PM) - Al

A little piece on a pair of successful 2nd round picks. I have always questioned the teams that draft guys from Europe and other faraway places, most of which never play in the US, when you still have top college players available. My goodness, Michael Redd was a 2nd round pick, and he scored like a madman in college (it's no coincidence both the players in the JS article are defensive studs, teams preach defense and rebounding, but scoring, like power in baseball, is still the most sought after commodity).

Especially with the NBDL to give young guys more playing time, there's no reason not to go with high ceiling athletes and hope they turn into a cheap, solid role player.

1/14/2009 04:06:00 PM

(1/14/2009 03:59:00 PM) - Al

CLE with two very nice minor league signings...I would bet both these guys spend quite a bit of time in Ohio. Saarloos would have been nice SP depth for anyone, including the Crew, though he's pretty much a reliever at this stage of his career as well.

1/14/2009 03:59:00 PM

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

(1/13/2009 08:36:00 PM) - Al

File this under "what we know can fit on the head of a pin".

When science can't figure out how to balance birds and cats, pardon me for not having a whole lot of faith in what the temp was a million years ago.

1/13/2009 08:36:00 PM

(1/13/2009 07:44:00 PM) - Al

How universal health care is working in MA...down and dirty recap: It's more expensive, and it hasn't done what they'd hoped.

Both WI and MN have very tough insurance rules, which they are very proud of, but no one ever seems to think that the more that is required to be covered, the fewer companies will choose to do business, which leads to higher premiums.

1/13/2009 07:44:00 PM

(1/13/2009 07:27:00 PM) - Al

David Pauley was DFA'd by BOS today. As with most guys taken off the 40, his ceiling may not be high, but 350 AAA IP and a 4 ERA would make him better depth the the Crew currently has.

If nothing else, he may be a good guy to pick up, then DFA later and hope he makes it through when rosters are full.

1/13/2009 07:27:00 PM

(1/13/2009 07:22:00 PM) - Al

I think you can file this under "money talks", as Lowe was quoted as saying he wanted to play for a team where fans live and die on every pitch, and not the laid back LA attitude. By signing to play in ATL, a team that struggles to sell out playoff games, it seems he took the money and ran...which is his right, mind you, I just wish we wouldn't hear such silliness.

1/13/2009 07:22:00 PM

(1/13/2009 07:17:00 PM) - Al

Hoffman officially signs, Tom H previews the bullpen, sans injuries or signings. I still see at least one more pitcher being added, but the bullpen looks fine to me.

Actually, the rotation does too, but that could change quickly with one or two MRI's being needed.

1/13/2009 07:17:00 PM

(1/13/2009 07:13:00 PM) - Al

Roman Polanski never intends to return to the US.

I'm sure he thinks people will be crushed by this, but I think I speak for most when I say I don't feel the need to allow a lot of convicted sex offenders into the country, especially ones so gutless they fled rather than face trial.

France can have him.

1/13/2009 07:13:00 PM

(1/13/2009 09:13:00 AM) - Al

FG takes a look at Sheets' value.

If he hits his past numbers or his projections, someone is going to get a seems most clubs are worried about him missing several months with an injury.

1/13/2009 09:13:00 AM

(1/13/2009 08:57:00 AM) - Al

No discussion of a long-term deal, and no talk of moving JJ as of yet. Notes on the Hardy signing that avoids arby here.

1/13/2009 08:57:00 AM

Monday, January 12, 2009

(1/12/2009 10:43:00 PM) - Al

-A Caesar Salad with Chocolate Balsamic dressing. How cool is that?
-A Vegan Lasagna
-A three dark chocolate dessert with ice cream, etc.
-Excellent red wine from the south of France

The whole meal was just incredible. Many people misunderstand the whole idea behind vegan foods. Taste isn't sacrificed at all, in fact, you could say that taste is enhanced--Daniel Negreanu's blog, telling what he ate at a vegan restaurant (Daniel is a vegan, the past year or so)

I started this asking if vegans eat ice cream, but obviously, "no animal products" would not allow regular ice cream, so since it was a vegan eatery, I will just assume it was soy ice cream.

On a somewhat related note, I can only wonder how many poker titles Daniel would have if he would quit the drinking and womanizing. He played 2 tourneys this month, declared himself "burned out", and said he was "taking some time off", especially odd since he's literally played about a dozen days since last July's World Series. He can do whatever he wants, but since he's the best I've ever seen at figuring out what his opponents have.

1/12/2009 10:43:00 PM

(1/12/2009 09:16:00 PM) - Al

Fangraphs likes Kapler's signing, but they are embarrassing themselves pretending a guy like Kapler has $3M+ value. As I have suggested earlier, that number is way too high, even before this offseason led to lower prices for all but the best players.

Barring injury, TB seems to have too many OF's...Crawford, Upton, Joyce, Perez, Kapler, and Gross is 6, with Burrell as the DH and possible LF part of the time, especially in interleague games. 2 catchers would leave you only 5 IF's...and that's if they carry 11 pitchers (I'm not sure if most AL teams go with 11 or 12). Unless someone gets hurt, Gross might be available...given he was offered arby, his cost might come in at about $1.5-2M...I could certainly see him being dealt or even released before his salary becomes guaranteed.

1/12/2009 09:16:00 PM

(1/12/2009 08:08:00 PM) - Al

I've read a dozen articles similar to this in the past couple one doubts allergies to nuts exist, but everyone wonders why no one had them when we were kids.

1/12/2009 08:08:00 PM

(1/12/2009 07:55:00 PM) - Al

Obama's press conferences are all scripted...gee, why have the questions been soft and getting softer?

1/12/2009 07:55:00 PM

(1/12/2009 07:20:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers may reopen their Dominican academy, and an overall look at scouting in Latin Anerica.

Very nice work by Adam.

1/12/2009 07:20:00 PM

(1/12/2009 05:38:00 PM) - Al

After I discussed a possible Bucks' deal for Sessions a few days ago, a reader of the Racine paper sent along this link about a rumored Sessions and Alexander for Mike Conley, who played with Greg Odom at Ohio State, luckily for us Badgers' fans, only for a single season.

Conley is still very young, and has predictably only been "ok" thus far, though he is a very good defender. As I discussed here though, they might well lose Carlos V and Ramon for nothing, so that plays a part in what they are worth.

EDIT: As if you needed proof a deal was being discussed, Alexander makes an appearance in the 2nd quarter.

1/12/2009 05:38:00 PM

(1/12/2009 05:18:00 PM) - Al

The St. Petersburg Times reports that the Rays have added free agent Gabe Kapler on a one-year, $1 million deal.

A surprise. It figured that the Rays would stick with Fernando Perez as the platoon partner for Matt Joyce, but now that role figures to go to Kapler. The 33-year-old Kapler hit .301/.340/.498 in 229 at-bats for the Brewers last season.--Rotoworld

RW seems to read a bit much into this, as most teams carry two reserve OF's, so they might just mix and match. I assume the Brewers would have happily matched the money, so I have to figure Gabe went where he felt he might get some more playing all 3 of the regulars in MIL are RH bats. Best of luck to Gabe, he probably had a career season last year, and he sure was fun to watch.

1/12/2009 05:18:00 PM

(1/12/2009 05:02:00 PM) - Al


I thought I should bring up the obvious: over 5% of Hall of Fame voters thought Rickey Henderson should NOT be in the Hall of Fame.


Can you imagine? Hopefully, the BBWAA will finally take a stand and hold these nut cases responsible for putting personal feelings and just plain ignorance ahead of common sense.

Somehow, I doubt it. Congrats to Rickey and to Jim Rice, who apparently is a better player now than he was the previous 14 years he was on the ballot.


1/12/2009 05:02:00 PM

(1/12/2009 12:19:00 PM) - Al

FOX's Ken Rosenthal says Michael Young asked the Rangers for a trade last month after the team informed him it wanted him to move to third base.

It explains why the reports of the Rangers shopping Young materialized last month. A source told Rosenthal that Young, who was recently awarded a Gold Glove, was "absolutely livid" about being asked to move. Rangers GM Jon Daniels confirmed to Rosenthal that the team had talked to Young about moving now. Elvis Andrus projects as a far better defender than Young, and the Rangers wouldn't want to try to shift Young in the middle of the season if Andrus proved ready come July. A deal is a possibility if another team overrates Young as much as the Rangers do. His contract, which is worth about $62 million over five years in present day value, is an obstacle, so the Rangers likely would have to take back some salary. The Mets, Angels, Dodgers and Royals were reported to have talked to the Rangers about Young last month.--Rotoworld

Beware of the lon-term extension that does not start until a player is 32. Young is showing steady decline both in the field and at the plate, and Andrus is likely to provide similar production for...3% of the cost?

They might want to see if the Royals would be willing to take Young in exchange for the equally horrible (but shorter) deal of Jose Guillen. As badly as the Royals' offseason has gone, trading for Young might just finish off the worst of all-time.

1/12/2009 12:19:00 PM

Sunday, January 11, 2009

(1/11/2009 10:11:00 PM) - Al

This woman and daughter attend the Rambling wife's church. As pointed out in the comments, the 14 year-old has passed away, she was being kept alive so a team could harvest her organs. Also pointed out in the comments, OWI 1st offense is a misdemeanor in WI, though additional charges could be added.

I'm not sure exactly sure how many people have to die in drunk driving accidents before it becomes a serious crime on the first offense, but obviously, the answer is too many.

1/11/2009 10:11:00 PM

(1/11/2009 09:04:00 PM) - Al


Can you tell me why they gave Heath Ledger a standing ovation at the Golden Globes? He did die of a drug overdose, right? What kind of message does that send?


First of all Bryan, you should be watching Desperate Housewives...if it's not the best written show on TV, you can see it from there. The best part about it is, no preaching, just political incorrect entertainment every week.

I believe Ledger died after taking a handful or two of prescription meds...I would assume he is being viewed as a martyr by some, for whatever reason.

Message? Couldn't tell you. If a soldier just home from Iraq were to present an award, would he/she get a rousing hand? Maybe? That being the case, their actions are rather meaningless to me.

1/11/2009 09:04:00 PM

(1/11/2009 08:23:00 PM) - Al

Heh. No, the government cannot even come close to getting something as simple as registering a car right, but health care, no problem!!!

I can just hear it:

I'm sorry sir, this says your son had a strep test 4 months ago that came back negative. We're not allowed to give another until 6 months have passed. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to help put a tourniquet around the neck of an unruly patient...

1/11/2009 08:23:00 PM

(1/11/2009 03:26:00 PM) - Al

Interview with Lorenzo Cain at the team site...he's only been playing baseball since 10th grade. That would suggest he has lots of developing left to do.

1/11/2009 03:26:00 PM

(1/11/2009 02:39:00 PM) - Al

It's not as easy as it sounded...--Obama

Heh. I said that about a thousand times during the shocks me that something as specific as "hope and change" is struggling in its implementation. It shall be noted that quote came from before he took office.

I'm just glad Iraq's story seems to be written, though no one bothers reporting it. I sure wish they would talk more about boosting the military and homeland security with the kazillion dollars they want to spend.

1/11/2009 02:39:00 PM

(1/11/2009 02:35:00 PM) - Al

At least one of Cafardo's sources thinks Prince Fielder would make a lot of sense in Boston. Clay Buchholz could be a starting point if these talks were to start.

Ben Sheets is becoming a bargain, so the Braves or Rangers could jump in and sign him affordably.--MLBTR

I would agree Prince would be a nice fit in BOS, but a move like that seems unlikely until at least next offseason.

If Sheets' price does go down, many teams could get involved with him, including the Brewers.

1/11/2009 02:35:00 PM

(1/11/2009 02:33:00 PM) - Al

Gammons tears apart Boras in this interview.

I'm still not sure why anyone would use him, as ARod had to negotiate his own deal, Kenny Rogers had to fire him for ignoring his wishes, he destroyed Matt Harrington's life, and he probably cost Jason Varitek $7-8M by turning down arby. Scott Boras doesn't care about anyone other than Scott Boras, and in an age where info is easily available, his constant goofups are as obvious as anything.

1/11/2009 02:33:00 PM

(1/11/2009 02:26:00 PM) - Al

A gander at the top FA's left and who they may end up with.

Many FA's who have been injury-prone or in their late 30's are not getting any offers.

1/11/2009 02:26:00 PM

(1/11/2009 02:07:00 PM) - Al

While I do not condone Harry for saying things that could be considered racist and offensive, I'll tolerate a lot more of that from a fella serving his country and who has seen evil and tried to destroy it. Pretty much anytime you get a bunch of young 20somethings together, you'll hear things said like that.

1/11/2009 02:07:00 PM

(1/11/2009 02:02:00 PM) - Al

Warming? Cooling?

I wish I knew which way to lean, so my panic and sleepless nights would be better defined...

1/11/2009 02:02:00 PM

Saturday, January 10, 2009

(1/10/2009 10:51:00 PM) - Al

Another hard-hitting interview. You gotta wonder when the softballs will end.

1/10/2009 10:51:00 PM

(1/10/2009 09:04:00 PM) - Al

CNN must only have a single video that says "Gaza" on the side of the tape.

More here.

1/10/2009 09:04:00 PM

(1/10/2009 08:42:00 PM) - Al

The Yankees still have interest in acquiring Brewers centerfielder Mike Cameron after talks broke off in late December. They recently floated the idea of swapping first baseman/outfielder Nick Swisher for Cameron.

Acquired earlier in the winter from the Chicago White Sox, Swisher was targeted to play first base for the Yankees before they signed Teixeira. He has approximately $21 million left on his contract over the next three seasons and is not considered a top-notch centerfielder despite seeing considerable action there last year in Chicago.

Having lost two strikeout pitchers in Sabathia and Sheets, Melvin figures more balls will be put in play off the Brewers' staff this year. Thus, he's inclined to keep Cameron despite his $10 million price tag.

"I'm not motivated to move him," said Melvin, who promised Cameron he would only trade him to a contender. "Having a good defensive centerfielder is valuable."--JS

That was an easy promise to make, as no rebuilding team wants to pay $10M for a 36 year-old CF. Swisher is a very nice player, but as Doug points out, he's far from a top CF, and he brings with him a long-term commitment. I would say Hart would likely move to CF and Nick play RF in that alignment.

1/10/2009 08:42:00 PM

(1/10/2009 08:28:00 PM) - Al

The Bucks have some difficult contractual decisions to make before the deadline, the most important being the impending free agency of forward Charlie Villanueva and guard Ramon Sessions. Both will become restricted free agents after this season, which means the Bucks would be able to match any offers presented to the players this summer.

However, it may turn out to be too costly for Milwaukee to match offers to one or both of those players, which is why they look to be the most likely Bucks to be traded should the team decide to make a deal...the Bucks could face similar situations with Villanueva and Sessions.

As its stands, the Bucks' payroll is probably about $5 million below the luxury tax figure that is projected for the 2009-'10 season.

That would make retaining the two players difficult, if not impossible, without venturing into tax territory.

In other words, all a team would have to do is offer Villanueva a deal starting at $5.1 million, knowing the Bucks would not match because it would take them over the luxury-tax figure.

Even though there is considerable interest in Sessions, he probably would command less in the open market than Villanueva. Even so, all it would take is one team to come out of left field with a mega-offer that would be unrealistic for the Bucks to match.

Since no one knows exactly what the luxury-tax figure will be for 2009-'10 (it's $71.2 million this season), that only muddies the water as the Bucks ponder the future.

And so in the weeks ahead, the Bucks will be asking themselves if they want to risk letting Villanueva and/or Sessions go into free agency and possibly lose them with no compensation, or swing a deal for one or the other or both before the deadline.--JS

I've heard Charlie's name mentioned, and it's finally explained to me why...much like when Mo went to CLE, sometimes you have to give up a player of more talent to have a better overall situation roster-wise. Carl Landry, former Purdue star and Marcus' brother, has been mentioned as a possible swap.

It'll be mighty tough for the Bucks to give up CV, barring getting another power forward back, without risking the minimal success they are having this year. Sessions is a nice young player, but with both Ty Lue and Charlie Bell able to play the point, they have a lot more depth at the 1.

1/10/2009 08:28:00 PM

These are the good old days. Some folks are just too busy wishing the streets were paved with gold to enjoy the good times.

Whatever strikes me as interesting, and serious Milwaukee Brewers thoughts. If you are a believer in respecting OBP, throwing strikes, and keeping the ball in the park, you may have found the place you've been searching for. I believe in low taxes, small government, and am not afraid to be labeled patriotic. If you are interested in sausage race results, walk up music, or professional wrestling, you may wish to click elsewhere.

The Ramblings' manifesto can be found here.

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